This winter I made a quick trip back down to Hueco Tanks, one of my favorite bouldering areas in the world.. For me Hueco has been a place to live out many of the dreams I've had about bouldering over the years. One problem that has eluded me for more than 10 years is The Feather. This iconic problem was established by Fred Nicole probably in the 90s. Regardless, it is one of the most unique and interesting rock features I have ever seen. For those who don't know, a near perfect "feather" is imprinted into the rock, and the problem climbs across it. It is also one of the most difficult problems to reach in Hueco. The approach is somewhat steep and rough, and it isn't easy to convince people to go try one isolated problem, regardless of its rarity.
The Feather - Jamie Emerson
I was lucky this trip, and the group I was with was supportive to my efforts, giving myself really only day on this trip to finish it. Fortunately it was all I needed. The tour was long and we didn't arrive at The Feather until evening, and I had been mentally preparing all day for the battle. I got warmed up quickly after a rough hike across the top of West Mountain and climbed the moves. I had a few misfires but with 20 minutes left in the tour, I sat down, took a deep breath and gathered my focus as I have so many times before. The sun was setting, and the rocks glowed in the failing light. Down below, the faint howl of coyotes filtered up through the rocks. It is these moments that I live for, and for these reasons I come to this magical place in the desert. My mind slowed and all my thought was pure and clear. It was not easy, but suddenly I found myself at a point in space and time that I had not yet been before, and my had gripped the rounded finishing jug with excitement. Mission accomplished. Another feather in the cap.