|Mexico is a virtual adventure land of opportunity, regardless your choice of adventure sport.
For the active traveler, a little know rock climbing spot near Monterrey offers the perfect getaway for a weekend or a week, and you'll often find you have the pristine limestone cliffs all to yourself.
El Potrero Chico is located about an hour northwest of Monterrey, a craggy limestone outcrop that has been quietly attracting rock climbers from around the world, especially from the U.S. and Canada. What makes the area unusual is the sheer variety of the 600-plus bolted routes, where climbers can find permanent artificial anchors embedded in the rock, making the climbing routes easily accessible regardless your skill level.
Potrero Chico includes dozens of intermediate grade routes over a thousand feet long with unique summits. Well over five hundred routes have been developed in this area, some reserved for the expert climber. Routes are available for all skill levels and you'll find plenty of knowledged climbers at a nearby camp to offer you advise and/or climbing services. El Potrero Chico is located in Hidalgo, Mexico, about three hours across the border from Laredo, Texas. You can also fly into Monterrey, which is located thirty minutes from the park.
El Potrero Chico attracts a lot of climbers from around the world, but it has been described as one of the "friendliest" climb spots in North and Central America. Many climbers travel there alone and can easily find a climbing partner among the local climbers or from the many visiting climbers that are more frequently flocking to the climbing Mecca. El Potrero Chico is a hot spot for extended stays and is becoming a popular retirement location for serious climbers.
But don't expect large crowds or crowded climbing routes - not here. The crowd typically tops out at 50 or 60 people on the weekends, and less during the week, mostly a mix of Americans and Canadians and a fewe Europeans. It's not unusual to find only a handfull of other climbers on the rock faces when you arrive.
Most of the climbing routes at this remote spot were developed by AMerican climbers. You find some quirky but fitting names to the routes, in both English and Spanish, like Estrellita, Treasure of Sierra Madre, and the Yankee Clipper. Both inexperienced and skilled climbers say they find the bolting of routes directly into the rock a time saving idea, and one that provides more time to try out the various routes in a single trip.
The geography of the region is diverse and offers many limestone crags, spires and ridges where climbers can enjoy their sport. The terrain is rugged and the views from the top are great. Even less skilled climbers can find access to the top.
Posada El Potrero Chico is a family-run campsite and lodge owned by a local resident named Luís Lozano and is located not far from the base of the many routes. It serves the sporting crowd with Wi-Fi, new casitas and a small gear shop, plus provides the perfect opportunities for the international climbing community to spend a little quality time swapping stories.
In the nearby town of Hidalgo, living is simple, with plenty of street markets and good food typical of northern Mexico, like carne asada and gorditas. To encourage climbing and environmental efforts in the community, the local climbing school runs cleanup days in which local children help with the maintenance of routes by collecting trash.
Any time of year is a good time to climb here, but many say the winter months are the best. Potrero is a winter paradise, in fact, offering some of the best sport climbing in the world. With over 600 climbs and unparalleled Mexican hospitality, El Potrero Chico is the best place to spendt your winter climbs.