To the desolate and dusty West Texas. Where the mud choked Rio Grande divides two Countries and world famous climbing destination “Hueco Tanks” hides nestled in the hills. We know you’ve traveled a long way to get here. You deserve the best Southern hospitality and we’re here to help dedicated climbers just like you. Let us know how we can make your visit a pleasant one?
Since all the climbers are gone for the Summer. We’re doing some much needed repairs and renovations. We’ll be CLOSED 8/21 to 8/25
Our campgrounds are still open for the die-hard climbers. And if you’re a regular/local you already know how to get a hold of Lowell for all other requests.
- New Bathroom
- Training Room
- Electric Campsites #1-#5
- Mess Hall
Queta & Pete working in the store back in the 1990’s
Pete’s involvement with climbers started around 1982, when Todd Skinner approached him about using the upstairs portion of the hut as a crash-shack. According to local climber Don Morril, “Skinner offered to clean the place in return for free use of the upstairs. Story has it that Todd got some cats from the El Paso Humane Society and let them loose. They disappeared down a hole in the floor and ate rats for a month.” As time went on, more climbers “discovered” Pete’s – it was hard to miss, on the left about a mile outside the entrance. Legendary for squalor and lack of amenities and sanitation, it was nevertheless “the” place to stay from 1986 to 1998, in large part because of Pete’s personality and generosity. Many an impoverished climber was allowed to stay, and even eat, without being charged – “pay me when you can”. Pete’s cooking was simple but tasty traditional Mexican food – tamales, burritos, gorditas and the rest. For years and years, it was the tradition to stop by on the way back to town for beer and food, capping off what seemed like a never-ending stream of satisfying climbing days. His business really took off in the early 1990’s with the annual Hueco Tanks Rock Rodeos that were held each spring on the last Saturday in February. Many now famous climbers wintered at Pete’s; some worked in the store and kitchen to pay for room and board. In the late 1990’s, Dean Potter was camp host and backup cook, long before his name began appearing regularly in the climbing rags. Dean Potter, Bobbie Bensman, Lynn Hill, Jim Karn and Tim Toula were just a few of the other “big” names.
Deadpoint Magazine 12/28/2013
Old school climbers remember “Pete’s” Country Store as one of the most iconic dirtbag campgrounds in American climbing history. Located just outside the park entrance at Hueco Tanks, Texas, the Country Store was where bouldering pioneers stayed during the years that Hueco transformed from a little-known rock pile into one of the world’s premier bouldering areas.
It was Todd Skinner that started the bouldering revolution in Hueco way back in 1982, and it was he that approached Pete Zavala, owner of the Country Store, asking for a place to stay. Pete let Todd and his friends crash upstairs and within a few years, climbers were flocking to Hueco and pitching tents in Pete’s parking lot. The Country Store, affectionately referred to simply as “Pete’s,” became THE place to stay during Hueco’s golden years from the late 80’s to the late 90’s. During those years, the park was wide open to climbers and visitor use in the park, and at Pete’s, grew each year.
In 1998, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department imposed the now well-known restrictions at Hueco Tanks that forever changed the landscape of carefree bouldering at Hueco. That year marked the beginning of the end for Pete’s Country Store. Business declined and, eventually, Pete closed the doors of the store. Pete Zavala passed away in 2006 leaving behind a large community of climbers that share fond memories of Pete, his campground, and the glory days of Hueco.
In 2011, local climber Lowell Stevenson has breathed life back into the old Country Store and reopened the campground. Lowell is a long time Hueco climber that grew up in nearby El Paso and remembers the early days of climbing during the Todd Skinner era.