La Huasteca (climbing area)

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La Huasteca is the first climbing area in Monterrey, Mexico, only 15 minutes from the city. With nearly 200 bolted routes with grades from 5.8 to 5.13C, it is the favorite place for weekend climbers. It is also known for the slippery type of limestone from which it is comprised, and which makes climbing seem more difficult than at other areas, such as Potrero Chico. There are no entrance fees for most of the climbing areas.

History[edit]

La Huasteca seen from Monterrey, on the background, behind the Puente Atirantado

In 1954 Federico, also known as "Lico", climbed the first summit of La Huasteca. Today that summit is known as "Pico Licos" in his honour. Pico Licos is nearly 70 metres high.

In 1957 the most famous peak in La Husteca was conquered by a group called Pirineos.

In 1960 the West Face was first climbed: Alberto Perez from Pirineos climbed almost all the route except the last 60 metres, then a couple of friends threw him a rope from above to complete the climb. The first person to climb the West Face without any assistance was Juan de Dios De Leon Camero. Others followed, conquering more summits and bolting some routes.

It the late 1980s and 1990s, sport climbing began with Francisco Medina and Andres Medina, two brothers and students of Juan de Dios climbing school. They bolted and climbed the hardest routes in La Huasteca, Veneno and El Sueño que de Niño, both 5.13C.

In the 2000s climbing became more popular, when the Universidad de Monterrey and the ITESM, two well-recognized universities, started giving climbing courses at La Huasteca.

By 2010 UDEM suspend the climbing courses because of Mexico's recession and the increase in violence in the city during the ongoing "War on Drugs"

During Hurricane Alex, La Huasteca was severely impacted, damaging several routes and also lowering the level of the ground by down to 1 meter, making the beginning of some routes unclimbable.

Climate[edit]

La Huasteca is a desert, very similar to Potrero Chico.

Environmental issues[edit]

Since the 1990s, La Huasteca has become a popular weekend destination for families. People number in the hundreds every day, and more in the rare occasions when the river is swollen from heavy rains. Because of the large number of visitors, La Huasteca is suffering from a greater amount of litter.

During 2004 the government tried to solve this problem by charging families 10 pesos to enter some parts of the park, while leaving the climbing areas free to enter. This has not been successful, as families simply stopped entering the paid-access areas and instead went to the free climbing areas, especially "Navajas" and "Cazuelas".

From late 2004 to late 2005 a new campaign called "Limpiemos la Huasteca" was conducted, with the objective of cleaning all the garbage from La Huasteca. Private and public schools, members of the climbing community, members of the cycling community, and anyone else wanting to help were encouraged to clean up this area. To aid in the removal of garbage, the government supplied trucks to transport waste.

Although La Huasteca was improved, much work remained to be done, as the waste was being generated faster than it was being removed.

All visitors to la Huasteca are encouraged to bring a bag and remove some waste.

Recent deaths[edit]

In recent years la Huasteca has seen an increase in accidents involving climbers and campers. Local authorities had associated this with the opening of a Via Ferrata route; this controversial route was built over an old classic route El Infierno y las Espinas, rendering the old route useless as most of the new people climbing the route use the Ferrata and don't have the necessary climbing experience.

This route has seen the death of at least one person acting as a guide when he did not have the credentials required, and the rescue of another overweight excursionist who couldn't continue and got stuck in the middle of a Tyrolean traverse of 100 metres.

Additionally, the mysterious death of two climbers occurred when they fell while rappelling from a multi-pitch route. A non-climbing-related death of a camper occurred by gunfire during a robbery attempt, and another person drowned in the river under the influence of alcohol.

The climbing community is planning to address the recent deaths by reviewing the credentials of those who act as climbing guides and teachers.

See also[edit]

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 25°36′53.74″N 100°27′48.70″W / 25.6149278°N 100.4635278°W / 25.6149278; -100.4635278