Wednesday, April 13, 2011

03_17 to 03_28_2011 El Potrero Chico, Mexico for some climbing!

Late late late. Yes, late in getting this up. Work has been time-consuming - which is the norm, no? WARNING: Random Photo Order to follow.

We headed to the Potrero from March 17 to the 28th. Spring Break! It was my third trip there (the first in 1998ish) and Dave's fifth. I just thought I'd share some photos and a little tale of the trip. The *place* is cool - huge limestone routes, some sportily bolted, some overly-bolted and some trad. For the most part, all the climbs are great fun.

We were, for the first time, apprehensive about making this trip. Violence in Mexico, and most recently Monterrey has been terrible. Lots of homicide. Lots of mutilation, assaults, robberies. Not the things Spring Break are supposed to be made of. Reading official reports, talking with some of my contacts, etc. had us thinking hard until days before our departure. Clearly we ultimately decided to go, but we used only the toll road, and I crazily put temporary brunette hair color in so as not to draw attention to us.

My blond hair has always drawn a lot of attention there - attention we didn't want. It is supposed to wash out in 28 washes...I'm still waiting... (Yeah, today is April 13th, and I'm STILL waiting. Hair appt. to get this shite out of my hair is in one week. Can't wait.).

One of the best thing about going to Potrero is the other climbers from around the world (though there were FAR fewer than years gone by - - maybe about 20 only in the Posada area). You’ll meet folks from Squamish, Montreal, New Hampshire, France, England, etc.

For the first time ever in Mexico, Dave and I got and dealt with the dreaded Mexican Intestinal Crud. Ugh. I got it first. I've named him Geraldo. Geraldo hung around in my life but finally saw fit to leave me about a week ago. A pesty little thing. :)

Overall, we had fun climbing. In the end though, we won't be returning to this area. Or things will have to change A LOT before we do. It took us both a couple of weeks to recover from the worst sleep deprivation of our lives. No exaggeration on that either.

Why? Well, A shorty version - the violence in Monterrey is not good (to put it mildly). Locals in Hidalgo avoid Monterrey - period. It is easy to get from the airport to the Potrero via the toll road. However, there is lots of military and police and HUGE guns in and around Hidalgo. In fact, many military/police(50+) were camped out IN the swimming pool complex. Sort of like spending your spring break in an army encampment! :)

We didn't encounter any violence from the bad guys though the presence of the police and the military were very intimidating. I wanted so to take a photo, but it was clear that was NOT a good idea. So, if the violence was not the problem, why not return? We won't go back primarily because Posada sucked terribly (sorry to say). The new pool is awesome BUT it is so awesome that it draws in 100+ locals Friday to Monday. Locals who do not climb. And locals who do not need sleep it appears. I don't mind locals at all.

But I do hate their unleashed peeing crapping non-stop humping barking dogs (in the kitchen, in the restaurant, in the bathroom, on your tent, on your pack, etc.), VERY loud music from multiple sources (and of course multiple types of music) to 3am (requests to turn it down are met with a hardy f*#k you), screaming drunks to 3am, trash everywhere. Ugh.

(Sorry for the profanity and foulness, but it really was that bad). This part of the trip sucked beyond imagination. And it is because of this part of the trip that we won't return to the Posada - ever.

Oh well, it was hot. We got a tan. We climbed. Life is good in the end.

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Wednesday, April 6, 2011

03_02_2011 SoCal adventure part II

Dave here... So, we're a little behind on entries, but here is part II of the SoCal long weekend adventure... After a few days hanging around Palos Verdes chasing birds and sunsets, Kenny, Deb and I headed out for some lobstering in the nearby bay off San Pedro Friday night.

The scheme is pretty simple; head out just before sunset, load your lobster traps with some nice smelly salmon remnants, drop the traps, wait until maybe 30-60 minutes after sunset, pull up nets and retrieve dinner! Since I don't have an official fishing/lobstering license, I could not "participate" legally, so I just drank a couple of beers and watched the experts at work.

I had never gone lobstering before, so it was pretty novel. Ken & Deb go fairly frequently and usually manage to catch quite a few "bugs" as they call them. Note the non-wilderness setting just off the shipping jetty - apparently the lobsters really like hanging out around the underwater boulders that make up the jetty... A good time was had by all and 5 full sized lobsters were brought home for a tasty dinner :-)

The next morning Kenny and I got up early and headed East to Joshua Tree National Monument for 2 days of climbing. I was very excited to get out there as it was going to be my first time climbing since my arm injury in late September! The weather looked great and Kenny was also psyched to get out climbing. We arrived to find Joshua Tree pretty quiet with not many climbers around really nice weather. We climbed about 12 classic routes around the Hidden Valley area.

My arm did pretty well and we had a great time. We enjoyed the classic sunset ritual of a cold beer in the "Space Station" at the end of the first day. After the second day, it was time to head back to LA, pack up and fly home. Back to work... Thanks to Kenny & Deb for hosting me and showing me the ways of the lobster boat :-)

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