Skills & Techniques

Leave No Trace and Hueco Rock Rodeo

Guest - February 16, 2017

Hueco, TX: Last week Leave No Trace participated in the 24th annual Hueco Rock Rodeo. This annual climbing competition features bouldering. Bouldering is a form of rock climbing that is done without the use of traditional climbing gear, that is ropes or harnesses. Climbers use climbing shoes to help secure footholds, chalk to keep their hands dry, and bouldering crash pads to prevent injuries from falls.

Hueco Tanks State Park is in a high altitude desert near El Paso, Texas. Hueco is spanish for “hollows”. The huecos refer to the many water-holding depressions in the boulders and rock faces throughout the region.  These huecos make great holds for climbing. Hueco Tanks State Park is now famous for world class bouldering. The Rock Rodeo takes place over a weekend with multiple categories for different levels of skilled climbers from novice to professional.  The climbers go to the park with guides.  The guides show the climbers where the routes to climb are and to make sure to Leave No Trace while the competition takes place.

You can Leave No Trace when you visit Hueco Tanks State Park to boulder. The State Park recommends:

Know before you go:

  • Bring your own equipment: climbing shoes, crash pads, chalk, food and water.
  • Dress for the desert: sunblock, hat, hiking boots and the right clothes for the weather.
  • Check our Closure List to know which areas are off limits.

Here are a few tips to Leave No Trace next time you go outside to boulder:

The Seven Principles

  1. Plan Ahead and Prepare: check the local park website for weather and what to bring.
  2. Travel and Camp on Durable Surfaces: walk on trails to get to boulders you want to climb.
  3. Dispose of Waste Properly: pack out all trash you bring in the park.
  4. Leave What You Find: clean off chalk marks to leave the boulder how you found it.
  5. Minimize Campfire Impacts: drown out all fires, make sure they are cool to the touch before you walk away.
  6. Respect Wildlife: check with local offices to make sure not to disturb animal habitats when climbing.
  7. Be Considerate of Other Visitors: be nice to both climbers and non-climbers.

For more information about how to Leave No Trace while rock climbing check out our Leave No Trace education materials at our online pro shop HERE

We have rock climbing ethics cards HERE

and rock climbing skills & ethics booklets HERE

Travel Well,

Amanda and Greg – Subaru/Leave No Trace Traveling Trainer Team East Central

Leave No Trace’s Amanda Neiman and Greg Smith are part of the 2017 Subaru/Leave No Trace Traveling Trainer Program that provides free, mobile education to communities across the country. Proud partners of this program include Subaru of America, REI, Fjall Raven, ENO, Deuter, Thule, Taxa Outdoors and SmartWool.

Let’s protect and enjoy our natural world together

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