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Emergency Bouldering

By February 16, 2019March 5th, 2019No Comments

The line to get into Hueco Tanks’ self-guided area was a long one today. Actually, it still is. As I write these words into a notebook (for later transcription), the afternoon drags on, and despite the 35 mph wind gusts, not many folk seem to be leaving the park. So here we sit, myself and 5 other cars.

I just noticed that the windshield chip looks kinda like a big bird. Neat.

Vikki is in Arizona, shooting a cycling race as a hired gun. So, somewhat absurdly, I sit alone in the cab of a big red truck, hoping to get a few climbs in before the gate closes at 6pm.

I was hoping the wait wouldn’t be too bad today. The Rock Rodeo is tomorrow, and I’m not expecting to climb because I’m a volunteer photographer. The idea was that folks would be resting today for the competition tomorrow. I guess lots of other people had that idea.

To make things extra absurd, the President is trying to tell me there’s a national emergency here in Borderland. Having been in and around El Paso since early December, I can report having had friendly conversations with locals at grocery stores, auto care centers, and the YMCA. As far as I can tell, I’ve had no contact with any invaders, drugs, caravans, or sneaky middle eastern terrorists.

“They’re not sending their best…” Here we see Jeremy sending Best of the West, with a caravan of hordes of illegal spotters.

Politicians, generically speaking, are lambasted for changing a position. John Kerry flip flopped, and it cost him a very important election. We ought to be unsurprised, then, that a far-from-trivial number of Americans are proud that this President sticks to his guns wall in the face of overwhelming evidence that his idea is stupid and unpopular.

Ryan coming very close to sending the overwhelmingly popular Egg.

I’ve been bouldering long enough to know better, yet I constantly find myself practicing the wrong beta for far too long. I’ll write off a method after one or two tries because it feels awkward or hard, only to find out later that it’s a learned move, and the one I should’ve been dialing in the whole time. What I’m saying is, I know what it’s like to sink effort into an idea based on a preliminary feeling and incomplete information. A flexible, nimble body and mind is a combination less likely to…oh, how should I put it…bang itself against a wall?

It was never about the wall, it was about the power to change reality. It’s a sexy street to stroll down, because reality sometimes hurts. When people cheer the President’s obstinance, it’s not just a policy thing. They’re cheering for the ultimate underdog: someone who is simply wrong. They identify with the anger caused by reality not matching up with the Fox News fantasy, a fantasy shared by the President and his supporters alike.

Tina trying the moves on The Feather.

I’ve spent 3 days trying The Feather, an all-time classic and life goal for me. The hardest part is the first 2 or 3 moves, depending on how you do it. I tried the 3-move method a couple of times, then spent about two and a half days trying the 2-move method. I reasoned that I’m big, and I tend to do better on bigger moves. Had I tried switching back to the 3-move beta sooner…well, I don’t mind. That little perch up on West Mountain is pleasant, and it’s been a while since I’ve felt this invested in a climb.

In these times of National Emergency, I just remind myself that bouldering is awesome.


I gained entrance to the park around 4pm and met up with John Frisby, who, with some friends, was chasing 100 V-points. I climbed a thing or two with him before he headed down to ground-level to finish up. Props, John!

Make Hueco Great Again (reads the front of Ian’s hat)

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