the christmas tree is lopsided

but what are you going to do when you get home from a long trip in the wee hours of the morning of december 18? it was dec 22 before we went out to get a tree and fancied the house up with the usual decorations and some new lights on the porch. pure white lights. not cool white, which shine purple, or warm, which shine… well, warm, like candles. i like white lights, but i swear there are way too many choices! the pure white is still kind of chilly to me. i’d like to gaze at our house and be wrapped in thoughts of hot chocolate and wood burning in the fireplace, not  shiny icicles. but again, your choices are severely reduced when you hit target for lights less than 2 weeks before christmas. i’ll have to remember that next year.

yes, we have already begun to think about next year. in fact, i was thinking about next year, and another trip to hueco on the drive home. we hadn’t even left the state of texas yet before i was putting together a new tick list for thanksgiving 2014. but before i head in that direction, let’s talk about the end of this trip. if you followed us on instagram, you saw that from dec 9-12 we hung out in tuscon, az, with our friends paul and april. it was good to have a rest after climbing so many days, and hiking and hiking and hiking, and trying to get to the office at the right time in the morning to get our reservations for north mountain or hit the trail to east spur before the crowds started filtering in. we had rest from our vacation right in the middle of our vacation! how often do you get a chance to do that?

thurs, dec 12 (oren’s b’day) we headed back to hueco for 3 last days of climbing. we had some problems we hadn’t ticked off at east spur and on north mountain, and a tour to the main part of east mountain where we hadn’t yet been to. friday morning we headed out on an east spur/east mtn tour so i could finish up that hi pro glow, a burly v6 on the purina wall. we “warmed up” on some freezing bottom-of-the-barrel climbs in the shade where it felt like it was still in the 30s. one was a fun, slightly painful v3 called solitary snake. on to hi pro glow which was also a bit shady. the kids and a couple of the parents could hang out in the sun a ways away while i put my time in in the cold darkness. i was worried at first that i wouldn’t get to the top because i kept falling off the beginning moves. i think my shoe rubber was too cold and wasn’t sticking to anything. but all the trying hard and falling off finally warmed up my muscles, and i topped that climb out. not bad for working on it less than 2 hours total. brian had a bad day since he didn’t have any specific climbs he wanted to get on except jingus bells, a slightly scary v5; but at the end of the day, he pulled out an exciting  flash of belly of the beast v7. and april ALMOST sent super classic better eat your wheaties (so close!) v8, her current proj and one of the coolest climbs in the park. so we could all walk back to the campground in celebration mode, which meant birthday cake (oren turned 8!) and bourbon and maybe some climbing movies.

saturday was our east mountain day. i had high expectations for this tour. maybe i shouldn’t have let it go until so late in the trip. i had a tick list for this area of 3 problems v5-v6-v7. for me to send all these in a day was sort of a pipe dream. but it being so late in the trip and my second day of climbing in a row, it would have taken a miracle for me to do all three. we were getting so tired. needless to say, i didn’t do all 3. hobbit in a blender (v5) took me ALL DAY instead of 1-2 tries like i was envisioning. i got nearly to the top of this tricky rock climb 5 times before i stuck the last big move and finally topped it out. ridiculous. but it was exciting when i did it after so may tries! brian did the other two problems on my tick list without any trouble, back to back, ides of march and hector in a blender. next year…  (now you can see why i’m already projecting to next time, right? things left undone. i hate that.) april also sent hobbit in a blender, and once again, we all walked back to the campground in celebration mode.

sunday was our last day of climbing. we would be leaving in the afternoon to start our long drive back to the burgh. i had one problem on north mountain that i had tried earlier in the trip and hadn’t sent yet. mexican chicken v6: a roof problem with a spicy finish. this climb is not at all my style, and the ending is the kind of ending i typically have trouble with: pulling a roof and making a long move with my foot super high. awkward. i was hopeful because the second day i worked on it, i was able put it all together except the last two moves. i thought that after a nice long rest in tuscon, i would come back fresh and ready and strong. (too bad resting in tuscon had a lot to do with eating birthday cake, chocolate and drinking wine.) i didn’t intend to save it until my 3rd day on of climbing though. i got to the end and into the last moves of mexican chicken 3 times, but i just couldn’t pull it off. my hands were like claws… claws that didn’t really open or close anymore, useless, useless claws. time to go home. a bitter sweet ending to our trip. things left undone. i hate that! no i don’t. i love it– i’m saving it til next time. (brian had a good last day with a send of mcbain v8 and a crazy looking v5 that i can’t remember the name of. i think we even got video of both.)

so here is my tick list for hueco 2013 (i am forgetting a couple of the not-so-memorable climbs):

  • v2 ostracizer
  • v3 el burro
  • v3 solitary snake
  • v3 skimmer
  • v4 b flat
  • v5 hobbit in a blender
  • v5 meat maker
  • v6 that hi pro glow
  • v6 see sharp
  • v6 see spot run
  • v8 s.a.d.

not a bad list! i wasn’t expecting one so long. i definitely wasn’t expecting to send s.a.d. or see spot! my training certainly paid off.

2014’s tick list is a little longer and has some stout problems on it, some of which are “in my dreams” kind of climbs. for what it’s worth, here’s the list (it’s what is going to motivate me and focus my training all year):

  • v3 squeeze me tender
  • v4 bloody flapper
  • v4 t-bone shuffle
  • v4 the fin
  • v4 try hard
  • v5 jingus bells
  • v5 animal acts
  • v6 mexican chicken
  • v6 ides of march
  • v7 belly of the beast
  • v7 big iron on his hip
  • v7 hector in a blender
  • v7 new religion
  • v8 better eat your wheaties
  • v8 mr. serious

and so, we may end up with a crooked tree again this coming christmas if we make this trek to hueco again in december. it’s so very much worth it though. happy 2014!

(we do intend to put some pics of the trip, and maybe some videos up on the main page soon.)