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Feedback - your letters and comments

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hey steve, good to hear from you!

thanks for telling me that my <letter> got printed in climbing rag. <Note: April 2006 Climbing> I just remembered a funny story about Tom Cosgriff you might want to add to the time-line. The <spring> the park was closed for a couple of weeks <January 1989>, Crump had permission to roap climb there because he had a contract to teach some Special Forces (or were they Army Rangers) how to climb. They spent most of the morning on west mountain and we, (Don Morrill and Tom Cosgriff) were allowed in the park but under no circumstances could we roap climb, so we bouldered on the front side. After an hour or so we got bored not being able to roap climb, so I soloed up Uriah's Heap and Tom soloed up Sea of Holes. We were sitting in the shade at the top of Uriah's Heap drinking a warm day-pack of aged Shaffer beer when Crump tops out from his lead up Uriah's Heap. Soon after, a stream of S.F. or Rangers start crowding the ledge feeling all manly. One of them noticed Tom's pink and black-lace chalk bag and made a comment to Tom about his fag-bag and it's implications to Tom's sexual orientation, so Tom just walked past the dude and down-climbed Uriah's. Anyway, I thought it was funny, it sure shut the Ranger up.

Don Morril


check out the gallery some pics of us there at Pena
besafe and have fun


Hey there...

The world seems to get smaller everyday!!! Its amazing how people just
wander into each other this way. Yeah well Wes is the older one by only
15 months. I just recently had my 19th Birthday on in has been a REALLY long time since I've seen
anyone. Oh yeah, Wes also has a 1 year old son named Casey Morgan
Hardin...can you imagine my dad as a Grandpa...(hee hee). We all get a
kick out of that one sometimes.

I do remember Dave's dog...Weeya I believe is the name. Last
time I talked to Dave was a couple of days ago and he seems to be doing
great. I gave him your number and he should be giving you a phone call
here shortly. He lives in Las Cruces now and still pursues his arts...I
still have much of his work.

I talked to my dad a few weeks ago and gave him your contact
information and I think that he called you. I hope that you guys keep in
touch more often. Do you know Fred Nakovic? I was wondering how he was
doing as well as Dave Head, Greg Burns, and John Styers I think his name
was...Oh and a guy that sold jewelry...Kalvin I think it was. I hope
that they are all alright. My dad told me that many of his old friends
were sick or passed away...but he never specified on which ones.

Anyway, It is so nice to actually talk to someone who
remembers all of the things that went on in the good old days...I just
wish that we could all kick back and relax at one of Dave's parties and
remember even more of the good times. MAN I MISS HUECO.

Ashley Hardin

You got a great site. I have lived in Hueco 12 years now. I'm an IT major in
my fourth year now. Employed by DOD contractors, mainly. Anyway, I would
like to branch out in the web business. I'm looking for experience and would
be glad to contribute to your site in any way I could.



Hello this is Diana I'm just sending you a picture of the mountain. I hope
you like it. I live right in front of it. I love the view. Just download it.
Thanks and bye.

Finally, a reasonable approach to environmentalism. Your comments and attitudes are refreshing to say the least. I am so tired of the hands-off regulatory approach to nature that seems prevalent in today's bureaucracy. Your site is the closest I have found that reflects my personal mantra regarding nature:

"Man cannot go against nature because when he does that is part of nature too."

In other words, we are all part of a living environment and any impact we may have is just another part of the natural process. Nothing is sillier these days than the Zero Impact gurus who want me to hike out my own feces. I am not saying we should wantonly trash nature but we can certainly be reasonable about its use. Thank you for being reasonable.


Todd Leiker

<Here is a letter we received a few months ago. Although it might take a while, will try to print every worthwhile letter we get. Of course, we will also insert comments and corrections as required! Editorial comments are in green>. We particularly like letters such as this one, submitted by people with brains who can read, think, and construct sentences that are understandable!

A couple "old folks", my wife and I recently visited Hueco Tanks. We came the 600 miles from Bluff, Southeast Utah, because of the history of that place in the annals of that part of the Southwest. <Bluff is a very cool town, built right into sandstone cliffs. I first went there in 1996 on the way to Lake Powell> Principally, the uses made of that place because of the water and location. We also came because we wanted to see the rock art (pictographs) for which it is justly famous amongst folks who find such forms of expression of interest. This does not include post-written language forms, some of which we also saw while climbing (our version) on North Mountain.

We were impressed with the indoctrination <Very good! They have taken the time to browse! It is so refreshing to get mail from people with brains who can read, even if we might disagree!> we received as first time visitors. A good introduction and education about the spot as it exists in the here and now. Since there weren't many climbers around, we didn't get the idea of what uses are being made of the area by people like yourself. <hmmm - do I detect a hint of the pervasive "classification mania" that seems to grip our society? Please treat me as an individual, and not as a member of any other larger group, unless I explicitly name the group and claim membership in it - for example, I am an Objectivist.>

We parked our little home on wheels in the campsite that seems to be one of the bones of contention there. We spent a comfortable night, and enjoyed the walk-in-the-dark with the wall above the campground blotting out most of the glow on the horizon caused by El Paso and environs. It was dark. <Yes! This is why it is important to continue to allow "camping" at Hueco - quiet, dark, and very nice. R.V.s don't hurt anything at Hueco. Also, note that these RVers agree with me that it is still nice and dark at Hueco, despite the attempts of certain authority types to deny it as a means to discount my contention that it is my right to visit Hueco at night for purposes of stargazing>

The next day, with the brief information from John Moses on how to try to find Kiva Cave, we walked (climbed?) up to the edge looking down onto the playa separating the three "mountains". Didn't find it. Didn't find much in the way of rock art. But the natural beauty up on top, with the spectacular yet human scale sculpted tanks, even though most all were dry, made us want to come back in the late spring or early summer to see the spot in bloom and with water in the tanks. <Bummer! Cave Kiva is very easy to find. In the "good old days", there would have been plenty of friendly, helpful climbers wandering around to show these people where it is.>

Coming back, we spotted a cliff area with "no climbing" signs, and since the "ceiling" of the area appeared to have been recently broken away, we just figured it was an area prone to calving rock off and hence dangerous to climbers. Unfortunately, we found out later that there were some fine mask pictographs in the area. We also became confused by the difficult-to-follow blue plastic "trail markers", and after following them for awhile, abandoned using them completely and wondered why they had to be there at all (blue is OK; orange is NOT OK-I understand that, but wandering around out there following blue plastic does something not good to the experience - even worse
than cairns, in my opinion, especially since they seemed useless.
< I think they might have come back via the Blood and Gore/Nuclear Arms zone. It is nice to know that other people share our dislike for the "ribbon trash">

We also noticed the human damage to vegetation in trail areas (how can it be any different?) and even to the rock itself in areas where the dark surface layer was breaking off into small chunks. I mention the rock damage because your informative-if-highly-opinionated website seems to make the claim that walking on rock cannot "damage" it. <Any "damage" (erosion is not damage, it is natural and inevitable) from foot traffic at Hueco is minimal, and no worse than the "damage" done by aboriginals. Many trails are completely overgrown - if anything, there is MORE vegetation at Hueco today than there was 30 years ago.>

It's a very unique and beautiful spot, in spite of the disturbing sights and sounds in the area-sights involve human encroachment and sounds included, when we were there, incessant gunfire from somewhere towards Fort Bliss (what else did we expect?). Saw a couple big, gray, multi-engine Air Force transports heading out towards the East. Figured they were carrying some cannon fodder for the coming war with Iraq, et al. <I have always maintained that "jet noise is the sound of freedom." Freedom is not Free. Having said that, the gunfire is not a daily occurrence. The real problem is the third-world rural population that surrounds the Park.>

Finally, when we got home, I looked over your website dealing with people who like to go to Hueco Tanks to hang off of technical equipment or free climb above what appear to be bloated air mattresses. <hee hee - very good! While would never try to deny boulderers the right to boulder, the pads are silly, and bouldering is far worse on the Hueco environment that trad climbing is.> I looked it over closely, and read the interesting Q&A session you had with John Moses (I don't envy him his job).

What I came away from it-all with is a response similar to what I have about what we have here in the area where I live, and you and your climbing buddies (good folks, all, almost, like the rest of us) fall into the category here that would include the ATV crowd with their "we must be able, in the name of Freedom, and all that makes America Great, to take these machines, in any number we desire, anywhere we want to, anytime we want to, at whatever the cost to other people, places, or things that may be affected as a direct consequence". <No, the key difference between trad climbers and and general motorized recreation is that climbers subscribe to the "leave no trace" ethic, with one exception, tiny camouflaged bolts out-of-view on the side of a cliff. Climbers are willing to touch only rock at Hueco, but ATV's make trails, pollute, and leak oil & gas. Trad climbing has none of these drawbacks>

I share your feelings about all the rules that take away so much from the experience of "just being outside", especially in the event that being there involves some solitude. Here in Southeast Utah, we must now pay the BLM to walk around, and there are increasing rules about doing so, including the banning of walking with dogs in many areas. We have three dogs and like them to go where we do. <We sympathize. If you clean up the poop, dogs in the wilderness and perfectly OK.>

In addition to the rules, and the associated verbiage in the form of signposts and little iron cannon-barrel "banks" where you have to deposit your "pay to play" money, the BLM is beginning to post signs telling us what it is we are seeing as we walk. <Your tax dollars at work!>

All of this, along with the tremendous increase in "fragmentation" of the landscape due to dramatic increases in the "random" use of ATV's on the landscape, and the arguments about uses of the land (I'd like to see the cows off the land, or, at the very least, restricted in number such that some of the indigenous plants can try to make a comeback against "undesirables"), <hear hear> is due to population pressure. That's why we live where we do-in a remote area with somewhat difficult access for folks living in the more desirable parts of the country-so we can have some solitude and get away, a little bit, from all of the confines of "civilization."

Where does this get anybody? Nowhere. I don't think there's a solution, although I send money to the folks who operate under the umbrella of the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance, and, although I can easily understand the appeal of operating an ATV (or dangling off a vertical face using fancy, expensive, high-tech, American Capitalism-responding-to-a-desire-of-a-particular-consumer-group), I hope that some kind of "government help" will begin to reign in our version of you climbing folks doing what's locally referred to as "loving to death" Hueco Tanks.

Nice website.

Sorry to hear what you've lost there.

I think it's probably gone for your lifetime.

Duke Hayduk
Bluff, Utah


Thanks for the update on Pena!

I am having a bad time right now - I blew out my right knee on a stupid problem at Hueco on 10.20.02, and now it looks like surgery time, again. <censored>. This will be the fourth one since 1974, the second on that knee. To add insult to injury, my absurdist climbing partner got a job on a cruise ship and is gone until at least May.

I can't run or climb, but I can hike at a grandma pace. I've been wandering the Organs to try to keep the fat from building up.

I am very irritated about the <censored> knee. The soonest I can afford the surgery is March 2003.

*********** REPLY SEPARATOR ***********
On 12/7/02 at 10:11 PM Jon Mortensen wrote:
>i like your site there much more development in pena blanca now don't know when you where there last but you gotta check the top out i also am pretty sure where H2 is but know worries if i'm right it'll stay a secret
>peace out

Brief Encounter

Chiseled by his conditions
Rock muscles breaking through
A show of stubborn strength
To hold on in the storm

A sea surging in his eyes
His voice sweeping down,
Washing away pretenses,
Unraveling mysteries

His face lit with focus
Bares well-weathered lines
Signs of weather and laughter
on the his timeless face

he brought me home
to my one true passion
a love of nature and the outdoors

on all brief encounters,
peace to those who care
enough to leave it
just as they find it

thanks to John Sherman
and all others who continually
speak loudly and clearly
with intelligence, and a twist of wit.

Submitted via Internet, author unknown


Sorry about the delay in responding.

You mentioned that everybody's credibility goes out the window ... are you sure you mean everybody? For example, did the rant affect your credibility? ;-)

Rational people do not blame the innocent for the transgressions of others; rational people would not think I was less credible because of mail that was sent to me, that I did not author. Punishing innocents and refusing to judge people individually are some of the the core problems with the PUP. I kinda liked the rant - it was in many ways a clear and honest assessment of the situation and the extreme frustration that local climbers feel.

Thanks for taking the time to call me and let me me know that my refunds will be processed automatically, even if I do not specifically ask for a refund when I sign-in.

There is a new point of confusion, though. Last Saturday I forgot to call and ask that my reservation be held past noon. I arrived at ~5:00p, long after the Park had emptied out, and was able to get in. However, the computer showed that I was not entitled to a refund. John, I would prefer to not have to leave a slot empty all day when I will be showing up very late, but if there is no other way to be assured of my refund when I show up late, I will have no choice. If I know that I will be late, the best thing for the Park and other users would be for me to call and cancel my reservation, let my slot be used by another person (the Park would then receive $4.00), and show up at the end of the day and get my refund.

If you think that my argument is reasonable, would you please check on this?



*********** REPLY SEPARATOR ***********

On 10/30/02 at 12:22 PM John Moses wrote:

>Steve --
>I see you were copied on this as a follow-up to your email to TPWD
>reservations in Austin. Everybody's credibility goes out the window
>this kind of rant.
>Hueco Tanks SHS

>-----Original Message-----

From:>Sent: 10/30/02 9:47 AM
Subject: Re: The first of many questions about the new reservation fee
rule at Huecotanks...

What a load of
<excrement>... These Texas' people don't know whats up. They
<excrement> !!! they wont work with us as lowly public members.. They just make things harder for locals to go climbin..BASTARDS!! Anyways , the 2003 Hueco Rock Rodeo is on!!! just to spread the word.. The dates are not established but ,sometime in early march... peace out

I found this statement in an article by Pete Takeda concerning provisioning for the first one-day ascent of The Nose:

"The trio started at 5 a.m., cruising Sickle Ledge and the Stovelegs, gaining Dolt Tower three pitches below El Cap Tower by 6:30 a.m. They carried three 9mm ropes "of questionable vintage," according to Bridwell. For hardware and sustenance, they brought 25 pitons and 25 nuts, one and a half gallons of water, and four and a half packs of cigarettes."


1.20.00 just put up a new site Could you give us a plug for it on your website? If you could I would greatly appreciate it. Also just got a face lift. Check it out.

Climb On!

Tracy Phillips
"Making The Web Work Your Way"

This is the website of the company who are selling the boulders at Cresciano in Switzerland. Not only depriving us of a beautiful bouldering area but destroying an important ecosystem as well. I don't know if this will make any difference but it's got to be worth a try.

Webmasters Email:


You can actually see the specifications of the blocks on this page and buy them for 650 euros:

Put these on your website and encourage people to email them to say how sick this all is or maybe if you are more articulate than I am you could write a letter for people to cut and paste their details into.

I hope you can put these details to use, send them to as many people as you can think of.

Cheers and see you at the crag!

Ian Fitzpatrick

April 2001
Well,your report on the March 2000 "public" meeting was not so complimentary of us who spoke, and it has been ONLY a year since, but I recently discovered your site, and your comments are still there. Unlike some, I did read your site "cover to cover," with the following reactions:
1. Your site is interesting, provocative, and political, not necessarily in that order
2. I am surprised that many climbers find your remarks offensive or intemperate. What do they expect from one whose avowed objective is to reopen the Tanks, and whose every attempt to that end has been rebuffed, rejected, dissed, and pissed on by TPW?

Now, I belatedly respond to your characterization of me, re the March 2000 meeting. I introduced myself as a NOT-guide-- more of a chaperone, I think I said. A "guard," your site suggests. Either characterization is accurate, but since I accepted the "non-climbing guide" assignment, I intend to follow the rules and restrictions, as written. What do I get out of it? Well, since I deduct the mileage to and from guiding on my Form 1040, it is volunteer "charity" work, not, per se, a privilege or perk for me. It also enables lots of climbers who would be limited to North Mountain the opportunity to climb in the rest of the Tanks. And I get to visit with climbers from everywhere, get friendly with the staff, and to maybe climb when my "tour" is done. If others who took the guide training have since opted out, that is their choice.

So who the hell am I? Well, I am a 52 year old trad climber from central Texas. I learned climbing from James Crump, Scott Harris, the "stupid" brothers-- Larry and Randy Spears, and Mike Lewis and Jacob Valdez from San Antonio. I have met Mike Head (who once gave me my only (?) climbing compliment-- "You are stronger than you look"), Hank Caylor (the "redoubtable one" who won't remember me from <censored>), Fred Nakovik, and even Hugh Herr. I climb a steady 5.9 and I have led at that rating. I've climbed in Eldo, Boulder Canyon and the Flatirons, and Joshua Tree. Also E rock, the Pecos canyons, Barton Creek greenway and Mineral Wells. That's my resume, such as it is.

I moved to El Paso ten years ago, and it's gone downhill from there for me, climbing-wise. I don't climb much now (I have a family and no partner) and I am a pitiful boulderer. I have met some local climbers-- Dave Head, Greg Burns, Mike Finley (I climbed some one summer with Mike, who sandbagged me on Window Pain-- sorry I dropped your quick draw, Mike, I trust that you got the replacement from Jamie). These people are real good climbers and I can't hope to follow much where they go, but they have been nice to me anyway. Whatever-- I have been part of the Texas climbing scene for 17 years, on and off. So what I say next comes from the heart.

Like you, Steve, I really just want to climb. I don't like what's happened at Hueco Tanks, and I can imagine how you locals feel. Maybe my volunteer gig is a sell-out? Maybe the greenies I have been hanging with really don't understand climbing? PERSONALLY, I miss the camaraderie and the adrenaline of real climbing. I may be old but I am not ready to give it up.

Finally, thanks for the forum. I am sorry I did not find the site sooner, and I wish you good luck in freeing the Tanks. I used to come out here in the old days, myself. Dave Cain from San Antonio and I did Malice..., Alice..., Uriah's Heap, and Llabian Dogfight (I did not check the exact names of these frontside and dam area classics in the guidebook)--all in one fine June morning before the sun burnt us off. I, too, remember when.

Steve Vinson

<Editor's Note: In an effort to become more informed about the V.G. system, I attended "Guide" training on November 30,2001. I have not completed by required follow-up training and observation to become fully certified, but I intend to do so, as soon as I have the time. BTW I still feel the term "guard" is appropriate, although I recognize that many people reasonably disagree with me about this point; while I recognize it is a legitimate topic for reasoned debate, I can make a logical case for the accuracy of my term "guard">

It would be really nice if you had a section for people to list new problems. There are so many things going up on North mnt, but no way to document them. Just an idea.
Jan 2000
Hey, I live in the wasteland of Columbus Ohio but nevertheless recently discovered climbing and more specifically bouldering over the summer on the Oregon coast. Your site is fantastic, even though it makes me so sad to hear about those desk-jockin' bastards mandating all that bull
<censored>. Though I have never been to Hueco I am enchanted by its description and your nostalgia.

It certainly seems that the state of Texas is acting unconstitutionally but not enough people care to combat their decisions. Unfortunately, I have no real rights being that I'm only 17, so I'm even worse off than you. The next time I get my hands on some loot, though, I'll ship it off to Pete. At least we still have Bishop, the new bouldering Mecca, which I plan to experience soon. Though it saddens me that I will never truly know the real Hueco, I am comforted by the knowledge that other similar places do exist. These areas are straight outta dreams for climbers and anyone else who enjoys being away from all the idiots in the city and loves the unspoiled, unrestrained freedom of being in the natural element having fun.

Remember, the only thing constant is change...although Hueco is closed, other things can take its place, and soon, who knows, maybe those ignorant little fat men who play tennis and shuffle papers in city hall will have a moment of revelation and embrace climbers instead of excluding them. -peace and adios, Barry

Jan 2001
I was fortunate enough to hit hueco a couple weeks ago, only saying it because of even more closure possible.
I feel it should be now referred to as "North Mountain" and not Hueco Tanks.

It sucked, if felt like no one was there. The only place you could find people was at the Mushroom boulder. Also it was impossible to get a guide, so we could not see the rest of the park. The closure on areas is also terrible, taking classics at the 45 wall away. Dont get me wrong though, the climbing is SUPERB, but its just not the same. My partner was there before the restrictions and wanted to leave after two days of climbing. So we headed to Bishop instead. Its unfortunate that the Mecca of bouldering can no longer be fully accessed. Like most people, I have become outraged at the situation.

Before my trip I did not think it could be this bad, but it only takes the experience to confirm it. I would like to compliment everyone who helps on your site for showing the REAL side of Hueco Tanks.

On 1/4/01 at 4:40 PM <censored> wrote:

>". . . tree-hugging, rock-art worshiping, lichen-licking fascists . . ."

Gee, there's a real objective bit of reporting on your website. I've climbed many times at Hueco, and love the place, but the fact was, climbers were trashing it through their sheer numbers. Bouldering in particular was destroying the environment there as effectively as turning a few hundred sheep loose.

<Oh, that phrase is more objective than you think at first glance. "Tree-hugger" is a well-known term for people who irrationally value "the environment" over legitimate, reasonable uses of the planet such as bouldering. "Lichen-lickers" are those who think that the survival of certain species (species so whimpy that one footstep means curtains for it) should take precedent over bouldering. "Rock-art worshippers" represent those who put death-curses on me and my little girl for violating the sacred rocks of Hueco, or those who revere the "culture" of the aboriginal cursers more than my "culture". I needed a quick, funny phrase to designate the enemy. I get lots of compliments for it! (BTW, much of what I have to say in this e-mail is already on the site. This makes me wonder if you read everything before flaming me...or did you read it and just did not understand?)

Assume, for the sake of argument, that you are correct when you say : "the fact was, climbers were trashing it (what does 'trashing it' mean ?/!?) through their sheer numbers" (editor's note - this is the kind of muddy thinking typical of those who support the PURP). If true, what does that have to do with me and my little girl? Julie and I have NEVER damaged the park in any way - we have always left it cleaner and "healthier" than when we came in. I have personally prevented more than a dozen acts of vandalism back when I was welcome at the park. I have told both "climbers" and the park rangers to quit stepping on the plants. Why punish me for the supposed "crimes" of these masses of climbers? Oh, I forgot - its for the "good of the planet" or something.

As for "destroying the environment", take at hike in the Organs (located near Las Cruces, NM) on the Pine Springs trail at Aguirre Springs and look at the what the big rock slide did to the "environment". The slide totally destroyed a trail that we had been forbidden to mountain-bike on 'cause of the "erosion" problem. Or go to Los Alamos and see what our beloved Nazional Park service did to the "environment". How about the 2 acres that were flooded with oil at Hueco when the TPWD cut that oil pipeline a few years ago. Then compare it to a few trampled bushes - bushes that will grow back as soon as it rains a bunch. >

> A balanced approach that recognizes that fact would be far more effective, IMHO, than rhetoric like the above. This kind of remark pisses me off FAR more than the statement or actions of the Texas park department. I won't support your efforts (even if it means I'll never climb Hueco again) as long as your positions are so one-sided.

<My "rhetoric" comes after over 10 YEARS of trying a "balanced" approach and getting screwed. Feel free to take up the cause of the "balanced approach" for us. I'll lend you my "I'm a TPWD Sucker!" bumper sticker. I am also puzzled as to how to have a "multi-sided opinion". My "opinions" are based on fact. Show me where I am wrong and I will change my opinion. I have modified my web site several time this year when people pointed out errors. All you have done is flame out, spout generalizations, and demonstrate illogic. You say you won't support my efforts. Hmmm... I'm glad you mention this, since I had not given any conscious thought to what my "efforts" are re: Hey, I just thought of one. How about if one of my goals is to annoy tree huggers? A secondary goal could be to serve as a "home" for the growing number of climbers who are sick of government telling them that climbing is a world ending crisis, while those same governments <censored> the landscape in ways that dwarf the measly erosion and litter that some climbers are responsible for. A tertiary goal can be to encourage people to read "The Fountainhead" and "Atlas Shrugged" by Ayn Rand.>

>The sad reality is that climbing is not a RIGHT, any more than dirt-biking or mining or tree cutting are rights. I bemoan the loss of Hueco, but climbers can't help impacting the area, and there were too damn many of them.

<It is not logical to compare climbing to tree-cutting or mining. I can go to Hueco, climb ALL DAY, and leave no trace of passage. Not one footprint in the dirt, and if chalk bugs you, I'll climb without it and leave not one mark on the rock. How is that analogous with cutting down a tree or digging a mine? Not that there is anything wrong with mining or logging, assuming it is done properly. I guess you don't approve of wood or metal. I am curious - how did you send the e-mail from a bone and hide computer?

I sincerely, and without malice, hope you never climb at Hueco, or anywhere again! Nothing personal. The wilderness is just too crowded, too fragile. Like you said, sheer numbers of climbers, you know. As you mentioned, climbers are like sheep, you are a climber, therefore; baaaaa. You can help save the Planet from the devastation that sheep-like climbers are causing. Just stay home and watch TV! Please see the essay on Couchpotatoism for more info.>



On 12/3/00 at 11:44 PM
<censored> wrote:

Your "revised" access plan is the sort of inflammatory, ignorant <censored> <censored> that gives the TWPD an excuse for stereotyping climbers. Be an <censored> in private, so you don't <censored> it up for the rest of us.
Thank you


Thanks for the feedback. I see that you have not read (or did not understand) the disclaimer and all of my essays on the site. In those, I make it clear that I speak only for myself. If others such as the TPWD and you choose to misinterpret the content of my web site as representing the views of all climbers, that is not my problem.

When you say "revised access plan", I assume you are referring to my translated version of the draft of the TPWD's revised access-restriction plan.

I understand that many people are very group-oriented and only feel secure when they are associated with a group. Although it is difficult to be certain that you are such a groupie, the message you sent makes me lean toward classifying you as someone who:
* Does not understand the importance of freedom
* Is new to e-mail and can't control his tendency toward flaming
* Does not understand that Hueco is already "<censored>ed up", to borrow your eloquent terminology

While I am glad to provide an occasional forum for your thoughts on my web site, you should consider getting one of your own, so that you can more effectively telegraph your succinct viewpoint to the world.

11.13.00 ... 11.22.00
< A concerned climber replied>

Thanks for the reply, and there is never a need to apologize for a foul mood while butting up against a brick wall. AAP is my fault. It was late and I was tired. The American Alpine Club is what I was referring to.

I am new to the situation, no denying that. And I am not advocating a program of installed guard dogs monitoring you even when you go to <censored>. Hearing your side of the issue does broaden the scope of my personal horizon considerably. My information comes from <censored> and <censored>, a guide there. Maybe I got a glossed-over version, maybe I received their side, omitting all of the "anal rape", or maybe I got the canned version, designed to assuage the hurt sentimentalities of one lone person seeking answers.

I am not saying they are bad guys, or that they lie awake at night planning on how best to shaft US (people who climb, not the wanna-be's who scribble their name on some damn hieroglyph), but they (TPWD) might be getting sick of questions, and that's good. One of my concerns is that by pressing the issue, will TPWD crater, or will they turn the park over to the Texas Historical Committee, as has been proposed, and be done with it? <censored> says they (TPWD) want to hang on to it for the benefit of everyone.

Anyway...this project of mine started out as a class thing (I'm a senior at <censored>). It has since ballooned into a time ingesting, headache inducing, blood-pressure rising affair, and that's because I live in <censored>, a good eight hours away. I'm losing my HAIR because of this, man, and my <censored> stays mad because I'm on the Internet or fleshing out this thing and not paying attention to <censored>. Maybe I chose the wrong words for what I was trying to (inadequately, apparently) say earlier.

What I want to do is help, in any way, shape, or form that I can, stop the guarded tour rule and bring Hueco back to what it was, in terms of guidelines and rules. I can't do it alone, nor can you. But, as I said previously, cohesion, a unified front, a loud voice, may be the way to go. On the other hand, stepping on toes at the park level might hinder progression. I guess what I 'm trying to sputter out is that I have a gun and I don't know where to point it anymore. I thought you, at first. Stop Propaganda, and all that. Further research saw the folly of that, and prompted an e-mail to you.

Now what? Austin seems likely. There is a good group of people here in<censored> that climb, <censored> Climbing Club, etc... Petition and proposal? Maybe another city speaking up about this, but again, I don't know who all has. My idea thus far has stopped at a website and a corresponding pamphlet or booklet for free distribution to anyone wanting one. This would outline the PURP, closures, openings, and phone numbers. Since you seem to have those bases covered, what can I do on this end to help?

11.13.00 - reply to the original mail sent by the concerned reader:>

Thanks for the feedback. I'll reply in-line below: Be warned that I am in a foul mood, having been forced yesterday to sit through the stupid disorientation video again. It was so bad, that twice I almost walked out, thinking "nothing is worth having to endure this BS." Particularly having to listen to that bigoted Mescalero Joe spout his propaganda. So, this reply is not as measured as it might be. Forgive me if my shots go astray and hit you instead of my intended target.

>You seem to be keeping up with what's going on. I
>wanted to ask you something, though. Are you sure
>you're getting all of the information you need to keep
>people informed? It strikes me that your site focuses
>on the negativity of what's going on, rather than
>seeing the big picture.

"Negativity" is such an imprecise term, and is subject to interpretation depending on one's point of view, don't you think? For example, the culture-bots love the new restrictions, so when they hear me complain about closures, they become happy, knowing I can't get in. Also, the term "big picture" is ill-defined, but if what you mean is that I am not expressing the pro-TPWD view, you are correct. They have their own large, effective propaganda machine. Having said that, I am planing on devoting part of my site to "other" viewpoints, if only to illustrate the depths of the differences that exist. Feel free to send me material you would like posted, and I might post it.

> By the way, I've been
>climbing for about three years, and yes, I understand
>where you're coming from.

Sorry to have not met you. Three years ago is about the time my visits at Hueco dropped from around 70 per year to about 3. It's about the same time the regulation-lovers and the mystics prevailed at Hueco.

> But I have spoken with <censored>
> as I'm sure you have. He states that the Access
>Funds' cash would be given after, and only after, TPWD
>turned Hueco into a climbers only park, to the
>exclusion of everyone else: picnickers, bird-watchers,
>day-hikers, everyone who didn't show up sporting a

Hmmm. This sounds unbelievably bizarre, and does not match the information I have from the Access Fund. However, I am forwarding this to Sam Davidson of the Access Fund; hopefully he will respond and clarify the matter.

>fences, etc... Would you not agree that the time has
>come to dispel the rumors of total closure, no
>climbers allowed, etc...?

You know, the TPWD, FOHT, and others who support the closure are always harping on this point. It really seems to bug them that majority of climbers think the PURP is terrible, regard Hueco as "closed" and don't buy into the official line coming out of Austin. Climbers rarely mention this point; you are in the minority on this one. Trust me, the majority of the climbing world understands exactly what the regs are, and knows that they regs are so restrictive that the 'tanks might as well be closed.

Hueco is individually, effectively closed, each time a climber is denied access (as happens to me constantly). For example, If I show up and tell the TPWD I am going to go back to the Round Room, they will say "no, you have to have a guard with you". I say " I don't need a guard, I value solitude, I have been here over 1500 times, you all know me, you I am not going to damage anything; in fact, I will leave the park cleaner than when I came and I will deter others from littering and vandalizing". They say "sorry, you still need a guard". At that point I think "censor you, you are punishing me for the crimes of others, take your regs and <Censor's note: he suggested that they commit an improbable act with the regulations involing darkness and insertion>, I am a free man, not a slave."

> In short, work to improve
>our own reputation.
<censored> wants to work with us...

What do you mean by "our" and "us"? I am an individual. I have made that very clear, over and over on my website. Please don't refer to me as if I was part of a group, e.g. "climbers" or "evil European white boys". You might want to review my essays. I do hope that John will work with me, and realize that I (and others who match my record of service and safety at Hueco) should be admitted as trustees without guards. But I am not holding my breath.

>but we have to come off of our soapboxes and realize
>that Hueco DESERVES our best efforts, not complaints.

Hueco is not sentient - it cannot 'deserve' anything. My complaints are with the certain individuals of the TPWD, the culture-bots, the rock-worshipers and other mystics - not with the 'tanks.

>If guides would show up when needed, if they would
>stop coming only when they have friends to guide, then
>that would be a start.

Guides are never "needed" at Hueco. Before the fascists' takeover, many Guides guided those who wanted guidance. Now that the PURP is here, the proper term is "guard". Guiding presumes that the guidees want to be guided. If one does not need or want a guide, but one is forced to go with one, the guide has become a guard. The climber becomes a slave, someone who values the pleasure of climbing more than fundamental freedom.

> The volunteer guide is a rep.
>of the park, after all. And what about AAP's letter?
>One glaring inaccuracy is the "two-hour limit" on
>guide time. A two-hour MINIMUM guide time is

I believe they were referring to the staff-conducted climbing tours, not guiding. Climbing tours are limited to 2 hours, unless the guard is feeling nice. Who is the AAP?

> You can climb all day, from 8:30 to 6:30,
>if you wish. By the way, good job listing the
>reservation numbers. The busy signal from the park
>office gets annoying. A note on that, though.
>EVERYONE has to make the long distance call. Even
>though Hueco is right outside El Paso, the reservation
>is in Austin FOR Hueco.

Until the PURP-2000, it was not. One used to be able to call Hueco for reservations. However, this is a moot point since reservations would not be needed if reasonable limits - say 500 per day in the entire park - were in place.

> We all have to do it, and
>it's unfair, and makes life harder for all of us, but
>working together and with TPWD rather than strife and
>anarchy seem to me and a few others the way to go.

I understand that you are very new to the Hueco situation, and I don't mean to be overly harsh. No one is advocating anarchy, just reason. Please be aware that the El Paso Climbers' Club and many, many others have tried to work with the TPWD for over 10 years. We have tired to play the 'cooperation' game and have basically been <censored>. Feel free to try again, I hope you succeed. However, I sense that you and I would define success differently. Talk to Dave Head and Jason Speir if you need firsthand accounts of the <censored>. I copied in Dave Head, so you have his e-mail. Dave has more info on the difficulty of working with the TPWD than I do.

>I'm working on a little side project with <censored>
>and <censored> to help dispel the myths around the
>park, a pamphlet or booklet to correspond with a
>website. I hope we can count on your support, since
>you do have the loudest voice when it comes to the
>climbers' side of the issues. You would be a
>tremendous asset.

Support for what? Please be specific. If you mean support for the PURP in its current ridiculous form, then you are wasting your time. If you mean support to change the stupid rules so that they don't punish the innocent (people like me and my daughter) for the crimes of others, then I would love to help.

I can't emphasize this point enough - any plan that says I am not allowed to travel freely over any rock surface at the park, sans guard, will never get my support. I am not stepping on plants, or vandalizing, or defecating, or excavating, or littering - I am an innocent victim of an unreasonable State.

I will conclude by apologizing again for my harsh tone, but 10 years of failed attempts at diplomacy has sickened me.

> The project will go ahead with or
>without everyone coming aboard, but the more we
>coalesce and work together to get the things we want
>while giving concessions to the other groups at the
>park, the better things can be. (maybe even another
>Rock Rodeo, but that might be wishful thinking.) I'd
>like to hear back from you, if you have the time. All
>insight is appreciated, since both sides need to be
>represented to the fullest of either's abilities.
>Look forward to you response,

><name withheld>
>I don't work for the governemnt or TPWD, so this isn't >a one-sided affair.

From a reader on 10/31/00 at 4:23 PM
>Steve, Are you being misleading with the photos appearing on the homepage of your site? I was at the Rock Rodeo in 1998, months before the new restrictions went into place and there were considerably more people than your "one year later" photo implies. Normally, this sort of >misinformation can be overlooked, but in this case, when there is so much at stake, can we afford to look like doofuses? Please don't further endanger access to this mystical climbing spot by making the climbers appear more restricted than we already are. Thanks.

Hi, Thanks for visiting the site, and for your feedback. For an exact date, I would have to dig up the original print copy of the photo of Julie on the porch at Pete's (I always write the date on the back of the print), but I took it on or about the last Saturday in February of 1999, which would have been the date of the 10th annual RR, had it been held. The photo of the empty lot was taken on the same roll of film. It was around the same date that I interviewed Pete and Queta for the essay "10th Annual Hueco Tanks Rock Rodeo - NOT!" that you can read in the SPEW section.

Thanks for pointing out the typo on the caption of the main page. The top photo was taken in Feb. 1997, and the one of the "porch people" was from Feb. 1998. The deserted shot is Feb. 1999; I have corrected the caption.

If you think that Pete's is teeming with happy campers the way it was before the PURP, you are mistaken. Talk to any locals - Talk to Pete and Queta. Feel free to send photos of recent crowds at Pete's, and I will be glad to post them. The same goes for any essays you might want to submit about Hueco or climbing in general.

BTW, I tried to go to Hueco this Saturday and it was full, again. Imagine that! If I can't get in, it is closed, no exaggeration. No prob, though. Bishop Cap was open, free, and enjoyable.


>reader responds on 11.07.00: >

Thanks for the corrections. I understand very well the problems with hueco tanks, I have been an involved Texan since I heard it was closing down. And, as soon as I heard that I dropped everything and moved out there for the last open season. I know there are no crowds. I know Pete is hurting. I know that no one but the TPWD is happy with the current level of use. I hope that the "misappropriation" of Federal funds helps reopen parts or all of Hueco, but its probably a pipe dream. When the gym I manage helped reopen McKinney Falls SP to bouldering, I got a firsthand taste of how much TPWD frowns upon bouldering and how happy they are to accommodate other user groups. It sucks. Nice site, keep people well-informed.

<name withheld> at the Austin Rock Gym, Austin TX.

FWIW there's another web site that posts USENET messages and sends out a biweekly letter with questions and answers some from USENET. Its totally out of context but the author may have some input for you on doing this. Its at geeky techy stuff.

Good Luck, why do I have a feeling that if Bush wins Hueco will be a model for the rest of the country? --Ross

Thanks! We do appreciate the feedback.

Re: BUSH - he is <censored> <censored> . I sent him a lengthy letter blasting the stupid rules at Hueco, and he sent me a form letter thanking me for my support!
Thanks for reminding me - I am going to post that letter.


Hey Steve

I think you are taking this way too seriously. Let people get upset.

I had heard about <censored> <censor>ing <censored> to <censored> <censored> at Hueco quite a while back. I think we even talked about it when I was down there one year. Now it is <censored> <censored> <censored> with some <censored>of "<censored>" and <censored> upon.

Hmmm . . . How about offering a link off of the Hueco website to these types of stories, the <censored> and <censored> exploits of some at Hueco. Hell, I could even offer that story about that <censored> dude he was <censor>ing that <censored> with his <censored> underwear on in one of those <censored> grottos there at Hueco. There is an eyewitness account that is unquestionable!

Keep up the good work.

Good to hear from you. My only fear is <censored> ... I like your idea of Tales of
<Censored> in the Rocks! I invite all to tell us if they have ever <censored> at Hueco, or witnessed some interesting <censor>ing, <censored> or <censored>. Or, if they just want to give their <censored> <censor>ing opinion on <censored>.

I have two <censored> of "<censored> in the grottos". One is the fabled "Lesbian <censored> Grotto II", where one can see some <censored> <censored> <censor>ing going on. Don Hardin and John Pilhoffer were also witnesses. The other <censored> is of a <censored> <censor>ing a blond <censored> <censored> <censored> from <censored>- this happened in a grotto near the top of Asylum rocks. I am working on getting the <censored> formatted into <censored> so I can put a <censored> on the site. There were also 3 other "<censored>" encounters I saw but did not have a <censored> handy.

Hey, I just updated the site with some cool Flash animation (spew section) and some photos of Hueco II (Gallery section). Please check it out and let me know what you think.

Don't forget - you and I have an appointment with Big <censored> Peak when you visit next!


update : I have been informed that a reproduction of a rec.climbing posting that had previously been displayed on this site is FALSE. The information comes from someone who would have been an eye witness if the incident in the posting actually happened. The posting in question is apparently one of those "urban legends" that grew from nothing over the year

Hi Steve,

Please help me out ....Is the area closed for climbing ? I am building a guide to climbing all over the world together with friends on we have gathered 15.000 routes in Europe and is now working on USA and South america......all free of course.

Tom from Denmark

$teve> Not completely closed. Please check out the latest info in the "NEWS" section of

Thanks for your interest! I will link to your site if you link to mine.

8/21/00 at 1:02 AM
Steve, where can I find a summary/description of the current state of affairs at Hueco? I ran into your web site and can see that there is some kind of a long struggle going on between climbers and government but don't have any prior knowledge of the situation and would like to get the basic ideas of what's going on. Like, historically about the area and when the current struggle began and why. Is that someplace on the web site already and I just didn't look hard enough? Thanks for any response you can give me and good luck fighting ignorance and egos.

>I am still working on a good summary. Bear with me!


On 2/29/00 at 7:57 PM Mark Stajer wrote:
love the Hueco news ticker spewing the bitter truth onto the Internet.... The site should stir some interest with the climbing publications and websites and such, so maybe they will help generate more public support. Who is your presidential candidate for our friend the government this year? Grandpa Munster? the Unibomber? > >later, Mark