Sunday, May 9, 2010

5 Things I Learned at Hueco Tanks

5. The job of the spotter is also to make sure the crash pads don't blow away.

Our first day climbing at Hueco had sustained 60 km/h winds with 100 km/h gusts. While on several problems the crash pads simply blew away. Something we have never experienced before. Luckily there were some nice secluded areas that were reasonably sheltered. By the end of the day the sky was a nice solid sand colour and you could not see any of the mountains in the background through the dust. We now know what 'breezy' and 'windy' mean in the weather forecasts.

4. I like Green.

I like grass. I like trees. Yes there are plants here. Yes the desert is beautiful in many ways, but I would never be able to live here.

3. Coming to Hueco in the off season is pretty sweet.

The friction may not be as good, but you have the whole place to yourself. There was one other tent at the Hueco Rock Ranch when we arrived and over the course of our stay there were no more than 10 people at any one time. We pretty much had the barn to ourselves, permanently setting up our kitchen in there (see item 5, cooking/eating outside - not so good). Getting into the park was not a problem, except on Saturday when there are a lot of other tourists. There are downsides of course, all the volunteer guides were long gone, but if you are happy tootling around the North Mountain on your own it's all good.

One night there was a pretty epic ping pong showdown. Here are me and Austin having at it.

2. Hueco is not as awesome as it's claimed to be.

Don't get me wrong, Hueco is pretty awesome. There are some really awesome problems here, and an awful lot of hard stuff if you have super human climbing powers. But there isn't really a tonne of varied climbing. I was expecting 5 star awesome, but for us it was really only 4 star awesome.

Me on No One Here Gets out Alive V2, a classic roof jug haul.

Kristal on Ghetto Simulator V2, another classic (and long!) jug haul.

Me on Wonderhole Dyno V10, a one move wonder.

1. Our big tent is awesome.

We had been warned about the wind ahead of time so after a bit of consideration we decided to set up our small tent (thank goodness). It didn't seem so bad while staying there, especially since the barn was so spacious, but once we hit our next destination and set up our mansion again it was a newfound revelation. I have no idea how we survived all those road trips last year crammed into our little tent.

On our rest day we took a trip up to White Sands National Monument in New Mexico, which is an absolutely stunning sea of white dunes in the middle of nowhere.

And here's a token cloud shot as we were driving back to Hueco.


  1. keep on writing J! this is interesting

  2. Isn't jumping down sand dunes awesome?

  3. Thanks Mixa! Yeah, Roman, it was super fun jumping down the dunes. Hopefully we'll see some more when we make it to the coast.