All paths lead nowhere, choose with heart

Rain Dates August 13, 2014

Filed under: Climbing,Picture Taking — sendann @ 5:47 pm
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It has been raining in the east Sierra for a month. Why do we say ‘East Sierra’? I don’t know anyone or anything about the regular Sierra. Either way, it has been raining a lot. I’ve been getting up there usually late Friday night or sometimes Sunday night depending on Moses’ Black Mountain Schedule/Yoga Teacher Training. I sleep up on Scenic Loop somewhere because I want to sleep high to acclimate, and what was the point of reading all these mountaineering stories if I don’t at least learn something applicable to bouldering? I get up Monday or Saturday morning early, before any of my friends are willing to rally because, as I said, it is raining and they’re over it, and hoof it.

For a while I was working on this great fun line at Way Lake called Shake and Bake. I was able to get some amazing choreography worked out, and even managed to desensitize myself to the really scary topout. But the last few times I went up there I couldnt’ find the darn boulder. Or even anything recognizable. It sucked so bad, wandering around in the rain with three crash pads, alone, trails everywhere and no idea where the freaking boulder is. I have shelved the project until someone can escort me out to it again.

So it is pouring rain and I’m not drinking coffee these days (5 weeks strong, saved $40!) so there was nothing to do in Bishop, so I decided to go look at some Buttermilks projects I have in mind for this winter, or leftovers from last winter. I get up there that first day and realize it is 66 freaking degrees!  I packed my kit and went to the Buttermilker cave to circuit the moderates and maybe try Moonraker a little bit. It was gorgeous in there. Rain coming down outside but dry inside, super, super humid but kind of cold. The rock felt gooey and sharp at the same time, typical Buttermilks hell. I was able to reteach myself the moves for Moonraker, which was a really disappointing fail last winter. The cave is typically so crowded, it feels like some horrible club night at an LA rock gym, lots of onlookers, heinous teenagers, just no fun. But all alone in there, then with a strange group of people on a road trip from central Washington, I got the dance back and totally unexpectedly sent Moonraker! It was a real boost to the confidence for the summer, which has been slow in the sending and heavy on the training, and for the Buttermilks, which is always just a psychologically cruxy place to try hard climbs. Later I discovered that the new guidebooks call Moonraker v9, which was like a surprise cherry on top. 

And therefor I have decided that my strategy for this rainy late summer is to go to the Buttermilks in the rain and try all my wintertime projects. Atmospheric video coming soon, but here are a few grabs from a very productive session on Center Direct, a longtime dream project that I’m inexplicably confident that I will do this September. 


I find most of Center D’s 6 moves to be quite hard, but this is the one I fall on, and I think is the crux for most folks. My toe hook totally stays in, but I have to really accept a complete backfall, or it jumps out and kickstands me.


I was close to full acceptance of backfall here.



 Now if you are still with me I have a concern about Center Direct I’d like to chat about. The other cruxy bit is the end. It’s a huge jump to a gastony jug with a pretty bad crimp for the right hand. I can make the jump and get my hand into the jug, but I have never reeled in the swing. Taller people (and, frankly, bros from California mostly) have been known to surf out far left to a big sloper, step through, swing up and grab the jug with the right hand. This beta is considered pretty lame, as the whole idea is that it goes up the center. Directly. It’s also considered off limits to small folks. BUT I CAN DO IT!!! And using that method, I’ve done the climb smooth but for the crux move in the center. Moses is like, if you feel good about it then you do it that way. And I don’t feel all that good about it. But I still think it is a radical line and can’t conceivably call it easier that way because you still have to do the crux-crux. So my hope is to send it that way, using the sloper jug, refer to it as ‘center indirect” same grade, then try really hard to send it the real way too. 

For reference, this is the real-ish way (mute sound trust me) : 

This is the other-ish way, and I am SO SORRY to Mr. Z Bouldering for using this video as an example of somewhat questionable beta. You look super strong back in 2010, and I’m totally doing it that way too. You are fine, so am I. 


Tablelandia March 3, 2014

Some shots of Jill in the Sacreds last month the day she taught me how to work that roof on March of the Pigs.  Here’s my video of her full out assault of the line.

Screen Shot 2014-03-03 at 12.37.13 PM

I went back the next three weeks in a row to send myself, and it was a true joy to work on something that suited my style, finally, after many months on granite crimps. Lying under a roof, brushing stuff, trying, texting with friends in between tries and having all the daylight to myself was like being in my happiest of happy places, even though of course I was failing the whole time, until the one time I wasn’t. Working that line was on my list for the season, and I’m so thankful to Jill for putting her cleverness and wisdom to work to find some awesome, burly shorter person beta. And this post was suppose to be about Jill anyway, on with the pics!




all tangled up in the roof




tape talks


big girl bicycle


crosstown traffic (v6)


mimery for Andrea, her fa in the Sacreds, (v4)



why am i so mad? January 7, 2011

Filed under: Climbing,Over-Shares,Trips,Waves — sendann @ 2:51 am
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So Bishop is perfect so far. I’ve been here two days, but still, I love it. I’ve seen douchey remarks about the Happies and Sads on message boards before, but my first two days here I went to both and had a blast. Sort of. They’re awesome areas, the rock feels like Hueco, they’re both very easy to navigate and full of glorious problems. But when I went to the Sads, I got really…sad.

I gave up on getting wooblery or frustrated while bouldering this year, because it’s so unattractive when other people do it. I figure it must look pretty bad on me too, and it gets me nowhere. But yesterday I got on this problem called Molly, a pockety V5 with kind of a balance move at the top and some greasy holds, and I will be damned if I did not have to fight tears when I fell off the top for the 4th time. It was very strange. I walked away.

Then I got on this other thing, kind of the Bishop version of Fear of Flying called Strength in Numbers, also a V5, with a bad hold at the top and limited foot options but, come on, not impossible just a bit scary. Jeeze LOUISE, I fell of the top half a dozen times, then almost started crying, then THREW my chalkbag on the ground like some petulant child climber from Boulder or something. It was embarrassing.

In both instances I was with super nice people, everyone was projecting and being very supportive, lots of laughter, etc. I didn’t feel self conscious or like I was the weak person, and I actually climbed pretty strong on both lines, just chuffing off at the tops. But there I was, tripping out. I’m going to try to pinpoint why now. Join me, if you want to, on a journey into my internal experience:

By the end of my Strength in Numbers session my skin was on fire, and I suppose that might have darkened my experience. Two weeks of barely climbing at all on the wet road, then focusing on yoga, thrift stores and the beach in Los Angeles for a week cost me my Hueco tips (but earned me a marginally recovered wrist!). So that’s one thing. But I’ve never cried about my skin before.

It was less than 14 degrees the night before, and I’d spent most of the night getting cold, tucking into my sleeping bag, getting too hot, repeat. So I may have just been completely exhausted. This would be normal for me if I was 5 years old, but since I finished my second pass through second grade, I don’t get hysterical when I’m tired. I usually just curl up on a pad and sleep in the sun.

It’s also possible that I might have been in a somewhat emotional place. Leaving LA and being back by myself, I’ve gotten into a reflecting and planning mode. I’ve been thinking a lot about my next phase. I’m going back to Austin in February and committing to staying put (minus some weekends in Hueco and maybe a trip to Colorado in July like duh) until August.

I had this thought the other day, that I got off super easy in my divorce. My ex and I were never into talking about negative emotional experiences, and during our split we coped by being super nice to each other. The process was pretty easy for us on the surface that way. We kind of just went to separate corners and tucked in, packed up, and moved on. But I know that the whole time I was reeling hard on the inside. By the time we were actually separated I was pretty convinced that I was pretty much unlovable and a destructive force more than likely to hurt anyone who got into my orbit, and not worth anyone’s time or respect. At least not anyone smart. And I think I’ve been fighting those peculiar instincts my whole life, and that they’re the reason why me and alcohol have had such a passionate, destructive relationship. So even though my ex was super kind and respectful to me the whole time we were together (and still is), that underlying self-yuck I have didn’t evaporate or even degrade. In fact, I suspect that being with someone who was so easy on me let me ignore that aspect of my personality and not address it at all, and it just kind of grew. And if I were a different or more logical person, I might have lived the rest of my life with him, feeling pretty ok and ignoring that stormy zone in my heart.

But life or god or maybe just human psychology seem to have this way of, like, forcing confrontation with underlying pain over and over until you just, like, cope with it and weave it into your life in an honest way. And I wonder if the way that I was so suddenly so hot for el playa  (a very sore spot when I think about returning to the ATX) was that stormy pain shooting up out of my heart and into my life.

Because despite wanting something romantic with me, it sure felt like el playa considered me unlovable, potentially destructive, and totally unworthy of his time or respect. Whether or not that’s true, my storm was so strong that everything el playa did or said just fell into that mold. Whatever he did or didn’t do or said or didn’t say became evidence to support the “I am garbage” thesis.

I guess I thought if I could convince someone like that to love me, then maybe I had me all wrong after all! Maybe I’m not a horrible person! But that would not actually convince me. El playa, my ex, my parents, my friends, could all love me as much as they could stand to and it wouldn’t calm the storm a bit. In fact, I’d probably just think I had them fooled, and then I’d feel pressure to stay lovable and non-stormy. I’ve heard that It’s only the outgoing love that counts, and that without opening up for someone else and taking them into your life and your storming heart, all the dog kisses and snuggling in the world aren’t going to change you.

but they probably won't hurt :=)

I think the only thing you can do, or that I can do, is love someone who can see and acknowledge our storms for what they are, rather than pretend they don’t exist like with my ex, or mistake the storm for who we are, like I did with El playa. I read this Eckhart Tolle thing that kind of described it (he calls the storm a “pain body”):

When you recognize your own pain-body as it arises, you will also quickly learn what the most common triggers are that activate it, whether it be situations or certain things other people do or say. When those triggers occur, you will immediately see them for what they are and enter an hightened state of alertness. Within a second or two, you will also notice the emotional reaction that is the arising pain-body, but in that state of alert Presence, you won’t identify with it, which means the pain-body cannot take you over and become the voice in your head. … Have an agreement with your partner that whenever either of you says or does something that triggers the other persons pain body, you will immediately mention it. In this way, the pain body can no longer renew itself through drama in the relationship…

So as I’m sleeping alone in the Trooper in Bishop (a balmy 20 tonight ftw), I think I’m starting to understand some of that stuff a bit more. And it’s making me cry at the tops of boulder problems. I suppose because those are also vulnerable places to be.