melissa i strong
rock climber, writer, photographer, working on life daily
The warm weather came with the people this season. Right around Christmas the days got warmer and have continued to be so throughout January so far…
After our first year in Hueco we decided that the best way to enjoy The Tanks to its fullest was to become guides(three out of the four mountains are guided access only). We went through guide training in June and shortly after that Adam and I were approached by our friend John Wallace to see if we wanted to start up a guiding concession. Out of this Wagon Wheel Co-opt grew. 2006 was our first year. Initially we accommodated our friends but over the years there began to be more of a demand for a guiding concession. We went from taking out a couple hundred people a year to taking out almost 400 people this December. The awesome website our friend and fellow guide Andy Klier designed has helped get guides and clients together–wagonwheelcoopt.com
Our busy season has come and gone. In addition to tours, people are always looking for a place to camp (we do “rent” out one camper) but have tried not to become a “campground.” Over the years we have welcomed as many friends as our land can comfortably handle. We have also hosted and welcomed one of Boulder’s climbing teams and John Myrick and the Austin climbing team. All of this adds up to a lot of people on our land and a lot of tours that need to go out. Among the many people visiting Hueco for the holiday season are a lot of close friends. During these three weeks I feel like I cannot get to all of it–organizing tours, keeping a handle on the land, hanging out with friends and getting to projects. I have learned in the past and need to remember it every year to say good bye to the projects for the moment and just go with the flow and climb.
It can get stressful and a bit crazy but it is usually fun and in the end things quiet down. And that is where we are for now–quiet. If you wanted to you could walk onto north mountain (only 70 spots available per day) with ease today.
above: Chris Shulte on The Maroon
Left: Beau Kahler on Funk's Arete
Below: Rob Guinn on Funk's arete
Right:Julie Otis on Animal Acts
Further Right: Paul Otis on El Techo
Sam Davis on Cuckold
Me and Allen Peters on 1969