Rock-climbing opportunities near Dallas

May 5, 2004
Outside Magazine
Week of April 24-30, 1997
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Rock-climbing opportunities near Dallas

Rock-climbing opportunities near Dallas
Question: I have just moved to Dallas from San Francisco, where I used to do a great deal of climbing. I am hoping to plan a large mountaineering expedition within the next couple of years. I have good rock-climbing experience, which I would like to improve upon, and I would also like to get some exposure to mountaineering.

Here is the catch: I'd know where to go if I were in California but now I am in Dallas. I am a very busy private investor, and I really only have my weekends free. Where can I go within driving distance (and I am willing to go far) so that I can work on my skills? I wouldn't mind meeting some people in the area who might share some of my ambitions. Can you help?

John B. Rogers, Jr.
Dallas, TX
[email protected]

Adventure Adviser: Because the Hill Country is the closest thing to mountains you'll find in Texas, chances are you'll have to save up some vacation time and head to South America to bone-up on your mountaineering skills. But for rock climbing, you happened to move to a state that boasts one of the top three bouldering areas in the world. Ever heard of Hueco Tanks (915-857-1135)? Located approximately 30 miles east of El Paso off Highway 180, you'll find more than plenty technical climbing. There's a $4 climbing fee and temperatures soar to 115 degrees in the summer, but that will just make you more resilient to the diverse temperatures you'll experience on your future climbing trips. Pick up a copy of the Hueco Tanks Climbing Guide, by John Sherman.

A bit closer to home is Lake Mineral Wells State Park (817-328-1171), two hours west of Dallas on Highway 180. Here you'll find some challenging technical climbs and, most likely, a road-tripping buddy or two. Enchanted Rock State Park (915-247-3903), northwest of Austin, provides gargantuan boulders and an eerie moaning noise when the rock cools down at sunset. Two other state parks that offer rock climbing are Franklin Mountains State Park (915-566-6441) near El Paso and Caprock Canyons (806-455-1492) near Amarillo.

As for meeting like-minded souls, I'd hang out at your local rock-climbing store.

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