Cecilia Buil on the portaledge mid-way up Tehue, El Gigante
UKC News, Nov 2013
© Tiny Almada
Cecilia Buil and Tiny Almada have just established a new route on El Gigante in Mexico. The pair called the route Tehué, it is 700m long and graded VI, 7a/A3. This is Cecilia's third ascent of El Gigante, having made the First Ascent of the wall 15 years ago with Simuchi, and Yawira Batu the year after.
The initial plan was to go ice climbing in Chile, but my partner, Marta, had a serious injury just 4 days before the flight while climbing a sport route. We had to cancel our travels and suddenly I found myself looking for something to do with my time and motivation. Finally I decided to go to El Gigante in Chihuahua, Mexico, because it is an adventurous wall that you can organize quickly, as the logistics are relatively simple. I was lucky enough to climb the first route there, Simuchi, 15 years ago,
My partner for both previous climbs couldn’t come, but he put me in contact with Tiny Almada, a strong local climber from Chihuahua, who was really motivated to climb the wall that he had been staring at since he was a child. So I went to Chihuahua and started to organize climbing with Tiny and Oscar Cisneros, who was going to help us with logistics and carrying some equipment to the base.
We went down with Oscar and two locals who helped us by carrying equipment to the base of the wall, looking for a better place to get down to the Canyon and establishing a base camp for the first days. Tiny arrived some days after (He had to work that week) and immediately we headed down to the Canyon to start climbing. We stayed in the canyon for 4 days, fixing three pitches, before setting off on the wall.
We took food and water for 12 days. After 5 days a storm came and we had to stay 3 days in the portaledge and could not climb anything. The river was enormous and the waterfall of Piedra Volada became spectacular. We were worried, but at the same time it was beautiful to feel the strength of nature and see the transformation of the canyon into a place of another era. When the storm finished, we started climbing again and found the best pitches of the route. We topped out after 11 days and 15 hours after leaving our Cabins in Basaseachi.
El Gigante, Mexico
UKC News, Nov 2013
© Cecilia Buil
The route goes up the left of the wall and shares 7 pitches with another recently climbed route, and another with the second route I opened there, Yawira Batu. The bottom part was dirty and had some loose rock, which is why we climbed slow and could not free many pitches, though they are not difficult. We threw away the most dangerous loose blocks, but they still need to be cleaned. We expect to do it in another trip. The upper part is beautiful, with clean, good quality rock.