Best American Adventures: Boulder Hueco Tanks
We've just updated our popular America's
Best Adventures feature with 50 new trips, bringing our grand total to 100 iconic escapes (see the map, state-by-state list, and photo gallery, too). So no matter what your pleasure—hiking,
heli-skiing, surfing, climbing, biking, or paddling—we've got the perfect adventure
for you. Check in each day for a new, out-the-backdoor adventure highlighted here on our blog.
By Kate Siber; Photograph by Bobby Model, National Geographic
It’s the climber’s equivalent of Mecca: Every winter, between
November and March, thousands of climbers from across the world make
the pilgrimage to Hueco Tanks, an 860-acre (348-hectare) bouldering
area outside El Paso, Texas, with more than 2,000 problems—and
counting. It’s renowned for its dry, sunny weather, bombproof igneous
rock, and fantastical rock formations that make for endlessly
Though the problems get
as hard as V15—picture holds the size of a housefly on an overhanging
rock—the beauty of Hueco Tanks is that there’s such an abundance,
variety, and concentration of problems that a veteran and a newbie can
challenge themselves within spitting distance. The atmosphere,
therefore, is decidedly inclusive and laid-back. Whether you arrive
with friends or solo, seasoned or brand-new, you’re virtually
guaranteed a personal cheering section.
part of the experience is staying at the ten-acre (four-hectare) Hueco
Rock Ranch, a campground, guesthouse, pro shop, and gathering spot
where climbers often camp for months. It’s an immersion into
come-as-you-are climber culture: Each night climbers of all stripes
break out instruments, fire up the grill, and gather around a bonfire.
Keep an eye out for familiar faces: Here, the woman who just offered
you a beer could very well be climbing legend Lynn Hill.
Need to Know: Hueco Rock Ranch (www.huecorockranch.com)
offers camping for $5 per person per night as well as services like a
kitchen, showers, and guided bouldering tours. Private rooms are $30
per person and shared bunks are $20 per person. Discounts are available
for extended stays.
- Nat Geo Expeditions