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EL POTRERO CHICO | SOLD OUT FOR 2023 | ALL GENDERS WELCOME
“El que busca encuentra - he who searches, finds.”
Unlike almost any other climbing destination on the continent, El Potrero Chico is truly a playground for climbers. Home of the mini-big-wall sport climb, the limestone walls of Potrero have attracted climbers looking for a warm winter escape for decades. Stacked with miles of climbable stone in one of the most picturesque settings you’ll ever see, Potrero is a dream, and not only for the climbing. Amazing food, vibrant culture, easy access and pure fun are what Potrero’s all about. But don’t get the wrong idea - the climbing is amazing. Where else can you walk twenty minutes to a twenty pitch route with only a rack of quickdraws and still get back in time for a fresh margarita and some of the best tacos on the planet?
Long routes, short routes, easy routes, hard routes - whatever you’re after, Potrero’s got it.
With some of the most fun and accessible stone around, El Potrero Chico is an international destination for climbers of all abilities. It is uniquely popular, however, due to its unmatched concentration of moderate single and multi-pitch sport climbs. Whether you climb 5.4 or 5.14, Potrero has something for you, but for the 5.6 to 5.10 climber it’s truly paradise.
Famous for its technical faces on sculpted grey limestone, the style of climbing is generally more delicate than powerful, and doesn’t demand that climbers be pull-up machines. But don’t worry - if steep is what you’re after there also plenty of caves and tufas as well.
What’s more, most of the approaches are short, and don’t involve any driving at all as we can simply walk into the canyon from our hotel.
Each day we’ll head out in small groups, with two climbers and a guide for multi-pitches, and up to five climbers for single-pitch outings. We’ll make sure everyone gets to climb a mix of single and multi-pitch days, and we’ll ensure you’re paired with climbers that match your ability so you don’t have to worry about being held back or pushed too far.
Like all of our climbing vacations, this trip is a perfect opportunity to come alone or with a friend or partner, and to learn new skills, push your limits, work on your lead or multi-pitch game, or just enjoy the ride.
If you’ve never visited Mexico before, this is a perfect introduction. For those who have spent some time down south already, you’ll probably already agree that Mexico is pretty great. It’s hard to explain exactly, but the combination of a rich cultural history, deep traditions and relaxed, friendly people always keep us coming back.
Either way, we think you’ll enjoy your time at La Posada, our home for the week. The property comes complete with gorgeous grounds, breathtaking views, an outdoor pool, and a bar and restaurant. It is worth noting that La Posada is not a luxury resort. The rooms are basic, the water is usually hot but sometimes it's not, the wifi works most of the time, and the services can be a little hit or miss.
Your lodging options include private rooms with one or two beds and private bathrooms, as well as super-stylish “glamping” tents complete with electricity, beds, linens and furnishings. The glamping tents share a bathroom with other guests staying at La Posada and are not ideal for light sleepers as there is no sound proofing.
El Potrero Chico is located in the state of Nuevo León, and close to Monterrey, the largest city in northern Mexico. All you’ll need to do is get to Monterrey International Airport, which is modern, busy, and easy to reach. La Posada's transfer service will pick you up there, and you’ll quickly leave the city’s bustle behind with a forty minute drive to El Potrero Chico.
El Potrero Chico is located just outside the small town of Hidalgo, and is quiet, gorgeous, and a world away from any security issues that may concern travelers in other parts of the country.
We do, however, ask that all trip participants be vaccinated against Covid-19 by the time the trip begins.
The weather in January can be a lot of things. That includes hot, cold, sunny, rainy, and windy. January is widely considered prime climbing season in El Potrero Chico, but you should definitely come prepared knowing that it might not be quite the beach vacation you're picturing. Of course there are no beaches, but yeah - it can be a little moody. On our 2022 retreats we definitely had all of the conditions mentioned above. Sometimes they even came one right after the other, with a day of 85°F and sunny followed by sprinkling the next morning. We definitely had plenty of nice warm climbing days and soaked up plenty of sunshine, but we also did some belaying in puffy coats as well. The weather never stopped us from climbing, but we want you to know what you're getting into, and to not be surprised when it's not bikini weather every day.
El Potrero Local / Guía de Escalada / All-Around Badass
A Monterrey native and our local ambassador, Karla is the expert on all things Potrero Chico. In addition to climbing and guiding extensively in Potrero and throughout the region, Karla also donates her time to replacing rusty bolts and hardware, and being a member of the local search and rescue team.
AMGA Single Pitch Instructor / Professional Rock Climber
Maiza grew up in the Brazilian Amazon before coming to the US as a teenager, and since finding climbing she’s charged quickly through the grades and onto the cover of Climbing Magazine. When she’s not busy crushing routes, she’s often hard at work developing new ones near her home in Montana.
AMGA Single Pitch Instructor / Apprentice Rock Guide
In only six short years of climbing, Lizzy has managed to amass an impressive resume. In addition to being the founder and owner of She Moves Mountains, America’s leader in climbing instruction for women, she’s also found time to make the first ascent of the hardest trad route put up by
AMGA Single Pitch Instructor / Apprentice Rock Guide
In only six short years of climbing, Lizzy has managed to amass an impressive resume. In addition to being the founder and owner of She Moves Mountains, America’s leader in climbing instruction for women, she’s also found time to make the first ascent of the hardest trad route put up by a woman in Oregon, a fearsome 5.13. When she’s not climbing cracks or helping others achieve their dreams, she’s likely dreaming of souvlaki.
IFMGA/AMGA Mountain Guide / AMGA Certified Rock Guide
Chris has climbed, guided, skied and eaten his way across the globe. Winner of the 2020 Piolet d’Or for the first ascent of 7041m Link Sar in Pakistan, he is always hunting for the perfect rock climbing vacation to provide sun and fun to offset cold nights in snowy mountains. Learn more about Chris at his website.
You get yourself to Monterrey and La Posada's transfer service will meet you there. A short drive will get you to La Posada, located at the mouth of the Potrero canyon and walking distance to all of the climbing, as well as the lovely little town of Hidalgo. You’ll be on your own to settle in, enjoy the scenery, have some dinner, and get some sleep.
We’ll start the day with breakfast at La Posada before we head for a short walk into the canyon to climb. We’ll begin by tuning up (or introducing) some skills for multi-pitch climbing, and will spend the rest of the day on the rock before enjoying a special parrillada, or local barbecue, for dinner.
We’ll start the day right with another breakfast before we head out to climb. We’ll split into small groups, with some teams heading to single-pitch climbs and some to enjoy multi-pitch adventures. Depending on our timing, we may also be able to visit the colorful Tuesday market in Hidalgo. No matter what the day holds, we’re sure you’re going to be ready for another cerveza and a delicious dinner.
Climbing for five days in a row can be pretty harsh, so like it or not, you’re probably going to need a day off. Don’t worry though - guides will be ready if you want to keep climbing (don’t say we didn’t warn you). There are tons of opportunities to explore. We highly recommend booking a shuttle to the nearby hotsprings, or if you'd like a little solo time you can hike one of the nearby peaks, or just take some downtime by the pool. You'll be on your own for dinner, you can eat at our hotel La Posada or venture into Hidalgo to explore some of the local cuisine (we have recommendations for you!).
Feeling refreshed from a day off, we’ll once again head out to climb. For folks interested in working on their skills, you’ll have all the time you need to learn and practice with our IFMGA and AMGA trained and certified guides. You'll be on your own for dinner again.
We’ll once again start with breakfast, and this will be our last climbing day of the trip. We’ll have another opportunity to visit the market in Hidalgo, and since it will also be our last night at La Posada, we’ll make it a special one with a celebratory farewell dinner of another grand parrillada Norteña.
Unfortunately all good things must come to an end, and you’ll have to go home. We’ll get you to the airport in Monterrey, and from there you’ll be on your way.
January 15th-21st, 2023
January 22nd-28th, 2023
WE REQUIRE THAT ALL OF OUR PARTICIPANTS BE FULLY VACCINATED BY THE START DATE OF THE RETREAT.
Cost: $2,850.00 to $3,250.00 depending on room selection (photos below)
PAYMENT PLANS AVAIALBLE, SCROLL TO OUR FAQ TO LEARN MORE
One day of multi-pitch guiding is included in the retreat at a 2:1 ratio. If you would like to book at additional day of multi-pitch climbing, you can do so at the following rates:
This must be booked in advance because we may have to add more guides to accommodate multi-pitch requests.
WHAT'S NOT INCLUDED:
ROOMS BY COST:
Want to share a room with a friend? As long as there are two spots available for the same room type, simply book "bed in shared room" and put your friend's name in the "special instructions" section at checkout. Or, if you're fine sharing a bed you can book a private room and add an additional person to your room.
The majority of climbers come to our retreats alone - somewhere around 90%. If you are hesitating to join because you would be coming solo, please know that we expect a majority of our participants to be joining by themselves.
We generally have a wide range of ages at our retreats. The average tends to fall between the ages of 28 to 45. But we have had quite a few climbers in their 60's join as well. It really is up to the attitude and physical ability of the participant.
You do not need to be an experienced climber to attend but we recommend some climbing experience before signing up. We recommend that everyone attending is able to top rope a 5.9 in a climbing gym without taking or falling. We are aware that climbing 5.9 in a climbing gym is much different than climbing a 5.9 outside, but having the ability to climb 5.9 in a climbing gym will set you up to have a great time in Mexico. Even if you're not quite there, with multiple groups, we can really accommodate a wide range of abilities.
Yes, we have two types of payment plans available.
Payment Plan 1 (Two Payments): This plan requires a 50% deposit, of which 10% of the total cost of the trip is non-refundable. Apply the discount code "retreatdeposit" at checkout. Full payment will be required October 15th.
Payment Plan 2 (Monthly Payments):
This option is only available if the retreat is 5 or more months away. This plan requires a 10% deposit, of which 10% of the total cost of the trip is non-refundable. Apply the discount code "paymentplan" at checkout to take advantage of this option. We will split the remaining payment into subsequent monthly payments. Full payment will be required November 15th. We charge $50 to utilize this option as it requires much more work for our team to manage.
We have a very strict cancellation policy. Please review it before committing to this retreat. We HIGHLY recommend purchasing trip protection as we will not modify our cancellation policy under any circumstances.
Unfamiliar with trip protection? Here is a great article by Forbes that summarizes the most comprehensive trip protection.
If the trip fills, we'll have 20-22 climbers and 5 guides. Our daily groups will consist of 4-5 climbers per guide, letting us have our ropes on 2-3 routes at a time. Our multi-pitch groups will be 2 climbers per guide. Our trips are also mostly women. Men are perfectly welcome, but they tend to be outnumbered.
The food we'll be eating is, for the most part, traditional Mexican food. Since we will not be cooking meals for the group, so we only have as much control over what goes into your food as you would going to any restaurant. That said, we've had participants with gluten-free and vegan diets on this trip before and they did just fine. Gluten-free bread and other options are provided at breakfast and lunch, and are usually available at dinner.
Probably. Lead climbing is certainly not a requirement for anybody on the trip, but we're happy to let you lead as long as you have prior experience as a leader and can pass a belay test similar to those found in most gyms (minus the falling). Our main goal is to keep everyone safe, so on our first day out together we’ll just want to see that everyone is able to manage the rope, communicate, lead and belay safely before being cleared to do it throughout the week. If you don’t plan on leading, we’ll just want to go through a quick belay test to make sure you’re good to go belaying those who are. For those aspiring to lead, we will try our best to coach you through the process throughout the week with the aim of you learning to do so safely.