El Potrero Chico has become one of North America’s largest and best big rock climbing destinations. With over 600 routes ranging from 5.7 to 5.13 that are up to 20 pitches in length, there is no shortage of wall sport climbing in the area. The sheer cliffs provide high-quality single and multi-pitch climbing often climbing past palm trees, spectacular exposure, and top-outs on aesthetic high points.
The limestone climbs are fully bolted on the massive faces above the small town of Hidalgo in North-Eastern Mexico. On this wall sport climbing program, we will be climbing the long multi-pitch routes that El Potrero Chico has become famous for and round out our days on 5-star single-pitch routes. This El Potrero Chico rock climbing program in Mexico is a great place to push your multi-pitch grade and skills to the next level with personalized coaching from your guide.
On our rest day, we will have the opportunity to go to the local Hidalgo markets, visit hot springs or do a cultural trip into Monterrey.
Here is what guidebook author Frank Madden has to say about the feel of the area:
“The towering limestone walls reach towards the skies while the mariachi music blares through the canyon with locals and climbers alike taking in the beauty of the climbing. Don’t be surprised when the locals come up and try to chat with you or even have a beer with you at the crag. They love seeing the “crazy” climbers up on the rock enjoying the beautiful place they live in. Before long you’ll be dancing to the mariachi music with whatever strength you have left from the amazing climbing here.”
Objectives and Agenda
Day 1: We will meet at the Monterrey, Nuevo Leon airport and transfer to our accommodation in Hidalgo by private transport. Our driver will stop at the local grocery store for us to stock up on route.
Day 2-4: Let’s get climbing! We will work together to pick the best routes for your personal objectives! Long multi-pitches, single pitch routes, movement coaching, single and multi-pitch lead tactics, pushing your grade are all possible objectives for these days.
Day 5: This is a day off to allow you to recover and get the most out of the final three days of climbing. It is a free day to visit the markets, go to the hot springs, go for a cultural visit to Monterrey or just relax. We may shift this day due to the weather if needed to get the most out of the trip.
Day 6-8: We will now be rested and have a good tick list of the routes that you are the most motivated for. We will have short approaches and full days to accomplish our climbing objectives. This would be a good time to push your leading grade or aim for the longest multi-pitch routes in the area.
Examples of potential multi-pitch routes depending on your ability:
Estrellita (5.10b, 12 pitches), Jungle Warfare (5.10a, 4 pitches), Snott Girlz (5.10, 7 pitches), Space Boys (5.10+, 11 pitches), The Spires (5.10, 2/3 pitches), Poncho Villa Rides Again (5.10c, 5 pitches), Treasures of the Sierra Madre (5.10c, 7 pitches), El Sendero Diablo (5.11c 5 pitches), Timewave Zero (5.10+ A0, 23 pitches)
Day 9: After packing up and checking out we will transfer back to the airport and return home. You will certainly have an extended tick list for your next trip to El Potrero Chico!
Meeting Time and Place
We will coordinate to meet at the Monterrey airport on day 1 for our shuttle to Hidalgo. If your time does not match your guide’s arrival time we will organize a private shuttle for you for an additional cost (approximately $55 US).
Instructors & Group Size
Enthusiastic and extremely talented, your instructors hold climbing certification from the Association of Canadian Mountain Guides. Our instructors are chosen not just for their technical climbing virtuosity but also for their ability to instruct and coach.
Instructor to student ratios range down from 1:2. The minimum group size is 2, a maximum of 6.
Approaches to the climbs range from 10 to 30 minutes so we will not have a vehicle while we are in the area. However, the owner of the house is happy to drive us into town and back for groceries and basic errands. If we decide to go much further than this on our rest day, we can hire a driver for an additional fee (typically inexpensive).
Accommodation and Meals
Accommodation is included in Hidalgo from the evening of day 1 checking out on the morning of day 9. We will be staying in a comfortable private house or private rooms in the area with full facilities. Pricing is based on double occupancy. Please contact us if you would like to look at single occupancy options.
Food for you and your guide is not included. You will be responsible for covering food costs for you and your guide while on the program. Groceries in Hidalgo are significantly less expensive than in Canada and are of good quality. We can team up to cook or cook individually depending on your needs. We recommend bringing any kind of granola/energy bars that you like as they are often not available in the area.
Equipment & Clothing
For this program, guests should have their own personal climbing equipment as listed below. There are minimal options once at El Potrero Chico for purchasing any forgotten items so be prepared and double-check before you leave.
The weather in El Potrero is typically summer-like with minimal precipitation. Guests should be prepared for 15 to 30 degree Celsius. Climbing in lighter weight clothing, being prepared for sun exposure, and having a good hydration system is important. The clothing list below covers the possibilities. Depending on the weather some items may be unnecessary. Remember that weather can change quickly so even if the day starts out sunny you may still need rain gear in the afternoon.
- Backpack (30-40 Litre)
- Small multi-pitch backpack such as the Petzl Bug (15-20L)
- Water bladder with a hose – 2L capacity (optional but highly recommended)
- Sun cream
- Lightweight rain jacket
- Climbing clothing allowing for easy and complete range of movement (both pants and shorts)
- Warm weather clothing (fleece layers, soft shell)
- Rock shoes
- Lightweight approach shoes
- Belay device with a pear-shaped locking carabiner
- 1 extra pear-shaped carabiner
- 3 locking carabiners
- 1 120cm sewn sling
- 1 5m x 7mm cord
- 1 adjustable lanyard such as the Petzl CONNECT-ADJUST (optional but highly recommended)
- Belay gloves (optional but highly recommended for all the rappelling)
- Chalk bag and extra chalk
- Energy bars that you like (there is not much of this in the area to purchase)
- Clothing and personal supplies for after climbing
- There is an App for the area called Rakkup if you feel like downloading it or you can purchase a hard copy of the guidebook once we arrive
We will be staying in a small house or private guest rooms that provide bedding and cooking supplies. You will need to bring your own personal bathroom kit (towel, soap, shampoo etc). They have the same electrical plugs as Canada so there are no adaptors needed for any electronics you choose to bring.
Please book as early as practical to avoid disappointment. We require a deposit of 35% at the time of booking. The final balance is due eight weeks before the program’s start date. We will also need you to complete the mountain experience questionnaire.
We ask that you please familiarize yourself with our detailed booking instructions and conditions.
Risk is an inherent part of all mountain activities. We strive to manage and reduce it however, it is impossible to totally eliminate. Learn more about our safety and risk management approach here. Please note that you will be required to sign our waiver before commencing the program. Please view our sample waiver copy.
There are two basic types of insurance that most travellers need to consider: Medical and Cancellation/Trip Interruption Insurance. We offer our guests coverage for both and highly recommend you purchase it.
Emergency Medical Expenses Insurance:
It is wise to ensure that your health plan will cover you in case of illness or accident during your trip. Obtain extra coverage if necessary. There is no charge for rescue in the national and provincial parks, however, costs such as air or ground transportation, long-term care and other services are not covered.
Cancellation/Trip Interruption Insurance:
We recognize that our guests’ schedules may change for many reasons; business, family, flight delays, injuries and other unplanned events. For these eventualities, the Trip Cancellation/Interruption insurance is a great way to protect your investment.
For all your travel insurance requirements we recommend the Simpson Group. This agency offers a wide range of travel insurance options including Trip Cancellation/Interruption, Travel Medical and Personal Effect Loss for Canadian Travelers. We highly recommend purchasing this insurance.
Please note that this coverage is for Canadian residents only. For guests who are not from Canada and who are interested in the ‘Visitors to Canada’ insurance package please contact the Simpson Group directly at JSimpson@simpson-group.com and reference your Yamnuska Mountain Adventure’s trip.
$3550 CDN covers airport transfer from Monterrey to Hidalgo if flight arrival time lines up with your guide, accommodation, all guiding and group technical equipment, return airport transfer from Hidalgo to Monterrey airport. There is NO Goods and Services Tax (GST).
Not Included: Flights, food for you or your guide, airport transfers if your times don’t line up with your guides, any additional rest day activities or excursions, additional transport, gratuities.
Trip Cancellation Insurance is available through the Simpson Group.
Is it for you?
This program is for climbers looking for a true immersion into the international climbing scene. You must be comfortable seconding 5.10a/b, have previous multi-pitch climbing experience, and have a sense of adventure for climbing in rural Mexico. Approaches are generally easy ranging from 10-30 minutes on well-travelled climber’s trails.