All paths lead nowhere, choose with heart

blargtown October 25, 2011

Filed under: Climbing,Trips — sendann @ 4:24 pm
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

In the last week, I have come up against some kind of less-than-stoked wall. I think one reason is over-exposure to plastic. On some spiritual, biological level, I am allergic to indoor climbing. It gives me stabbing pains in my fingers and a watering in my eyes and an over-all malaise in my life when I do it more than a few times a year. Which has been great the last two and a half years that I haven’t been doing it. But this ABS thing had me crimping neon three times in the last 6 weeks, and it’s caught up with me something awful. My hand hurts, and I’m having these rogue thoughts that rock climbing is not that awesome after all.

Which is odd, because I swear I had a genuinely awesome time at the Athens comp at Active Climbing, the coolest gym ever with the silliest name. The owner is super low key, non-ego guy named Adrian, psyched on having a gym that serves the folks of Athens. He reminds me a little of Luis from La Posada. The setters and workers all seemed happy and talk about how awesome their gym is even when they’re outside. And the lines I did that day were some of the funnest, hardest gym lines I’ve played on before (special props to the brown dihydral (O-3 I think), and the pale blue overhang in the kiddy room (O-17, which I could not do sogood!!!). So it was an awesome day on fun routes. I got creamed, like, creamed corn in a blender, by a couple of high school girls from Atlanta. What’s with me always getting beaten by enormous German women? Remember the dyno comp? I’m sayin! God bless them they were fun to climb with all day. They live for plastic and don’t know anything about the world of outdoor climbing or, apparently, their approximate geographical location. So the day was decent. But with no swag and only one modest cash prize, I was annoyed to have gone all the way down there for one expensive day on plywood. I told my mother about it and she said,

“Well my dear, this is only the beginning. You shall suffer many more defeats at the hands of the young.”

Another awesome thing, however, was that I got to climb with this amazing girl in the Youth D division named Helen. Helen is – I’m callin it right now – the future of climbing. We met when I complimented her outfit. She had on argyle tights and a sparkly skirt with her team t-shirt, and a Chimp Crimps owl chalk bag.  She was quick to tell me she has an endorsement deal with Chimp Crimps and touted the value of their stuffed animal chalk bags. At the end of the comp, Alex pulled down his circus silk and trapeze, and showed his skills to the chilluns. Helen, it turns out, is also a skilled circus acrobat, and did some pretty radical, terrifying tricks while we waiting for awards time.

alex watching, helen on the trapeze

That’s one thing that’s been a real blessing from the ABS comps – getting to spend time around kids. I miss teaching gymnastics, and having that energy around me of young folks crushing at some athletic something. Also, always at these comps, kids and parents approach me with the most amazing compliments: that they were super inspired or enjoyed watching me or were pulling for me in the finals and stuff like that, which is so SO nice to hear and definitely stokes the climbing fire. ABS has been overall a very encouraging, fun and validating experience. But I’m glad to be done with the plastic game for a looooong while.

for her style, psych & skill, Helen is easily one of my top climbing heros

I’m not sure why else I might be feeling the blargs. A few visits to Blowing Rock this week and, hopefully, some project fun, will probably snap me out of it. Oh! Alex and I went to LRC on Sunday and I got to finish a couple things I’d ignored on Triple Crown day in favor of high volume. I also found a project that I am in love with. It’s called Grimace, and it’s a  series of sloper rails, like a slightly longer Gibbs Cave. I did all but the last move to a jug, and I hope I get back there soon to finish it up. It’s in this lovely, tiny cave and hang on I’ll look for a picture of it to show you….

I can’t find one, but it’s a very popular line. I’ll take a picture next time I go.
Alright I feel a little better now. Mom and I, whenever we talk lately, have been consoling ourselves through trials by remembering that sooner than later, we shall be in Hawaii.

bye bye plastic and tweakage!


Dawne Draber October 14, 2011

Filed under: Climbing — sendann @ 3:09 pm
Tags: , , , , , , ,

So I’m in the Stone Fort highlight reel TWICE! Once I’m called “Anne Draber” and the next time I beach whale a top out. There’s one uncredited time in there where I just fall in the background. It’s been going so, SO great!

I mean come on, my name is on the results page, this is not hard. This problem was neat. Sent in front of a bunch of girls, then ran away before I could contribute beta to potential competitors. We've come to this, folks.

This is a crack called "Devil's Cabana Boy", and it was my last problem of the day! I'm embarassed by my shoulder position and top out stylz. at least it's not under my real name? I need to be more gracefull, as of last week.

But the Triple Crown really has been going well for me so far! I’ve gotten second place in advanced twice, both times all three placers were within 1000 points or so of each other, so I think I made the right choice in my division selection. The girl who won at Stone Fort got 3rd at Hound Ears. We have no facebook friends in common, but I stalked her 8a, and she had some pocket problems in Chattanooga, so ya know, there’s that.

That shirt is a Gap Body halter from Pearl’s in Squamish, and those pants are these most perfect Mossimo4Target ones that I have in 5 colors. I’m wearing them in almost every recent climbing photo. Did I tell you I cried only ONCE at the Stone Fort comp? It was mid-day, in a crowded situation, and went on for about ten minutes. Awesome. Thankfully that did not make the highlight reel. Thanks, Scarpa guy with video camera!


G’s Country October 13, 2011



My inspiration to come to Boone in the first place came from Joey’s maps of the Linville Gorge. After flaking on a visit last year, I bought one of the lovely, large, wall-worthy maps last winter and took it everywhere with me so I’d stay inspired. And here I am!


On Monday I got my first taste of the glorious gorge at the God’s Country area with Tilly and Mike. It was a….mixed experience. It’s a 1.5 or so mile hike downhill on a good trail – easy in, tiring out – then a few somewhat treacherous river crossings to get to different boulders. Mike and Joey and a few other local folks started seriously cleaning and finding problems down there about 8 years ago. Before that I think the Linville Gorge was popular with hikers, kayakers, campers, and rope climbers on the higher sides. It’s been the find of a lifetime for the southeast, and I’m just saying that. There ya go. They’ve established hundreds of problems of all difficulties and styles. Lots of sloper bulges and tricky mantles, some huge, strong roofs, and terrifying aretes. Some of the features were clearly made by god for us to coat with chalk. It’s solid, whitish stone in a gorgeous setting with the raging, loud river right next to you. Some problems come and go with the water level, which I always like because it reminds me of Lake Travis and because I think it’s nice to have some limiting factors lest we be overwhelmed by the possibilities.

me and Tilly beholding the possibilities. On the left is Dulce, a tricky, super fun low ball of slots-n-bulges with a mantle. Lower left is Luna, who is like the lady-dog version of Cash. I love her.

Anyway, I fell in the water at one of the crossings, and started to cry a little, and I kept banging my knee on this one problem called The Devil, which is a two-move, Mckinney style line that was super goodtimefunparty to throw myself at. It feels like Queer Junkies, with a standing start on a kinda-jug and a teeny pinch, use a stupid high foot to pop to a huge but somehow completely unHOLDable crimp, then jam yer foot up high and botswana to the lip. Not sure I’ll ever get to try the Devil again, or if I care. But after doing 20 new boulder problems at the Triple Crown comps so far, all of them at or slightly below my limit,  working a single hard move over and over felt like coming home to the climbing I love. I stuck the move and hung on 3 or 4 times, but never for more than a second and never long enough to wrap the crimp up and make another move. Yarrarar. I also fell onto my back at one point on it, and another time my ankle missed the pad and fell into a hole. It was a rough day, made up for by enchiladas, a wood-fire hot tub soak, some chocolate and a watching of Mama Mia. That = southern hospitality. Hoping to go back to the gorge this weekend, to Dreamland, a more densely developed area with better river crossings.

All these pictures are by Mike

rocks! are! the devil!

we must! fight! the devil!

Ya know what would be so, so great is if my left foot stayed on. That foot hold, let me describe it to you, is two warts. One is about the size of a pencil eraser, the other is smaller,  and they are set diagonally to each other aiming down and right. The right foothold is a just chalk mark indicating a nice place to smear.


This tricky bulge traverse connects "mohawk" and "tomohawk". I thought it should be called "larryhawk" but apparently Joey named it something years ago that no one can remember. This image is actually for a different post altogether called "Wow look how long my hair is!"



Shelved October 12, 2011

Filed under: Cars,Domestic Projects,Over-Shares,Picture Taking — sendann @ 3:48 pm
Tags: , ,

I’ve been meaning to post about my amazing car shelf, because that’s the kind of information that could be useful to someone, and because it is amazing. So when I packed for Flagstaff, I folded the El Rav’s seats down and shlopped it all in there. And everything fit, basically and easily.

BUT, in Canada Amyot got inspired to build my ride out a bit, to great results.

Amyot gets a routing lesson from Thomas, to smooth out the edges of my build out

The system is basically two wooden boxes that fit in my trunk, and on top one of the folded-down back seats, creating an “L” platform about 20 inches high, with ample storage underneath. They have smoothed edges and are lightweight, so I can move them in and out pretty easily. My huge VooDoo crash pad fits along the long side of the “L”, and if I take it out and put it on the roof, it’s a perfect Raber-size sleeping surface.

A slight angle accounts for the non-flatness of the folded down el Rav platform, creating a level surface for sleeping and storing

Here’s my packing setup for the southeast tour.

The half-seat shelf. My closet is the other seat, which I'll show you in a minute.

Here's both shelves. A hatch under the floorboards holds all my non-daily use climbing gear, tent, extra blankets and stuff. The long end is a sleeping surface. No one much bigger than me would fit in it, though.

Kristen Tan gave me these crates last year, and they've become my world.

This is pretty much it. Crash pad slides in the long slot, and we're good!

My closet habits are...whatever. Laundry goes in that bin on the floor.

Fun box! 6 months worth of New Yorkers, yarn, Hafiz and Tarot cards are all I need for a good time!

So that’s how the car packing went. HUGE improvement with the shelving system, and I’m loving life with the El Rav so far.


One pic

Filed under: Climbing — sendann @ 3:06 pm
Tags: , , , ,

This is the only picture from the Triple Crown so far that has anyone I know in it. It’s Lisa! She coached me to a second place finish in my division (adv wom) at Hound Ears.


Yup, I made that hat!


fast train

Filed under: Climbing,Picture Taking,The Future,Trips — sendann @ 2:55 pm
Tags: , , , , ,

My first stop on the way from Leavenworth to Boone was in Missoula, to spend the night with Molly and Brandon. It was so good to see them, and I was bummed to be a few days late for their local climbing festival. Molly told me all about her new horse, Caper, and how stable and awesome he is. She had this very beautiful but very high maintenance horse when she was living in Austin. He had some kind of chronic pain condition that contributed to him being an almost constant jerk, and dangerous to ride. She finally sold him to a relatively inexperienced rider with a horse veterinarian in the family. The new owner seems to have the money and resources to take care of him, and doesn’t ask much of him in the ring. So it’s a reasonable, if unlikely match. Molly’s new horse is gorgeous and smart, and she’s been showing him around the region with great results. She said, “he’s the same horse every time I ride him.” Whereas the last one, she never knew who she was gonna get, and nothing she did helped him for any appreciable amount of time. But she can ride Caper anywhere. “I ride him next to the highway, trucks are going by, he’s fine. A train next to us, he’s fine. Now we’re gonna go faster. Now we’re gonna race the train! He’s perfect for me.” And it’s hard to imagine she spent so long feeling so bad over this sick horse who couldn’t keep up with her riding style and fancy horse ambitions. But it’s clear that the experience was traumatic and rattled her deeply, even though now things are quite perfect, and the old horse is doing well enough with his rich noob owner.

“Kind of sounds like men,” I said.

Then Molly asked me if I’d be down to do the 2 or 3 required USA Climbing local bouldering comps and go to Nationals in the winter with her. We could meet up! I said, “no way.”

The rest of my drive was full of amazing stormy skies from Wyoming to El Paso. I spent the night in Estes at Mama Bear Strong’s home for wayward climbers, and a fabulous morning on Pearl Street in Boulder having breakfast with Emilia, then coffee and shopping and a long talk with the Pigeon women. I pulled up to Shindaggar after midnight. It had been raining there too and the land was bursting green. I passed another great morning chatting with Andy, then had to drag myself away or risk staying for months.

And by the time I got to Austin I had decided Molly was right, it would be fun, and did an ABS comp in Houston before I headed east. I got to warm up with the Stone Moves team, and got some awesome coaching from Morgan and John from Team ARG. It was super fun, and I didn’t get beaten by any of the youth girls, so that was amazing. I’ve got another one in a couple weeks in Athens, and assuming she was serious, Molly and I will be meeting up at Nationals in February.

My predictions for Nationals:

I get second to last place in round 1

Molly goes to finals

Brandon and I get lost on a coffee run