All paths lead nowhere, choose with heart

Aloha and mahalo for visiting SendAnn! December 19, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — sendann @ 11:17 pm
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I’ve moved!

But I left all my stuff at the old place.

You can stay here at my old place and look at my old stuff if you like, and when you’re ready, come on over to my new digs. They FANCY. Come over and check out my climbing, Pilates and Yoga teaching, pictures of me and pictures I took, events, projects and of course continued consistent journaling about my climbing, friends, feelings, and my thin, dry, straight, luscious, horrible, beautiful hair.

You can click the pic to link. Thanks so much, I hope you like the new site. See ya soon!Merrick Ales Photography


Moses, Waves March 5, 2013

Filed under: Climbing,Picture Taking,The Past,Waves — sendann @ 9:21 pm
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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.







1969 February 12, 2013

Filed under: Climbing — sendann @ 5:27 am
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Back in October Ana and I were talking about our lists for the year. Ana has been climbing at a very high level for a long time, and I think of us as being in different leagues, so I was stoked that we had a few projects in common this season. She had somehow never done 1969, a popular west mountain hard 2-hander that doesn’t see as much action as it would if it were anywhere else.  We had both had the experience of going there a few times over the years, learning the moves, feeling super close, leaving without the send and promising ourselves we’d get back, then it doesn’t happen. It would take a very particular tour and a commitment to get over to 1969, stay there for as long as it took, and possibly have to go back again. Luckily, Jackie is up for anything, anytime, and the three of us headed out one day when the office was overflowing and there were 25 cars at the gate.

The session went pretty badly, but we got some nice pictures.

groping the holds

groping the holds

ana feeling it up

ana feeling it up, jackie preppin the spot

weird hour where the sun shot right at your face

weird hour where the sun shot right at your face

All three of us felt like we had 1969 dialed, but the day wore on, our skin wore off, and I – for one – was not mentally strong enough to pull it out. Jackie lost interest. Ana and I committed to going back day after tomorrow.

Then Ana bailed. BUT she came back around and the day after the next day after the day we were suppose to go back, we went. We took Jud with us this time. She’d never tried 1969. Austrian whoracle did  the thing in 20 minutes or something after we showed her our respective betas. But Jud knew what she signed up for and commenced to chill in the hole with us for what turned into…4 hours.

I got through what had previously been the crux for me every go on this fresh day – a silly, one-foot cut then place a heel move. I started falling well into the “top”, my left hand just flying off a small slippery sidepull undercling. It was devestating. My pinky started bleeding.

Ana pitched off higher and higher pretty much every time. She’s a tiny thing so she had to make a difficult foot hike on a really bad hold near the end. She came off in a place that I didn’t think coming off would be a possibility. Twice. Her finger started bleeding too.

Both of us had scraped up right ankles from this critical heel hook situation. Mine was bleeding, I was wearing a leg warmer over it. Ana was just going bare ankled. We were brushing blood off the start holds every go. I fell again, same way, and sat on my knees on the pad, my eyes and forehead shuddering, completely crying in my voice. “I’m. having. a very. hard time.”. It passed, sort of.

Ana took another go, came off the last hold, flew off to the right where Jud caught her. I saw her face, she was about to burst too.

Crying is something I’m fine with in myself usually, but Ana and Jud are strong, chilled out climbers who seem to either do everything or know they will soon. For some reason I didn’t want to be crying over this problem in front of them. But when I saw that 1969  had gotten to Ana’s soul too, I moved on from my insecurity. We commiserated for a few minutes, then relaxed. Jud wandered around the corner to p. Ana turned to me. “WTF?”

“I know. I dunno. Maybe we’re just not good enough?”

We decided we could not do 1969 today, and swore to come back, no giving up!

Jud came back and wandered up the other way to the top of the boulder to sit in the sun.

“I’m taking another go, and I’m only going to focus on holding the heel,” I said, and pulled onto the start moves that I’d done probably 50 times all told. Jud was talking to us from above, asking about something or remarking on the weather. Then she started whistling. Just keep going, I thought. This is no big deal. I got through the original crux and stuck it, moving into the new crux thinking only about holding the heel. I adjusted the slippery left hand into position, and the strong attention on my heel kept me close enough to the wall to get it better than I had before. Well, I thought, this is an educational burn.

“COME ON ANN!” Ana said, to alert Jud that something was happening.

Slap slam slam, I got my fingers into the final hold, held on with jus the gnarly texture of the rock, and toped out. “Nice!” Jud said. “That was not from the bottom, ya?”

“No, it was!”

Then Ana pulled on for one more, and asked us to whistle since it seemed to work for me. We spontaneously chose a song from the Nutcracker. It worked. So relieved and so psyched. WTF.


hot spots January 18, 2013

Filed under: Climbing,Family,Picture Taking,Waves,Work — sendann @ 8:48 pm
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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.

me and Rayna, team purple

me and Rayna, far from the ocean

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.


me & lila back in september

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.


Took John Myrick and team ARG out on my first ever commercial tour. GOod times...

Took John Myrick and team ARG out on my first ever commercial tour. GOod times…


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,



hueco preview October 8, 2012

Filed under: Climbing,Picture Taking,The Future,Trips — sendann @ 10:56 pm
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Swung through Hueco on my way up to California last week, and took a serious look/feel at the Morgue. Ana came along, and we took pictures with my new, amazing D3100, which short circuited that night and is now dead. Here’s a bunch of awesome Morgue shots. I think I’m gonna get the hang of this crack thing this year!



Hey ana! I see you’re standing at the start of the Morgue!


Ana starting the Morgue. There’s a kind of hard move near the beginning that I didn’t do, but I’m not worried about it.



that’s my purple ‘trying’ face



so then the crack seems to get a bit wider. I am a little worried about this part.

this is actually how I spent most of the session :=o


figured something out. sorry for so many pics, I can’t seem to pic a favorite and ana is so dang talented with the nikonz, i feel like i shouldn’t have to.


I guess this is my favorite, actually.


I worked some weird off-width roof bs through this next part, then did what I think is the end and top-out, but I’m not sure.


Sooooo, have you done the morgue? Does it end on that other boulder, or up the face near where the two meet? Also, do you have any roof crack bouldering advice? Please don’t hesitate to leave it below. Thanks!










ho hum hueco February 6, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — sendann @ 8:31 pm

this means it's about 7:20


got to hang pretty things around the trailer. to give the place "atmosphere"


the frecklage is out of control


wi was here

Filed under: Uncategorized — sendann @ 7:29 pm
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