All paths lead nowhere, choose with heart

Santa Barbarianism August 19, 2014

Filed under: Climbing,Trips — sendann @ 10:50 pm
Tags: , , , , , ,

With Moses away in Colorado for a couple of weeks, I’ve been doing some of the things I love that he isn’t too interested in. Hari Krishna Temple, popcorn for dinner, alarm clock at 5am. Also, going to Santa Barbara. Maybe it’s the Houston girl talking, but I can’t get over the Santa Barbara views and vibe. Everyone has a dog, the beaches are small and feel local, the summer surfing is very mellow and the boulders go on for days. Mo grew up with this stuff and wrestling crumbling sandstone in the heat never seems quite the best option, and I totally respect that. But it’s new to me still and so I went. If you can imagine climbing out of a mud walled well in a rainstorm, that is trying to get from south of Los Angeles to north of Los Angeles anytime other than between the hours of 1-5 am. But I got to Santa Barbara. I stayed with R. Tyler and his housemates and their dogs, and hung out all with my Bros including R.Tyler, Sam Cody and Jackenz, now NoSend Nate (hopefully an up and coming bro). Check out Jackenz and Nate’s newest Rawk Tawk video. 

After a few hours in the water at Emma Wood, where the waves come from all directions and it kind of feels like that Spinning Tea Cups ride, Tyler humored me with a trip to the Creamery – an area up Rattlesnake Canyon that I had heard about as having a few fun lines. Every time I’ve asked the bros about it in the past it’s gotten a response like “you should just go there and form your own opinion” (Read:”We hate it”). And yeah, it was a death march-y hike, and tops of the climbs were baking in the sun. But I was pretty excited and managed to top out I think 2 problems, and do lots of moves on a couple of others including the standout First Come First Served. While I worked on that one, Tyler and I got into a conversation about Austin and I got a wiff of my old Austin Anxiety feeling, which I had been altogether free from for the last couple of years. I feel flummoxed and confused and wildly misunderstood and unpopular. I’m not sure what brought it on, maybe too many different references at once. I managed to breath through it and do well on the problem. It’s great moves, reminds me a little bit of all the lines on the East Spur Mark of the Beast tour – Alf, UNcut Yogi, and That High Pro Glow. This line reminds me of all of those. Tension, sloper jugs, huge feet, weird swings that seem avoidable but take more imagination than I have, and mostly just really good fun on orange rock. Perhaps in the dead of winter I will go and try First Come First Served again.

It is really hot up in the hills right now, so we spent the middle part of the day in hammocks then headed to the Brickyard, where I was eager to give more attention to the notoriously difficult but seemingly simple line Grotesque Old Woman. Rumor is that the line used to be much more doable and has broken, which is easy to believe since this stone is basically dissolving before our eyes at a very, very slow pace. And not that slow at other times.

A Grotesque Old Woman, by Quentin Matsys, cir. 1513

GOW is a hard move, some fun moves, then a pretty scary mantle. My goal was to stick the first move. This stone is so featured and bumpy, it’s hard to accept that there isn’t a perfect foot for you somewhere. And if you just stick your foot on the rock and brush it a bit, a foothold will likely erode into being. I played with the traditional backstep beta. The some weird high foot flag back tricks, all shorting me, and finally settled on this weird double high foot frog out the knees and stand up method. The top is quite daunting, one of those stand up on a bad foot and just keep standing and slapping, standing and slapping maneuvers. It took a while to have the vision of my perfect method, but I love it and I’m going to remember it. People much more capable than me have eaten it on both moves, and the line doesn’t see very many ascents especially considering how much attention it gets.


Stuck the crimp twice with this method but failed to reel in the swing. Le sigh, next time.

I rested and surfed and hit the thrift store the next day, determined to give GOW some send goes on Monday. We went back out in the morning, but were too late to get the early shade. Quick warm up and we ran back to the hammock and the beach.


Find of the day at the thrift store


Around 5 we went back for the unvarying perfect conditions that roll off the ocean and up to the Brickyard every day around then. I flogged the living hell out of Groteque Old Woman until it was too dark to really see the footholds, and retreated. Hopefully I will make it back soon and give it some more of what R. Tyler calls, ‘positive work’. I’m pretty happy to have figured out the moves in a way that works for me, and I know it’s going to go.


A lovely setting for the boulder. I wish I could show you the view behind me – Channel Islands, massive sunset, Ocean and wow.

What a weird frame of bouldering mind I get into in Santa Barbara! The climbs are very hard for me but not in the ways that I’m used too, and it’s hard to find my focused grrrr try-hard on these problems. Probably because the feeling of the place is not very grrrr focus try hard for me. The bros have sworn off grades, I never see other climbers and certainly never strangers, and rather than dial in beta and executing it, I spend a lot of time experimenting with moves. Maybe it’s just inexperience on fragile sandy sandstone. I feel my fingertips moving a little bit and I just bail, I’m not sure what “bad but good enough” feels like on these holds. It’s also hard for me to just buy into the choreography, with so many little edges and bumps and options on the rock, I hesitate to settle on my beta and want to change my approach constantly.

I’m not sure when I will get back up there. It’s a full calendar for August and September, and I have a Tram project I’d like to get back to at least a couple of times, 5 weeks of Steve Maisch training, another trip or two to Bishop (waiting for a rainstorm :)), a quick trip to Texas and lots of planning to do for my 35th birthday celebratory month in Switzerland! More on that to come. I kind of want to live in Santa Barbara, but there are so many reasons to not. It is in the hopper. Going to have to see how life feels after the winter season. Thanks!!



pad shad July 12, 2012

Filed under: Climbing,Crafty,Picture Taking,Trips — sendann @ 11:19 am
Tags: , , ,

double strappin’ with pony tail in the rocklands

There’s no clear solution to this problem so far, but you really need two crash pads in the Rocklands. Despite what I assumed, there are no reliable sources of auxilery foam here – the campground sells some overpriced mad rock tri-folds, there are thrashed up rentals about as useful as carpets, and the borrow-on-your-buddies-rest-day thing has proved difficult to coordinate. We’ve managed to hoard a few of the best of the stash, but if I come back here I’m going to take my chances, bring 2 normal size pads, fly Egyptair and hope I don’t get charged at check in.


things i did, quit, or that hurt me, squamish edition September 1, 2011

Filed under: Climbing,Trips — sendann @ 2:10 am
Tags: , , ,

Shoot, I hate to post twice because I know I then won’t post at all for a while. But this video by starring scottish major Tom pretty much captures the Squamish experience. He (in the green) falls off a lot of the same stuff I did, and it’s beautiful. And I love posing productions, of course. Ummmm, what else?

Had my last day in the forest yesterday, but I haven’t been projecting much the last couple weeks so there was no urgency. I didn’t even feel like making any beta videos, since I either sent, never tried, or gave up on pretty much everything I’d encountered. So hey I suppose this is where I can talk about climbing!


I’m super happy with my bouldering trip. I did a ton of problems, a few projects, and yesterday I managed to do one more hardish lip traverse in just a few tries. I took that as a sign that I’ve learned something aboot sloping lip traverses.


There were a few things I thought would be projects that I had to give up on, and that was strange since I rarely honestly forfeit a climbing project. I’ll move on for a while and plan to return at a much much later day, but I never outright say “I’m over this forever.” But I did that a couple of times.


I thought, after my first good day missing just the last move, that I’d get Baba Haridas, a classic lip traverse. But jeebus, my hamstring never recovered from the first session, and has lead to a pretty horrendous right-kneebar disease. I kept giving it goes now and then, getting close and falling. Finally it was just painful to pull with my heel, and I let it and all the other right-heel hooking lines go. I had a similar but worse experience with Sesame Street. My first day felt good through the strong lower moves on greasy crimps, but I didn’t know how to do the end, a big move over a bulge with a greasy sloper (there is a theme developing). I was super stoked to try it more, and the next time I nailed the last move a couple times pretty easily. But that day the beginning felt super hard and I couldn’t get to my previous high point. The next time I lost another move from the start. The other day, after a full rest day and with decent conditions, I couldn’t even stick the start.


It was the flowers for algernon project experience, and I got very bummed. Nate got annoyed with my grim attitude and decided to give me a talking to about how lame it is to have low climbing self esteem, which was super awesome of him. So I gave up on Sesame Street. I think that’s all the projects I quitted.


I sent some good ones too! Including Gibbs Cave, which was super fun and went down fast, early in the summer when it was still a bit cool and rainy. Ah…what else? Minor Threat took a few days, I kept trying to do it at the end of the day, thinking I was some kind of hoss, but no. Had to go first thing then it went fast. Those were kinda the highlights. There were some things I wanted to try but never got to. There’s this awesome talus line that some folks find dabby that I’m excited to get on someday. It has a glorious name too, “Native American Giver.” I also got on The Fuzz last night, but it wanted everything I don’t have, like left wrist hanging abilities, and hamstring power. Autobody/Fixing the Car also looked awesome, but I wound up not spending anytime there. It’s About Time, Child Abuse, that long one with the sharp crimp and the impossible to remember name uphill of the black dyke, Old and Serious, and Twisted, are others I’d like to get on but I never made it.


Sport climbing was rougher. I didn’t go much, and although I managed to do a good new line every time I went it’s been a constant battle. I feel pretty scared up on the rope and I’m still trippin out over anything less than a 35 degree angle. Heading to Horne Lake tomorrow, so there will be no shortage of steepness! I want to project this thing called Subdivision, which will take a couple days I think/hope, and give a few runs to Velvet Elvis, which seems relatively easy, but is very strange and I didn’t do all the moves of the weird, face down the middle of the cave ending. After that I’m going to spend another night or two in Squamish getting organized, then head to Leavenworth for ten days before I race back south. Yay hoo!


Betas April 1, 2011

Filed under: Climbing — sendann @ 1:34 am
Tags: , , , ,

Last time I went to Hueco I went on that super fun 2 person tour with Gustavo, and we beta’d out the Long Haul. He sent it as soon as we had it figured. I had this one really close go, then I started melting down a little, then a lot. I had the moves, but honestly I was never very precise on it. To have sent would have been desperate, and it’s a little too hard for me to thrutch through. I did figure out an easier way to do the last move later. Dag. I think the only way I can do problems that are at my trickery limit is perfectly. I can’t have any little feet-off things or misses that waste my strength and headspace. So that’s good to know.

Vodpod videos no longer available.