Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Last Chance Canyon, NM

Hueco Tanks, TX

I just set up a flickr account so that I can upload more pictures in better quality...If you want to see the pictures for this post just click this link!!!  I will still post a few of our favorite photos for anyone else.  Hope you enjoy!

During our last week in Hueco we had some friends tell us about a place called Last Chance Canyon in New Mexico.   Being the nomads we are, we decided to add another stop to our journey and went to Last Chance Canyon with two guys we met in Hueco, TJ and Austin.  This mini-trip ended up being a ton of friends and a new climbing experience for both Mike and I.

TJ in the Solstice Cave

We started off by having radiator trouble on the way there and got to the turn off for the canyon much later than we expected.  We were warned about both the rough roads and the high concentration of mountain lions in the area...both of which we encountered!  The camp grounds are on the rim of the canyon and once we made the 30 minute hike into the canyon we found ourselves looking up at giant limestone caves and walls!  The Solstice cave ended up being my personal favorite.  Unfortunately Mike is dealing with a minor finger injury and didn't get to climb as much as he hoped.  On our second day we lost track of time and ended up climbing till dark, making for a memorable hike out.  TJ, Juno and myself were walking ahead of Mike and Austin with a headlamp when Juno noticed movement in a bush only a few yards away from us. Both TJ and I heard what was unmistakably a cougar hissing and running off.  The ironic part was that we had just been discussing how funny it was that the first night we could barely sleep out of fear of cougars, and the second night we were walking out in the dark.  Luckily we got back to camp ok, but I will definitely remember that experience forever.

The climbing in Last Chance is the best sport climbing I have ever experienced.  Having someone like TJ who is a much more experienced route climber made me really push myself and I was able to lead my first 5.12 in the Solstice Cave!  Even with an injured finger Mike lead several routes.  Limestone climbing was a new experience for both of us.  

Thomas on Mad Cow Wall

We are now on our way to Red Rocks, NV...Hoping to meet up with some old friends, new friends and girl friends in Las Vegas in the next couple of weeks and we are looking forward to some sand stone route climbing!!!  

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