I got back from my two week trip a couple weeks ago, but have been swamped with my “real job” stuff as well as my guidebooks which I’m hoping to have done soon.

I typically avoid Hueco.  The problem with Hueco 1. is that its really busy and really popular 2. they only let a certain amount of people into Hueco each day, and 3.  I’ve climbed enough at Hueco that I’ve done just about everything that I think I can do.  Welll…I’ve recently jumped in strength route climbing and have also jumped a number or two in bouldering grades, so I figured what the heck.

My friend Leanna Lockhart invited me to do a two week trip to Hueco; she was making all the plans an arrangements and I was super psyched down for it!!  Yeah!

The plan was climb two days on, one day off.  2 days on North Mountain, 2 days tour, 2 days on North Mountain, 2 days tour.  And that’s exactly what we did.  It was perfect.

I couldn’t believe how “not popular” it was a Hueco this year.  It was dead.  Basically, anyone could have walked onto North Mountain (reservations not booked) every day of our trip!  And the weather was perfect.

I was pleasantly surprised with my performance!  According to the guidebook, I climbed every grade from V0 to V9, though my hardest problem climbed to date was V7 and I have done maybe half a dozen of them.

I’ll go through my send list.

V9 – Paleozoic.  This one really doesn’t count. I think either the book is drastically wrong of the problem is really contrived.  This problem is across and left looking out from “Daily Dick Dose.”  A low start leads to some moves over a bulge and then either some tick-tacking or a big long lock-off move (the way I did it.)    This one though list first isn’t really worth anything more than a mention – it really wasn’t that good!

V8 – Stegosaur.  This one IS AWESOME.  Its my first V8 and checking 8a and videos, a lot of folks are taking this one at the grade.  It took me maybe 20 + tries, but when I did it, it was pretty easy.  This problem climbs a really awesome rail feature under a steep roof up and to the left on the way to the “New Meadow.”  I fell on the lip move TWICE before figuring out some KUNG-FU beta.

Now we get into some actually legit sends 🙂

V7 – New Religion.  Ok maybe not so legit, but this one was a “lifetime goal” of mine.  Basically, this one is two big moves between good holds out a really steep roof.  Situation on this really nice rock patio on East Spur, this problem kicks some serious butt!  I fiddled around with the moves and got this one my second serious try!  Pretty stoked!

New Religion V7
New Religion V7

New Religion V7

New Religion V7

V7 – Better Beat Your Sweeties – This one was another “life goal” problem of mine.  I had previously this problem YEARS ago but was unable to climb it.  This one “taught” me how to do a drop-knee dyno.  I’ve never really been very good at drop-knees.  This problem is basically one move.  Some good incut hand-holds to start with a high right drop knee and a BIG move across your body straight up with the right hand to a right facing sidepull.  I finally stuck the move when I decided I was going to “TRY AS HARD AS I POSSIBLE CAN!!”  I stuck it weird with only my middle finger, but managed to pull through!  I tried this single move probably 40 times before I finally stuck it.

Better Beat Your Sweeties – V7

Better Beat Your Sweeties – V7

V7 – Hector in a Blender.  This was my hardest and proudest send of the trip!  I got it my last day of the trip basically on my last real try that I had on it!  This problem climbs long moves between good holds on a fairly steep wall.  The problem starts on two tiny edges and a good heel hook and climbs through some awesome cross moves and sidepulls.  I was definitely stoked to have my Tenaya Oasis on this one!  The heel hooking and downturned toes definitely made the difference for me.  I was so stoked to send this one!!  I didn’t really expect it!

Hector in a Blender – V7

Hector in a Blender – V7 Photo Leanna Lockhart

Hector in a Blender – V7 Photo Leanna Lockhart

V6 – That Hi Pro Glow.  My only V6 of the trip funny enough, I had tried this one on two separate occasions on two separate trips.  Our first day on East Spur, I put some serious work into this one, coming close once, but not sending it.  I was pretty bummed out and wasn’t sure if I’d be able to do it on the trip, but then I came back on our 2nd to last day of our trip and did it FAST EASY! I was so stoked.  This problem starts on a super sloping rail and climbs around an arete with some slaps and finishes with a slap to a good hold, then a casual topout.  I WAS REALLY happy to get this one on the trip!  I was super happy once again to have my Tenaya Oasis for the toe hook and heel hooks on this one!

That Hi Pro Glow V6.  Photo Leanna Lockhart

V5 – Dragonfly.  This one was one of those problems that I had tried before but was not able to do! I was so bummed.  It was easy for me to the last move and I could get there every time but probably blew off there like 10 times or so.  This trip it was my b*tch.  I did it first go, easy!  I was really stoked.  Having not sent it on my previous trip maybe 4 or 5 years ago, this one really stood out as a problem that I wanted to get back to!  Dragonfly starts with a pumpy “no feet” traverse.  A lot of folks just campus this part, but with my downturned shoes and good footwork, I kept them on the whole time.  The last section is kinda funky – a high left heel hook and a right hand gaston, the climber makes a long push move left to a good hold…and then its done!

Dragon Fly – V5 East Mountain

Dragon Fly – V5 East Mountain

Dragon Fly – V5 East Mountain

Dragon Fly – V5 East Mountain

Jigsaw Puzzle – V5.  This is another one that I had tried before but was unable to put the “pieces” together.  Do you get it?  I think I’m funny 🙂 Oh well.  This problem on East Spurt Maze starts on a good hold with bad feet and then immediately goes to another good hold with a good heel hook,  The problem gets it’s name because it climbs up these super deep but not always incut patina flakes that are hand + sized.  Really cool climbing.  The crux involves holding a weird hold and making a cross move, then it just gets pumpy toward the end.  I did this one first try of the day!

No photos sorry!

If you’re planning a trip to Hueco, here’s some beta:

1.  Make sure you get North Mountain Passes – Call the texas state park –  you want to get them 3 months to the day.  You can reserve up to 3 days in a row but 2 on, 1 off is best.

2. For commercial guides check out:  http://www.wagonwheelcoopt.com/

3.  Stay at the AAC Hueco Rock Ranch.  If you’re going for two weeks its worth it to join the AAC and get half price on camping.  https://www.americanalpineclub.org/p/hueco_rock_ranch

4.  Eat dinner at El Pasita every night.  The burritos are the best.  From Hueco, turn left at the first light going towards town.  Its behind the Vista.  Its a little connivence store with some of the best food I’ve ever eaten in the back!

5.  The guidebook is published by Wolverine Publishing and is AWESOME!!