Mario and I went to Hueco Tanks last January, and our eagerness for climbing got us kicked out on our second day at the park (Parked in a handicap spot). Luckily for us, Mario had heard about this cool climbing spot near Carlsbad, New Mexico. We packed all the gear up in the van and set off on the 2-3 hr drive. If you're not very familiar with Texas geography, Hueco Tanks is pretty much El Paso, which is a border town to Mexico. The state has check points and highway patrolmen that try and spot suspicious activity coming from El Paso, and Mario and I were in a bright Yellow van. The van is important because it is the IDEAL vehicle for transporting people and narcotics thru the border. 

Mario's narcotic's van.

 Glamorous "Van Life"

Glamorous "Van Life"

So as Mario and I drive into New Mexico the speed limit changes from 75 to 70, and we just keep on cruisin' at 75 since 5 miles over the limit isn't usually an issue. About 10 minutes later the red and blue lights go up in the rear view mirror, and our smuggling empire would be found out (Smuggling quickdraws, ropes, and smelly climbing shoes).

Now this isn't supposed to be important to the story but Mario is black and I am white and I also look like i'm a young teenager despite being 20 at the time. The officer walks up to the window and asks Mario to step out of the van and put his hands on the side. Already i'm thinking "wtf he can't do that, what were we possibly doing wrong". After talking with Mario for about 5 min, he walked over to my side and asked me if what we were doing, where we were going, where we came from, and if we had any drugs in the car. "Rock Climbing, New Mexico, Hueco Tanks, and half a pound of Chalk" luckily the guy had a sense of humor. After it became apparent that the officer wasn't going to arrest us, he started asking us about rock climbing in general. One of the cool parts of being a climber is people usually can't imagine going up on high cliffs with a thin rope and your finger tips to keep you from falling. Mario told him about climbing gyms and the Climb Fit program he runs, was actually a pretty chill conversation after all the business had been taken care of. The officer sent us on our way and we went off to Sitting Bull Falls, New Mexico. 

Mario has a unique way of pushing me to be great, basically he goes and climbs something that is incredibly hard even for him, and then leaves his gear all over it and then goes "Hey, you gotta climb this route because all our gear is on the route..." and I get roped (no pun intended) into climbing a 5.13b after climbing 5-10 routes at my max already. So here I am on this 5.13b that is INCREDIBLY overhung, the climb is basically a very large cave or how a huge wave would look.

 Mario, about 3/4 of the way up this 5.13b. If you can trace the thin black line back to where it meets the wall, that's about where I fell at.. 

Mario, about 3/4 of the way up this 5.13b. If you can trace the thin black line back to where it meets the wall, that's about where I fell at.. 

 Blood is just finger tears. 

Blood is just finger tears. 

Basically this means that since I am "cleaning" the route (Meaning getting all of our gear off it) that If I fall I'm going to swing out into open space and not be able to get back to the wall. I get to about the 4-5th clip on the wall (20-30 feet up the climb) and I can't grip the rock anymore and I swing into the air. So to dumb it down, I am swinging about 10 feet away from the wall dangling from my next quickdraw which is about 10 feet above me. We tried "Boinking" (me trying to pull my weight up the rope.) for a little while to get me up to the next clip, but it didn't work. We basically rigged up an "ascender" with 2 prussic auto-blocker loops and a long webbing for a foot push. I think this might have been the only time in two years I've been legitimately mad at Mario haha. Here I am at 6pm inching my way up a rope to my next quickdraw, tired, hungry, and bleeding from most of my fingers hahah. 

Obviously I made it to the the next piece of gear and retrieved it and we went home, and the anger went away as soon as my feet touched the ground. I like this story because I can remember knowing the way to fix my problem with previous knowledge and gear on my harness, it just felt really cool. 

I'm going to try and write small stories about things on my trips once a week, I hope you enjoy :)

 

Comment