With only a couple of weeks off of school a year, I wanted to make the most of my Christmas vacation, so when Roberto invited me to come play in New Mexico how could I say no?
Our agenda included a stop for climbing in Red Rocks, bouldering in Hueco Tanks, meeting his family, seeing their 10,000+ acre ranch, FA's in New Mexico, caving, White Sands, and more! I could go into details about all the shenanigans and make you read about them, or I could just throw up links of the the pictures and movies that were shot and edited of our trip by Roberto, so here goes...
For a little non-climbing content, Roberto his mother and I built this snowman on a rare snow day in Las Cruces, NM, while a computer's camera time-lapsed the project:
The climbing portion of the trip included sport climbing in Red Rocks, NV, bouldering in Hueco Tanks, TX, and FA's in El Malpais, NM. We climbed with old friends, made new ones, braved wicked cold, and in general had a blast. Here's a compilation of some of the climbing that Roberto put together:
A lot of the trip was, admittedly, non-climbing, but it was actually even better than the climbing in some ways. I was able to catch a glimpse of what made Berto the awesome person he is, from meeting his welcoming family, to experiencing an amazing place where he spent time growing up. Roberto put together this video, primarily of our non-climbing adventures and experiences:
Near the end of the trip, Roberto and I had a day of good weather (I think it was a balmy 17F when we woke up) to try to pick off some FA's in El Malpais state park. There are probably only about 10-20 documented routes on of miles of sandstone walls. The cliffs have variable quality sandstone, but some of the lines were stunning! While Lindsay shot photos, Roberto and I had a go on a perfect splitter he found on a previous trip.
I managed to eek out an onsight, with much battling, and Roberto promptly climbed it clean as well. It was a 5.11a offwidth with a roof guarding the entrance and the finish. protecting the initial roof required climbing up in a pod behind/under the roof and setting gear, then reversing back out. Due to the moves out of tight constricting pod feet first, we decided to name the route Breech Baby!
While prepping for Breech Baby, Roberto had spied a short but aesthetic leaning finger crack to the left. We rappelled back down to the base of the cliff and he onsighted the route with Lindsay and I following. It turned out to be a 5.10 start to enjoyable easier climbing above to the top of the cliff. I'm hoping that he names it, updates this post, and does a write up on Mountain Project sometime soon (hint hint Berto!). A late start due to low temperatures and short days dictated that was our last route of the day and we post-holed through the snow back to the car with huge grins on our faces from a short but good day of climbing... We'll be back for more fun since it looked like there was much more potential for both crack and face climbing routes. Me checking out another wall at sunset:
Roberto took some absolutely phenomenal photos during our trip, so if you want to see more photos from our trip below, please click through the gallery below!