On the hunt for new rock

On the hunt for new rock

Posted on 16. Jan, 2013 by in News

Although the temperatures were bitterly cold this weekend, I made my way south to New Mexico to explore a few of the hundreds of places I have pinned on Google Earth. The hunt for new boulders can often be a difficult one and even with the aid of technology like iPhones, internet, and Google Earth it can still be extremely frustrating. My focus this weekend was several areas near Las Vegas, NM

A remote and frosty morning

We drove for hours on marginal dirt roads, criss-crossing private property and public land. The difficult mix tested my ability to access the places I was hoping to see, but eventually we got to within a mile and a half of one particularly enticing spot. A long bushwhack lead into a beautiful and lonely canyon on public land. After several hours of driving and hiking just trying to get to the head of the canyon, it became quickly apparent that while there were thousands of huge boulders, none of the rock was suitable for hard climbing. We stopped at a few other places with less rock but the results were the same. The next day we drove over 100 miles to another potential new zone, but we were snowed out and went home. Developing is hard work, not only in the physicality of trying to find, access, and climb new and good rock, but I sacrificed several climbing days for my effort. No sends, no updates, no glory, however fleeting that may be. My time always feels limited, and it can be frustrating giving up a weekend of climbing simply in hopes to find more. This is the reality of what it takes develop new boulders, and it makes it is easy to understand why so many climbers don’t bother to make the extra step.

The benefit is that trips like this make success all the better. While I am defeated this time, my frustration only strengthens my resolve, in hopes to find the next Chaos Canyon, Devil’s Kitchen, etc. My efforts will be focused now on other clusters, particularly those in Colorado.

A lonely evening

4 Responses to “On the hunt for new rock”

  1. Dave Williams

    16. Jan, 2013

    I just want you to know… There are others out there facing the same dilemma. The day always starts out so hopeful, but by the end you feel silly and frustrated. My trick is when I walk up to something good ive found , I always do better if I circle the boulder for the first time counterclockwise. It’s a really exhistential battle looking for rock, especially sice its often done alone and without success, but just remember – its just as arbitrary as any other hobby, no more so.
    Besides…. It’s out there.

  2. Timpson

    18. Jan, 2013

    “it became quickly apparent that while there were thousands of huge boulders, none of the rock was suitable for hard climbing”

    bad rock quality? no steep overhanging faces? could it be a mecca for moderates?

    they’re farther away but have you checked out Ponderosa or Ruidoso? I seem to remember potential for harder lines in both places, though there is much more stone in Ruidoso.

  3. B3

    18. Jan, 2013

    The rock was sandy, and holds didn’t seem to want to stick. My friend would be very interested in developing moderates and he passed on the are as well.
    I haven’t been to Ponderosa (although my good friend and co worker Jon Cardwell has given me a bunch of info as he developed some of the harder problems there) and I have heard about Ruidoso. Sounds small, and if I am going to drive that far I’d rather just go to Hueco. Thanks for the info!

  4. Johnny5

    29. Jan, 2013

    Bro pleeeeeeeease make a blog post about using google earth to find new boulders…would help me out immemsely

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