As climbers, most of us have felt the awesome impacts that climbing can have on us as individuals and on our local communities. Ideally, the continued growth in climbing and the development of new climbing areas in new communities will continue to have a positive impact and foster our community. That is our goal for Loreto and Comundu, two small communities in the incredible Sierra Giganta Mountains in Baja California Sur.
What started out as a trip to discover a remote climbing area has developed into something much greater. A few locals from both towns were very interested in what we were doing, so we offered to take them out climbing. As local interest grew we decided to help kick-start a local climbing community. With the help of Sebastian Del Valle, a La Paz Area climbing guide, we arranged community climbing days that were open to the public.
The appeal was great. Many from the community, climbers or not, were interested in how they could support the activity. We wanted to introduce them to the amazing climbing crags they have in their region, in some cases in their backyards, so Planet Granite employees Tamas Carli and Joey Paris both volunteered several days to teach lessons and belay participants. With help from Planet Granite, we were also able to provide the communities with climbing gear.
All of the climbing spots in this area are on private land. The Comundu townspeople actively offered access to new climbing areas and were very warm and welcoming. In the Loreto area, a local council member arranged a meeting with the ranch family that owned the mountain we were climbing on. After a few hours of small talk and an agreement to come back for a celebratory BBQ, we were offered a place to camp at the ranch and full access to the land/mountain. Without local support and trust, I doubt the landowners would have granted us access.
Many from the community, climbers or not, were interested in how they could support the activity.
While we don’t have a formal program in place to support efforts like this, it would be great if anyone traveling to the Baja California Sur area to climb could help support the tradition of taking a local resident climbing. Anything from setting up a top rope for some of the local kids or taking someone out for a day climb on one of the multi-pitch routes. In addition, gear is in short supply, so if people want to donate used equipment (helmets, harnesses, shoes etc.) the local climbers are super grateful.
James and Sebastian on the first ascent of 1697
CHECK OUT THE LORETO AREA
Check out the Loreto area. Anyone interested in local contacts can private message me on Mountain Project. We plan to head back for 2-4 weeks in winter of 2019. We will be starting some trail building projects and hopefully putting up some new routes with a growing local climbing community!
James Scheh has been a major player in building our Planet Granite gyms and has been working to help introduce climbing in Baja California Sur where he is also developing new routes.