All paths lead nowhere, choose with heart

time’s the tell May 3, 2011

Filed under: Climbing,The Past — sendann @ 5:08 am
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By the end of the Brooks’s crawfish boil, everyone was bundled up in blankets and borrowed jackets. Temps dropped 30 degrees in 30 minutes! Today I went bouldering on land. In jeans and a beanie. It is May.

Going out with ao today was like a flashback timewarp to February. The weather felt the same, same place, same clothes, same cohort, wow. It was surreal. I feel like Felicity in those episodes where she travels back in time and snuggles up with different dudes than she did the first time.

Anyway, bouldering.

And I fell off the tippy top of what would have been my 4th route in the sharpy cave! I missed the pads and fell onto a tree branch and now my heel hurtz. Then it rained.

Hopefully it will dry out tomorrow and I’ll get another Reimer’s session in before the spell is lifted and we are returned to early summer, 2011.


But wait a second, wait! When Felicity went back in time, she cheated on her boyfriend with her friend, because in the future her boyfriend cheats on her and is kind of a useless druggie anyway, and she realizes she wants to be with the friend. Her friend is way way into her, wanted her all along kinda thing, but he thinks she’s insane for dumping her druggie bf so fast and being so into him out of nowhere. They go back and forth for a while and it just gets awkward. He hooks up with Jennifer Garner. Still in the past, Felicity tries to get her druggie bf back. I can’t remember how it ends-ends. This is gonna sound weird, but I’m from the future, and I can tell you with total confidence that I am going to buy 4 seasons of Felicity and watch it this summer.

Anyway, if this is a timewarp, is there anything from the winter I should do differently? Nah.


The Limbo Rock August 24, 2010

Filed under: Climbing,Picture Taking — sendann @ 3:59 am
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After last weekend’s super relaxed and intimate Amistad trip with just AO and TV, I wrangled a spot on Armada 2.0 this weekend and made it down to the border one last time. I got to enjoy my last Texas summer weekend at my favorite place, doing my favorite thing, with some of my favorite folks. It was a large-type trip with Jennie and AO, the Brooks’s, Travis, Capt. Bastard and me.

First thing we did, before the other two boats got there, was help Capt hang a rope from his 100 foot (we measured) project, The Sanctuary, so he could suss out the top moves and film someone else climbing it.

He did great on the FA and got a good shooting position. Unfortunately, Travis struggled to get up as high as he had before, and I was terrified of the first high, honest move. So after he sunk a bolt, hung the rope, then did the dws/death solo (shown here) all we got was some epic falling footage.

Greg and Suzee rolled up while Capt was doing his FA, and were rather unsettled by the size of the route. Greg said he didn’t want to spent the weekend pulling his dead friends out of the water. I didn’t think too much about that. I knew, for one, that Capt was unlikely to fall from a dangerous height. Maybe I’m naive or something, but I’ve seen the him back off of stuff before because it seemed out of reach or dangerous. He wouldn’t, I thought and still think, be trying a 100 foot line he didn’t feel at least pretty sure he could do or safely bail off of. Also I didn’t really think at the time that it would be a death fall.

I usually avoid watching people soloing. I hate hate hate those Steph Davis videos, and avoid anything and everything related to Alex Honnold. I don’t hold it against anyone that they solo, but I don’t want to know them personally, or like them, or have any personal investment in someone who’s into that. Yet, it would appear that I do after all.

The rest of the trip was pretty good, climbing wise.

I sent an old line in the canyon that I had struggled on during my last few trips, so that was a great relief, and I got to a personal high point on this very hard, bouldery canyon project.

I took some scary falls making insecure moves on hidden crimps at the top of Blaine’s project, which AO finished last week. He named it Dolphin Power/ Poder Delfin. Hopefully next time I’ll send it first go, like that canyon line.

Not sure we’ll be going to Amistad much in October when I get back, but I have a feeling there’ll be at least one more trip before I head to Hueco on/about Halloween. I’m eager to boulder over land on the Pecos, swim in cooler water and be happy to bake in the sun. I got to spend so much time on the water this season! No matter what horrible drama is befalling me, everything looks and feels better on a boat, and I’m so thankful.

Oh yeah,  but then on Sunday morning, we found that AOs boat had sunk in the night. That was a big ordeal, but it turned out ok. I decided my skills were best applied to the situation by making coffee and Batter Blaster pancakes.

Now some pictures!

This trip I used an old Vivitar 19mm 2.8 manual focus lens that I haven’t used since I was shooting with my Nikon FM. It’s light and I love the wide angle, but the light meter in my D40 doesn’t work with it, and it’s pretty challenging to deal with. Also, the great Hitachi hard drive fail of July 2010 cost me Photoshop, so I’m stuck with the limited editing options in iPhoto. So these pictures are weird. Still, here’s what I got:

Even though it's just his back and hat, I think this picture is very "Travis." That's Capt Bastard cruising up my proud low angle slab FA from a few trips ago, "Die Diagonal". He took a huge backpack full of gear, and said it was easier than he'd expected. FBPA, FML.

The color balance was so frustrating in these images, so I just stripped this one hoping there was enough variation and contrast to be interesting. I love the expression, and that cloudy morning was perfect dws weather.

Greg on the canyon project. This is probably my favorite image from the weekend, and a rare decent climbing picture. I usually stick to boating and lifestyle stuff.

There was some nice video too, but it’s going into a large-type editing mill and won’t make it to the interweb until the fall.


Eat, Shlep, Amistad August 19, 2010

Filed under: Climbing — sendann @ 1:53 am
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Toying with a title that plays on my shameless excitement over the movie Eat, Pray, Love, and my trips to Amistad. I know, I know, I don’t care, I love Julia Roberts and I relate to the story of the film so just back off. I spent three days climbing on the water with AO and Travis over last weekend. We took no pictures, but here is one from my last trip, which was an interpersonally and socially traumatizing experience I’m kind of trying to forget. But it’s a nice picture, by Merrick.


Tall, scary, vertical, over the water, kinda the deal out there for me. This time I did a line I’d never tried before, a tall set of shallow red huecos on the 2010 wall. It was for the ffa which is super cool and all but really, with Jennie benched for gestation I don’t feel as excited about it.

Jennie at her wedding last winter

It was a very relaxed, glorious trip. I came back with many bug bites, and another 5.9+x fa called Peacock Lounge, downstream of the 2010 wall. It’s a short, 20 feet or so of easy slightly overhanging moves on sharp, huge holds, then a loooong low angle climb up these enormous, deep runnels. It’s not hard, but moving from the overhang into the runnels was scary and the whole thing was probably a bad idea, but it was super fun, but I think no one should probably bother doing it again. This was the conversation that preceeded it:

Me: Think I could rock climb that?

AO (fishing): No. Those big runnels? No.

Me: I think there’s a clean line into them right there.

AO (ignoring me, fishing): ….

Me: Hey the wind is taking us over there, that means god wants me to climb it.

Travis (fishing): The what wants the what?

Me: Take me over there to that choss. I’m going rock climbing.

(I climb all the way up and turn around, victorious)

Me: Should I jump?

AO: We should probably depth test it.

This trip I forgot lots of important stuff, like my chalk bag collection, my toothpaste, and a headlamp. I’m heading back on Friday for one last go before I head to Europe.  I’m gonna remember my mesh tent, my gas lantern, my headlamp, and all kinds of other stuff I completely spaced on. Pretty excited to do more climbing, hopefully my brain will still be in gear from last weekend, and I won’t need a day to get myself un-terrified. Maybe I’ll get to try some harder moves. Maybe even, god help me, a 5.10!


The Prideful Hitch Hiker’s Tale of Lake Woe July 20, 2010

Filed under: Climbing — sendann @ 8:29 pm
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AO on a 2010 lake project. His heel-to-face maneuvers are so inspiring. (by Travis Vincent)

In Austin in the summer there are two options (three if you count “Colorado” as one which I do not): Dawn patrol at Reimers Ranch, and the lake. The lake used to involve floating on a noodle and hiking up juggy caves and short, vertical walls at Pace Bend. A few years ago it started to involve aluminum bass boats and exploring coves all over Lake Travis. The first boating year I was not into it, mainly because I wasn’t friends with AO, and he was the only one who had a boat.

Then last year more people had boats, but I had a hard time getting out anyway, because the boats were always full and I’m proud and uncomfortable when it comes to asking favors. After  summoning my nerves and getting let down a couple times, I let myself get discouraged and stopped asking. Hence, I almost never got out.

Finally I stumbled into a boat relationship that worked, with a dingy called Bastard Craft. Last August, Captain Bastard and I discovered that we could both go out during the week and that we could for the most part tolerate each other. I never worried too much about having a spot in a boat after that.

Me helming the Craft while Capt. Bastard climbs on Lake Travis. (March 2010)

This summer was pretty much the same, until Capt. Bastard got benched, and now boat time has been harder to swing. But now I’m pushing myself onto boats without shame, constantly asking to go out, ponying up gas money, trying to nail down this one line before the summer ends and I leave town.

It’s this roof problem, probably like v4 or 5 but pumpy and tricky, that starts on a huge tufa and climbs out about 10 feet of jugs and slopers in a roof, then some traversing on smaller holds, finishing on a nice crimpy headwall. It was 40 feet tall last year when the lake was alarmingly low, but now it tops out just 10 or 12 feet off the water. When it was first done it was christened “Talk to Jesus” I think because it was so scary and highball. I’m gonna call the lowball version “Talk to Chuy” and see if that catches on.

Got a ride in Blaine’s boat tonight! I’m so psyched to get out and try my moves with the lake a full foot lower than it was last time I was there. I think the cruxy part for me – the traverse after the roof – will be easier with more air to dangle in. We’ll find out!


Mrs. Trooper July 8, 2010

Filed under: Cars — sendann @ 7:27 pm
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Yesterday I was cruising around in ATX heaven – from a girlfriend’s house to the springs, then soccer at Justine’s! It was a haiku of awesome, but then my car started to smell like chemical fire. I rationalized that the smell was coming from construction that I was driving by.

Ok here’s how it goes with me: I had a low mileage (75k) 2000 Toyota Camry that my mom gave me, and a 1991 Isuzu Trooper with 185k on it from my father-in-law.

What Would Ann Raber Do? Obviously she’d sell the Camry, stash the cash, and live out of the Trooper. Is this taking the vintage aesthetic too far? Perhaps.

But it’s been a great car so far, as rolling greenhouse death traps go. I have this fantasy of trying to do mechanical work on it myself some day. So far I have replaced the radiator cap, and the headlight (bulb). Both times I had to have AO coach me through it on gchat. From “where do I get a radiator cap” to “what do you mean ‘go in through the hood?!?'” It’s been educational.

Here’s the Trooper with Rick Rivera’s boat hitched to it. Living up to its name in a big way.

This is the Trooper in Hueco when Vinny and I broke the door, and the Hueco Rock Ranch dudes helped fix it.

And here it is on the way to Hueco last year.

A couple weeks ago it started doing this thing where it took a few seconds to change gears. Like from reverese to drive and back it struggled to get going. It was Saturday, so I had to take it to a non-favorite mechanic. They said the transmission has a leak in the gasket or pan, and to give them 600 dollars. I said fuggedaboutit, and had them top off the fluid. I’d lost 3 quarts of tranny fluid in 6 months! Ugggghhhhh!

Then I had the best mechanic and one of the best people in Austin, and also probably one of the best men on the earth, Mike Yost, check it out. I was gonna ask him what he thought of the idea of me doing it myself was. But then, as he was laying underneath it in the parking lot he goes “It’s gonna be a huge job to get in there.” I got down there too and he showed me how the transmission is up above the exhaust system, and that it will involve taking tons of other parts off to get to and change. So I didn’t even ask about my DIY idea.

We agreed that for now I need to just check the level regularly and be sure to top it off. I said, “I read online that if you overfill the transmission fluid in this car even a little, it catches fire. There was even a recall about it in the 90s. So I’m scared.” To which Mike Yost responded: “Get full coverage.”

Oh, and so after the soccer game (I don’t know if I’m more excited to see the German’s lose, Spain win, or Paul the psychic octopus be proved right YET AGAIN) I drove to work, and the fire smell started again, then a big noise, then the battery light went on and I couldn’t steer, and when I finally got off 183 safely, I saw a broken belt dangling out of the bottom of the car, and the whole inside of the hood was covered in this gross black mank.

Alternator belt. Replaced within an hour by the other Mike at Yost Automotive.

Parts and Labor, $82.