Rock Climbing and Mountaineering

An introduction to rock climbing and mountaineering in Mexico...

There is not a huge climbing scene in Mexico, but there are some very worthwhile crags, many of which have been developed by Americans. El Potrero Chico is the most famous rock climbing area in the country. It is a large limestone cliff near Monterrey in the north of the country with hundreds of sport routes of all grades. It is well-known for its many multi-pitch sport routes up to 23 pitches long. Although the routes are protected by bolts some of them are quite adventurous, with long distances between them.

Climbers based in Mexico City can explore the crags at Los Dinamos and El Cantil as well as Jilotepec, an area of volcanic conglomerate that has seen much recent development. Jilotepec can be reached in around an hour and a half from Mexico City. It was originally a protected area, but there has been much development, and the area is now also home to hundreds of sport routes. The El Chonta cave has some extremely hard routes, and Jilotepec is mainly a venue for intermediate ability and above climbers. The best months for climbing are between October and May.

Mexico’s mountains and volcanoes offer a wealth of mountaineering goals, and there are many guiding companies that can introduce people to the sport. Pico de Orizaba, the highest mountain in Mexico, and Ixtaccihuatl, the third highest peak in the country, are very popular destinations. Both require acclimatization, as they exceed 5,000m in elevation and take several days to ascend. They are the only peaks in Mexico that usually require the use of ice axes and crampons to climb. Most standard routes up the two peaks are easy, but there are more technical options. The best time of year to tackle them is between November and January; February and March can be icy.

Popocatepetl has been closed to climbers since it became active in December 1994. There are many other mountains around the country.

Further Information