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Cueva de la Cumbia: Trip Report

Location: The Cumbia Cave is located in Nuevo Leon, Mexico, about an hour and a half from El Potrero Chico and a half an hour from El Salto.

Approximate GPS Coordinates of Cave 25.30394, -100.13145

Directions to the Cave

For beta and route descriptions:



On an annual winter trip to El Potrero Chico, Mexico we decided to ditch the overcrowded big walls of Potrero for the promised land of overhanging, hard single pitch climbing and tufa heaven! Our first few days at El Salto were filled with amazing climbing at Las Animas wall and the Tecolote Cave, which could have easily been enough to keep us occupied for a couple more weeks, if not for one simple fact, like zombies crave brains, we craved MORE TUFAS!

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El Salto was hard to leave!


We had heard of an enourmous tufa cave located down a dirt road turn off on the road up to El Salto. We tried gathering up some beta from El Salto regulars, but it seemed that no one had been to the Cumbia Cave, it looked like we were in for a bit of adventure, armed with a gps and some beta from mountain project we headed off to find the cave. All 7 of our crew piled into my Access Cab Toyota and we headed down the dirt road for a bumpy half an hour ride. About half way down the hill some local dogs started chasing us, they wouldn’t leave our side for the rest of the day. Finally reaching the river crossing detailed in the description we parked and had the Mexicans of our crew, ask the local store owner for directions. The conversation was less than fruitful, as the self described 92 year old said there were many caves in the areas and gave us directions to one only big enough for 5 people to stand in! He also relayed that Don Lalo, the local who knows directions to the cave, was in the hospital. So we decided to just use the online directions, after A bit of searching we found what we believed was the trail, an extremely overgrown path through the woods which matched the description. Needless to say after an hour of hiking and bushwhacking with no cave in sight we decided to call it a day and try again another day.

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These two pups were all tuckered out after following us for an hour of bushwhacking!

The next day I contacted Mark, an acquaintance of mine who developed much of the cave, to beg for better directions. It turned out that  Mark was in town and generously offered to show us way out there! With some renewed sike and a slimmed down crew, we met up with Mark the next morning and headed out to the cave, we found the trail, about a hundred yards away from the trail we tried to take before. Judging by the trail, it didn’t look like anyone out there since last season.

Arriving at the cave we realized we had found everything we had hoped for, TUFA HEAVEN! (beta: you will reach a smaller cave with some routes on it first, keep walking along the trail for another 5 minutes to reach the big cave and the routes you came for!)


The main wall is about 45 degrees overhanging for around a 100 feet.

Mark and I warmed up on  the Abuelo Malandro, 5.11d, a good warm up for the steeper stuff. Perhaps a bit easy for the grade, but still a total pumpfest, with good holds and a decent rest, it was a good fit for someone coming from the Red River Gorge . Mark set the draws and I got the flash.


Abuelo Malandro, 5.11d, Cueva de la Cumbia, Mexico

Meanwhile our crews crusher, Zac, got the onsight on Ceslo Pina, 5.12c, a super steep  and heavily featured route that goes straight out the center of the cave. Probably one of the best lines of the cave!


The moster tufa on Ceslo Pina is the size of a small car.

I personally clipped 3 bolts from the monster tufa before finally leaving the no hands rest!


Eric Jones taking a fall on Ceslo Pina 5.12c, Cueva de la Cumbia, Mexico

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Zak Roper working a 5.13 not yet online.

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Looking from the inside out.

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Erik Kloeker getting lowered from a climb at Cueva da la Cumbia


A spectacular view of some undeveloped walls across the canyon.



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