On April 2, Carlos Flores and I made the first ascent of the Life You Can Save (350m, 13 pitches, 5.12d) on the north face of Pico Independencia in Parque La Huasteca, just west of Monterrey.
The route first required three weeks of preparation, alone on my part, which included 22 days of cleaning and eight days of bolting, both ground-up and top-down. Once the bolting was completed I was glad to recruit the tenacious hands of Carlos Flores, a straight-talking, rope-savvy Mexican who is respected in the local community. Together, Carlos and I climbed ground-up to the summit in a single push. I was able to climb everything first go but the final 5.11 pitch near the top. We descended the south face via three rappels.
The route climbs a direct line up the central pillarofPico Independencia, located just right of the unrepeated routeDirectísima (300m, 5.9+ A3+). It has eight pitches of 5.11 or harder and is well-equipped with bolts in the harder sections. It would be possible to bivy under a roof on pitch seven, but I would recommend a hammock. [Editor’s note: Climbs on Pico Independencia have not been well-covered in past AAJs. See the PDF mini-guide below for detailed beta about the routes on Pico Independencia.]
– Gareth “Gaz” Leah, U.K.