Six Weeks in Hueco
Winter, 2004
 
I left Hueco last year not quite sure what to think. I hadnít spent much time there and had come across a ton of bureaucracy, a bunch of choss, boulder problems I didnít care for, the lame city of El Paso, and some scary roped climbs. However, I knew that Hueco was supposedly the best bouldering spot in North America and I had discovered a few good problems as well. I knew I had to give Hueco an honest chance, not just a few days passing through. I decided to spend two weeks there on my way down to Portrero and figured that would be enough time to see what Hueco had to offer.

Like so many others who intended to stop through Hueco and then head somewhere else I never made it to Portrero. I spent six weeks in Hueco. In other words, I spent six weeks getting really strong.

The first seven people I ran into at Hueco were people I already knew. After living on the road for so long, you find that the traveling climbing community is really quite small. Nonetheless this was a good sign. I decided to stay at Robís Rock Ranch and it was a good choice. The climbing community there was quite tight and super motivated. It was never a problem finding people to climb with, even on days with really bad weather. There were people from all over North America as well as Norway, Switzerland, England, Italy, Austria and France. And everyone, male or female, was really strong.

After familiarizing myself with the area I found the bouldering was quite superb. Many of the problems were steep and powerful but at the same time had some trickery to them that was key to sending them. I spent most of the six weeks on North Mountain and found that a day on, day off schedule was the most productive. As I got used the bureaucratic red tape I started exploring the other mountains and was impressed by the sheer number of quality lines hidden around every twist and bend.

While the climbing was excellent the people I was climbing with really made Hueco an incredible place to spend time. I feel like I have probably made some life-long friends during my time in Hueco. Some of my best days were not typical climbing days, but rather days where a bunch of us were out playing. There was a trip to White Sands that was incredibly fun and one day a few of us decided to do the Wanker 101 bouldering circuit.

The climbing highlights of my time in Hueco included the incredibly large amount of time I spent working Mushroom Roof. I have never been so focused on one problem. Also I wired Daily Dick Dose and did it at least 7 times. I never imagined that I would be strong enough to have a V7 wired to the point I could do it on demand. Most of the problems I got on were spectacular, though King Cobra also stands out as another incredible line with amazing slappy moves.

While I donít feel that Hueco has better bouldering than Squamish, North Carolina, or Bishop it is definitely on par with them. The style at Hueco is unique, gymnastic to the extreme, and really fun. The current restrictions and high initial costs make Hueco the sort of area that demands one spend a fair amount of time for it to be worth the hassle. Still, it should definitely be a stop on any serious boulderís circuit.

 

Hueco Rock Ranch
The inside scoop on staying at the Hueco Rock Ranch

HuecoTanks.com
General and Climbing Info for climbing at Hueco

Mountain Project - Hueco Tanks
Mountain Project's Page for Hueco Tanks

White Sands
A photo essay of our day at White Sands National Monument

Wanker 101
The story of the day we did the Wanker 101