Monday, March 28, 2011

Mexico BASE with Damien Dykman

By Damien Dykman

Beautiful mountain deserts would be a good 3 word description of Nuevo Leon, Mexico. It's only a few hours away from Texas and an easy drive from Houston, home of Gee and David, my partners in crime for this trip. But wait, I should be a little more cautious using those words given all the sad events happening in that part of Mexico. For us gringo, apart from having to pay a "muelta" in cash, here and there, to a local corrupted cop, it really wasn't that bad. Maybe when it really gets bad, you can't tell the story... I just hope things will get back to normal, those people are so nice, they really deserve a little more peace.

First stop, la Popa. One of the classics. The hike is steep but if you pay attention, there is a trail marked with yellow dots, all the way to the summit. The exit point, is right there, next to the cross made out of 3 pipes welded together. Gee and I did a 2 way flying our wingsuits but quickly realized that the air was turbulent and the winds strong over the LZ. Opening over the LZ was a bad idea. Gee went straight to the alternate LZ, down wind from the main one. I decided to stick to the plan, but the wind was too strong for me to move forward. Luckily, I had a graceful landing in the boulders, between bushes and cactus. A few minutes later, we joined David who was watching the jump with Ezequiel, the ranchero who owns the land and old friend of Gee.

The 2nd cliff on the list is a few hours away and requires to go through Monterey. The local soccer team was playing: so barely any traffic! We made it to the mountains above at night and took possession of our local cabin. After 2 hours through the bushes and cactus, we got to a little pass where David set up the camera to have a side view of the jump.

An additional 20 min took us to the Exit point where Gee decided to be the wind dummy. The cliff is amazing: massively overhanging limestone cliff. The tricky part is if you decide to fly into the canyon in which case, you need to clear the narrow section to be comfortable to open and land on the beach down the river. But how to we get back to the cabin from this gorge? Just follow the river and 1 hour later we were "home", ready to enjoy a local meal. But David made it back at least 2 hours later, beat up and dehydrated. It took him 5 hours to go down, twice as much as going up! Obviously, the new alternate route he tried is not to be repeated!

Our third and last day didn't allow enough time for the exploration of an other cliff that Gee had scoped on his last trip. Never mind, we went for that same beautiful cliff again with David shooting from the bottom this time. Similar conditions than the day before, but more light due to our early start. What a blast again. But no time to chill, Houston is a long drive back.