Tuesday, 23 February 2010

End of part one (almost).

North Mountain

My time here in the good old US of A is nearly over, for the time being at least. I fly out of LAX on Saturday and head to Vancouver. We are having a rest day today partly due to rain and snow overnight, so hopefully 2 days of climbing left in the Tanks and then the long drive back to LA on Friday.

I am pleased with my achievements here although maybe I could have pushed myself a little harder, but as I keep finding as I move to new destinations it takes me time to get accustomed to the styles etc and Hueco was no exception. I have learnt many new techniques and found that I can do a variety of climbs that I would once have thought impossible with some work and perseverance. I happily achieved two V4 climbs, one was called T bone shuffle and the other most recent one, Girls of Juarez. I was extremely pleased with this as it was along a roof and then topped out over a lip. I needed to use a couple of toe hooks and involved what I would consider some tricky moves.

Now that I only have a few days left I am not sure if I will complete any other problems but I started working on a V5 yesterday. It may have to be finished another time!

I am looking forward to my new adventures in Canada, at present I have no particular plans other than try and navigate myself through the Olympics to meet and stay with some old family friends, buy new shoes as my trusty 5.10s now have a rather large hole in the sole and get a hair cut. My hair has not been cut in about 8 months and is looking rather tatty, I need to pretty myself up again!

I have had the most incredible time here and am thankful to all the wonderful people that I have met a long the way. I am especially thankful to Wes for putting up with me for so long. What started out at as a chance meeting at a boulder in Joe's Valley way back in September has turned out to be the making of a very good and hopefully life long friendship. I will treasure many incredible memories of people and places till the day I die. Good times xx

Who knows what Canada will throw at me, hopefully more incredible people, more kick ass climbing and plenty beautiful scenery to photograph.

My Evolves with added rubber for essential Hueco toe hooking.

I had to purchase new headphones as my old ones were only playing through one ear. The instructions made me laugh. I always wondered what the L and R were for ;o)

All photos by Caroline Harvey

Wednesday, 3 February 2010

General musings

It has been 5 months since I left home for my big adventure and it has surprised me how fast the time has flown by. Here are some of my thoughts and general observations so far.

1) Stating the obvious to start but this is one hell of a big country, I think the UK is about the same size as one of the smallest states like Maine.

2) 99.9% of the people I have met so far are extremely friendly and welcoming.

3) I am the only person in the whole of the country that uses both a knife and fork to eat their food with.

4) Everything here is supersized. My old mini would not have been a sensible choice to drive here, I would have been squashed like a fly on a windscreen, and they would not have noticed.

5) Dry desert air messes with my skin.

6) I only have 3 sleeping positions when in a sleeping bag in a tent, left side, right side, back.

7) Many people mistake my accent for Australian and look surprised when I tell them I am Scottish, then say "Wow but I can understand what you are saying"

8) I am now addicted to peanut butter.

9) I should not drink more than 2 cups of coffee in one sitting.

10) You don't feel so far from home with modern technology.

11) Mexican food is cheap and filling.

12) I have eaten more corn tortillas in the last 5 months than most people have in a life time.

13) Climbers male or female over the age of 30 are hard to find.

14) Nobody walks anywhere, a long hike is any distance over 500m.

15) When at home I often crave male company, when only surrounded by men under the age of 25 for more than 2 months I crave female company, but am coping well under the circumstances.

16) There is nothing to do in El Paso when it rains.

17) Walmart/Asda has the same customers world wide.

18) A 2 man tent only fits one woman and all her stuff.

19) Life passes too quickly so make the most of it while you can.

20) Sleeping with your ipod in your sleeping bag saves it from going all wonky in the cold.


Tuesday, 2 February 2010

Overhangs, heel hooks and shenannigans

I have been in Hueco for just over two weeks now and have done a fair amount of climbing but mostly V0 to V1 with a few V2's thrown in for good measure. This is not to say that I have not tried harder grades, I have tried some 4's, 5's etc also, but usually failed at a few crux moves or just could not get my butt off the ground. There is climbing here that suits all styles but many are on over hangs and require heel hooks, toe hooks or other any other funky beta that you can think of. I generally am not that great at any of these, but am learning fast if i want to achieve anything here at all.

The other day I came back to a climb, a V3 called Lip Sync, that I had tried a few days previous and I knew with a little time, beta remembering and some patient spotters I could do. Thankfully after about 5 or 6 goes I made it. It was very pleasing as I think I was on the verge of giving up ever being able to do anything harder than V2. What makes it slightly harder here is that everyone seems to climb nothing below V7, so you end up feeling like a bit of a punter. Anyway, I enjoyed my moment of glory and will now seek out something else that will suit me.

Not much else to report here from Texas, the weather is still a bit mixed. We have cold nights and warmish days for the most part, but it did snow at the end of last week very briefly and we have 2 days of torrential rain. This morning looks like it will be bright and sunny when the sun gets to full strength in a few hours.

Ok the Park office is now open so I need to head off to get 2 passes for North mountain as we only have 2 reservations between 4 of us.

Love to all my girlfriends, really missing you all.