melissa i strong

rock climber, writer, photographer, working on life daily



EP   & one last Rodeo


From Estes Park to El Paso to Estes Park back to El Paso and eventually back to Estes Park but here in El Paso for a bit but without my love, Adam.  So far that has been my Hueco season with climbing in-between, Hueco Rock Rodeo work, Wagon Wheel Co-opt, WWC, work and since I went back to Estes I worked at the Dunraven while I was home over the New Year (and of course some Tree Service book work too).   My work is normal throughout the Hueco season (WWC and the HRR) but the back and forth and being without Adam is not.

Our standard has been to work hard for 7-9 months and take the rest of the year off (off is relative when it comes to WWC and the Rodeo).  But this year after we survived the flood, we were awarded the tree contract for the town of Estes Park for the next five years.  Adam is definitely taking one for our team and sacrificing some Hueco time getting the operation rolling.   Normally I would be at home with him but the Hueco Rock Rodeo and some land improvements—septic and electric!--has kept me in Hueco.  Adam was only supposed to be in Colorado for a few weeks after I left with the dog and cat to Hueco but sadly he has been detained.  It has been beyond strange being in Hueco without him—I miss him tons--and I have definitely felt a bit lost but I have had plenty of Hueco Rock Rodeo work to keep me busy and friends at Wagon Wheel to climb with, keep me company, help with the Rodeo, help me dig ditches, run wires and erect our electrical pole and install a gate.

For many reasons I decided this year would be my last year organizing the Hueco Rock Rodeo. It is the 21st Hueco Rock Rodeo this upcoming weekend and I have been fortunate enough to be involved with the event for the past three years.  In 2012, I helped Emilia Brown with the ground operations and then organized the event in 2013 and this Rodeo Feb 14-16, 2014.   It has been a great couple of years and we are gearing up for another kickass event.  It has been a wonderful learning experience but also a lot of work and I already wear plenty of hats.  So it is time to take this one off, share anything I can and pass it along to whoever is up for the job. A lot of time and effort go into planning the Rodeo but in the end it is the community of Hueco that really makes this event come together.  I would be lost without the long list of volunteers, guides and athletes who make it all happen.

It has been a strange year and this Hueco season just seemed to follow suite hopefully the changes and sacrifices will lead to a long peaceful season in Hueco next year for me and Adam followed by a trip to Switzerland! But for my immediate future…the 21st Hueco Rock Rodeo—It is looking like it will be a full event and that is with 10 extra spots added this year and plenty of amazing athletes, climbing and fun ahead!  Thankfully Adam is flying back down to Hueco to help me with the event and to finish off the season!




David sending Try Harder

Mike Wickwire sending Liane

Getting a septic system


The back and forth game--back to Estes Park

Always know when Kate and Dustin are here

laying the line for electricity!


Adam stuck in Colorado skype time after work--not psyched :(

Me working Le Chninkel!  It has been consuming--organizing the  Hueco Rock Rodeo and not having Adam here.  When I am out climbing I am constantly distracted by what I need to do for the Rodeo.  Also without Adam, I go along with the group a lot which is fun (and I am thankful) but you are not always going where you "should" go that day.  I have had a handful of days where we kept going to East--it has been good to work out beta and whittle it down but this is a physical problem and crushes your skin.  Taking a break from it for a bit over the Rodeo week and then hoping to not leave it behind for next year.


Mina on Mojo

Mina  on Le Chninkel

David Mason sending Full Service

I've been psyched to climb with David Mason and Mina Leslie-Wujastyk!  These Brits are incredibly strong!  There has been a lot of inspiring climbing going down and great beta suggestions :) Thanks Mina!   Over the course of last spring, summer and fall David sent me training programs.  I am happy that we got to climb with each other for many reasons but selfishly so he can see my weaknesses and put together my next training program for 2014!

Last day for me on East Mountain with Sam Davis and Ana Burgos

Ana B crushing it!

Adam's brief return