"Hueco II !"

October 2000

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 away...)

It's amazing 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 NM.)

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.