“A climbing trip with no cultural interaction-for me-is an opportunity missed to develop as a global citizen. In such a tumultuous point in history, it’s more important now than ever to be, #CarvedByNature”
Welcome To The Team
Ryan is a content creator, marketer, and Guide. Spending the last couple of years working as a climbing guide he has opted to shift his focus. Now sharing the incredible experiences he, his community and clients pursue on a daily basis is his primary goal.
Check him out – Ryanwriggins.com // @ryan.riggins
It was as if time slowed…..helplessness overtook every fiber of my being. I had made a rookie mistake and I was terrified that my momentary lapse of judgment could have fatal consequences.
Less than 24 hours before, my partner Brad and I had packed our bags in Colorado with our sights set on a more tropical destination, the Sierra Madre mountains. A single duffel accommodated all the necessary equipment we would need to navigate the massive limestone cliffs that awaited us.
In the small town of Hidalgo, spires dominate the skyline as the locals go about their daily routines. No strangers to visitors—the people are just as likely to flash a smile as they are to offer you a ride in their trucks back to your camp. Often eagerly posing questions such as; “Do you go all the way to the top!?”
As climbers, adventure lives within each and every one of us—we yearn for a defining moment in which our mettle will be tested. An opportunity to develop our own story within climbing. But the climbing wasn’t the only influence that brought us down to Mexico.
For myself—traveling to new locations, summiting peaks and spending time on the wall is only part of the desired outcome. A climbing trip with no cultural interaction—for me—is an opportunity missed to develop as a global citizen. In such a tumultuous point in history, it’s more important now than ever. With a tick-list of routes I wanted to accomplish while in Mexico—I also had a set of goals that had no relation to climbing.
Climbing Partners Brad and Ryan climb a couloir in their Alpine Tour Trucker from Cirque
Among others, I wanted to;
- Integrate with the local culture,
- Ride in the back of a pick-up truck (the sketchier the better)
- Coast through town on my skateboard while I stuck out like a sore thumb
- Eat Tamales watching the town go by
All the while trying to find much-needed perspective between pitches.
Shifting our gaze from the towering summits just for a moment to remind ourselves of the experiences taking place below us.
These dojos were here long before we arrived, and will remain long after we leave. It’s the living breathing communities that offer a truly fleeting experience. Providing an alternative form of adventure, one not to be missed.
Yet many locals will never set foot where we so regularly venture. The towering faces simply provide a spectacle to those without the means nor the knowledge to tread safely in our world.
As climbers, we are inherently fortunate to participate in our form of vertical expression. Reared through the ranks by mentors that thrust a trad rack into my arms long before quickdraws, Portrero was a jungle gym of epic proportions. But unlike many, this jungle gym had lessons to teach, even to the most seasoned of climbers.
“Navigating the fine line between cultural exposure and vertical exposure is a delicate dance indeed.”
Lessons of humility took center stage as I watched a dislodged pillar plummet to the terrace ledge below. My heart sank and I immediately retreated into my subconscious replaying the moment over and over again. I couldn’t believe I had made such a silly mistake.
It was the optimal outcome; no one was hurt. In fact, no one was even near the impact but the damage was done. The remainder of our trip I gazed upon the walls with a deeper sense of admiration and respect.
Navigating the fine line between cultural exposure and vertical exposure is a delicate dance indeed. Finding time after long days on the wall to venture into situations positioned outside our comfort zones is a mandatory task in itself. For the lessons learned and the limits pushed on the ground may directly translate to our art of vertical expression.
Returning home was alleviating with the faith that one day, soon, I would return to once again learn valuable lessons while performing the delicate dance of vertical and cultural exposure in the slice of heaven affectionately known as……. Portrero.
Photos and Words from Ryan Riggins
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