Moses, Waves March 5, 2013
Dug into my old Bennington College photography class lessons and made some black and whites of a big swell in Hawaii, and a swell day on East Spur. Not exactly the poetics of light and contrast that I remember fumbling with in the darkroom, but making these made me excited about making more.
Island times February 14, 2013
I’ve got a few more days left in Kauai. Been surfing and eating and internetting (you might’ve noticed) to my heart’s content. Feeling very lucky and thankful for the time out here with my parents, and in the water.
Forest Days with Ashley February 12, 2013
she’s been reading February 6, 2013
I decided I would never again listen to advice from any of my friends.
- from “Walls without Balls” by Sibylle C. Hechtel
I’ve been reading a ton of mostly trashy historical novels. But somewhere in the mix I picked up Rock and Roses, a collection of essays on women’s climbing tackling the 1920s to the middle 90s (Lynn Hill’s Free the Nose story is included). It was mostly awesome, with a few duds. These kinds of essay compilations can seem contrived and precious sometimes, like Oooooo the women pioneers of mountaineeeeeeering how amazing yet boring, but once I got into this one it pretty much rocked. I get a lot out of reading first hand accounts of women pursuing their lives. It’s a thing, and it’s what reminds me to keep up this little blog and to try to keep it honest. Because it’s so helpful to me to read things like this. Anyway, I want to share a passage that I highlighted in the book, that has been tumbling in my mind the last couple of weeks as I’ve been sorting out the feelings that seem to come up inside me when faced with climbing industry people, pros and pro-hos, standard Hueco high season ish.
At times, feeling a need to accede to the expectations of a society I thought I had rejected, I have tried to use climbing as a means to gain recognition, to be considered a success. I have sometimes got caught up in the pursuit of summits, as a collector pursues butterflies, to capture them, and take the life from them, and display them to the amazement and approval of his colleagues. but these attempts to take the mountains for ambition and not for love have all failed. Because it is not what I have done that ultimately brings me a feeling of peace and belonging, it is doing it. And it is not even what I am doing, but how I am doing it, if it is honestly, joyfully, whole heartedly then surely I am living as I was meant to live.
- Julie Brugger, A Mountain Experience
hot spots January 18, 2013
Hi! I’ve been in Hueco since November 3 or 4 and nevermind the blog neglect, I do it every year. It’s been a good season so far, but 10 weeks in and I’m dreaming of Hawaii every night now. As Rayna and I walked around East Mnt yesterday to our different projects, I fantasized that we were paddling through the sea chasing the swell instead of huffing pads up the slabs chasing the shade. But the season has been good, I’ve done lots of boulder problems and will likely do more. I’ll feel kind of proud and kind of excited for a day or so, then all the sudden it won’t seem like enough, I’ll feel weird and jealous of other people’s progress, then I’ll send something else and the cycle repeats. I’ve just been rolling with the emotional turmoil, and watching musicals.
Soon I’ll head off for my kind of annual at this point retreat to Kauai, where my parents and my aunt and I engage with the island in our own personal ways (painting, surfing, staring) and recharge our spirits on top of this sacred volcanic hot spot. I should mention, my magnificent grandmother Lila passed away last month, on the first night of Hannukah. I had just arrived in Houston to look after her when it happened, and I spent that week doing the most adult things I’ve ever done in my life, cleaning her place, making phone calls to medical services and funeral homes, organizing the end of life domestic details. I don’t know what else to say about it, but it felt like the perfect opportunity for me to honor Lila and her pragmatic spirit. I did what needed doing, carried on, and that’s, as she would say. just what you do.
I’ve been a guide at Hueco this year, and I had no idea what a difference it would make in my experience in the most obvious and some surprising ways. Of course it’s wonderful to be able to go out on my terms, rather than always tagging along on other folks’ tours. Some of my backcountry projects have gotten more attention than previous seasons, and that’s been glorious. I love taking friends to their projects also, and spending my rest days leading tours, just watching and hanging out. It actually gives me a lot of energy to get out with a group of strangers or aquaintences and take them around all day. Moses cannot understand, and this is the profound difference between introverts and extroverts. I’m embracing it big time.
One odd thing that guiding has done is further bring into focus the powerful feelings I have about this place. One day in guide training Wanda gave us a flora/fauna tour, and the theme she laid out was, basically, Hueco Tanks contains within its boundaries everything a human being needs to survive and thrive. All the talk about the tribes and mail carriers and animals and soldiers and others who came through Hueco during desperate times made me consider my own contemporary situation, and how desperate and lost I was in my life the first time I came out here in November of 2009, and how I actually did find everything I needed. Hector, another ranger, somehow tricked me into taking out a small hiking tour on New Years Day, and I was rambling along to these poor people, pointing out Javalinas and talking about Silverleaf Nightshade. We passed by several climbing tours on the way, and I would wave or chat with whoever I knew as we passed. It was kind of a revelation, thinking of all the friends I have here, and every year we all follow our hearts to the desert and get something we need. I realize how prosaic that sounds, but I feel it strongly now. Then I started thinking about Hawaii, and how Kauaii, the first island to appear out of the sea from that hot spot, and the oldest volcano, is considered by some people to be a focal point of earthly energy, and a site of great healing. And you know, Hueco is nothing but a volcanic hot spot that got stymied midway by some sturdy-ish limestone. So I think it’s similar thing that’s going on.
this picture is by Sam Davis
I’m adding a Wagon Wheel link to my sidebar, you can book tours there, and I can guide them, if you want to go bouldering and listen to me rant sometime :=)
Good to be back. Love,
I’m in a thing! October 24, 2012
One reason that I suspect bouldering is super popular is that it’s sooooo much easier to get awesome bouldering pictures than it is other kinds of climbing pictures. And awesome pictures inspire people to do whatever is in the picture, so we’re all bouldering.
I was kind of whining to Vinny a few months ago that it was awkward and hard to get good sport climbing pictures, and that was my excuse for not sending him and ClimbTech more stuff faster. He was like, Ann, just tell a photographer that you work with a company called ClimbTech and they’ll be psyched to take pictures of you. But I was too insecure. What if they turned out to be a shitty photographer or it just didn’t work out and CT hated the shots and it came to nothing? And the person didn’t want to be friends with me anymore because they jugged up and sat in a harness for hours while I flailed away in a tank top for nothing? How…totally awful, to lose a friend that way. So I haven’t done it.
Anyway, I’ve been intimidated to ask anyone to do sport climbing pics, until I got to Tahoe and asked Lauren Lindley to do it. Cause she’s an Austin person and I felt like I could totally ask Erik or Merrick to do it, and she’s in that club. And of course she was like, YES, before I was even done asking! Lauren is pretty much ready to throw all her enthusiasm behind whatever adventure or task catches her interest. She’s like the productive/creative version of one of those guys who are super intense about whatever they’re into, and if you get even five minutes of their glorious attention and focus on YOU you’re like, in love with them for a year and a half even though it’s never gonna happen because, please, that guy is in love with himself and his bullshit freedom, and eventually a chunky blonde. Like that, but Lauren’s attention is useful and genuine. Man, that brought up a very annoying memory from like ’02. Ew!!
So Lauren and her amazing friend Damion and I went out to tackle some powerful, tricky granite sport lines over Emerald Bay. So wow. I even tried something super hard for me! Finally! And ya know what, it felt totally possible! Her shots have been amazing so far, and I’m psyched to share them with you as they come out! A few were featured TODAY on the Tahoe South website, along with a very cool article Lauren wrote about our days up at Mayhem.