So… This is my first blog, I have been quite nervous about writing a blog for a while now but here we go. I am currently in the USA half way through my trip so I thought this might be a good time to start.
Myself, James Garden, Alex Puccio and Chris Webb Parsons left London for Dallas on January 19th. After a few days at Alex’s family home we traveled a long 12 hours across Texas State to Hueco Tanks National Park. Alexs’s Uncle kindly lent us his 30ft camping trailer which was amazing! No coming back to a cold dark tent after climbing for us.
I think that, without conscious thought, I came to Hueco with high expectations. I wanted to climb hard and push myself. Day one started well as I climbed ‘Free Willy’ V10 second try, however, my psyche was rapidly decreased when I repeatedly failed on the first move of a V9 which was the stand start to a V12 I had hoped to try. Throughout my time in Hueco I came to realise that I have very little experience on rock and that I haven’t got much at all to justify any expectations. I accepted failing on problems and made the decision not to try anything too hard. Being surrounded buy so many boulders it seemed insane to spend days working one boulder problem anyway.
The climbing in Hueco Tanks I found to be surprisingly diverse and the scenery simply beautiful. There are boulders that require you to throw yourself between big holds in a horizontal roof and boulders that require you to move delicately between the sharpest of crimps, although I think there is a higher percentage of steeper climbing for sure. Grades are questionable here and I do not feel that I have the experience to grade a problem myself, so I have gone with the general feel from friends and those who have climbed the problem previously. So on this trip I climbed two V11s and six V10s with Full Service (V10) being the most enjoyable and satisfying by far! This problem required a combination of power and technique and took me analysing multiple moves to be able to get it. I was convinced that I could not do one of the moves but Alex somehow got me psyched to get back on, try hard and get it done.
Trying hard, going big and putting in all of my effort are things that I find difficult to do outside of competitions. This trip to Hueco where I was surrounded by people who have such a passion for the sport and such a drive to push themselves has inspired me to try harder, push harder and go bigger both on rock and when training.
In two weeks time I will be competing in The American National Bouldering Championships so in a few days Alex and I head to Boulder, Colorado to train in the world class Bouldering Centres it has to offer. Hopefully I have enough time to get used to the crazy steep walls, big holds and scary heights of American bouldering.