Puente de Dios Rock Climbing Guide

June 4, 2008

 

By Alex Catlin

Images by Merrick Ales

The Puente de Dios is a natural limestone arch in southern Nuevo Leon near the city of Galeana. The road actually passes over the arch, allowing for a five minute approach. Located at an elevation of 5500ft. with a constant breeze and literally no sun, the area is ideal from March until November. For the winter bring a big jacket! The place is so overhanging that rain will not bother you, if you even notice it. There are climbs from 5.10 to 5.13, but they are all steep. The rock is generally good, but there are some soft sections. Given that the routes are all new, watch out (a helmet would not be a bad idea)!

 

Directions: First get to Galeana. From Laredo (or Potrero) take the highway to Monterrey. On the outskirts of Monterrey take the loop road (Arco Vial or the Periferico) west to Saltillo (Hwy 40). Just before hitting Saltillo take Hwy 57 south towards Matehuala. After about two hours take the exit marked “Galeana & Linares,” which loops back over the highway and heads east through Tokio. After about 20 minutes turn left into Galeana.

Alternatively, from Monterrey you can take the national down to Linares and turn right towards Iturbide and Galeana. After an hour of beautiful twisty road you arrive at the Galeana turnoff on your right.

In either case, head north out of Galeana on the road to Rayones (there are some Puente de Dios signs). After about 15 or 20 minutes turn right up a hill on a cement ramp (going straight takes you to a small village). You will get to the Puente in about 3 minutes. Look for a large parking area on the left and a sign on a telephone pole because although the road drives over it, you cannot see the bridge from the road.

 

If you go too far you will cross to the other side of the canyon and begin to see big cliffs on your right with a waterfall. If you get to a man-made bridge, you are about 500 meters too far.

There is a large parking/camping spot before the Puente on the left. This whole area sees a lot of foot traffic, so I do not advise leaving things out. That said, nothing has been stolen so far…The cute stone houses across the road are private and should be respected.

 

Straight below the parking area is a trail that winds down some slabs to the river and most of the bouldering. The main climbing areas are reached by this same trail, but turn off right on a flat trail that stays above the river cliffs.

On the other side of the Puente and down the road maybe 100 meters is a concrete staircase that leads (287 steps) down to the river. This is ideal for the Stonecrop wall and visiting the waterfall. For pure swimming this is probably the best as well.

 

Galeana, Nuevo Leon

Supplies: All supplies are in Galeana, as well as hotels and restaurants. You will not find good chain, bits, or bolts. The main square has a pretty church, two clean hotels (280 pesos/double), a Benevides drugstore, a taco truck, a roast chicken store, and an occasional market. Down the street to the right of the Benevides is an excellent restaurant, La Casona del General. Down the street to the left of Benevides is a basic grocery store. There are two bakeries within a block of the square. If you go straight south down the road that makes the eastern side of the square you reach a good palapa restaurant. Needless to say, there are depositos for beer on every corner.

Hospitals: Although Galeana has a hospital on the south side of town (you will see it on the way in), you would be better off in Monterrey or the US. The police station is on the main square near the church. They can help organize a rescue.

 

Climbs: All are equipped with 1/2” X 3 3/4″ Powers 5 piece expansion bolts– nothing else will do!

The bolt count does not include the anchors. If you want to equip a route, please use quality gear and send the info to feralcatlin@hotmail.com.

 

Warning: watch out for tourist below you in the river! Do not clean routes on weekend and make sure you have somebody in the river to direct traffic and communicate. The city of Galeana has been very helpful and enthusiastic. Let’s live up to their expectations and show that their trust is well placed.

 

 

Luche Libre Wall

This is the first wall you reach when you come down from the parking. Routes listed from right to left.

* Bitter Bentley 5.10 8 bolts

FA: Joe Hensel 7/08

Far right line of bolts.

1. Catholic School Girl 5.10d 6 bolts

FA: Joe Hensel and Rick Rivera 6/8

Start left of Sunday School. Pull roof to interesting face above.

2. Sunday School 5.10c 6 bolts 6/8

FA: Rick Rivera and Joe Hensel

Start right of Machete. Move up through cryptic face climbing. A must do.

3. Machete de Don Averisto bolts 5.10b

FA: Connie Catlin 3/7

Start on a grey buttress to the right of a cave. Technical moves lead to steeper climbing above.

Connie bolting Machete de Don Averisto

 

4. El Pulgar Negro bolts 5.10b

FA: Alex Catlin 2/7

Bouldery start on the right edge of the small cave followed by two overhangs above. Shares anchors with El Machete.

 

5. Santo bolts 5.10c

FA: Alex and Connie Catlin 1/7

Start up a dihedral to the left of the small cave. Tug through the roof onto delicate rock. The first route at the Puente!

6. Blue Demon bolts 5.11b

FA: Alex Catlin 2/7

Start up a technical textured face and then move up and left through the crux. The climbing on the upper delicate rock is harder than it looks.

* Blue Angel 5.11c

FA: Ann Raber

Start Angel Obscuro end at Blue Demon. Ann “accidentally” authored this variation. Way to go Ann!

7. Angel Obscuro bolts 5.12a

FA: Alex Catlin 2/7

Scramble up a short dihedral and step left below a roof to the first bolt. Pull the roof and then climb up a left to the top of the cliff. The only water streak on the wall runs down this route, making it often dirty up high.

 

8. Super Fly bolts 5.12c

Bolted by Ralph Vega

FA: Alex Catlin 2/07

The bottom roof moves are bouldery and high dependant. Some locking biners on the second draw won’t hurt. Once you get the smiley, climb the face and work right past the second roof. This one ends about two-thirds of the way up the cliff.

 

9. Grindhouse Double Feature 9 bolts 5.12b

Bolted by Ralph Vega, Alex Catlin, and John Gonzales

FA: Alex Catlin 3/07

Start on large boulder. Move up a technical face to the large roof. Pull this and finish carefully up two more bolts. Ends low because of loose rock above.

John Gonzales on Grindhouse

 

10. La Mala Vida bolts 5.12a

Bolted by Ralph Vega 3/08

FFA: Alex Catlin 3/08

Starts off the boulder and follows the leaning crack left and then up through pumpy roofs.

 

 

11. Jason’s Route 5.12c

FA: Jason

The final route before the rotten cave half way up the cliff.

Downtime Boulder V1

FA: Mikey Reyna

Start sitting with undercut feet. Left hand on edge right hand on good sloper. Pull up into huge undercling in the middle of the boulder and top out. Many variations exist.

 

 

Archangel Wall

The huge west facing wall that rises above the arch to the left of the Luche Libre wall. Routes listed from right to left.

 

1. Arch Enemigo 14 bolts 5.12d

FA: Rick Rivera 7/07

The rightmost route on the huge Archangel Wall. Start up a slab and work to a zigzag crack. Then follow pockets and horizontals to the anchors. Pumpy and physical. Wear long pants to maximize rests.

A huge 30m rope swing can be rigged from the anchors of Arch Enemigo.

Rope Swing!

 

2. Bad Burrito bolts 5.11b

FA: Alex Catlin 3/08

Start on the cobble wall below the slabs. Three bolts take you to the slabs and then pull on to the orange pillar that is much steeper than it seems.

3. The Promiseland 5.12c

FA: Alex Catlin 7/08

Start on bolts for Bad Burrito but head left at large ledge. Overhanging endurance climb on stellar rock. Big moves and big air on this Puente de Dios classic. A must do.

 

The Underworld South
Walk along a ledge (made by Don Averisto) to access the large cave under the arch. The routes are listed from right to left. Second warning: anything that falls off these routes will end up in the river. Please have somebody at river level warning the tourists!

1.The Devil’s Backbone bolts

Bolted by Ralph Vega and Rick Rivera

Once you enter the Underworld, double back on a scary ledge using three bolts to gain an upper ledge and some belay bolts. Climb a fin between the cave and the Archangel wall.

2. Archbishop open project 10 bolts

Bolted by: Joe Hensel and Rick Rivera

Start standing on a rock, clip, grab cobbles and go. Severely overhanging endurance route. End at Archbishop’s Hat shaped hueco.

3. Pull and Pray 10 bolts 5.13a

Bolted by Ralph Vega and Rick Rivera

FA: Rick Rivera 3/8

Starts immediately right of Genuflex. Start on spoogy rock to excellent horizontal jug pulling. Continuous hard moves up into the huge hole. Sustained.

4. Genuflex project

Bolted by: Rick Rivera 6/8

5. Church of Satan 12 bolts 5.12d

Bolted by Ralph Vega and Rick Rivera

FA: Rick Rivera

The second route off the lower ledge. Start a bit left of the bolts and climb out very steep rock. Long moves on big jugs. Exposed. Throw the climber a rope to avoid lowering all the way to the river.

Cody Cox on Church of Satan

Merrick Ales dialing an early crux on Church
6. Pinky in the Brain

FA: project

 

7. Blood Baptism 5 bolts 5.13?
FA: project
Start at the farthest point you can walk to under the arch. Climb straight up.
8. The Hanging Judge 10 bolts 5.13a/b?
FA: Alex’s project
Start at the further point you can walk to under the arch. Climb straight out left through a large horizontal pod before turn up out the arch. The climber disappears from sight up the other side. Lower across the river
The Waterfall Wall
As yet no routes, but there is a repel anchor from the Extreme Games. You need about 50 meters to make it down both waterfalls. There is a deep shady swimming hole at the base of the big fall. Down climbing the second fall is NOT recommended without shoes.

 

The Stonecrop Wall
The base of this wall is covered with a species of sedums called stonecrop. Please try your best to leave them intact! Routes listed from left to right. The red wasps’ nests on this wall are only a problem in the summer…Third warning: the area below this wall is very popular with tourists. Please be careful!
1. Stonecrop bolts 5.11b/c
FA: Paul Irby and Alex Catlin 2/07
Start on a slab that leads to increasingly step rock and bigger holds. Way cool. Wasps?

 

 

Feral Catlin 2008

Images by Merrick Ales


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