North America, Mexico, Nuevo León, Parque Nacional Cumbres de Monterrey, Trad at the Potrero Chico

Publication Year: 2004.

Trad at the Potrero Chico. The bolt Mecca of northeastern Mexico was profaned by a series of long trad routes this year. The rock’s poor quality made these very bold adventures. Dane Bass and Sue from the Gunks started things off with The Scariest Ride in the Park (30 pitches, 5.9X), which starts at the overlook in Virgin Canyon. They finished this 3,000' ridge on their second attempt, taking two days. Paco Medina and Alejandro Garcés climbed the ridge above Stairway to Nowhere, calling it Robin Hood. We lack details of this ascent, but it is 5.10X, over 3,000' long, and uses the rappel descent of Time Wave Zero (a 22-pitch route by Jimmy Carse and partner). Finally, Alex and Nathalie Catlin climbed Devotion, which starts 30 feet right of Pride (14 pitches, 5.11d), in a style known as Potrero trad. The rules are to climb ground-up, on lead, with a drill but no hooks. The result is a fully bolted route and lots of excitement for the first ascensionists.

Alex Catlin