Hueco Tanks: where climbers go to crimp, turn 360 in a roof, knee-bar, toe-hook, heel-hook and power scream. Where we Brits go to climb everyday, continually amazed by the stable climate, treading the fine line between tan and burn.

So were our expectations when we rocked up on the 14th January, leaving the soft, skin-friendly sandstone of the southeast behind us. The tone had changed already for me, I was preparing to try hard and feel wrecked. I loved the climbing in the southeast but I was ready to feel exhausted, to end the day not being able to do another move. To feel my muscles ache as weakness left my body, replaced by Hueco-induced power. To put it simply, I was psyched out of my mind.

We were lucky enough to stay with some friends on their land. Wagon Wheel, or “The Stronghold” as Melissa and Adam often call it, was such a fun place to stay. We rented their old trailer and it made a great little home for the month that we were there. Not only was it peaceful and simple, it was socially perfect as we climbed a lot with Melissa and Wick and then with our British contingency Tom, Adam and James when they came out. We were lucky to meet up with lots of people we knew too, including Max, Liberty and Layla. It felt like a little community with just the right amount of everything.

Wagon Wheel

BoysDave, Tom and Adam doing Brits everywhere proud with their fashion sense…

The climbing was different in some ways to what I expected, the rock was sharper but I felt able to adjust to that relatively quickly. A sort of acceptance appears and one’s pain tolerance just increases with demand. The movement in Hueco is fantastic; the problems are really three dimensional and interesting, with lots of fun beta. As I hoped, it was very physical and I definitely got a good work out! David and I both found we had to rest more than we expected, often falling back to day on/day off when our skin and bodies demanded it.

The climbing in general was really positive for me, I felt confident and strong and was able to climb a lot of the things that I wanted to climb. My most satisfying and favourite problems were:

Barefoot on Sacred Ground V12 (with a direct top out….scary!)

Rumble in the Jungle V12 (V11 for the tall but a different story for the less tall peeps)

Chablanke V11

Le Chninkel V11 (dubbed Schnitzel due to my inability to recall the name properly)

Flower Power V10 (So much fun, one of the best)

Choir Boys V9 (awesome moves, very burly)

Power of Silence V10 (classic)

Full Service V10 (another favourite)

King Cobra V6

I could go on, there are so many fun problems in Hueco, it really is just a big kids’ playground. Here are some photos:

Rumble in the Jungle, V12Rumble in the Jungle, V12

Power of Silence, V10 Photo David MasonPower of Silence, V10, Photo David Mason

Chablanke, V11, Photo David MasonChablanke, V11, Photo David Mason

Mojo, V10 Photo Max MooreMojo, V10, Photo Max Moore

Full Service Screen ShotFull Service, V10

Le Chninkel, V11, Photo Melissa StrongLe Chninkel, V11, Photo Melissa Strong

As I write this we are on our way home. We are tired and worked from what was a great last weekend: The Hueco Rock Rodeo. Organised with extreme dedication and effort by Melissa Strong, this event was ace.

The best thing about the weekend for me was the opportunity to spend the day climbing with a group of really strong girls! It was a competition technically but it didn’t feel like it. We spurred each other on, shared beta, laughed and got to know one another better.  Big thanks from me to Jule, Nina and Courtney for making it so fun. I was psyched to come 2nd managing to climb two V10s, three V9s and a couple of V8s that day. Well done for Jule for piping me to the post with an extra V11! Very inspiring to watch her send 🙂

Before the competition day, I had the opportunity to give an evening lecture/slideshow on Self Efficacy in Climbing, which I enjoyed (through nerves). Thanks to everyone there for the positive reception and the good feedback, it’s always nice to hear that a lecture is well received.

Lecture

A massive well done to Melissa for her tremendous effort with the Rodeo and all that went into it. The climbing day went smoothly, the food and music were great, the prizes were awesome, the goody bags were fab and it was a true success!

So now we are homeward bound and the hard training has to begin. I am hoping to do the World Cup Circuit again this year and I want to keep improving so the grafting must commence. It starts with our GB Team Trials this Sunday.…talk about hitting the ground running!

Until next time US of A…. 🙂

RodeoRodeo day fun, Photo Melissa Strong