At the start of 2020, Brooklyn Boulders joined forces with the American Alpine Club and Adidas Five Ten to continue one of the longest-standing, culturally significant climbing traditions in the United States. The Hueco Rock Rodeo cinches together over three decades of climbing tradition into a near-yearly event. It hosts the moments, the faces, and the problems we return to, year after year. It holds the stories we tell and the beta we pass on, from one generation to the next, to honor what was and what is to come.
Little did we know that just days after these moments together in Hueco Tanks, our world would change overnight. Though history can sometimes seem as rigid as rock, anyone who has visited Hueco Tanks knows that there are constant elements at work, gradually shaping seemingly immutable surfaces, defining our futures while refining that which came before. Today, still unsure of what lies ahead, we choose to find comfort in the familiar. We find comfort in our traditions. And we find comfort in our hope that we will soon come together again.
Manning the gate of tradition at Hueco Tanks you’ll find John “The Verm” Sherman. Blunt, untethered and pure to the bone, Verm embodies bouldering itself. One of the most prolific developers Hueco has ever seen, he literally invented the V-scale, one of the two main bouldering difficulty scales used in crags and climbing gyms around the world. He competed and won the inaugural Rock Rodeo in 1989, and after thirty-one years, The Verm is back.
Check out this 2020 Hueco Rock Rodeo film by Gustavo Moser, in association with Brooklyn Boulders, for Verm’s takes on the past, current state of affairs, and some advice to future climbers.
—Text by Kayci Baldwin and Parker Yamasaki