Hueco Tanks: West Mountain Birthday Tour

Road out of Hueco

Road out of Hueco

Andy took us a a tour of West Mountain for my birthday. The crew consisted of myself, Andy, Steve and a couple lost boys: Drew and Corey. Andy and I both love scrambling around West and have our eyes on some new and re-discovered boulders. Today’s mission was to climb 31 of these (for 31 great years) or at least as many as we could.

The birthday tour was a bit larger until time came to start hiking. Folks dropped out like flies. They just didn’t think scrambling over sketchy slabs, crawling into caves and tossing crash pads up and down cliffs sounded like fun. True we would probably be doing more hiking than bouldering but it’s an adventure and there are still a lot of climbs to be found at Hueco Tanks.

Cave treasures

Cave treasures

We started strong at Adventureland on the south end of West Mountain. We had climbed or at least projected 9 new problems. One ended up in the book but had no chalk, so new to us, and the other was a low start to an established problem. We were feeling good and thinking 31 problems might happen. And then Andy took us on his favorite trail, “The Trail of the Ancients.” It is a really neat route and one can traverse the whole mountain without setting foot on ground level. We hit up a problem Andy had found before called “Winged Cage.” I had seen this as well and wanted to come back. It is a pain to get to as it sits on top of West Mountain. The problem is hard but nice line.

2013-02-26_13-37-10_919

Wester mountain boulder eating rock monster

The tour continued to the other side and top of West where Drew crushed “the Poacher.” We then dropped into a honey hole that I had found last time on tour. There are numerous problems in the “Well Site” type corridor. Several require head lamps. Andy and I climbed one, trading out the head lamp between tries. This corridor gets a lot of water flow and thus the rock was pretty filthy. A lot of work to be done here but worth it. It will be a good warm weather spot. No pictures from here, too dark!

Andy saved the best for last and took us to an overlooked bouldered we deemed “Alien Hole.” It felt hard but doable and look cool. Drew was getting close as we had to pack up in order to make happy hour at Julio’s.

Happy hour at Julio’s turned out to be about 30 climbers, sitting at long tables and occupying a large room. We made it in time to get a couple margaritas at half price and ordered $5 enchiladas! Although not planned, the evening turned out to be a great birthday party. A lot of people I had met and gotten to know traveling over the past year and climbing at Hueco, were there. The Julio’s staff even brought out complimentary, birthday sopapillas for all of us. Then they sang happy birthday. We passed the sopapillas around and all were in good spirits.

Thanks Andy and everyone for a great birthday!

Below are some of the problems were found and climbed

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