Last Day at Hueco

Yesterday was our guided tour of East Mountain–an area of the park that you are not allowed to access without a guide. We started our day at an awesome V2, called the mini bathtub and then headed to the classic Moonshine Roof. In the middle of this roof is a fantastic surfboard feature that you hold from underneath and double heel hook. Danny and Li sent the V5 Moonshine Right, and Kilian sent the classic V4 Moonshine Roof.

Kilian topping out Moonshine Roof
Sarah on Moonshine Roof
Li on Moonshine Roof

From there we went to Burden of the Beast, where Danny quickly sent the V10 and I sent a V5, Belly of Burden. Lastly we moved on to the Gunks area, where Kilian and Li worked on New Religion V7. Danny sent the V8 extension of New Religion in one go. But most importantly we saw Nalle Huckataival, the dreamy Finlander/Finlandite/Finlandian (?). Even though he is a professional climber that has been featured in several climbing movies and has won World Cup Bouldering competitions, Danny had no idea who he was. Apparently Danny is too much of a hipster to indulge in “climbing pop culture”, as he called it.

Danny on Burden of the Beast

After our day of climbing we began to reflect on what powers us to push so hard all day long: motivational speeches. Every morning of climbing we have begun by electing someone to give the motivational speech for the day. On the first morning, the group unwittingly picked me. Some of us, like Li, have the natural gift of motivation, while others, like myself, were born without it. After a thoroughly de-motivating speech by myself, we chose to make Li, who has a wealth of ancient Chinese wisdom, to be the permanent motivator. Afterwards, Kilian and I had a de-motivational speech-off, which ended with Kilian telling a true story about a boy he went backpacking with who got pulled out of his tent in the middle of the night by a black bear. Naturally, none of us slept wink last night, including Kilian, who seems to have come down with a cold. Hopefully he will be feeling well enough to backpack the Grand Canyon with us!

This morning we all showered and spent a couple hours packing up the car. It’s honestly a miracle that everything fit.

Now we’re off to Flagstaff, where we’ll spend the night. We’re heading another 1:30 to the Grand Canyon in the morning. We’re going to spend 4 days hiking the South Kaibab trail to the Bright Angel Trail. I hope everyone has a good New Years! Look for updates about our backpacking in about 5 days!

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