It's nice to be back at Hueco Tanks. This place is special indeed. It has many cons such as waiting in line, limited access, highly restricted bouldering; the one pro is that the bouldering here is unbelieveable. The area lends itself to steep, powerfull climbing. It is the perfect recipe for hard boulder problems. I've spent my first 7 days here climbing as much as I can trying to get into Hueco shape. After only a week I feel like I am getting back into the flow. Yesterday, however, I kinda started to get sick. Recently progress came to a hault as I am trying to get over this cold. I have my fingers crossed for a quick recovery but time will tell.
As in the past year or two I wish I could fill this blog with news of super hard sends, but I'm still actually waiting to get back on the wave. I guess that's how it goes. The climbing I have been doing is fun as hell though. Most of the climbs I've done have been repeats of things that I did in years past. There have been a couple of exceptions. There is a 50 foot long overhanging traverse here called Mop Boys. I spent my first couple of days epicing on this really long problem that has about 5 tricky crux sequences. I went from having it in 10 parts to chucking laps on it for endurance. This problem is given 3 stars in Matt Wilder's Hueco guidebook. Despite many naysayers who complain about it being low, dabby and stupid, I will have to agree with the three stars. Not everything has to be deadly tall and reachy to get stars. Some things are cool based just on the challenge. I love long rock climbs and this one was bad ass. I had never done this line before and it was bad ass.
There was another line I did the other day called Shower Cap. In previous years, I always had an epic on this one and thought that maybe it was a bit to reachy for someone 5 ft tall. It is a roof with an opening move that is full extention from an undercling with no footholds, none that I could reach anyway. I watched my buddy Matt Arnold do it rather easily using his long arms and legs. Matt assured me that I could send using his beta. Well, he was right and wrong but mostly right. I had to improvise a little for the first bit by having both hands and feet in the same zone. This seemingly silly-looking tactic payed off and I stuck the big move. Even though I hadn't been able to do a single move on the problem after an hour of work, somehow after sticking the first part I screamed my way through about 7 more moves that I hadn't done. Sometimes when you get lucky, you stay lucky I suppose.
On a bit of a different note, I have to give a little info about a new Metolius pad I've been using called the Recon. This pad is my new favorite from Metolius. My favorite feature is the size. It is a little bit smaller than it's bigger brother the Colossus. When this pad is folded on the back it is very narrow at 22 inches wide, which is really usefull in Hueco where you have to constantly squeeze between tight corridors. I am also a big fan of how quickly it packs and unpacks. It only has one buckle that holds the tri fold together. My saddle bag of bouldering gears easily wraps around the outside. By doing this I avoid stuffing all my gear inside the pad, thus increasing the life of the foam. I've noticed that I'm always the first one to have my stuff packed up or unpacked. This saves more time for climbing, if only about 15 seconds per stop. Basically it is one of the most unique and efficient designs I've seen in a crash pad. At a price of $249 it is not the cheapest but it is not the most expensive either. Seems like a fair deal to me. Props to Metolius for thinking outside the box and finding new ways to make crash pads better.
I have 2 months left here in the Tanks. This should give me ample time to work out some of the classic hard lines that I've always wanted to do. In the meantime, I hope all the folks out in Tahoe continue to get their boulder on. Sounds like I picked the wrong season for a winter trip. But I will have plenty of time there soon enough.