Thursday, 6 March 2014

El Salto Beta sheet, for climbers travelling to.

El Salto Beta Sheet
the walk into Los Animas

This is a blog made specifically for climbers travelling to Mexico to climb in el Salto. This information is based solely on our experience here; prices and schedules may change over time. But hopefully this will give you a good idea.

First and foremost the most important: Getting here.
-       Your adventure will most likely begin in Monterrey, Mexico, weather you fly in, boat in, walk in or drive in, I’ll leave that up to you.
-       It is important to note that the town you are destined to is not called el salto, rather Cienega de Gonzalez.
Coming back from the cave
-       We were picked up in Monterrey by a friend who drove us to Cienega, but another friend of ours took a cab from Monterrey to Cercado (Cola de Cercado). He told us it cost around 500 pesos.
-       It is possible to take a couple buses from Monterrey to Cercado, but I’m unsure as to how.
-       Once in Cercado (the town at the bottom of the mountain) you can take a bus up to Cienega. This bus costs 40 Pesos and leaves out front the Super Desponsa, (the big supermarket on the mainstrip) The bus is destined to Laguna de Sanchez, a town beyond Cienega, and will mention this on the windshield.
one of he crossing coming back from Los animas
-       The bus will take you for an hour-long ride up the mountain, there are no regular stops for the bus so you just say “alto” when you would like off, and pay on your way out.
The Road to the Boka
-       There are only two buses that leave per day (no bus on Sunday). The afternoon bus leaves around 3-3:30pm. I am unsure of the morning bus departure time.

Now you’re in town, hopefully settled in to your camp or cabin. A couple quick notes before we get into climbing.
-       the best place to get groceries in town is Kika’s Mini Desponsa, she offers almost everything you need to get by. If you want more selection, you would have to take the bus back down to Cercado.
-       What you’ll find in Kika’s in no particular order off the top of my head.
The view: walking back home from los animas
o   Avocado, tomato, jalapeños, onion, Anaheim peppers, garlic, rice, pasta, variety of hot sauces, bathroom essential, locally made honey, freshly laid eggs, frozen meat, beer, banana, lighters, chic peas, nescafe
Colin Lipowitz on Tufaluna, Ramones' Mustroom in the back ground
-       The bus down to town leaves at 9am, stand on the street and wave it down. Cercado is the last stop, so ride it till the end. Once again it costs 40 pesos. Or only chance to grab the bus back up the mountain is at 3-3:30. Don’t miss it.
-       There is a net café in Cercado, which is around the far corner of the super desponsa. Wifi costs 15pesos an hour and does not serve anything but wifi.
-       Our trip was in February, the days are warm, but the nights get really cold. A good sleeping bag would be ideal and a jacket, as the morning takes a while to warm up, and the cold comes quick once the sun disappears.
-       We stayed in Kika’s cabin and were charged 1500 Pesos a week. This did not rent us the whole cabin, but rather a couple beds. We were surprised when she brought in 4 Italians to occupy the upstairs quarters.
-       Camping in the pen is 48 pesos a night I believe and to use the outdoor kitchen is 32pesos. I’m not 100% on these prices as they were just hearsay
* Be weary about leaving gear up, especially the first couple bolts, we had one draw stolen from kids who will park their vehicle beside the route to stand on and take gear.

The closest crag to the village is La Boka. This is fairly new crag and has been under development almost every day we’ve been here. It offers many moderate classics. Across from Kika’s theres a cobblestone road that leads to a dried riverbed. Walk down this and across the riverbed will be a road that you follow. 10mins walk down this will be the Cliffside on your left.
            The first 4 routes on your left are some warm ups. Don’t judge them by they’re look, they are quite fun climbs. Very well bolted for newer climbers.
*’s - are our personal opinion (if no stars we did not climb them) (best = 5 stars)
1.     Lado a Lado  - 5.10c **
2.     Pini Colada – 5.10d
3.     Mojito – 5.10d *** (soft) (finished on a slab tower)
4.     Cuba Libre – 5.9 *** (hard) (finished going up a crack)
5.     Alto Tension - Project – 5.13d ish ** - one move wonder, holds keep breaking, 12d up to crux
6.     No Surrender – 5.12d
7.     Fantastic Voyage – 5.12 ***** - Brand new climb, not sure how hard exactly.
8.     Lounge Puppy – 13a **** - easy slab up to a leftward leaning ramp, to a tricky distinct crux, finish on fun tufa climbing with shitty feet.
9.     Honey Bear – 5.12a *****
10.  Hijo de Puta – 5.12b ***** - Amazing bouldery route, shares first two bolts with 12a
11. Fuerza Civil Project – CLOSED – Ulric thinks around 14b/c
12. Art of Flight – 5.12c ***** - surprise crux at the end
13. Art of Flight Extension – Project 5.14ish
Joe on Bunga Bunga Xmas...if you can see him
14. El Tecolottito – 5.11c ***** - Besides the crimpy slab at the beginning, great warm up.
15. Unknown – 11d ***** - Starts on a big free standing boulder, same deal as previous route
16. The Sound of the First Season – 12a *** - Starts with a boulder problem leading to tricky slab
17. The Sound of the First Season Exttension – 5.14? – CLOSED project
18. Shields Up – 5.11d – looks much the same as the 12a
19. La Derma de Oro -5.13a – 4 pitches (5.11b, 5.13a, 5.12b, 5.12b)

-       Anything beyond this was freshly bolted for our time here and are mostly unnamed, ungraded and dirty. More classics are likely to come from this development, and Ulric is currently putting together and updated blog as he continues to develop.
Los Animas
the curch ;)
            To get to Los Animas, walk down the street towards laguna de sanchez, and you will come to a white church on your left after maybe 10 mins of walking. Take a right down a broken up cobblestone street towards the river bed. You will come up to a sandy beach there, which also prohibits camping. This is your first two river crossings. Flipflops are highly recommended but not required. After your second crossing, follow the river down and into the canyon. There is a road straight ahead of you, but that leads uphill to a dead end. Following the river into the canyon you will come across 3 more crossings, and will come to road leading up a hill on your right. Don’t worry about missing it because if you do, you will walk to the top of the waterfall (dead end). Follow the road all the way to the cliff. When the road first meets the cliff, you can scramble up the right hill where more climbs are located (known at Los Animas Upper Right)
Joe reaching the H-shaped hole on H-Bomb

·      I wont include routes we did not try, too many routes to right about.

Los Animas Upper Right
·      starting at the top of the hill and working our way down.
1.     Corazon de Guera - 5.10c  ** - Not the greatest warm up
2.     Ez Street – 5.11+ ** - once again fingery, tricky and sharp, not good for warm up
3.     I-Vision – 5.11d *** - same as last two, but actually some really cool movement
4.     Quesadilla – 5.12b ** - very very sharp crux, not enjoyable
5.     Camino de Chino – 5.13c **** - incredible boulder sequence at bottom, fairy sustained to the top. Beautiful rock.
6.     Dante’s Inferno – 5.13d ****– hard cruxes between good rests
7.     Tufa King Short – Honorable mention, wish we had tried it. Looks hype!
8.     Bizarre Contact  **** - Hard boulder problem at bottom, tricky gym-like climbing to the top.  *Starts where the road meets the cliff

Los Animas Center (to where the roads turns down the hill)
1.     La Guitara de Lolo – 5.13d ***** - incredible bouldery cruxes, one at bottom and one at top. Shares the first 8ish (?) bolts with Bunga Bunga until veering right.  Unclip Bunga Bunga draws as you go up to reduce rope drag.
2.     Bunga Bunga Xmas – 5.13d ***** - if you’re there to do a hard route, this is the one. Instant classic.
3.     Bunga Bunga – 5.12b ***** - full value. Crag classic
The Dyno on La Violencia
4.     Ramones’ Mushroom – 5.11c **** - super cool beginning and end, very good for warm up, starts a little to the right of the first bolt, on good crimps.

Los Animas (left area starting at the big shade giving tree)
1.     Tufaluna – 5.13a **** - could possibly be 5stars, incredible bouldery movement does not stop. Very very fun. Hard 13a
2.     Tufalina – 5.12c *** - short and bouldery
3.     Lazy Boy Lover – 5.12d *** - very scary 5th bolt clip, due to tree being behind you.
4.     Ojo de la Menta – 5.12b ****
5.     Culo de la Negra – 5.12a ***** - classic climb, hard 12a
6.     Body Groovin’ – 5.12b **** - start left on broken flake and traverse right on good holds to make first clip. Keep it together for upper crux. Ho ho buddy
7.     Muchas Cornhuelas – 5.12a ***** soft – incredible route nonetheless, upper crux is incredible. Must do!
8.     Blood Brother – 5.11d ***** - pumpy for a warm up, but incredible, would suggest starting on alien tufa ;)
9.     Alien tufa – 5.11c/d ***** - warming up on this never got boring! Wish we tried the extension.
10. Malavisco – 5.12a ** Starts on slab and finishes the same as Cara Cortada
11. Cara Cortada – 5.12a *** - really fingery crux, but the upper section makes this one worth doing
12. All Along the Watchtower – 5.10d * – scary, and dirty.
The view up river from the cave
THE CAVE!!!!!!!
IMPORTANT: to get the cave follow the road down to the waterfall from los animas, take in the views as you walk past, cross the water at the far end and continue following the river down, sticking to the right side. After maybe 5-10mins of walking along the shore, you will come to a 4x4 road. Follow this down until it basically meets the river again. There is a cut off to the right that leads up to the cave. This will lead you right to the mouth of the cave. If hike a little to the left of the main cave, there is a smaller cave with two routes in it. We’ll start there and work our way across.
1.     Felicidad – 5.11b/c **** - fantastic warm up, steep 
and big holds.
2. La Violencia - 5.13a **** - easy moves up to a Dyno crux, one move wonder, super fun. 5.13b if you use crimps and go static to tufa. but why would you do such a thing?
3.    Culo de Fergo – 5.13a **** - starts at the very back of cave, high first bolt, but really easy climbing to it. An awkward crux around 3rd, then incredible climbing to anchors. Bring the knee pads!
4.     Noseferatu 5.12c **** - Once again a classic
5.     H-Bomb – 5.14a **** finally has been done again since the broken hold. Incredible top section!
James right before the crux on Culo de Fergo
6.     Merlin’s Culo – 5.10d ***** - if you were only to do one route here, this should be it. 3D climbing, that you’ll never experience anywhere else!!! Must do!

Re-Cap on Important facts.
·      Bring flip flops to hike the river crossings in!
·      Sleeping bags and jackets made the cold night bearable (February)
·      Climbing in the sun is too hot! Sun hit the Los Animas wall at 11:30am and lasted till 2:30ish
·      Los Animas is a very noisy crag during the weekend. Everyone is there bombing around on their atv’s, 4x4s, dune buggies and jeeps. If you’re lucky one of them will drive you back up
·      The honey at kika’s is to die for…if you’re a fan of honey.
·      Sleeping time can get noisy, chickens, kids playing sports and cars blaring music are a constant disturbance.
·       When bussing down the mountain to Cercado, take the bus to the end, it cost us 40 pesos down, and 40 pesos up.
·      Ulrics is currently developing the Boca and has big plans for it. Every day he is finding new lines and bolting. The area I mentioned if pretty much full. But in the future will extend further into the canyon.

1 comment:

  1. Nice post, bro!
    but that 13a in the cave is called "Techo del tecolote"