Hueco Tanks – Back into Texas

Hueco Tanks must rank as one of the most famous climbing areas in the US if not the world. Arguably the best Bouldering on the planet, it also has a small selection of outstanding roped routes.

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Huecos are natural holes and depressions in the rock.  As well as making fantastic climbing holds they also  accumulate any rain fall ( hence  The “Tanks” ) and create an oasis in the surrounding desert. This has led to the area being an important staging post and home to indigenous American people for hundreds of years, a fact recorded in numerous pictogram paintings on the rocks. It also makes this a vital ecosystem for plants and animals.

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The combined pressures of these three sets of stakeholders has led to a lot of tension, and climbing was almost banned outright. However a compromise management plan has been agreed with permits for only 60 visitors a day allowed. This covers climbers, bird watchers, pictogram hunters and walkers, so initially seems  quite restrictive. However, you can book permits in advance and we got 3 days of climbing at less than a day’s notice.

The similarities with Uluru or Ayers Rock are striking. Granite monolith in the middle of a desert, sacred site to indigenous people, oasis ecosystem and awesome climbing potential. The compromise at Hueco is a lot more desirable than the ban at Uluru!

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