I never thought I would have this problem, too many tufas to choose from. I don't know what route I want to bolt next because the wall is loaded with beautiful tufas and stalactites. My dream has finally come true. I've been waiting to find a wall near Monterrey that is loaded with tufas and stalactites. La Cuava del Oso has surpassed anything I had hoped to find. With the main cave wall overhangs 70 feet and is about 120 long, it is more then I ever dreamed of bolting. This is because I don't think there are too many locations like this in the world, at least not reached in a 30 minute hike from a road.
It all happened with perfect timing. Norma my girlfriend of three and half years and I had just returned from a trip to China and Thailand. The night we returned the newest climbing flick was playing in Monterrey. Rodrigo whom I had climbed with before in El Salto told me about this new cave that they were going to explore that weekend. They had one photo on the internet and it looked amazing. I was psyched, but the Chinese cold I had was taking a hold of me and I had a really bad fever and could barely move the night before the cave exploration. In the morning feeling slightly better Norma and I managed to meet everyone to caravan to the cave.
With not much of a trail and a lingering fever the hike was brutal. The last section to the cave was a full bushwhack with 40 pounds of gear and a fever. We arrived. The main cave area. I was like a kid in a candy store. It's really OK to bolt where ever I want? I picked the biggest looking stalactites and started up the Bosch. The route La Gripa is the finished product. That day I bolted the first half and put an anchor in because it was such a steep fun 11d we thought many people will be happy to be able to climb to there. The rest of the route is around 12c. The trail to the climbs has improved tremendously this month and now is a quick 30 minute hike.
The month of April seems to be disappearing into La Cuava del Oso. We get back from bolting and climbing take a little rest and it's back to Montemorelos where the cave is. Chalo the local store owner surely thinks we are crazy. Every night we come down from the cave to charge our batteries and drink Tecate. The locals think we are crazy for being in the cave without guns for protection from the animals, let alone if they saw the crazy bat hanging style climbing we are doing out the cave.
Right now there are 11 finished bolted routes from 5.10- to 5.12c. A few are still projects and haven't been climbed yet. There are many more routes to bolt and a whole other cave to bolt that has a shorter approach. The problem is too many tufas too little time. The humid climate in Montemorelos and the giant tufas definitely gives the place a Thailand like feel, but Tonsia doesn't have any routes this steep and this long! It's not too humid in the cave either, only in comparison to the surrounding areas. There are lots of trees which shade you on the hike up and the area has more of jungle feel to it then the more arid desert climbing destination of El Potrero two hours away. There is also a river to camp at along the road. The best part to me is it all faces north so you can climb all day anytime in the cave. There is the main cave area then a long steep tufa wall ending down by a camping area with another smaller cave. I hope people come to enjoy this area in the future. There is so much potential here. Thanks to Hans, Rodrigo, and Tomas for discovering the cave, and to Chalo for letting us charge our batteries everyday. I hope our work in the cave sparks peoples stoke and they come and bolt more and more routes. I will be working full time soon guiding in Yosemite and won't be able live in the cave drilling holes. I have posted directions to the cave on my website: www.elpotrerochicoguides.com/cuevadeloso.html