My climbing started in Red River Gorge, Kentucky, where I pulled on the overhanging sandstone jugs that can make anyone’s arms fall off. Several years in the Red allowed climbing to sink its sharp teeth into my life. Dirtbaggin followed soon thereafter. Combine that with my love of traveling and you’ve got a recipe for some serious climbing trips. Even though the climbing in Red River Gorge can seem endless, I was ready to find some new amazing places to climb. After visiting a few places overseas, I finally found the walls of El Potrero Chico. The nature of the climbing couldn’t be more different than my years climbing in Red River Gorge. And maybe that’s exactly why I love it. The sharp contrast allows me to love the incredible vertical face climbing as much as the overhanging jug halls from back home.
From the first moment that I rode into the small town of Hidalgo, I knew there was something special about El Potrero Chico. During the taxi ride from the airport, Magic Ed told me all about the routes that I needed to climb and how he had been there for many years bolting lines and taking care of the climbers over the years. He dropped me off at the campground area just below the foot of the towering walls of Potrero and handed me a orange paper book that was my new guidebook for the climbing areas. Loud mariachi music was playing, a few locals were grilling just outside of the community kitchen at La Posada, drinking Tecate and tequila. I immediately knew that I was going to be spending a lot more time here than originally imagined.
Fast forward a couple years and here I am putting out this guidebook for all the climbers that continue to pour into Potrero Chico looking to climb the towering walls that inspired me to spend so much time here. The guidebook writing that I started more or less spawned out of the fact that most of the information available was out of date. Magic Ed did an amazing job over the years collecting all the newer route information but I knew something more could be added. I talked with Ed and told him I would collaborate with him to help write a new book, just in order to get together a finished product, and then he could get it printed himself. Unfortunately during my first full season of climbing in EPC, Ed’s health deteriorated, and towards the end of the season he became more attracted to the idea that I was working on something new.
The following summer, it was with deep sorrow that I and many people in the climbing world read that Magic Ed had passed away. With only the help he had given me, I found myself alone in trying to make this project happen. It wasn’t long though, and I had plenty of friends willing to help me continue on my project.
I’ve spent three seasons now climbing in the area, enjoying all the fantastic climbs put up by some really great developers. Although my knowledge of the area is still young, I’ve climbed over half the routes here. I hope that I have been able to create a great new guidebook that will really help those that are coming here for a climbing trip. My goal for the new guidebook is simply to get good information to people, as the climbing community of EPC is really beginning to grow again after more than a few years of low traffic to the area. Although the development is currently pretty slow, there is plenty of amazing rock here still waiting to be developed. Hopefully in the future as I continue to update through this format of the guidebook there will be gorgeous photos of all the routes.
So, get down here and enjoy the amazing big walls of Potrero Chico where you can climb for over a 1000 feet on bolts–one of the few places like that in the whole world. With over 600 climbs in the area, you’ll easily be able to find routes that you’ll come to love. Come enjoy this rad place that I’ve come to know as my second home.