posted by dpm on 03/20/2012
The Hueco Rock Rodeo usually marks the end of the season in Hueco. While it’s certainly not over, by mid-March the temps start to warm up and the climbers generally begin their migration to other areas. This year, like most years, saw some significant first ascents go up in the park. Despite the compact size of Hueco and the crowds of climbers that scurry among the boulders every day in the winter months, a few new lines go up each year.
Jason Kehl on Count to Six and Die. Photo: Jason's DPM blog
In February, Jason Kehl finished his project to produce another classic highball called Count to Six and Die. He wrote on his DPM blog about the ascent:
I tried the project on a rope off and on for two years, but was never able to figure out the crux sequence involving a crazy kung fu, toe hook drop knee to a horrible pinch. This year I committed to solving the problem and spent several weeks checking out the moves on a rope until I felt comfortable in the space.
He continued with: As far as the grade, I’m really not too interested in that, maybe someone else can come along and figure that out. I just know it was not only one of the harder things I’ve done, it was one of the most challenging mentally. Which is one of the things I love about climbing. Seeing something that looks impossible or terrifying and slowly warp your perspective until you understand that the fear was only in your head.
Jason put together an amazing video documenting his process and the final send. It can be seen by clicking the image below.
Dave Graham spent the entire season in Hueco and proved that he still has the eye for ferreting out firsts. He came away with numerous first ascents, certainly more than any other climber this season. Most notable were his two V14 first ascents, Neon Desert and Blood of a Young Wolf. He was able to send the latter on the very last day of his trip. He wrote on his 8a scorecard:
The black vortex project aka the Concordia rig. A low start to one of two exits: a 7c+ (V10) version which heads right, or an undone left exit, which remains a project despite a massive onslaught of attempts from our posse. An amazing problem with extremely burly moves on sloppy grips, I was lucky enough to send the last day of my trip, and had zero expectations to do so. This thing was the icing on the cake for my trip to the tanks this year. Next year, the left exit. 8c (V15) without a DOUBT.
He added two V13’s with Bastard in a Basket and Where Love Goes to Die, three V11’s and a V10 for a total of 8 hard new problems. It’s pretty amazing considering the heavy traffic of top notch boulderers that are always on the prowl for new lines in the Tanks. Not only did Dave snag some fresh FA’s, he also repeated some sick problems like the second ascent of Matt Wilder’s Bandersnatch, Nagual, Sol Adunamentum and Full Throttle (all V13).
Jimmy Webb came away with two new V12’s he’s calling Cut to the Quick and Pull the Plug. Chris Schulte put up a new V11 or V12 in the East Spur called The Maroon.
Chris Schulte on his new problem The Maroon (V11 or 12). Photo: Rob Guinn
It was a big year for hard new problems at Hueco Tanks but also a statement to the rising level of bouldering overall. Nalle Hukkataival flashed Crown of Aragorn and Sean McColl flashed Nagual. The youth team from Boulder, Colorado came and they almost all climbed V10 and V11. Daniel Woods destroyed the Rock Rodeo with a 76 V-point day. The action was non-stop.
It was also a great year for us armchair boulderers. These days it seems that nearly every major ascent gets captured on video for our viewing pleasure. Below is a list of some great Hueco videos from the past season.