Roped Up at Hueco

Blake cruising the crux section of Fox Trot, Hueco Tanks

This weekend Blake and I went to Hueco Tanks (about 30 miles from El Paso) for three days of climbing.  If you’re a climber, you probably know that Hueco is the world’s premier bouldering destination.  But most people don’t know that Hueco also has world class roped climbing, with dozens of stellar one to three pitch routes and potential for dozens more.  I’ve been to Hueco about half a dozen times and I can only remember seeing one other roped climbing party.  It’s too bad because in my opinion the route quality at Hueco stacks up against any place I’ve been including Yosemite, Red Rock, and Eldo.
We flew to El Paso on Thursday and stayed at the Hueco Rock Ranch, which is basically a big house and campground for climbers.  Climbers (mostly boulderers) from all over the world stay at the Rock Ranch — often for weeks or months on end — to climb at Hueco.  It’s amazing to think that people travel halfway around the world to visit a small state park in the middle of nowhere.  Blake and I stayed in the bunkroom, which sleeps up to 7 people.  It wasn’t luxurious (think hostel) but it’s close to the climbing and more importantly came with passes to North Mountain (the park only allows 70 visitors per day — it’s a long story).
Overall this turned out to be one of the best weekend climbing trips I’ve done.  The weather cooperated, Blake and I climbed well, and we met some great people.  Here’s our tick list — a total of 21 pitches or around 3,000 feet of climbing:
  • Cakewalk (2p)
  • Alice in Banana Land
  • Malice in Bucket Land
  • Divine Wind
  • All The Nasties
  • Uriah’s Heap (2p)
  • Hueco Syndrome
  • True Grip (2p)
  • Window Pain
  • Sea of Holes (2p)
  • Indecent Exposure (2p)
  • Hueco Syndrome (2p)
  • Fox Trot
  • Fox Tower Indirect (2p)

All of the routes were so good that it’s hard to pick a favorite, but a couple stand out.  I climbed Indecent Exposure for the third time.  It’s one of the wildest and most intimidating routes I’ve done and even though I’ve become a better climber over the years it always feels hard and a little scary.  We did a route called Fox Tower Indirect for the first time.  I doubt it gets climbed much but it’s a fantastic offwidth corner with technical stemming.  It feels very much like a route you’d find at Red Rock.

Kevin starting the second pitch of Uriah’s Heap

We’ve already hatched a plan to return to Hueco soon (maybe next month) to do a few routes we didn’t get to and also sample the roped climbing on West and East mountains, which requires a guide due to access restrictions.


3 thoughts on “Roped Up at Hueco

  1. Pingback: Blown Away « Finding Balance

  2. Nice! How high is this climb?

    I’m not a climber but I’m just wondering because I’ve read an article of roped party climbers who accomplished 12 4000 m peaks in 5 days at Monte Rosa Regions.

    Is that considered extreme climbing?

    I happen to find my way in this blog so I’m curious what experience climbers has to say.



  3. Hi JJ,

    There are many types of climbing. The routes I describe in this post are fairly short but technical “trad” climbs. The type of peak climbing you refer to is probably mountaineering.


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