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October 20, 2001
The interview with John Moses, endlessly delayed, has finally been posted.

The fall climbing season is here! Perfect weather, bugs mostly gone, hordes of climbers not here yet. We are a bit puzzled by the lack of climbers compared to the same time last year, but we are savoring it while we can.

Our new lead monkey has been steadily improving over the summer. He now gibbers in fear much less than before, and is capable of leading up stuff that I can no longer follow. Have started bringing Petzl Tiblocs with me. This weekend: the traverse pitch of Rainbow Bridge, 5.10c.

September 16 , 2001
First day climbing after the war started. Nothing will ever be quite the same.
June 29, 2001
John Moses is still reviewing the transcript and listening to the tape to make sure it is accurate. Please bear with us, our goal is to get the interview on the site as soon as possible! June 24, 2001:
Over the last four weekends, we have had great success in avoiding the heat and bugs by getting up early. Now that the summer is here, the Park is practically deserted, and there was only one other party (doing the first pitch of Rainbow Bridge) on the frontside today.

We are training a new lead monkey who we hope will serve us well on bigger walls this fall! The monkey, although badly frightened, was able to protect the first pitches of both Indecent and Purple Microdot; most of the pro would have held. Next, we plan to give the monkey a rack of tri-cams and send him up Walking on the Moon.

We have no idea if the bouldering is OK or too greasy 'cause we have not bouldered for weeks.

June 21, 2001:
The handwritten transcript of the interview had been typed in and sent to John Moses for review! I will have it posted here no later than June 30,2001. June 7, 2001:
I have finally completed the initial transcription of the interview with John Moses. It came out to eighty-two hand written pages - arrrgh. Now, I just have to type them in, send a copy to John for him to review, and then I will post it. If I ever do another interview, I gotta find the $ to hire a transcription service!
May 26, 2001:
I had one of my periodic recurring epiphanies last weekend, when we decided to get up early, and go directly to the front side and do trad routes. I was reminded that face-climbing is what I really love best. Sure, bouldering is fun, and I do a lot of it, but it is essentially a ground-hugging activity. One just doesn't get the view and the feeling of up being up in the air that comes with face-climbing!

The climbing is good at Hueco right now if you get it done before noon. The bugs aren't too bad until the afternoon. They are hellish after 4:00p.
May 25, 2001:
I happened to go for a hike in the Franklin Mountains yesterday. The TPWD, in its continuing efforts to cut down on visitation to Texas Parks (I am not being sarcastic - the TPWD will freely admit that they want to reduce use, in order to "preserve resources"), has installed a self-pay station at the start of the Gunsight Notch trail in the FMSP. Since the dawn of time, this trail was always free, even after the land was acquired by the TPWD. I too have been annoyed by having to fill out the stupid form, but it really does not cost me anything extra because I have a TCP. Even so, I have been going up there less since the pay station was installed. Its a freedom thing.

Yesterday, as I was getting my gear together for the hike, a car pulled up and a family group piled out. There was the grandfather, his wife, their daughter and granddaughter , who was about 2 years old. He was furious when he read that he was expected to pay. They could not believe that the State was now going to charge them $3.00 to go for a 5-minute walk down the trail. They could afford it easily - they were driving a Mercedes - but they, like me, realized instantly that this kind of nonsense is fascist, unreasonable, and anti-freedom.

We chatted for a bit. He confessed that his first reaction was to tear down the sign and go in anyway! I suggested that they go outside the boundary and hike on military land at the trailhead for the Dripping Springs trail. I warned him that the TPWD sometimes calls the Army when they see people on military land, but the man said he was ex-Army and would take his chances with the MPs and the unexploded ammo. He left, muttering that this sounded like a "green deal" - meaning that the greenie-weeinies had struck again. I told him that the US has no one to blame but ourselves - we elect the control-freaks that enact these kind of laws.

So, folks, my fellow 'whiners and complainers' and me are not the only ones disgusted with the TPWD. Solid, senior citizens, who at least have some memory of a Free USA, tend to agree with us about the actions of the "Totalitarian Parks and Wildlife Department", as Jeff Jackson puts it.

May 12 , 2001:
Hueco Tanks is seeking to hire summer interns. (This position has been filled; welcome CJ!)

I am still working on transcribing the interview with John Moses. This has proven to be a severely tedious process. I have 30 handwritten pages so far, and I am about 1/2 finished. Two pages takes about an hour, as I strain to hear what was said on the funky tape recorder I used.

The season of bugs and heat is here! Hooray - now I don't have to bother with a stupid reservation to climb on North Mountain. As is the case every summer, the Park is largely deserted. Only poor local suckers like myself, who have nowhere else to go, visit the park. Responsible users could go anywhere in the park without having ANY measurable impact. There would only be a few people in the "backcountry", which would hardly constitute "resource destruction". Of course, to expect logic from the rule-makers in the TPWD is silly and counterproductive.

I am still working on transcribing the interview with John Moses. This has proven to be a severely tedious process. I have 30 handwritten pages so far, and I am about 1/2 finished. Transcribing two pages takes about an hour, as I strain to hear what was said on the funky tape recorder I used. I am spending about 4 hours a week on the task.
March 18, 2001:
John Moses and I finally did the interview! Whew. You can see the questions that were used as a framework. We taped the entire thing, which took about 2 hours. I have started to transcribe it , and that will be very grueling process - I worked for 5 hours last night to process just 20 minuets of it! After I get it all on paper, I will let John review it, make suggestions, and then it will be posted here in a nearly unedited form.

John is a pleasant, interesting person to talk to. I think he genuinely wants to ease up on some of the illogical rules, and he seems to understand why people climb. He just about had me convinced to take the Volunteer Guard course, but there is still at least one very big problem with the Volunteer Guard program, that will prevent my from becoming a VG. (Other than to take the course in my capacity as a reporter for

If I take a group of boulderers out on a tour, I won't be able to climb with them! Incredibly bizarre and unfair, this silly rule is one of the big reasons the VG program has not been successful. Hiking, birding and rock-art guides are allowed to participate in their chosen activity. I can't imagine why a sane person would want to subject himself to such a Tantalus-style torture! (Tantalus was the son of Zeus and was the king of Sipylos. He was uniquely favored among mortals since he was invited to share the food of the gods. However, he abused the guest-host relationship and was punished by being "tantalized" with hunger and thirst in Tartarus: he was immersed up to his neck in water, but when he bent to drink, it all drained away; luscious fruit hung on trees above him, but when he reached for it the winds blew the branches beyond his reach.) John suggested that altruism could be the motivation for someone to endure the pain of watching others participate in a cherished activity that they are forbidden to enjoy. There are several flaws in that argument. There should be no need to make the sacrifice in the first place, and we would not have to if the underlying immoral rule was abolished. By cooperating with an immoral regulation one tacitly supports it. The most fundamental reason is that altruism coerced, via guilt or regulation, is evil. This is one of the fundamental principals of Objectivism; that self-interest is a universal regulator and architect for moral and ethical behavior. John also said that the TPWD's position is also that the Park's insurance does not cover VGs, and that the VGs can't monitor the group if they are also climbing. I will refute those arguments as part of the interview results when they are finally published.

March 12, 2001:
John recently participated in a conference with BLM and other officials in Las Vegas early March, regarding policies for climbing on BLM land. (This might be part of the big USDA effort, or something specific to Las Vegas). John indicated he did not really want to go, and suggested that a representative from Enchanted Rock be sent. The interview did not touch on the topic of BLM access, but I hope to speak to him about the conference soon.

Unfortunately, not all land managers are as reasonable as John, and I bet there were plenty of anti-climber supers at the BLM thing. Therefore, I have a question for all anti-climber land managers everywhere who are itching to restrict climbing - why do you hate us so much? And why the sudden interest in BC? Just let us climb in peace. For example, why do you ignore all the other gun users out there, and then freak out when you hear that climbers might like to squeeze off a few rounds occasionally? Why do you lease BLM land to ranchers who denude it with cattle grazing, then panic when a 3' wide strip of land at the base of a boulder erodes a few centimeters? The USDA Forest Service/Nazional Pork Service lets concessionaires clear land to build roads and lodges, but won't me ride a mountain bike on most trails. Why does the government think it is OK to destroy thousands of square miles of canyons with dams, yet try to arrest us for putting in a few tiny bolts high up on the face of a cliff where they are practically invisible? How about Mount Rusher?

The answer seems obvious to me. The "State" wants to keep keep people at home in the city. They will let us out occasionally to look at wilderness, but we can't touch, we have to go where we are told, when we are told (by appointment), pay the fees we are told to pay, stay at the approved campgrounds or motels, eat at the approved cafes, engage in a few activities that are on the approved list, and go back home to our jobs in the cities when when are told to.

I have been sick with the flu and did not go out this weekend. The weather has been windy but otherwise perfect. The park has been at or near "capacity" (what a joke) due to Spring Break road-trippers.

February 27, 2001
The past weekend would have seen the 12th annual Rock Rodeo, had we not lost our freedom at Hueco in 1998. North Mountain was at or near 'capacity' (a measly 70 humans). About 30 people were observed at the Frontside near Mushroom Boulder, including the Fred Nicole/ Scott Milton entourage. I had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Nicole, who was taking a rest day. He was very pleasant and polite, and did not show even a hint of irritation at having to make small talk with yet another person he did not know. I told him that was at his disposal if he ever wanted his unedited opinions on any topic published. He does not have the appearance of being a super-climber until you view his forearms - then you realize why he can cling to the absurd problems he puts up! Popeye seems like Mr. Stick-wrist in comparison.

Brain and I had a more-or-less OK day bouldering - we hit the Gym area, Lip Sync and the Mushroom Boulder area. We tried to keep our mind off the lack of freedom and focus on the rock and the other climbers. We met an interesting group of people from Michigan who were staying at Pete's; they reported that about 7 sets of campers were hanging there. They also had amusing stickers on their car - a "Darwin Fish" and a "Linux Fish"! The Linux fish is very cool - I must find one ...

I dropped off a copy of the interview questions for John Moses when we checked in at the ranger station. I have not heard back from John yet, but I have not checked my e-mail tonight. Hopefully he has had a chance to review them and we can do the interview this Saturday or Sunday.

The piles of rock and debris from the picnic-table demolition are getting uglier. I also learned that the TPWD is using slave labor, in the form of prisoners, to tear down the tables. This is a very upsetting societal trend - look for an essay on this in the Spew section soon. Till then, think about this: First the State passes a bunch of stupid, immoral laws that result in the jails filling up with people who have committed victimless "crimes" (for example, climbers caught climbing in closed areas, or drug users, or climbers caught with guns in their cars, like Dan Osman). Then, the State uses them as a source of slave labor, displacing legitimate private-sector workers that otherwise be paid to do the work - such as climbers who might have been employed by the Access Fund's $100,000.00 grant. I guess the TPWD prefers criminal workers to climber workers - or do they see us as one and the same?

Todd Skinner and Amy just had twins! Todd is now a 3x Daddy. He plans to relocate the family to Yosemite to be able to put in a hard day at the vertical office and still be with his kids. I commend him on his ability to stay honed and continue to climb hard while being a family man.

February 24, 2001
Its the last weekend in February, the traditional date for the Rock Rodeo contests. Of course, there is no contest this year. Click here to read about what it used to be like.

Once again, the weather this weekend is perfect. a front came through on Friday, so today it was windy, clear, dry and cold. Tomorrow it is supposed to be near 70F, calm, and clear. I will be out there with the Brain doing easy frontside routes and testing his new homemade pad. I also plan to drop of a printed copy of the interview questions for John Moses to review; if he gives the go-ahead we will do the interview next week.

February 16, 2001
I have not been to the park for the last three weeks, because we have been having such a good time at BC. Since 1.26.01, there have been a few tents at Pete's, and more climbing activity in general. The weather has been fantastic 80% of the time, alternating between perfect and stormy, 28-45F ...50-75F. The typical spring weather pattern is in full effect. Fronts blow through every few days, so it is windy/cloudy/damp, then calm, clear and cold, getting warmer for a few days until the next front causes the cycle to repeat. James reports that the park has been at less than "full" capacity, but that might change with spring break coming up.

There are no bugs to speak of yet, just a few lazy flies when it warms up. This time of year is one of the best at Hueco. The Rock Rodeo was held each hear on the last weekend in February. If you are planning a trip, now would be the time! Who knows, maybe there will be an informal gathering on Rodeo weekend at Pete's.

A reliable source reported that Fred Nicole and Scott Milton were in Hueco the first week of February. They were able to secure a volunteer guard to take them to the forbidden zone. Our reliable source informed us that Fred wanted to light up a smoke, but was told "Actung! Verboten! No open Flames!" by the guard. Fred was reportedly puzzled by the fire danger, because they were seated in the middle of a vast expanse of unburnable rock. Hah! What does he know? Good thing the guard was there to save us from Messrs. Nicole and Milton - Hueco could have burned!

I am almost ready for the interview with John Moses. Here are the interview questions that have been submitted so far. Get your questions in soon, since I hope to do the interview before the end of February.

January 26, 2001
Climber density has decreased markedly in the last two weeks. Reservations are not needed during the week, and weekends are either not full or barely full. (Keep in mind that "full" is actually empty, by any objective measurement). Pete's had zero tents on Friday, 1.26.01. Climbers that visited Hueco pretty much had the place to themselves. The weather is alternating between perfect and slightly cold/drizzly. This would be a perfect time to visit, if you are thinking about it.

The demolition of the remaining rock and wood picnic tables has started. I am sad to see this happen. The tables were not an eyesore, not hurting anything, and the resources used to tear them down could be better used elsewhere. Not only that, but now there are big ugly piles of rock and wood, more trampled bushes, pink "do not cross" ribbons blocking access to some of the boulders and in general a big mess. Sure, years from now it will not show, but why even bother? All because it offended someone's sensibilities to have to look at at American-style picnic tables.

January 15, 2001
There has been quite a bit of climbing activity in late December 2000/early Jan 2001. Pete's has had a continual occupation of half a dozen or so tents, with a peak around new years of about a dozen. North Mountain has been at capacity much of the time, but late in the day you can usually get in as the early-birds burn out and call it quits. Reservations are still the only way to be sure. For example, I could not get in on 1.14.01. I did put my name in line for the first open slot from a cancellation or no-show, but I got tired of waiting and bailed to BC for the day (and had a great time - I am THRASHED from BC as I type this.) The weather has ranged from perfect (30-60F, clear, dry) to snowy/windy.

At the East parking lot the other day, I saw a group of boulderers at the start of an Alex-guided tour. No one was smiling. I felt sad for them. For them, the price of climbing was Freedom.

Hey kids, want a sure way to get in? Get a commercial guides permit, ($350.00/year + half a megabuck of insurance) and just pay the $10.00 per day person fee. You can then go anywhere you want. Impoverished climbers need not apply, But this will be great for those with money, particularly the sponsored! Patagonia, please note. I'm gonna start saving ...

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