Saturday, January 29, 2011

Another hot and sunny rest day

Life is really difficult here... 

Our rest day started out with an earlier rise than normal, some solid breakfast and more coffee than normal as well.  A local Mexican woman organized a clean-up day of the Potrero, starting at 9am!  We decided we should join and show our support of keeping the place clean and combining the climbing and local communities.  We set out into the canyon - proceeded by a school bus load of middle and high school kids and followed by packs more of them.  We all worked for a while and filled a dump truck full of garbage bags, tires, and other things that don't belong in the canyon.  It seemed to be a huge success, everything looks way cleaner than it did yesterday!  A couple of the climbers here even brought out some of the local kids to try some climbing - all in all a fun event!

After that we have just been doing a bunch of lounging around....

And some more lounging and looking at the canyon....

(That is the kitchen and porch of our campground)

And finally some more lounging - but by the pool this time!  We put our feet in but couldn't get past that... even though its really hot and sunny, the water was still super cold!

(The pool is also at our campground... yes, we will pick you up at the airport when you get here - just let us know the date and time!)

And that's really about all we did today.  Hoping to get a lot more climbing in tomorrow!  


We spent the day yesterday on a beautiful multi-pitch called Satori.  It is a seven pitch 5.10c, that follows one of the most beautiful, and least contrived lines we have climbed here.  It climbs a beautiful arete at a wonderfully sustained pitch for 700 feet.

Since yesterday was a bit warm in the sun, we had the advantage of a 2000 foot tall limstone mountain keeping us in the shade all day. To add to the experience, we had beautfiul views of Hidalgo and the surrounding mountains in the backdrop as we climbed and then at the summit.

Since I am sure all of you are becoming tired of our pictures and descriptions of fantastic climbing and glorious weather, it is probably about time that you starting running, pedaling, driving or flying your way down here to visit...

route development, hanging out and crushing...

We realize that we are a bit overdue in our postings, but the past few days have been filled with many crazy adventures.  We have filled our days with trails maintenance, climbing and we even got to see how the folks down here in Potrero-land develop new routes...

yes, that is a leaf blower that he is wielding there. This was really an eye opening experience; I learned that no one who feels their ethics alarm go off at the mention of manufactured holds should ever climb in the Potrero.  Every route here is manufactured.  Route cleaning is a multi-day process that involves rock hammers, crow bars, gas powered leaf blowers, a half a dozen scrub brushes and more rock fall that one cares to see in a year.  In order to find a "line", one usually has to exfoliate at least one, if not two, layers of rock to determine what rock is strong enough to pull on, let alone what rock can actually have bolts drilled into it. All that being said, I can honestly say I appreciate the hours of work and the tons of rock dust that have gone, and continue to go, into the route development here.  Thanks for making such a sweet playground all you leaf-blower yielding crazies.

We spent this interesting afternoon (Thursday, January 27) with our buddy Pete, as well as some other "local" climbers, Simeon, Bud, Rick and Simeon's dog, Petey who is infamous for being disproportionately aggressive for his size...
But don't worry, we have still been doing some rock climbing.  Here are Pete and I on the best, and most accurately graded, 5.10 I have climbed thus far, "Fresh Baked Daily".

Monday, January 24, 2011

Yankee Clipper

The first really long route of the trip was a success! Our biggest challenge of the day was the sunshine, but we were able to overcome and still summited the 13 pitches.  The following photo shows just how much sunlight we were dealing with...

This photo was taken on our way back down as we relished in a little bit of shade provided in a 3rd class garden about 800 feet off the ground.  When we were actually at the summit at about 1400 feet, we were both a bit too loopy to remember to use the camera to capture the moment.
With sore feet and legs we will have to see what we are up for tomorrow, but chances are we will be doing some sort of rock climbing... until then...

Potrero life continues

Note: This post is a day late posting due to the lack of reliable Mexican internet...

We had our second rest day today - caught up on some card games and hanging out that obviously needed to get done.  It's a really hard life here, as I'm sure you can tell.  We did less today than even our last rest day.  The only big thing I (Nyssa) did today was that early this afternoon I took a shower in my new climbing shoes that have been killing my feet and since then I've been wearing them around to stretch them out.  I actually just took them off because my feet are wet, shriveled and pretty cold now that it's night here.  But hopefully it did the job and I will be able to climb in them from now on without wanting to cry every time I put weight on a foot...

Since the last post of our climb of Estrellita we've just been cragging mostly.  We did an awesome two pitch climb called Mecasuit (5.10a, 5.11a) that I really enjoyed.  I'm hoping to be able to lead 5.11a by the time we leave and I think if it's like the one in Mecasuit I'll be all set.  The first pitch had a cool roof in it and the second pitch was all small crimper holds with decent feet - totally my style.  Tomorrow we are set to do a 15 pitch, 1500 ft climb called Yankee Clipper.  We're pretty excited to get up really high again!  Hopefully we'll get some good pictures from it too.  Until then here are a couple of pictures that I took of Rich while we were cragging.  Enjoy!

Friday, January 21, 2011

tales from the fifth class terrain

The past few days have been full of many adventures, hanging out with local wildlife...

and spending time at the top of Estrellita, an 1100 ft. 5.11...
                                                         Nyssa topping out on Estrellita
                                                 Rich and Nyssa at the summit palm tree
                                                     Nyssa with Hidalgo in the backdrop

Otherwise, the pattern of waking up and drinking french-press coffee, taking the five minute walk to the base of the cliff and spending the day clipping bolts in the sun has been very easy to settle into, and should continue without difficult for the coming month.  We have been fortunate enough to meet three excellent gentlemen from California, Oregon and Utah who have been a pleasure to climb with over the past week.  Unfortunately, they are heading back to their respective homes tomorrow, but we have already made plans to meet up with the Utahan, Jeff, when we travel north in March.  He has been kind enough to extend accommodations to us in our travels and we are looking forward to climbing and skiing with him in Utah in the spring.
Tomorrow will be another day of single pitch craggin' and then a day of rest on Sunday.  The forecast continues to look absolutely perfect and life continues to be free of complaints.  Life is good here and we hope you are all finding it the same where you all are.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

First Rest Day

We decided to take a rest day today - to catch up on some tasks and errands that we've been meaning to get to and hang out and let our muscles get strong for the next few days of climbing.  The past few days we've been mostly just "cragging" - or for our non-climber friends, just climbing route that are one-pitch long, and the belay is on the ground.  We did one three-pitch route called Cactus Pile (5.7, 5.10, 5.9) and it was pretty fun - a warm up for higher better things.  The rest of the climbing has been relaxed but awesome, definitely getting our Potrero groove back.

Today we've just mostly been hanging out and eating...  We walked into town to get some groceries and now we are chilling in the sun - Nyssa writing this while Rich fools around on his cool travel guitar - and waiting for our laundry to finish so we can hang it to dry.

Tomorrow our plan is to do an eleven-pitch climb called Estellita - really classic Potrero multi-pitch with stellar climbing the whole time and ever better views...

let the climbing begin...

After a few days of climbing, we are starting to get the feel back for clipping bolts on limestone.  Thankfully it is not too hard, and we are looking forward to a well-earned rest day tomorrow.  While we arrived to cold, wet weather, things have quickly taken a turn for the warmer, and we are now seeking out shade as much as we can to combat the 85 degree heat and intense sunlight.  From what we understand the northeast has been seeing some gross weather recently, so really it is unfair of us to complain about heat; but when in Rome...

here are a few photo updates to prove we are actually climbing and not just hanging out on a beach somewhere in southern Mexico

We are certainly not alone down here...we have even run into some other SLU alumni climbers, here is Pete Nichols on Flying Scorpions 5.10b

But we are also leaving plenty of time for relaxing and taking in the beautiful environs we are so fortunate to be hanging out in presently.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

First Round of Photos

Day 1
Waking up to the sound of rain on your tent in the Potrero is unexpected to say the least.  Thankfully, we have plenty of climbing days to come and we were able to take advantage of the sogginess to fill our food supplies and settle in at the Posada.

By late afternoon, the temperatures were comfortable and the precipitation had stopped, allowing us to take a stroll into the canyon.  All the disappointment of a wet day were quickly supplanted by the unavoidable excitement that comes with looking at 2000+ feet of dizzying limestone.
Tomorrow begins the real fun, clipping bolts until we can clip no more. But at least we will be able to return to our exceedingly cozy new home at the end of each day...
I am also not sure if there is a finer room with a view anywhere...

The long trip down...

So, we obviously just arrived here in Mexico, finally... after a week and a half or so of driving.  It was a fantastic trip down though!  Got to see a bunch of this beautiful country (complete even with some parts that weren't that beautiful...), a lot of good friends and family, and had a great time doing it all.  Our route was definitely not the most direct route to Mexico, or even close, but it allowed us to see people we really wanted to see.  Our route went like this:

Albany, NY - Left Nyssa's apartment after a long few days of packing, cleaning, and moving out stuff
Utica, NY - Stayed a night with Rich's parents - great Central New York family-style Italian food and fabulous company
Butler, PA - Spent a night with Grandpa Wilson, age 95 and still as alive as ever!  Nyssa finally got to meet him and we showed up just in time to bring him to the dentist to fix a broken tooth!
Athens, OH - Got to walk through Ohio University and Rich got to meet the three people who will probably decide whether he gets the Graduate Assistantship for the program he is applying to for the fall in Recreation Studies.
Pittsburgh, PA - Spent a very fun night with our college friend Andrew and his girlfriend Toi.  Also saw the campus of Carnegie Mellon - as per request of Rev. John Knarvik, class of '72.
Baltimore, MD - Had two fun and relaxing nights with Rich's sister Sarah and her boyfriend Kevin.  Baltimore is always really fun - who doesn't love BYOB establishments, Natty Bo, and the best burger of my life... ( if you ever have the choice to have Maryland crab on a burger, do it!)
Annapolis, MD - Quick stop to have incredible crepes with Julianne!
Raleigh, NC - We spent two night with Nyssa's good friend Kate, who co-lead the trips to Ecuador that Nyssa went on while working for a summer student travel company.  Also Rich got to meet a bunch of people who work in the office for the company.  This stop was originally supposed to only be one night, but the whole South got a big storm, so we just camped out in NC.  Definitely the best place and best company to get stuck with!
Atlanta, GA - Spent a night in the fantastic hospitality of Rich's Uncle Charlie, and Aunt Laurie - we left there extremely well fed and well rested, even with sandwiches and snacks for the drive!  When we left their house it had been 48 hours since the snow had stopped and the roads still had not even been touched!!  This part took longer than originally expected due to the most snow they had gotten in over 20 years.
New Orleans, LA - The only hotel we stayed in during the whole trip - but worth it!  We were right in the French Quarter - surrounded by lots to see and do and even more to eat!  Mmm... jambalaya, gumbo, crayfish po-boys, and French donuts!
Austin, TX - We spent our last night in the states with our college friend Charlie.  Met great people and drank great beer - turns out Texas isn't so bad!

And now, here were are.  Our drive here was longer than expected but uneventful.  The border crossing went really smoothly and so did our visa's and car permit!

Just want to throw in a quick THANK YOU to everyone who fed us, housed us, or in any other way added to the success of our trip - it was awesome to see everyone and thank you all so much for your hospitality!