Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Hueco Part II

Hueco is a different kind of climbing area. Never mind the rock type or the climbing style or even the people there, Hueco Tanks (according to the park officials) is the most regulated public land in the United States. It breaks down like this: the park is divided into four regions (North Mountain, East Mountain, East Spur, and West Mountain). North Mountain is the only region in which one is allowed to roam free, although there is a limit to how many people are allowed to visit at any given time. The other mountains require a guide to visit, paid or volunteer. There is a limit on guided tours as well. The hardest part about the tours is that everyone on the tour must remain with the guide. There is no wandering off to go boulder alone in most areas of Hueco.

There are two commercial guiding services through which one can arrange a tour. Most people go through the Hueco Rock Ranch (also where most people camp). Recently Adam and Melissa Strong together with Glen and Heather Johnson have partnered to form their own guide service, "Wagon Wheel". Peter and I were fortunate enough to be invited to camp on the Strong-Johnson property during our stay. This was a real treat because of amenities like the four hole golf course and horse shoe pit. The Wagon Wheelers have discovered that there is no better way to start a day of bouldering than by taking a couple of swings with a golf club to loosen up your back.

Due to the regulations, it seemed like everyday's bouldering schedule was planned out well in advance. Who wants to do what? How long will it take? Do you have a reservation I can have? Oh shit! Do we need a guide? Peter and I were new to this whole scene and were mostly content to sit back and ride the coatails of our events organizer of the trip, Kevin. With his help, and that of our guides Adam, Melissa, and Jody we were able to jump our way through all the hoops Hueco threw at us.

As to the actual climbing side of things: Peter and I had our own frustrations. Peter had had one too many margeritas during his family vacation in Mexico and was suffering from the stronger than usual pull of gravity. I on the other hand felt like everything I wanted to try had a hold specifically shaped to agrivate my tendon, thus shutting me down. It was a challenging start but we were both encouraged by all the great climbing we saw and were excited for more. Plus, the tortillas from the Vista Mercado were the bomb!

1 comment:

Lyn said...

Hey Justin,
It's great to read about your adventures. Since the weather is completely crap here, I have to live vicariously through all you traveling climbers. Give a shout when you get back home, hopefully the weather will have cleared and we can do some more climbing in the Valley. Happy New Year!