Leaving Hueco was extremely hard! For one, we left many problems behind (mostly untried, but a few unfinished). Second, we left behind new friends (and their dogs!), whom we already miss a bunch! Basically we left a place that had begun to feel like home (in more ways than one). I think this is common; there is something special about Hueco, and there are just too many awesome problems to ever feel “done.” Thankfully, though, Mig and I both finally started to feel in decent shape and so we take with us a great tick-list of classics, as well as some individual proud sends. Actually, considering that we have a baby with us and that we had only 3.5 weeks, we’re pretty darn psyched about everything we did.
People + Climbing
Many people contributed to our good times. Jesse – a rad dude with a positive, chill yet psyched attitude – was awesome to climb with for a couple of days. He got the send-train going for me on ‘DDD,’ and his flash of ‘Rudy’ (along with Rocco’s beta) inspired me to bite the bullet and send ‘King Cobra’ from the proper start (both hands on the undercling). Also, more Montrealers came through. I believe we mentioned Dom, Geoff and Phil, but we also got to climb – even if briefly – with Claudia and Eveline, and then on our 2nd last day, with Cloe and Fred. Toujours le fun de voir et grimper avec nos amis du Quebec!
Also, we were joined for a week by our friend Omar, and fellow Joe Rock-heads, Siu and Robin. We had a blast with these clowns! In case some of you were wondering, yes – Omar can still be his angry self when climbing outdoors. But, he is also motivated, hilarious, generous, and all-around awesome. It’s true, his send of ‘Mexican Chicken’ wasn’t pretty but he deserves serious props for not letting go at the top after cutting loose that often. We didn’t know Siu and Robin very well before this trip but we quickly learned that they are both very kind and super funny. We also learned that Siu will never stop climbing despite being broken in numerous places (cf. Loic) and that Robin is a dyno master.
Our tour to the East Spur with these 3 dudes and beta-master Rocco (a.k.a. the conductor) was definitely a highlight for us. Climbing-wise, Mig finished off ‘Jigsaw Puzzle’ as well as (the unfortunately named) ‘Better Beat Your Sweeties’; I took down a problem that I had had my eye on called ‘Better Eat Your Wheaties;’ we both flashed the ultra-classic, amazing line, ‘Moonshine Roof;’ and Siu sent ‘Uncut Yogi’ (essentially 3 times) in classic Siu style (i.e. with desperate screams) (see photo). We all finished off this great day with dinner at the famous Texan steakhouse: Cattlemans (drool).
Oh, and we also have to mention Scott. This guy is psyched! He also happens to know a lot of stuff about a lot of stuff, so he’s very interesting to have around. He kindly came out on his rest day to make us feel very important by taking photos and shooting video on our last climbing day, which was on East Mountain (with Rocco, Mary, Ian and Leici – more great peeps!). Thanks to him, Mig and I each have video footage of our last sends of the trip (Mig on ‘Ventral Fin’; Me on ‘Something Different’), which were both very proud.
Rock Art Tour
On one of our rest days, we went on a “Rock Art” tour (led by Mary) and checked out a sample of the native art paintings in the park. It was very cool to learn about the (conjectured) history of the inhabitants of Hueco Tanks as well as how the rock mountains were formed (hardened lava inside a giant limestone “mould,” which eroded away over time).
Thanks to Scott Strong for shooting video on our East Mountain tour. Here is a video of Mig on ‘Ventral Fin’:
* click an image for larger size (cliqué sur une image pour la voir en grand format).