Monday, February 27, 2017

12 Kilometers and 1820 Meters Cerro de la Silla

We all have a bucket list and Juan Manuel has his.  So to start off the beginning of 60 years (that is so hard to say and I know people will say it's just a number) we decided to tackle the mountain monument of Monterrey, Cerro de la Silla or in English Saddle Back Mountain.

There are two climbs that are on the same trail.  The first is the Teleferico or platform where a cable car used to run up until 40 years ago.  Some people do that everyday and that takes about an hour.  That's a tough one by itself.   The second and most difficult is the antenna at the very top which is over 5300 feet.   What makes the climb difficult is the rocky path which you can see in the picture and the fact that most of the climb is at a 45 degree angle.  The rock is slippery and quite a few people if not all, at one point or another, take a slip or a fall.  

I wore my fairly new hiking boots with double socks.  They worked great on the way up but on the way down because of the angle, my toes were jamming into the front of the boots which made them very sore towards the end.   

This is just halfway at the platform so you can get an idea of the altitude.

When we reached the platform, we took a break and had a snack.  People actually pack huge sacks of fresh oranges and coolers to sell food at the platform.  It's all prepared food because no fires are allowed.   On our way down we had just missed a couple of bears who were looking for some leftovers.   Bear warnings are placed at the beginning of the climb.

We continued up and up and the further we went we found we were pretty much alone.  Most people had turned back but I was urged on although at one point I too was ready to go back.  But a promise is a promise and I had a change of attitude.  Onward ho!  Stops became more frequent about every 150 meters for just a minute or two and a sip of water.   

People who had made it to the top and were coming down had huge smiles of accomplishment on their faces.   We carried on.   We had left at 7:30 in the morning and made it to the top by 10:45.  Kevin and Ruth can do this one next time they are in town but they'll be doing it without me.  I don't think we saw any 60 year olds on the trail.  

Finally to the top, we made it.  The last 30 minutes we were walking through the clouds.  We could see the antenna and we had actually climbed to the top and met the goal.   It was pretty scary as we were actually climbing on the rock at the peak on the left that you see in the first picture at the beginning of this blog post.  In the pic below you can only see part of the antenna.  I don't know how tall it is but it's huge.

After a short rest, I had my reward in mind.  Some of the best enchiladas in Monterrey.   I was feeling a bit sick to my stomach but it was from the thinning air and the hard breathing.   We headed down the mountain but it was actually more difficult because of the slippery rock.  I fell once but picked myself up and continued.   Feeling better little by little I knew my reward would be soon.

Very satisfied!  That look of confidence.  

It took us over an hour to come back down.  It was fast and my boots were failing me.  I'm very disappointed in what I thought were good boots.  Anyway, we made it.  Exhausted and tired we rested for a few minutes and then took the six block walk back to the car.  The entrance and the trail coming down were pretty much empty.   BTW, bags are placed at the beginning of the trail to pack out your trash and they encourage you to help pick up after those very very few who do litter.  Very clean hike, beautiful surroundings and you get to the top you can see the changes in the flora.  

Enchiladas, great company and a Saturday rest that was incredible.   Muscles ache and toe hurt but we did it!


  1. I was about to say take us next time, but, nah. Congrats on making it!

  2. Congrats on making it up, I could feel your determination. Well done. Too bad about the boots, maybe they just need a few more hikes to break them in.

  3. Ah, come on Chris, I was going to say that the next time we visit you we want to do this with you! If you don't want to go the whole way maybe you can go to the platform and then just relax while we continue on. This is on my bucket list, if I actually had one!

    Well done both of you, the feeling of accomplishment is the best! So glad that you both hung in there and did it!

  4. Chris, you really have a way with words. I was glued to your details of the hike. In fact, I was suffering along with you on the hike (and with those hiking boots). I'm guessing Juan accomplished the hike with ease. After ridding myself of a pair of poorly fitting and very uncomfortable boots, I bit the bullet and purchased a pair of Merrells and have not had one moment of remorse. They are light weight, water proof, partially leather and fabric, flex well and breath (no need to break them in). However, I did purchase a Merrill-brand pair of thick socks which wicks sweat away from my feet. Hiking in Yellowstone every day for two weeks gave them a workout.

    1. He was down the next day too! He has bad knees. But he's not a whiner :)

  5. Bravo!!!!! Marilyn