"Hueco II !"
Many of you know the real name of this area. It was "discovered"
by climbers over 20 years ago. It does not get very much traffic because
it is remote and the rock is devoid of holds. Fred Nakovic, Dave Head,
Mike Head, Todd Skinner and locals from El Paso, Dell City and Carlsbad
NM have been putting up problems here for years.
A large portion of the
land at the base of rocks is owned by rancher Bobby Jones. His family's
cemetery with the graves of his great-great grandparents are located there.
As you might imagine, access is a problem and climbers don't fit in well
with the rancher community. Even if you plan to avoid the rancher's property
and climb on only the BLM-owned portions of the rocks. We DO NOT advise
you to try to climb without contacting Mr. Jones and getting permission.
Camping is rarely permitted. Mr. Jones is a real, live Sheriff's Deputy,
is armed and authorized to arrest and detain you. Having said that, he
is a nice guy and easy to get along with if you are honest with him.
The rock is
100% bulletproof syenite, almost exactly like Hueco itself. The only real
difference is the lack of huecos and the prevalence of splitter cracks.
It is fabulously hard, with tiny crystals and a pure-brown Hueco patina.
In places, it has that grayish look that is prevalent in the Uriah Heep
area. My impression is that it is harder and less chossy than Hueco.
Hueco II is
three hours from El Paso; at least 2 of them are on dirt. In size, it seems
to be about as large or larger than Hueco. It has more variation of altitude
than Hueco does.
I spent the
night out there recently. It is one of the darkest, quietest, most remote
locations I have ever slept in. It was warm, so I just crashed in the bed
of the truck and watched the Milky Way turn slowly overhead like a giant
fuzzy propeller in the sky. There was no manmade illumination visible -
no city glow, no lights from distant roads or ranches. It was even darker
than when I camped this summer near the Mathes Crest in Yosemite! The only
sounds were the twittering's of bats, distant coyotes and occasional cow-farts.
(Yes, farts. they sound like muffled gunshots and can be heard from a mile
how bright starlight is once your eyes adjust. I could sometimes see
the bats silhouetted against the sky, and could walk on cow-paths without
running into cactus. I slept with "one eye open", deliberately,
since the view was so awesome and also because I was hoping to be able
to see the Zodiacal Light right before sunrise. However, the Moon rose
about 2 hours before then and blotted it out. (The Zodiacal Light is
the glow from sunlight on the tenuous disk of gas and dust that lies
in the plane of the Solar System. It is visible right before sunrise,
during the period of maximum darkness just before the sky starts to
lighten. It looks like a dim, fuzzy spear of light, extending about
a third of the way up the sky. It's angle to the horizon is 90 - latitude
+/- 23 . I have only seen it once, from the Valley Of Fire near Carizozo
A few times
during the night, a bat would run into the whip antenna on my truck. It
would complain with twitters that sounded obviously annoyed!
The morning was gorgeous
and clear. I had a great time wandering around, but exploring for boulder
problems is frustrating compared to Hueco. There are tons of what at first
look like great problems, but when you get close, they turn out to be
V10+ or unclimbable, and with terrible landings. Not many V0 or V1 grades.
The undergrowth is thick. However, there a few easy problems, and the
cracks are great for fat trad types. I am sure that there is tons of stuff
that I just have not found yet.