Jason Kehl has been climbing for over 13 years and an artist for just as long. Climbing has always been a good creative outlet and his vagabond lifestyle and penchant for danger have fueled his adventures over the years. Jason's evolvement in the climbing world reflects theses ideas and he is willing to share them with whoever is willing to listen.
A pro climber that has been living on the road for the past 10 years, Jason always seems to find adventure. His highballing escapades have been well documented, including some amazing first ascents like- Evilution in Bishop, Ca and becoming the first person to solo 5.14d with his boulder ascent of The Fly in Rumney New Hampshire. You can also see what he is up to via his website www.cryptochild.com.
I just took a three-year break from Hueco Tanks. I had been going down every season, but I guess I just got tired of dealing with the rules. But that was a long enough time for me, so I had to go back for some more. It was just as good as I remembered, maybe better! The steepness of the wall and the powerful climbing, on holds that look like they were made for climbing is an incredible combination.
It's nice to just get out and hike around, I love going to an established, well-traveled area and find new lines. Maybe people thought they were too high or the landing was too bad or I just looked impossible at first. All I know is that there are plenty of them out there; you just have to keep a sharp eye out. I put up a new line the other day that's only about 100ft from the super popular Ghetto Simulator. I called it To Die For; it's not super hard but has beautiful rock, perfect height and fun movement. What else could you
ask for? A lot of the time, when I find a new line, I can't believe
it at first. There has to be something up, (especially in Hueco) rock art, or the area is off limits for climbing, ect. Tread lightly is the motto down here for sure. This isn't Arkansas; you can't just whip out a chainsaw to remove a tree for the next best line. So, I think it is more special when you find a nice line.
I am a bit injured right now, which is a bit of a bummer. It could be a sucking chest wound, but I'm not really sure. So most of my days here are spent pondering what is left to climb here. The other day I took a solo "Ghost' tour of North Mountains great legends that are no longer with us, like the Mushroom Boulder or the infamous Sleeping Giant, a problem at the end loop that I cleaned up, Dave Graham sent and then it got shut down the next day. Never to be climbed again. If climbing becomes outlawed, will climbers become outlaws? We will see.
If all of the problems were closed maybe we could find solitude just sitting on the boulders.
Though it's a tough situation, I would have to say my love for the Tanks is stronger than the rules that they throw at us and I'm sure that will remain true for many years to come. Long skin shredding days out at the boulders. Cold nights, with new friends at the Hueco Rock Ranch. Sounds like the good life too me.