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Italian Route Hints at Potential around Monterrey

The south face of Tatewari, La Huasteca Natural Park, outside Monterrey, Mexico. Italians Alessandro Bau and Matteo Della Bordella established Fiducia al sentiero (7b+ [5.12c] 7a obl. [5.11d], 10 pitches, 500m), shown in red, with a redpoint on January 2. It is only the third recorded route on the massive face. [Photo] Bau-Della Bordella collection

Over the holidays, Italian climbers Alessandro Bau and Matteo Della Bordella established a new route on the south face of Tatewari in La Huasteca park, just outside Monterrey, Mexico. Fiducia al sentiero (7b+ [5.12c] 7a obl. [5.11d], 10 pitches, 500m) is a direttissima that connects a series of limestone features, mostly on gear and often runout. It does not push the upper limits of rock climbing in Mexico, but it does represent something more: potential for adventurous new-routing remains alive just outside the city of Monterrey.

Tatewari is a high-quality, compact limestone wall half a mile wide in a park only 30 minutes west of Monterrey by car. Yet the Italian line is only the wall’s third recorded route.

“It’s incredible how the landscape changes in few kilometers,” Bau said. “In one side the crowded city in the other only nature, cliffs and cactus… it has not been developed yet because there are no accommodations, the trail is not clean and easy… and you know a lot of people like comfort!” He added that “it seems strange that most Mexican climbers did not know La Huasteca.”

The Italians spent three days in late December establishing the route, climbing on clean gear when possible (six of 10 pitches) and placing bolts (17 excluding belays) when necessary. After spending some time at El Potrero Chico, Bau and Della Bordella returned to Tatewari to redpoint their new route on January 2.

Bau said climbers can camp at the end of the road near Tatewari, where the approach trail begins. Though the path can be difficult to follow at times, walking in takes about 90 minutes. Numerous lines that require minimal bolts are yet unclimbed, Bau said, and “there are a lot of smooth faces where the climb will be technical and difficult.”

The Italians later traveled an hour and a half south to the canyon of El Salto, which houses the sport crag Las Animas: “beautiful, 250m wide and 100m high, 15-degrees overhanging, with truly impressive tufas of all shapes and sizes jutting out all over the place.” The area has routes that range from 5.11b to 5.14a, Bau said, with the potential for many more at the harder end.

Sources: Alessandro Bau, Matteo Della Bordella,