Hueco Tanks. I don't even know where to start; so much has happened. I guess I'll start at the very beginning, back when coming to the mecca of bouldering was still only a dream.
I had always bothered Ellis, Earth Treks' Head Coach, about going but problems always seemed to stand in the way like cost, planning guides, even finding people who were psyched to go. Then one day Ellis came up to me smiling, the trip had been set. Fifteen people, including two coaches, planned on going. And I was ecstatic. Jump four months from then and I'm on my way home, typing this hastily written blog post on the airplane ride back to east coast. It's been spectacular, the stone is some of the coolest I've ever seen, and the way it climbs is insane. My expectations on how the climbing was going to be, although set high, were blown out of the water. This is kind of a diary of what's happened during the 7 days we've been in The Texas:
A picture of our tent site on the first night.Day 1:
Our plane was delayed 2 hours in Maryland because of snow. Bummer. However, considering Kayla, Claire, Brandon and Mark's plane was delayed 5 I don't really have the right to complain... Of course the trip almost didn't happen, Ellis was at the hospital that very morning because his lungs filled with gunk and his bronchial tubes started to collapse making it almost impossible for him to breathe. Or something like that, all I could tell was it made him grumpy and walk slow. Sol, Eli and I sat next to each other on the plane and discovered we were in all actuality the world's worst sudoku players. After blowing about $500 on food and gear at a Walmart we started the 40 minute drive to Hueco, arriving around 11. After pitching our cheap Coleman 4 person tent in the dark and bending just about every stake we had Sol, Brandon, Mark and I went to bed around 12. All well. I had the extreme fortune to slept on a cactus and some pointy rocks. Sweeeeeet. We woke up freezing.
Jason Kehl was our guide! Rad. We started climbing around 11 at east mountain. Quickly sending dragonfly v5, (maybe best of the grade), Sol and I did dry-dock v7, an awesome levitating boulder next to full service. Sol then went on the send Bush League which I nearly did second try, except the sun got in my eyes and I forgot what I was doing... From there we went over to Hobbit in the Blender, another amazing v5, and after doing that one, I set to work on Crimping Christ on the Cross but fell on the last move of the top out.
Our fearless leader, EllisDay 3:
Tammy was our guide. Started early, went to the East Spur. I projected Full Monty V12 and did it in 2 sections. Super awesome climb, it has a really nice balance between techy footwork and pure power. After we left that area we went to The Egg and I realized I had hurt my wrist, probably opening up a door the wrong way or something stupid. After taking a short break and watching Sol, Brandon, Claire and Kayla making really good attempts I was psyched enough to try it and surprisingly sent it in a handful of tries. Also one of my favorite climbs. Going to the Maze Area from there I did Better Eat Your Wheaties v9, which I really enjoyed and Jigsaw Puzzle which is my new favorite v5. Maybe my favorite climb altogether? Ellis did Better Beat Your Sweeties v7 which looked really fun too but my lack of skin really limited my attempts.
Kayla on The Egg
Rest day. Our team went to get showers at rec center, but upon seeing how dirty they were decided to wait and clean up at the Hacienda in the afternoon. We did a little more grocery shopping, only spending about $250 this time. At this weird store Jason had told us about I bought a poncho and a blanket. I finally slept well, managing not to freeze in the frigid temperatures.
Day 5:Rocco was our guide. I sent Ministry of Truth v9/10, this cool problem that started with a two move campus sequence and then a cross into a seam with a high slab finish, while Sol and Kayla did the Long Haul v8. We then continued to west mountain where we did Meddle Detector, Crash Dummy, Star Power and Animal Acts, all of which I loved. Sooo Goood!
Day 6:Martina was our guide and it was New Years Eve. I went back and sent Full Monty!!!! Right as it started to snow, it felt like a magical send. It might have been the hardest thing I've ever climbed and without some foot beta from Martina I probably would not have did it. Topped it out beaming. Sol sent Javelina V8 and the Egg today too. Bella flashed Your Brain is on Drugs v9. No big deal.
Sol on Javelina. Photo Cred. Claire Bresnan
Jason was our guide again. I flashed Something Different v8 and Man Gum v8/9. Fingers started bleeding...
One of the main climbs I wanted to try this trip was Slashface. Everything about it interested me; the aesthetics, the history about it, the style of climbing, and the difficulty. After giving it a few tries, I knew I had no possibility of sending, I'll have to be at a totally different level in order to send that one. But that's ok - ok because if any problem did, that one got me the most excited to train hard. I can't wait to see what's in store next time...
P.s. - Apparently I did not take any actual "climbing" pictures... I hope the faces suffice...