Wednesday, March 18, 2009
Ashley’s Side of the Hueco Mountains
Now that we’ve got the relaxing and resting part of the trip taken care of, it’s time to focus on what we really came for – the bouldering! While David did a nice job highlighting our first day here on Sunday, I thought I’d add my two cents and a few more pictures as well. One can never get enough of this place, can they?
We were really lucky to get on a tour with some awesome people on our first day here. Our last tour had been in the winter of 2001 and we were not impressed. The guide was really strict (i.e."Can I leave your sight for a moment to relieve myself please?") and the other members of the tour were not real into the “group consensus” of where we should go. Hence we were not all that bummed about having to spend our last several trips on North Mountain because we’ve had the kids in tow. As they are not with us this trip, we decided to give a tour another shot. We hooked up with a large group of climbers from the southeast, mainly a group of friends from the Red River Gorge climbing community. The guides, Mike and Stephanie, have been at Hueco for the past 6 months and their friends were psyched to be climbing together again for their spring break trips. Everyone was really friendly, and we enjoyed climbing with Mike, Stephanie, Jeremy, Emily, Jeremiah, and Julia. They definitely have us convinced that we need to get to the southeast to check out the Gorge and also Horsepens, Little Rock City, etc. Ahhh, so many places, so little time (and money!). Like David mentioned, we began at the warm-up roof area, where Julia took an early morning swing off the V5 on the left side of the wall and gave herself a good, deep flapper. She managed to climb hard the rest of the day anyway! David and I could have spent all day at that boulder alone, as the roof problems are a bit harder for the vertically challenged and I was left with the Executioner as a project, while David managed to send it just before we left.
The group then agreed to move on to the Central Dragon’s Den, with much talk about Hobbit in a Blender. HOBBIT in a BLENDER!! Come on!! I was not psyched but hoped that there would be other things for me, the afore mentioned hobbit, to climb on. Luckily, I was able to figure out how the hobbit sends (or avoids?) the blender! With some high feet for the first move, and lots of encouragement and pads from our group for the techy, sketchy top-out, I was able to defy the myth that a hobbit cannot climb this problem. Awesome! Some others in the group were working some crimpy problems to the right of Hobbit and I started to salivate. With some good spotting and beta, I was able to flash Ides of March and I am so psyched about returning to this spot for further crimping sessions!
Jeremy climbing "The Ides of March"
Once again, David and I could have stayed here all day, but we were good little hobbits and moved on with the group to the south Dragon’s Den area where we were instantly mesmerized by Dragonfly. After watching others do the flowy smooth moves, David jumped on but got a little too pumped at the end to send the flash, but he sent it a couple of tries later. I then hopped on and had a blast on the nice smooth holds, and the campusing and heel-hooking movements (am I in heaven?) and managed to flash it. Such an incredible problem. Mike then recommended I try "Kim With a Bathtub in her Head," and I decided to give it a go despite the very, sharp, rock. This problem is definitely made for shorties, as the opening moves are really scrunchy with small moves to really sharp, small holds…I liked it instantly! The last move is pretty long so I fell on that, not getting the flash, but after working out that move I managed to send a few tries later. Definitely a fun problem if it fits you right, but I wouldn’t recommend it to most because of the... really, sharp, holds.
We then moved on to Ultramega, one of the coolest problems I’ve ever seen (but aren’t they all? Yes!) This problem was super cool, and if I would’ve had a little bit of skin and power left, it definitely would’ve gone, It had one reachy crux move in the middle, but other than that the holds are really good and not too far apart. And it’s a roof/traverse combo-yeah! Can’t wait to get back to that one.
After thoroughly destroying ourselves on Sunday, I knew that things might be a little different on Tuesday. We decided to stay on North Mountain, and although we had planned on getting an early start, Marlene’s suggestion of omelets and bacon caused us to be a little late starting, especially for such a hot day. By the time we got to the first area, the Bloody Flapper Traverse, my project from last winter, it was too hot to even think about getting on it. So we hiked over to Choir Boys Light, David’s proj from 2 years ago. He had been really close to getting this problem, especially with Tony's (short guy,from Boulder) beta. Unfortunately, without Tony there, David could not remember how he avoided the dab at the end of this problem. I was able to figure out how not to dab by pulling first my left foot high, then getting a right heel hook, but Dave was a little to scrunched up and big for my beta (take that tall man!).
After getting smacked around by that problem, we decided stay in the shade and get on Stegosaur, which we had seen last winter but it was too cold to try. With Misha’s beta, we knew that we had to start with our feet facing out of the cave and we managed to put together most of the moves fairly quickly. There was one move though, where you are on the sharp crimp with your right hand, and you have to move your right heel way down the ledge, that proved to be very difficult. None of us (we were climbing with two nice guys from Houston, Mike and Scott) could quite master the move. Maybe next time on a little cooler of a day.
Wilting from the heat, we thought the Gymnasium area sounded nice and cool. Two years earlier I had worked on the Burn Baby Burn traverse
and thought it seemed doable, although I was a little confused on the ending, as there was no chalk where the guide said the problem ended, and no visible holds either. It seems that some beanpole with a huge ape index figured it out recently though, as there is a bit of chalk on little areas of roughness of rock between what I thought was the end and what the guide describes as the real end. Tall
b&%$#@!*! Despite this, I tried to give it a go but the heat had completely melted my skin and I was done for the day. Not David. He was determined to get a new problem, and he found Gag Reflex, which pretty much did make me gag with its dyno move at the top.
David got really close to latching the hueco at the top, and will most likely link it next time.
We are hoping to get on another tour with the SE group for our last day, Thursday, hopefully getting back to Ultramega, some new problems, and old ones that we haven’t climbed in years. It's tough, but I'd better get back to my lounge chair and rest up for tomorrow - Ashley