Just in time for this years Hueco season, here is last seasons wrap up-
The Year of the East Mountain
For the past couple of winters I have been making my annual pilgrimage to Hueco Tanks, Texas to climb on some of the best rock in the US. This year was the same, only a little different. In the two previous seasons I had finished up big projects that I had my eyes on for years, The Seventh Circle(video here) and Count to Six and Die(video here). Two mega lines that took a lot of effort over years, physically but also mentally.
This year the difference was I didn’t know what to try, I had seen some cool undone lines out there, but nothing I could remember really caught my attention. I thought there was something on East near the Dragons Den, but upon further inspection I realized it would not yield. So I went back to finish up some old Hueco classics, while still trying to keeping and eye out for new lines.
Ashima Shiraishi came down again this year to brush up some of her old projects. Among them were Full Service which she dispatched easily in a couple tries. She had issues with it last year but this year she was able to figure it out. Ashima had a great time as usual, she is always a fun and motivated climber to go out with. We will be releasing a video about her trip soon entitle Ashima Shiriashi’s Perfect Day.
So far I hadn’t found any really proud lines, that was until one day when I was hanging out with Chris Schulte at Brittany in a Blender, and we decided to take a stroll around the corner to check a out a known project near Mangum, but we went a slightly different way and ran in to this beautiful arete (the ladder is a little over 10ft tall). We could hardly believe our eyes and we were confused as to how we never noticed it before, especially since there is another known project to the right of it on the same wall. It looked amazing though, just the perfect height and on perfect rock. I love this stage of a first ascent. Another day I came back and rapped down, cleaned it and visualized the moves, everything was there and it was ready to go!
Working through the first crux on The Hand of Time.
Steep arete climbing on super solid Hueco rock! I basically fell my way up this one while working it. I would stick the next move and fall to test the landing as I figured it out, get back on and stick the following move and so on. There is that wall behind you on the right which really feels a lot closer than it is. This one changed my perspective, and I remembered there is still so much to do out there, if your paying attention.
The Wooden Mushroom is a cool problem on ground level and on bullet stone. Very hard first move into difficult compression and a juggy top out. I was attracted to this one because of the perfect rail and it made for a fun addition to the park.
Crimping down on Undead Monkey to the left of The Tall Cool Red One, this problem starts on a cool surfboard rail under the roof and goes directly up the face, I was first drawn to it because of the line that would finish left, which is still undone.
Handa Yuta on the second ascent of the ominous Night Owl, a nice compression problem in the Snake Charmer zone on East Mt. This is one of those problems thats in a main area and you never notice it because the climbing isn’t obvious but makes for a good compression sequence thats not over till its over.
Going for it on The O Face, which isn’t actually a face at all. This was the last problem I put up for the season, there could be a lower start back in the cave, I just started on the jug and it is in the East Spur near Johnny Mop.
In non climbing related news, I believe I found a hidden room. I cannot speak of its location at the moment, but I tried to enter it twice without any luck. The first time I was by myself and got halfway through this narrow squeeze slot but I had to turn back because of fear. I could see it went even farther, so I came back with a posse and one volunteer to try and go deeper, this was the slender Jay Bone, who made it several feet past my “high point”, but he too had to retreat because of fear, and he saw something moving back there with eyes.
Committing to the final crux move on the One Eyed Monster.
I always wanted to climb this tall streaked face just because of its shear beauty. I always put it off because it is so high, but a friend Gustavo dropped a rope down it last year and said it would yield. It was also on the way up the hill to my other project The End(below) so I would walk by it for over a month, enticing me every time. A nice rolling wall that starts at slab and ends slightly overhanging. Its a technical climb with the crux below the main seam and glory jugs to the top make this climb a fun and relatively safe highball.
Taking the big swing out of the toe hooks on The End.
I named this problem The End for many reasons. It was the end of the season, the redpoint crux is at the end, and you never know if the end is right around the corner… I found this one while trying to explore an entirely different side of East Mtn, I went over behind the The Trickster and followed that gully all the way to the summit finding nothing new. Then at the summit I walked in through the back side of this cave, and saw the huge roof above me that lead to a gigantic hueco in the roof. There were holds but it was definitely going to be a puzzle trying to get between them and out this massive roof. When I walked out the other side of the cave I realized I was at an area I knew fairly well and was facing the old John Sherman problem Wanking Dreams. Another example of something being right in front of your face and never seeing it. Maybe I did see it, or I thought it was too high with a weird landing. Whatever it was it wasn’t present to me at the time, but now it is exactly what I was looking for.
Check out the video of these last two problems in Dead Point Mag’s the STASH Not a member? Now its FREE join today.
The Hueco season was amazing and the longest one to date. There is so much out there to climb and explore and Im sure most of it will remain hidden for many years to come. Someone just needs to come along with the right eye to see it.