American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

North America, Mexico, El Potrero Chico, Overview

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 1999

El Potrero Chico, Overview. The First Annual Potrero Chico Clean-Up and Trail Day in E1 Potrero Chico, Mexico, took place on New Year’s Day. A small turnout of 30 climbers helped remove two truckloads of trash from the base of Space Boyz, a popular spot for the locals to hang out, drink beer, and watch the crazy gringos.

David Hume had a productive trip to the Potrero, quickly ticking many classic lines. He did the second ascent of Time for Living (13a), on-sighting all six pitches, on-sighted Devil’s Cabana Boy (13a, five pitches) and sent the Mothership Connection (13a, two pitches) second try. At the nearby area Culo de Gato, Hume also did the first ascent of an open project named Snake Belly (13d), one of the hardest lines in Mexico. Also at the Culo, Guadalajaran climber Andres Mueller sent Avenida de Pina (13d), the hardest ascent by a Mexican climber.

This winter, about 30 new routes graced the walls of the Potrero, many of them in the moderate range. Kurt Smith, Elaina Arenz, and Andres Mueller developed the wall Avenida de la Revolucion, with six lines ranging from 1- to 12+. Magic Ed and Rodman bolted the dihedrals left of the Surf Bowls, which yielded seven routes in the 5.9 to 5.11+ range, including trad, bolted cracks, and face climbs. A group of Italians also contributed several routes on the Mileski Wall and in the Virgin Canyon from 5.9 to 5.12.

Highlights from last year’s season included the 20-pitch project Mi Regalo Favorito on the Outrage Wall. This line took two months to bolt ground-up by Kurt Smith and Jeb Vetters. The pair spent 21 nights living on the wall to push this line up the left side of the Outrage Wall and up to the summit of Cerro San Miguel. A serious finger injury sidelined Kurt this winter and he hopes to complete this monster project in time for the new millennium. Later that same season, Magic Ed and Dane Bass put up the mega-long Black Cat Bone (5.10+) to the right of Space Boyz. This nine-pitch line sports mixed jungle climbing and a classic roof for the crux. Last winter also saw the largest development of single pitch lines from 5.8 to 5.12 with 40 new routes in three months.

Kurt Smith, unaffiliated

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