Comments: Party : Emmanuel Sosa, Gerardo Lira and Felix Ossig-Bonanno
One way or another I was returning to the mountains. I was hoping to do another trip with Emmanuel and had been pestering him for a couple of weeks, but there always seemed to be something preventing it from happening. Resigning to the fact I’d again be catching busses to canyon alone, I was suprised when last minute Emmanuel recruited Gerardo to join us. Gerardo hadn’t abseiled before which was exciting as it’s always fun taking new people out. From the start, Emmanuel had been against anything wet and I decided to take them to Laberinto and El Salto. Despite just coming from these routes, it seemed a good choice to take someone who I hadn’t meet. It would also give me a chance to rig the tirolesa better.
I was picked up early the next morning. Gerardo stopped briefly at a S*Mart to let me get supplies and soon we were parked at the familiar bend in the road. Instead of following the drainage (like last time), we did the optional pitch. Emmanuel went first to belay, and I did my best to instruct in Spanglish. Luckily, Gerardo’s English seemed better than my Spanish.
Everything went well and after the second pitch of 10m, we were at the tyrolean. I’d borrowed a pulley from Fernando allowing us to avoid the swim. This time, knowing the cable finished well off the ground, I tied the rope to the pulley with a butterfly, leaving about 3m of trail dangling. To this we locked off a descender (Emmanuel had a gri-gri making things easier). Reaching the far side, the person would simply remove their safety, unlock the descender and abseil down. I lowered Emmanuel (extending the anchor and using my ATC), pulling the gear back for Gerado. It worked a lot better than last time. I lowered myself; the 60s were slightly short, but I was close, and unclipped myself from the rope letting allowing me to reach the end. Whilst the others retrieved the rope, I threaded some cord through the mallion attached to the cable and rapped down. Much better than last time 🙂
Heading through town, we stopped at the mechanic taking photos of the broken bearing and stashing the pulley. Next stop El Salto! We passed the Canadian and American camps before parking. A short jaunt down the wash and we were starring through the natural bridge and down the impressive dryfall (El Salto means big drop). We rigged off the same bolts, leaving the rope fixed for collection once back at the top. The 60m got us all the way to the final drop. Here we used bolts CL. I downclimbed CR again. It was spicier than I recalled! We admired the drop from the bottom for a while, eventually taking the road back up. This time we spotted the pictographs on the wall. A pitty about the graffiti.
Returning to Saltillo, Gerardo and Emmanuel took the mountain route. There was some discussion about which way was faster. I thought this way was undeniably more beautiful. We passed the Hand of God as the road threaded through an impressive canyon. So many places to explore! Going out of their way, I was kindly dropped off in Laguna de Sánchez where I proceeded on foot for the next leg.