BD athlete Chris Schulte makes a trip to the iconic boulders of Hueco Tanks each year, always finding new problems, new adventures and new challenges. Such was the case this year—exactly what Chris was looking for. Below is Chris’ report about his season in Hueco as well as a video he edited together of some of his favorite moments and sends.
El Paso sits on the southern edge of the nation, on the edge of a vast desert, wild with car thieves and gangsters, traffickers of human, arms and drugs, bad drivers without insurance, and a big tall fence festooned with discarded plastic bags and bits of refuse running alongside a trickling, muddy brook.
Hueco Tanks, not 40 minutes away, sits peaceful and pristine, an anchor for our human and climbing culture. I’ve been coming here season after season, annually, bi-annually; the space here remains constant: a vortex, magnifying and edifying me and the experiences of my life time and time again. I can come here with peace, and have more peace. I can come here with tumults unheeded, and reap the whirlwind of my deeds. It’s downright psychedelic sometimes, the magic of this place, be it black or white, a magic 8ball or rites of human sacrifice. I’m reminded whenever I come down here, in one way or another, we’re playthings of the old gods when we come to play in their sandbox.
Crawling into the guts of Hueco’s four mountains, you enter another climate, another world. Birds sing, javalinas grunt and wiggle down the trails, coyotes serenade the passing watches of the sun. The greenery drinks deep from the rock wells. The wind howls like the wild dogs roaming the stony arroyos.
Sometimes, the outside world penetrates this fortress of nature: the rumble of bombs and artillery, the staccato pops of heavy machine gun fire and the thump of passing attack helicopters remind you of the very serious world, just beyond the horizon. In recent years, the world has encroached ever more on this oasis: crest a rocky ridgeline and look away north, south, and east, to a private training camp for soldiers of fortune, the cheap box-buildings made to resemble Middle Eastern towns.
In, out, black, white, yin, yang, positive, negative. Always a blend here, tossing you back and forth, making you think, making you try, making you do. A huge, stirring cauldron, boiling with life and experience.
Maybe that’s why we keep coming back: for the slosh, and for the calm, but never for nothing.
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