If there was one thing I tried to grasp while we were out there it was just how big the place was. That was the constant struggle when it came to pictures and video. The area is absolutely massive and it seems to go on forever.
|Looking out over West Mountain|
Katie and I had a nice plan going in and we both executed perfectly. Luckily the 95-100 degree highs assisted us in not getting attached to any one project and using the trip more as a scouting trip for another one down the road.
|Katie on Babyface|
Frankly, I can't remember a trip where we just messed around happily with rather low motivation. It allowed us to try out a number of different problems and we saw a bunch of different areas in the process.
|Jugs, here's your nipple chafing solution!!|
Kevin seemed the only one interested in trying hard projects with any amount of serious try hard and while he came close on a couple of his projects, even he had to submit to the terrible conditions.
|Kevin on his project|
Case in point. On the last day, yesterday, we went to the Icarus boulders and puttered around on a couple things that were absolutely baking in the sun before moving on to a nice shady V1 that we figured we could warm up on.
The three of us spent the next 45 minutes getting humbled like no other on that random V1 before Kevin finally figured out some tall beta for the crux and bushwhacked his way to the top.
Skin and strength didn't seem to be much of an issue aside from the 3rd day for me and the 4th day for Katie. I only got one split, on the first day, which surprised the hell out of me considering the temps.
In all we spent most of our time on North but took one tour on East Mountain on our second day. The tour was a unique experience combining a bunch of different agendas, levels and personalities but our guide was awesome and I'd love to spend more time in the backcountry next time I go down.
|We even saw a baby rattlesnake|
If there was anything that was disappointing for me, it was the surprising gap between the level of polish on the holds. It seemed that holds were either extremely sharp or polished to a sheen that even I haven't experienced before. Often times all on the same problem. That's what happens though when you get such a heavily used and popular area that's been on the forefront for almost a quarter of a century.
Out of everything we saw and heard while we were there, I have to say that the most interesting thing I saw was the broken Dam over on North Mountain. For whatever reason I was enthralled with it. Afterwards we took some time to talk to one of the rangers, Wanda I think, and she filled us in on some of the sordid history of Hueco.
I for one had no idea that a developer was attempting to build a resort there in the 60's. And that he wanted to put a hotel on top of North Mountain. It was incredible to hear about. Same with the guy who carved Mount Rushmore. He came to Hueco and wanted to carve a Mexican hero who's name I've long forgotten into the main side of North Mountain.
Can you imagine????
Both of us are looking forward to going back sometime soon. It's tough though cause there's so many areas to visit still like Joe's, Squamish, RMNP, etc. but Hueco is something special. The history, the iconic problems and the fact that it's very much the birthplace to the modern bouldering movement all make it something more than just another area. If you haven't been, I hope you get to go soon.