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I left my heart in Texas

February 7, 2013

All the rumors are true – Hueco is a boulderer’s heaven.  Yesterday I returned from 3 days of climbing there – APW’s first trip.  Art, Esten, Max M, and Paul were lucky enough to stay til the end of the week (damn them!).

Hueco!  Photo: Paul Shin

Hueco! Photo: Paul Shin

The first day was spent mostly in a plane and shopping for food and other stuff.  Southwest took away Esten’s Coleman stove, which he had taken on many trips in the past – booooooo.  So we purchased a cheapo stove at Walmart because we thought we might need it.  Good thing we didn’t – the kitchen in the newly renovated barn at the Hueco Rock Ranch has plenty of burners – because that stove pooped out after one day’s use.  That’ll teach us.

On the second day, Paul had to wake up super early because he was the only one of us to not have a pass to North Mountain.  For those of you who haven’t been to Hueco, North Mountain is the only part of the park where you’re allowed to climb without a guide, but only 70 people are allowed in.  Luckily, Paul was 2nd in line to get one of the walk-in passes and arrived inside the gate before the rest of us.  After watching a video about the history and nature found in the park (there is some really interesting rock art unlike anything I’ve seen before), we headed out to climb.

Max decided that warming up wasn’t completely necessary and started out the trip with his first V10, The Wonder Dyno.  The rest of us wanted to warm up and did a fun problem called Orifice Affair (V1).  After that short trip, we went up the chains and over to Daily Dick Dose (V7), where we met up with Tim and Nick, some friends of our friend Dylan.  They both got Daily Dick Dose pretty quick and Paul and I got it too.  After some of us worked Babyface (V7) with no luck, we went and did the mega-classic V2 Nobody Here Gets Out Alive.  Super fun!  Next some of us projected Fern Roof (V10), which Tim sent and Max got really close.  Paul also did Mexican Chicken (V6).  We finished out the day with a speed round of trying Baby Martini (V6) because we had to get out of the park by 6pm.

Max on Fern Roof (V10)

Max on Fern Roof (V10). Photo: Arthur Hsu

For day 2 of climbing, we met up with my friend Leici and her friend Mary who is a guide to go to East Mountain.  We started out at Warm Up Roof, then went over to the Central Dragon’s Den.  Paul, Tim and Nick I think sent Hobbit in a Blender (V5).  I didn’t see because I was watching Mary crush her project Man Gum (V9) even though her fingers went numb.  Pretty inspiring.  Then Leici, Tim, Nick and Paul sent Ides of March (V6) and I did Hector in a Blender (V7).  We then went to another 4 star problem, Dragonfly (V5), and everyone who sent it flashed it, but not everyone sent it.  Art might have sent it if he actually tied his shoes for once.  The day ended with Tim’s flash of Something Different (V8).

On day 3 of climbing, Mary was again our guide and we headed to East Spur.  Our warm up included the classic Black and Blue (V1), which was fun but a little spicy at the top for such an otherwise simple problem.  The next project was Jigsaw (V5), which Tim sent and many of the rest of us sliced up our hands or strained our necks.  Then, Paul, Tim, Nick and I worked on Better Eat Your Wheaties (V8), and Tim sent (sense a pattern here?)  Tim also joined a small group that Mary’s husband Rocco took out and did Jingus Bells (V5).  We then headed up to watch Mary and another guy work on Focus (V10).  Esten and Tim sent Johnny Mop, which the book says is V2 but the guides said was V4 and looked to be pretty difficult for that grade even.  Next we went to New Religion (V7), which was sent easily by Tim, Nick and Mary.  Paul forgot to jump the first few times but he sent it when he remembered how to dyno.  Leici and I tried it many times but could not put the whole thing together.  Some of us tried Alf in a Blender (V6), which was incredibly hard.  Esten sent Walrus in a Blender (V5) after he too remembered how to dyno.  A bunch of us also did a fun V2 called The Vulgarian.

Jackie working New Religion (V7).  Photo: Arthur Hsu

Jackie working New Religion (V7). Photo: Arthur Hsu

Beergarita.  Photo: Arthur Hsu

Beergarita. Photo: Arthur Hsu

We ended the day with some food, beergaritas and other tequila drinks at Carnitas Queretaro in El Paso and a trip to Dairy Queen for some Blizzards.  Back at the Rock Ranch, we had a car party since some of the conversation at the group campfire the night before began to get a bit strange…but that’s another story.

The next morning I left for home and let the rest of them do some manly stuff on their rest day like shoot guns and eat steak.  I hear they’re still crushing out there – Max sent Fern Roof today and I’m sure there will be more sends tomorrow.  More photos and video to come!

P.S. I hear that the Hueco Hacienda is a pretty nice place to stay if you’re looking to do something a little more upscale than sleeping in a tent.

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