All paths lead nowhere, choose with heart

Rideshare October 26, 2010

Filed under: Climbing,Waves — sendann @ 6:10 am
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I’ve watched this video about 8 times today. I shared it on facebook too, but apparently I am obsessed so here it is again:

I always talk about how surfing media is so inspiring to me, for climbing and in a more general, life and lifestyle sense – way moreso than most of the climbing stuff I read or see. I’m not sure why, I don’t think it’s only because I’m a snob or the whole ‘any club that would have me as a member’ issue. I suspect that surfing media is on the whole just better. Surfing as a media industry has been around longer than climbing and there’s a wider audience for it and therefore more money in it, so it’s evolved to the point where the basic surfing movie parameters have been established and refined to their utmost awesomeness. Maybe. I mean that makes sense, yeah?

Climbing pr0n is, I imagine, a younger phenomenon with a smaller, much more niche audience. A non-surfer can enjoy a surfing movie, but climbing doesn’t often make a lot of sense on the screen to someone without a real experience to impose on what they’re seeing. Then again, that is definitely not the case with the very top of the line climbing movies, like the one’s I see at the Banff Mountain Film Festival road show. And I watch Dosage pretty regularly just to, ya know, maintain. But even small-time surfing videos have something…special going on.

The basic surfing video “story” goes something like this: “Me and my friends went someplace beautiful and we had a really good time. We like each other, and we like life. Surfing is neat” and there’s none of the stress and ambition that you, or at least that I, sense with the majority of climbing media. No one talks about how hard it is, or dwells on their self-doubt and disappointment. And there’s not much pride and elation over doing well, either. There isn’t even any ‘doing well’, just going, and falling or not falling or whatever. Another wave is comin up. It’s all just for kicks. Of course, with so much financial support and endorsement, surfing can afford to shirk the ambition and just hang out, making it look easy. And, being so much older, they’ve learned to hide the rabid snobbery and attitudes when the camera comes out. Maybe climbing stuff is just too close to home, and reminds me of my own stress and ambition about it, but surfing is not the love of my life so I can watch it in peace. Maybe the cultures of climbing and surfing are just drastically different. And maybe I should aim to embody aloha, but spend my time on the desert waves.

jennie riding the huenker 100 on north mountain last year, and me down in front. We did about 30 problems of it. She said "I'm kinda liking your no-star v0 thing." (picture by Charlotte Marie Wood)

The Leah Dawson video (the first one I put on up there that started this whole thing) features longboarding, which I love to fall doing, but what stands out to me is the way she talks about the place she is and how much is suits her dream wave fantasy. It reminds me of how I feel about Hueco. Like, man, climbing is glorious anywhere, and I love central Texas more than life and I’m so grateful to go climb in far away exotic places. But last year when I first went out there, Hueco felt like what I had been looking for since I started. I hope the feeling is still there this year, and that it’s stronger. I’m gonna spend one more weekend at the warm weather lake, and head west on Monday for a 6-week (<>?) trip.

Leah Dawson is featured in Liquid Salt right now too, an online surfing magazine of mostly interviews. I read this line a few times…

Man­ag­ing every­thing so that I can sus­tain myself finan­cially is chal­leng­ing, but I am con­fi­dent that it is only a mat­ter of time and ded­i­ca­tion before I com­bine all of my pas­sions into a lucra­tive lifestyle. I like to think of it as being in the busi­ness of mak­ing dreams a reality.

Here’s another surfing video (trailer) I like to watch repeatedly. Yeah I dunno. But it’s got G-love!

Vodpod videos no longer available.


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!