It is almost impossible to revisit a place without comparing it to the other times you have been there before. That’s what I have been experiencing a lot these first four days of our second trip to Hueco Tanks. There are some similarities of course. We are staying in the same camping spot we did last year for most of the trip (yes, thankfully, for those of you who knew of the big where-are-we-going-to-camp-at-hueco question that loomed over us even as we were driving here, the campground is open for our accommodation for our entire stay!). Our little red pop-top is surrounded by wind-weathered trees. We love this spot. I am glad of this similarity. And our friends Paul and April are here climbing with us for part of the time. Another similarity is how awesome Seb and Oren are as hikers and climbers. They hike and hike and hike with us un the blazing sun to and fro amongst the boulders all day long, and they are as excited to climb as we are.

Many more are the differences though; some okay, some not as okay. One good difference from last year is that we have made it through the first four days without anyone (read: Brian) hurting an essential appendage for climbing. All fingers, toes, tendons, arms and legs intact.

But now, speaking of the blazing sun, we come to the differences from last year that kind of suck. It’s darn hot! Upper 80s every day, and no forecast for it letting up either. This is not helping our climbing much. Not at all. In fact, I am going to use it as my main excuse for not being able to send anything harder than v3 yet. Last year, we sent something new almost every day, but this year since we don’t have all those easy/moderate classic problems to do (at least on north mountain), we are floundering a bit. Plus, I think both of us came with high expectations of what we would be able to climb, and we aren’t feeling it yet. Not at all. In fact, our short tick lists are slowly being reassessed and downgraded to easier problems. Well, maybe. I am sticking to my main goal that I set last year: Big Iron On His Hip, v7. But the outlook is grim since I haven’t strung more than the first two moves together. I may be leaving this place with a project left undone and the need to come up with a plan on how to convince brian to drive back here next year…and the next.

Last year was the ultimate Hueco visit I think. Incomparable. Doesn’t mean this year has to be a disappointment… I guess.