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Hueco Tanks – 2014

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 ๐Ÿ™‚

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 ๐Ÿ™‚ 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:

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.

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!!

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