Pick up any publication pertaining to the sport of rock climbing, and chances are, you will see a smattering of descriptive chronicles highlighting the travels and adventures of the prolific scribe Abbey Smith. A climber and writer for over 10 years, Abbey travels extensively, financing her jet set lifestyle though her writing, allowing her more opportunities to pursue her love of adventure. Abbey has reported on a myriad of topics. From the exclusive hobby of vintage motor racing, to sassy, healthy-savvy posts on BeThree.com, to being on the editorial staff of the independent green publication elephant journal, a quarterly magazine devoted to living the "mindful life" through conscious consumerism, sustainability, eco-fashion and non new-aged spirituality.
Abbey's energy for writing is ravenous. When she speaks of it, her article ideas roll out of mouth in constant barrage without commas, periods, or other punctuation, but when placed in front of a computer, the word stream subsides into descriptive prose reminiscent of Joanne Harris. Dead Point Magazine is privileged to have her as a contributing blogger.
Roosters crowing, guns firing and dogs barking pierce through the desert silence each morning as I sip my coffee and peer across the barren valley at the panoramic view of Hueco Tank's front side. From my new nest, I'm completely removed from modern distractions and the consumer driven holiday season. Once I turn off Montana Ave onto Hueco Tanks Road, there are no more streetlights and cell phone reception fades away -- along with my connection to the outside world. Back to the simple life. I've been looking forward to this since last winter, when Vanessa Compton and I committed to spend the season in Hueco Tanks. With the freedom of freelance and my wireless office space, I couldn't wait to drop off the radar and gain inspiration from the peaceful emptiness and provocative climbing that revitalizes my creativity and psyche. In a rare interview with Wall Street Journal, novelist Cormac McCarthy simply put, "My perfect day is sitting in a room with some blank paper. That's heaven..."
I've been in Hueco Tanks for a month now. The days start early and the nights are long. My hands are battered and swollen; every muscle in my body is beaten down and sore. My time is consumed by climbing with close friends, guiding for the Hueco Rock Ranch, and writing during rest days. It's taken a few weeks to get used to the pain of crimping the sharp rock and committing to the frightening highballs and multi-tiered landings of Hueco's new breeds. My Eldorado Springs bouldering circuit didn't exactly prepare me for the steep and physically demanding roof climbing either, so I've taken it easy, climbing mileage, repeating old projects, and exploring new areas to get into Hueco shape.
Each season seems to be centered on a certain problem or style that dictates the theme. This year seems to be putting it all on the line, confronting fears on tall, sometimes serious, and undeniably aesthetic problems beyond the well-trod classics. Surrounded by others who are up for the challenge, there's always encouraging energy and attentive spots. When I joined Jason in Hueco at the end of October, it was in the high 70s and we were chasing the shade. Over the past week, it snowed an abnormal amount, the temps have dropped 20 degrees and the good friction has finally arrived. Now the season has begun.