Saturday, March 21, 2009

Upkeep



This post is long overdue! We've been a lot of places and met a lot of people since March seventh. As you can surmise from the weather bulletin above, we're in St. George Utah and loving every minute of it. We left Hueco almost two weeks ago, it was time. We said goodbye to the Dude Ranch, our little refuge in the desert for almost two months and headed east to Carlsbad New Mexico. We packed the Scamp as tight as we could, filled up the water tank, and waved Adios to Dr. Foo, Short Bus, T-Bag, and the rest of the desert rats that took up the torch in the march against gravity.
Our first day out of Texas found us at the silent oasis of Sitting Bull Falls, outside of Carlsbad. If you are EVER in the area, it is a must see even if you're not climbing. The geology there has slowly created a series of blue green pools of clear mountain water cascading down a large formation known (and coveted by climbers) as Tufa. Tufa's are the slow depositing of plant material in the calcium rich water and it forms stalactites, stalagmites, and really funky worm like features that make climbing sort of like an episode of a Dr. Seuss story. Day one was perfect, we attacked the rock with reckless abandon trying every climb we saw (staying away from the killer bee nest though). Day two was different.

With a northern exposure the wall never sees sun and the ambient didn't get above 56 that day. It was cold as hell! BJ and I saddled up, lying to each other about how tough we were, and we got a couple of pitches in before we ran back to the camper for Gin and cribbage. Upon realizing the weather wasn't going to improve, BJ headed home to the wife and job, while Lin and I braved the cold and made some phone calls to our friends in Midland Texas. John and Carol pleaded with us to stay for just a few more days, and check out Last Chance Canyon. A small river bed lined with cliffs on either side, Last Chance was fuzzy in my mind. Having visited there years before, I recalled a couple of neat looking walls and some potential, but nothing more tangible than some vertical routes with sharp holds. Thank God we don't always listen to my memory! We became hopelessly lost our first attempt to locate the climbing. It's a long story but let's just say that we found some beautiful country, some cat tracks, and a bizarre tree with no bark and a reddish hue. The joys of travelling.

When we met up with John and Carol, we were ecstatic! Last Chance is a gem among gems. Don't ask me how to get there, I couldn't even begin to recall the maze of dirt roads and miles of barbwire that lead to the tiny little parking lot. We set up shop at the KOA in Carlsbad and laid siege on the canyon for two well fought days. Climbing better than we hoped we would, we sampled a little bit of everything the tiny gorge had to offer. Steep caves with 14 fixed draws like little soldiers marching upside down, dead vertical test pieces with bullet holes for grips, and sweeping waves rising above the mesquite and cactus patches. After a week in Carlsbad (which is a long time in that little hole of a town) we packed it up and headed north to St. George with some stops at the Caverns, the Grand Canyon, and the International UFO Museum.




Today finds us enjoying some well deserved Internet, coffee, and hot showers with couches and lounging laying in waiting. St. George is the final destination on this little excursion in paradise. We'll be here until we make the move to Salt Lake for jobs and "real life" We stopped by the Cathedral and Wailing wall yesterday, two amazing areas south of here. I can already see spending a good chunk of our time there. With better access to the inter-web, we'll be better about posting and updating our trip. If you're on Facebook, check out the video entitled The Dude Ranch 2009. It's rated R for language but portrays our time in Hueco rather accurately. Adios

Saturday, March 7, 2009

So tired....

I know it's been a while since I last posted but we've been decreasing our trips into town and Internet is scarce out in the desert. We've been climbing more and more consistent, harder problems every day we go out. Lindsay has continued to crush out hard test pieces like Shroom V9 within a handful of goes. True to form though, Hueco has punished us more than it's built us up. This place is harder to climb at than any other on the face of the planet I swear to God! Our tips are like little cement nubs on the ends of our fingers, our muscles are bulging with pain and swelling, and our egos are battered from days of failure on what seems like doable boulder problems. Our time here has been amazing to say the least. Every night we watch flawless sunsets and each day we get to climb in one of the most magical places on earth.
We've had the pleasure of climbing with some great new friends, Paul Jung and Ronnie Jenkins, both from back east. Paul's subtle and dry wit is always catching us off guard and Ronnie is so off the wall that you never know what he's going to do next just to get a good laugh out of everyone. Our tours have been those not of hard climbing, but fun climbing. Running around the park looking for the mega-classic V0 and V1's we've always skipped over. Just finding these gems proves to be an exciting day. Alas and alack, our time here has drawn to an end. We've got a day or two more, Trevor is dead set on finishing a video project and yours truly is the only one who has no video time. A day or two on north and then we're heading north, maybe to New Mexico for a few days and then to southern Utah to the limestone areas of St. George and the Arizona strip. I would love to post some pics but we don't have any since Trevor has confiscated our camera to shoot his masterpiece video. If it's finished any time soon, I'll post it, just don't let the kids watch (Trevor's music may not fall under the "family listening" category).
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