Party : just me
I’d heard of some caves in the Mitras and decided to try and visit one mentioned to me by I guide when I visited Nido de los Aguiluchos. It was called Cueva de los Cristales, and with some digging I was pretty sure I knew how to get there.
City busses have been chaotic in México for me thus far, and I contemplated simply catching an Uber to the trailhead. But then I found you can search for “ruta” on google maps giving you a rough idea on the route numbers. The website rutadirecta is then useful to see exactly where the route runs, and can be used to link then. I later found out about the application Moovit, which automated the process. I used it on the way back and it worked well. Hopefully I can use this system in other cities in México.
Anyway, I took two busses to get relatively close to the trailhead, each bus was $12. The downside is that it took a couple of hours. For this reason, it was quite late when I started hiking from Vereda Cerro Las Mitras. Before leaving, I had to register with a man at the gate. I think the gate is open from 6 to 6. But it seemed like it didn’t really matter if you where late. I didn’t get it.
It was easy going (the rock more fossiliferous) until you reach a large boulder and flat area that I think is referred to as Cama de Piedra. From there the route steepens and scree is encountered. It’s not too bad as there are trails on the sides you can utilise. Many arrows are painted into the rocks which detracts from the experience.
A trail cuts off to the right along a ledge. I didn’t have time to explore it. Near the top, a rope was dangling down from a cave high on the left. I decided to try climbing up. Several metres off the ground I had a large handhold break off. A little spooked, I moved over to the rope, grabbing it with one hand. Pulling myself up I couldn’t find a hold and ended up with both hands in the rope. It hadn’t been hanging straight and I soon pendulumed across the face, grazing my knuckles. I was hanging several metres off the ground. I tried to walk my way back to the right, but it wasn’t going to happen. I was running out of steam, and without my legs being able to reach the wall, I couldn’t pull myself up. I tried again. Looking around to see if any one was about I almost smiled thinking of the silly situation I’d got myself into. I may have nearly smiled, but it would have been a smile mixed with a touch of fear. Looking down I reaccessed my situation, I knew I’d have to drop, and should do so while I still had energy. Putting myself into a slight swing I timed my release so I’d land on a small earthen platform – rather than the sloping surface an additional metre lower. As I impacted the ground, I let myself collapse and roll. It worked well, and I came out of it uninjured apart from a bloody knuckle, and a bit shaken up. I sat to collect myself. My left pinky was also numb, I’d probably cut off the circulation to it. It continued to tingle like mild frost nip for over a week.
Soon I continued up to the V and continued down the other side. I felt the cool breeze from the entrance before I saw it. Scrambling down I was suprised it see how regular the entrance looked. This looked like a mine! I hoped I was in the right place.
After a bite to eat, I set out to explore. I passed a opening to the right. This is the way into the main cave. But before entering there I explored the mine. The shaft split twice crossing two (3?) fissures. All ways ended quite quickly. I decided to climb down into the fissures. There was actually quite a bit of passage. Climbing down further there some very nice coraloid formations. All in pristine condition. Not many people climb down into the fissures.
The main cave on the other hand was very well trafficed with lots of graffiti and substantial damage to the speleothems. It was hard to find nice places to photograph, and the photos are actually much nicer than the cave. There was often graffiti just outside the frame.
Climbing up into the main room, I was suprised at the girth of some of the stalls. I quickly found the least visited part of the cave. Just after a downclimb there is a large pit in the floor. I planned to drop it, but ended up running out of time. There were rope marks around a natural anchor, so ppl do go down there.
I set about photo pfaffing. I was impressed with the helictites.
I returned to the main room, exploring some of the other passages. Someone had ran a string through much of the passage.
The other nice area was the big room you initially climb up into. I returned to my pack to grab my tripod.
My zebra light went dull very quickly. I wished I had my Scurion with me. My led bar preformed surprisingly well, and I was again happy I’d purchased it.
It was getting late. I was supposed to meet Fernando to buy climbing gear with him. It wasn’t going to happen.
I hurried off a little annoyed about all the rope I’d carried, but not used.
I messaged that I was running late, and we decided to postpone the shopping.
Busses were crazy on the way back. Most were full and wouldn’t stop.