|Sun set on the walk home|
After failing to find the cave the day before, we were now armed with new directions that would surely not fail us. We did the hike into Los Animas with sandals this time for the water sections, and proceeded downriver to the cave. Fairly soon after the waterfall there is a road that leads to a trail cutting off and going up the mountain through thick layers of jungle. How could we have missed this? A machete would have been nice as we hiked up the steep switchback trails to get to this infamous cave.
|Trying to figure out which routes are which|
Twenty minutes uphill and we make it. What we walked up to definitely did not meet my expectations. I personally was thinking of a cave as grand and deep as the granda grotta in Greece. This was no contender. To make up for my instant grief, we found that in total there were three smaller caves components to “the cave.” And the routes…the routes running through the cave looked better than ever. Our warm up must have been the best route to date, climbing up never ending flowstone and tufa’s into the heart of the cave. This was a textbook definition of 3D climbing. Holds to your left, right, above and behind. The scary falls added to the thrill of this classic climb. Merlin’s Culo was an unforgettable experience.
|Joe Lacing up for H-bomb!|
Next on the list was Felicidad, and 11d that started in the bottom of the smaller cave and worked it way out to the daylight. An onsight by Joe and a flash by me, we were quickly looking for our next victim. The projecting bug soon came to haunt our minds and we both looked for a climb beyond our onsight/flash strength. Joe picked the ultra classic H-Bomb (5.14a) which legend has it was onsighted by Dani Andrada while he wore crocs. An un-human-like feat. Joe figured out all the moves fairly quickly and actually went on a redpoint burn the second time around. I picked a climb called La Violencia which is a one move wonder 13a/b. The one move being a giant backwards dyno off two decent crimps to a big tufa. With a couple tries I managed to touch the tufa with a single hand. So in other words I was nowhere close. I’ll be back on it again.
|Need as many blankets as possible|
By the time we walk back to Los Animas there was a line up jeeps waiting to get up the hill, slowed down by atv’s getting stuck on the way up and other automobiles on their way down. Monterrey is Mexico’s richest city, and the vast majority of these wealthy Mexicans have cottages in Cienega de Gonzalez (our village) and the surrounding area. They all come up here on the weekend, and this place turns into a giant party. The locals sell their homemade cocktail mixes on their front lawns as early the sun rises, Kika’s recipe being a rum Caesar. These millionaires pack up their 4x4s with cases of beer and perhaps a rum Caesar for the ride there…including the driver. They drink all day long at the waterfall, racing up and down the hill that los Animas is located on. Some are idiots and try to fly by you; others stop and watch you on the wall, even offering some beers to share.
It’s funny because here they don’t care how good their ride looks, but more so the size of the sound system attached. Everyone is blasting their own Spanish music, in competition with their amigos for the greatest decibel hit. Anyways, by the time we hit los Animas on our hike up, one of the jeeps offered us a ride up. Without thinking twice we threw our bags in the back and jumped on the sides. The adults were too drunk so they left the off-road driving to their 13-year-old son, who, despite his age, handled the 4x4 like a pro. They drove us all the way up the hill and through most of the water crossings. We considered ourselves lucky.
After they dropped us off we were saying our thanks, when they kept wanting us to meet more of their amigos. As this process went on, the Mexicans in the background were taking pictures of us as if they had never seen a pair of gringos before. Our moment of fame on this trip.
|Hijo de Puta, 5.12B first curx at La Boka|
Later that night, as we tucked ourselves into bed, Joe offered to let me know what time it was. As he clicked the button to open his shiny pocket watch, the top flew open with a picture of Melissa taped on the inside. I soon realized that he didn’t care what time it was, and was only looking for an excuse to open the pocket watch. Our sleep was spent much the same as the other nights, waking up multiple times because of the cold. Constantly hoping the sun would rise soon, only to be woken up once again by that damn retarded rooster.
It is now our 4th day on of climbing, which is something we normally wouldn’t do, but today was Sunday and the buses didn’t run down to the village. Our rest day would have to be on Monday when we could get down the mountain to town for grocery shopping, and Internet café time. As a result we took the day fairly easy, climbing at the Boka, trying some of Ulric’s newly bolted lines and finding a couple mini projects. Joes was an unnamed 13a and mine was a 12b called Hijo de Puta. Joe sent his second try and mine is still currently a project….unfortunately.