maandag 28 februari 2011

Hueco Rock Rodeo

On Friday I finally got my registration of the car. So I was able to leave Hueco. But after a lot of thinking and hesitating I finally made the decision to stay 2 more days in Hueco Tanks because of the Hueco Rock Rodeo. This is a famous outdoor rock climbing competition in the US with a lot of strong climbers.

I planned to leave 6 days ago to Red Rocks, Las Vegas, but I was obligated to stay in Texas because I didn’t have a registration for the car yet. But I decided to just stay two more days for the Rock Rodeo. I thought it would be a nice end of this trip in Hueco.

The event started Friday night. They showed the movie ‘Core’, which I like a lot. There was a Fuddruckers truck who sold some junk food for the real American atmosphere.

On Saturday the competition started at ten in the morning. There were 165 competitors who signed up in the morning. They made a list with all the problems the competitors could do. The list was divided in two areas; the backcountry (East- and West Mountain and The Spurr) and North Mountain. The competitors needed to chose where they wanted to climb, it wasn’t able to climb in the backcountry and on North Mountain. The problems who were on the tick list for North Mountain where until grade V10. The problems on the tick list of the backcountry were harder with a couple of V14’s. So if you wanted to compete in the higher category you needed to climb at the backcountry. The goal is to do as much problems you can. The harder a problem is the more points you get for it. If you do it first go it has more points. For each fall you count 10 points less. The people where you climbed with were judging, that worked perfect. The results list they device in 4 different categories for women and men. The first three of each category got some nice prices.

I did 4 new V8’s, one V9 and a couple of V7’s. With this category system there was a lot of chance you got a price. So I was thinking to maybe be in the second highest category. After the awards I found out I ended on the fourth place in the highest category. Mutants! This was really unexpected. Daniel Woods won the comp and Sam Davis was second. The head sponsor of this big event was Five Ten who gave away lots of free stuff. They just threw all this free stuff of the sponsors in the audience, and it was a lot!

They also showed the new movie of Dave Graham and Jon Cardwell, ‘Reach’. I liked it because it was so unusual. The movie made them look human and not perfect! The movie showed those top climbers like who they are. They were frustrated sometimes and had also a hard time in projects like everybody else.

The party was really nice with an awesome atmosphere! There was also a big fire with lots of wood the whole night long! Today it was a lazy they at the ranch and tomorrow I’m leaving to Red Rocks, Las Vegas!

Just before the competition I had a short but nice day. I did ‘Dirty martini on the rocks’ V10 really fast without too much try’s. Thanks to the rests I took last days to work in the Van my fingertips health well! Climbing feels also way easier without all the tape around my fingertips. I think I should try some harder things while I’m here.

I’ll keep you up to date!

Here some more pictures of the Van. :)

dinsdag 22 februari 2011

A funny day in Hueco!

Today I climbed with Enzo Nahumury. We did some bouldering in the morning. That was all normal. The funny thing was the nice classic 5.10 route we did today. The name is 'Sea of Holes'. I'm not going to say to much about it! Just watch the video.
The bad quality is for the faster upload.

zondag 20 februari 2011

Chevy Van Edmerald Edition!

I haven’t been climbing for two days now. But it isn’t a big problem. Two days ago Jan De Smit and his girlfriend Natalie left Hueco after a three month trip living in a Chevy Van.
From the beginning I knew that I was going to buy that van when they were leaving. The van was still a family van with two front seats, two big back seats and a couch you can fold down to a bed.

Last 5 days I have been calling around for the insurance and the registration of the car, it was quite a hassle. Now all the paperwork for this month is almost finished.
Yesterday I went to a home depot to buy some wood and other supplies. I threw all the seats and the couch/bed out and cleaned the whole van.

Today was the Hueco Tanks Clean-Up day. With a lot of people we went from 9 am until 1 pm in the park and cleaned the park. We needed to collect all the garbage, what wasn’t a big deal because the park is really clean. Climbers here are really clean people!

Another thing we needed to do and what we did the most was cleaning the rock with water and a brush! Yeah you read it well, cleaning the chalk from the holds! It was a joke, because the chalk comes back when the water dry’s. But the state park people wanted it like that. And we got free burritos and beer in the evening at the Rock Ranch.

After the clean up, at 1 pm, I went back to the Rock Ranch to work in the van. In the park I met a nice and friendly Dutch guy, Enzo Nahuymury. He had a rest day to so decide to come with me and help me in the van. We worked from the afternoon until halve past ten. Really slow but we had fun! I made a nice king size bed! Tomorrow I’ll make a little table!

On all those pictures you can see how it looks like!

maandag 14 februari 2011

Pulling Plastic

The last few days were some moving days. First I did my third V10, ‘Black Mamba’. It’s a small boulder problem with only two moves. It’s a totally different style compared to the typical Hueco style. Two moves on flat slopers, a real Font problem. To see something different in Texas I joined the camp hosts, Natalie and Jan to a climbing competition in the Texas Tech University in Lubbock. The camp host, Corbit, has his own brand of climbing holds. ‘Dirty Birds’ is the name! He made some new holds for that competition, with great success.

From Hueco it was a 5 hour drive to Lubbock trough the dessert. Quite boring and flat. We past a lot of oil pumps, it's funny to see that in real life. We past little poor villages with a lot of old small houses.
Once we were in Lubbock we rented a room in a hotel, I slept great in a real bed again. In the evening we went to see the Real Rock Tour movie 2010 in the university. This was for me a really inspiring movie, because I know I’ll go to a lot of the places I saw in this movie. I’m looking forward to do some trad climbing!

Next day the competition started at 1pm. Bouldering and route climbing were the general disciplines. You can compare the competition with The Vertical Event in Louvain la Neuve. Every route or boulder had a judge and every climber had a scorecard. The 5 routes or boulders with the highest points you could do counted on your scorecard. If you flash them, you have even higher points. I flashed the 4 hardest routes and one boulder and I won the competition. Jan and Natalie became both 3th. So the Belgians win!
It was really funny to climb in an American gym. It’s not like in Europe where you follow one color to the top. They just have all colors spread out over the wall and make up routes by sticking tape on the wall. So it was confusing for us Belgians to follow colored tape instead of the color of the holds.
It was not that hard to win the competition, there were not so much strong route climbers. And by doing routes you got more points. But it felt so great to do some routes again, even on plastic.

In the evening there was an after party in a house of one of the staff. Most of the people who were at the party were staff from the competition. I had the feeling I was in a movie on a house party of students in a small neighborhood. I had a great time and met some nice people.

Today we climbed again in the gym before going back home to the Hueco Rock Ranch.
I saw this little vacation as some rest days for my skin and getting pumped on some routes again.

In 5 days I have my Van and I’ll leave to the next spot! Where that will be, you’ll see!

dinsdag 8 februari 2011

Cold times!

It’s been a long time right now. After my last post we’ve been thru a really cold time here in Hueco. We couldn’t climb for three days because of the cold weather, so we were obligated to grow some skin. At night the coldest temperature was -20°C. Luckily the camp host invited us in the house where we could sleep for 2 nights. We stayed in the house playing a lot of games like the swiss game, Meier. Some game with dices. I lost like I’m used to losing in games, my punishment was making a nice snowman. Guess what, I did it. I made a nice onsite ascent of a 2D snowman!

The cold brought a lot of bad luck for a lot of people in the US. In El Paso and here the electricity went out a lot, all water pipes in a lot of houses broke because of the frozen water inside it whereby a lot of people where running out of water. Even all the water in the supermarkets was sold out. They say it where the coldest days in history!

After those cold days we went climbing, there still was some snow on top of the boulders and all-around. Because of the cold and three days of sitting on my ass it wasn’t a perfect climbing day but I enjoyed it!
The second day we all went to East Mountain to see some new boulders! It was amazing, each mountain is new and full of boulders.
Me, Jan, Nico and Thierri tried one of the nicest boulders in the park, called Sunshine (V11). None of us could do it but I’m sure next time it will work. This is a nice boulder that’s completely my style on some nice slopers. After that I almost onsite ’10-10’, an easy V10. I did it some tries after it.
I did a whole bunch of new easier problems and another classic one named ‘Something Different’, V8. For me it felt really hard for the grade, but it was worth it.

Sunday it was the last day for Nico, Tim and Thierri. They climbed a little bit and went to the airport to look for an hotel to spent the night. In the hotel we could finally take a shower. For me it was 8 days ago I had showered. No problem, nobody who smells it here!
It was even better than a shower, we could take a jacuzzi and swim in a nice warm outdoor swimming pool.

Today was a great climbing day. The jacuzzi had made my muscles ready for a new climbing day. I went on a tour on East Mountain and The Spur with two nice guys who are living in a mini school bus for seven moths like me. Those are the guys I’ll probably will join to Flagstaff and Red Rocks.
First I took revenge on the boulder where I fell and twisted my ankles 10 days ago. It was a V9 called Hector. I did it first try of the day. After that I on sited two long V8’s and did an other classic problem. ‘The Egg’, V9, super nice line on slopers on a boulder that looks like an egg.
I’m ready for another good day tomorrow!

Yesterday I took a look in the guide book of Indian Creek. That place looks amazing. I’m looking forward to go there and place some gear in nasty cracks!

dinsdag 1 februari 2011

Crimping, pinching and falling!

The first day after my last post we’ve been one day to The East Spur, also with a guide. The day started really well with a nice and hard V8 on crimps named ‘Better eat your Weetes’. After that I tried ‘Hector’, a nice V9 but dangerous. I fell bad on my feet and twisted my ankle a little bit. That day I couldn’t climb anymore and took an obligated rest. I don’t want to have something serious with 7 months of climbing in the future!

The day after it went well. I went climbing with some Canadians what was a lot of fun! I did a lot of nice and hard problems. One of them was ‘Choir boys’, a V9 on slopers with a crimpy ending. The hardest V9 I ever did! The other problems I did that day where:
- V7 Daily Dick Dose
- V7 Choir Boys Light
- V7 Baby Face
- V7 (a new boulder, really high one on crimps)
- V9 Choir Boys
- V9 Pumped Full of Semen
A nice and long day!

After another lazy rest day we went with all of us on North Mountain in a new area! I and Nice did a nice V7 and V9. The V9 I did really fast, it was completely my style! After that we tried a V11, ‘Anal Intruder #10’. The name comes from the nice swing you make with the pointed rock behind your ass! Where number 10 comes from I don’t want to know!
I’m moving really good in this one and think I can do it! I just need a fresh day with good skin and it will work.

The weather forecast for the 3 following days is not so good. They expect snow and really cold temperatures going to -10°C at night! So we aren’t going to climb that many those days.

If the weather gets better I want to find myself a nice project to work. Something that doesn’t eat too much skin!

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