All paths lead nowhere, choose with heart

brusha brusha brusha, my Climbtech Boars Hair Brush review August 6, 2012

Filed under: Climbing,Shopping — sendann @ 2:59 pm
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Before I headed to Rocklands, my generous friends at Climbtech sent me some samples from their growing soft goods and accessories line. I pretty much became obsessed with their boar’s hair brush, and made Vanessa take lots of picture of me using it for demonstration purposes. I’ll show you those in a second.

boom, it comes in 3 sizes. I can’t WAIT to get the small one for even deeper crimper digging

I’ve never been willing to try when it comes to brushes. I only ever have these nubby broken Lapis’s that I find under boulders, and children’s tooth brushes from pinata parties. This brush put me in a different league. You’ll recognize the climbtech brush line as “the black ones”, but with an extra long contoured handle and ultra-densely packed bristles it’s a little bit better than other similar ones I’ve seen in action. The denseness, and super dry nature of the boar’s hair, mean this little wand can degrease slopers and scour scum out of crimpers on the most popular double didgit lowballs in the world. You know, the one’s everyone thinks they have a shot at because they can pull onto every move and because, well, that Ann girl did it so it must be easy. I’m talking to YOU and you KNOW who you are and you FAILED so now you KNOW even BETTER that you are a GYM RAT punk with no business greasing up my slopers so go BACK to Nebraska or whatever. Mos says almost every female climber deals with this bs, and was totally compassionate, giving me no grief whatsoever for feeling and acting ragefull about it, and that is why he is the best best best.

But this is not a boyfriend review. Climbtech has the brush thing figured out, and having this one around gave me an edge where there was like, no edges whatsoever.


see all that excess chalk smokin off that hold like…smoke

brushin’ slopers in the sun on ‘Tis is Africa’ at the old campground sector. my shirt is falling off?

So this picture brings up another interesting subject, mORPHO. Do you know what mORPHO means? I did not, but it’s all over the Rocklands guidebook. Occasionally, after a problem description, mORPHO. I just assumed it meant “bADASS” and started trying this bulgy arete mORPHO thing called “Tis Is Africa”.

See those long ticks? When I pulled onto the problem, which was a move in itself where I had to put my left heel and hand on first, then hop on one foot to the right in order to get the very farthest bit of the right hand start hold, I couldn’t see anything. I could actually barely tilt my head upwards. I spent about an hour slapping at each move, desperate to understand what was so mORPHO about this gorgeous hunk of rock, then I got distracted and gave up, and then we climbed on the iconic Teapot Boulder.

up de spout!

And then, the last night on my trip, I learned that mORPHO is a French climbing expression that means “height dependent”


Other People July 21, 2012

Filed under: Climbing,Picture Taking,The Future,Trips — sendann @ 11:55 am
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I’ve been in the Rocklands for a month now, and I’ve gotten to see a few waves of people come and go. Here are some highlights from the new-friends front…

buchanan and sons bouldering and legal services

Dave and his dad Ian came to the Rocklands for their two weeks vacation from lawyering in England. Ian is a sport climber, but he hit the campus board for six weeks prior to their trip, and was on a mission to crush all the crimpy 6b’s in the park.

Ian (dave’s dad) with Moses at 8 Days Rain

They had hilarious conflicts over Ian’s insistance at clipping his jacket pouch to his belt in public. “I wish my dad was into climbing!” “I wish mine wasn’t.” Wryness abounds. They were a hit with everyone who met them, myself included. I put them on my list of touchstone people for my UK bouldering adventure (date not set).

team brazil!

Team Brazil is here. They move around fast, but I was able to count 14 Brazilian boulderers. They drive around in two rented pickup trucks, they each have a brand new Mondo-sized pad emblazoned with a Brazilian flagĀ  “Rocklands” logo.

They’re exactly what you want to see when you come up to your project. Nothing but pads and spots and enthusiasm for whatever. Team Brazil is here for 3 weeks, and they’re trip was sponsored in part by a Brazilian chalk and soft goods brand called 4Climb. Obrigado!

know it/see it

Philip Ribiere, who I got to know in Hueco this year, arrived this week! We’re hoping he can screen his film, A Wild One, at the Hen House before I leave. I overheard someone ask him what the film is about, and he said,

“It is about me, about my childhood, my condition, and how to become a professional climber. But it is mainly about the love, and how the love, all the kinds of love, are the most important thing of everything.”

So I can’t wait to see it. And therefor, to know it.

hen housette sarah at the plateau

I’ve been spending rainy rest days posting up at the Hen House coffee shop, getting to know Sarah and the owner/operator Becky. We all went out climbing one day on this lovely moderate line called “Freckles Are Beautiful”, because we all have freckles :)

Of course there are many others, including the Belgians with their little hamburgler looking friend Nicola who crushes, and Owen from England with a matching purple hoodie, and more I haven’t taken pictures of yet. I have 2 weeks left, 2 hard projects I’m committed to not giving up on, and still 2 areas I haven’t been to. Shoot, 4 actually. Planning for next summer already!


lambertsbaii restdaii July 12, 2012

Filed under: Picture Taking,Trips,Waves — sendann @ 1:08 pm
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Three weeks in South Africa without 2 consecutive rest days has made me insane. It was great the first two weeks when I was sending, had a ton of projects all over the place, the world a pile of possibilities. But a week without an inspiring new project, an influx of the worldwide federation of broin’out, added up to a meltdown day at the pass. Just so SO not psyched.

After a few hours of crying and listening to Beyonce in the car, Moses decided I needed a beach day. Yesterday we slept in, drank coffee for an hour and headed to Lamberts Bay, about 45 minutes and a universe away from the Rocklands. It was the perfect change of landscape for me, and I’m hoping after a another long rest day here at the Hen House, and maybe a slow morning, I’ll be excited to go try this line that I did the famous “all but one move” of last week.

It’s so hard to leave a climbing area, even if you know you have plenty of time and aren’t having any fun. What’s with that? Have you ever tried to leave Hueco during a 3 days snowstorm? Just to go to Marfa or T0C or something? Never happens. I’m trying to break that mental barrier, because it’s so good once I do it.

Here’s some pics from “Lambertsbaii”

this is him :)

this whole trip is about my amazing pink hoodie (goodwill via old navy, who knew?)

hoodie love


pad shad

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


tea time July 8, 2012

Filed under: Climbing,Trips — sendann @ 1:52 pm
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Jeremy Thomley, who took all the amazing Mallorca pictures of me that are posted up around here, is staying with us (have I told you I have a boyfriend? It’s kind of awesome, but still new so nbd :)) in the Rocklands. It’s been glorious to have him out here, figuring out how the fireplace works and dj-ing pop-hop dance parties in the kitchen. We went to the Tea Garden area the other day, where I made a quick go of the popular Teagarden Roof. It’s a longish problem with slopers and blocky crimps and a rather tricky scary ending. Sigh, Fred <3

had to wait until sunset to send so I could see the last holds without being blinded!

getting a spot from moses

and, done!


measured caloric intake, if that’s even a thing, is blowing my mind and changing my life right now July 3, 2012

Filed under: Climbing — sendann @ 11:27 am
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I completely dorked out a few months ago and googled every variation of “Athlete Nutrition Climbing” I could think of, read tons of really bad articles slapped together by supplement companies, and got deep into the search results, like page 7.

There was not a ton of info that was as specific and instructive as I wanted, but there was enough for me to only absorb a few of the lessons. Since then, I’ve had a dramatic improvement in the length of time I can perform at my maximum effort when I’m out bouldering/in the gym. Especially since coming to the Rocklands!

rocklands sunset by Jeremy Thomley

I’ve been here just over a week now, and climbed about 6 full days and 2 halfies. My skin and the dark of night have been the primary factors that end my day. If you’ve climbed with me ever in life, this would seem kind of suprising. I usually crash within a few hours outside, an our indoors, and am asleep in the shade with a doughnut while everyone else flogs projects. This new system has turned it around, and I’ve pulled off long days and multiple sends like whoa. Anyway, here’s what I’m doing, it’s as much as I could hold in my brain and life:


3-4 hours before climbing, big meal of whatever I want, with an eye to carbs. I usually have an egg sandwich, a huge bowl of muselix with fruit and yogurt, both, a bagel with lox, pretty much as much delicious food as I can handle, with an emphasis on the grains/rice/produce side.


I pack for climbing like a schoolkid on an anti-obsesity program. 100 calorie baggies with a 4 to 1 carb/protein balance, if I can figure that out. Otherwise just carbs. 2 bananas, half a LaraBar, 10 pretzle chips, or – and this is the BEST – 1/4 of a PB&J.


I do a 45 minute warm up of hiking/jogging/jumping jacking whatever, large muscle group range of motion-making, then easy climbing (15 minutes each). After that I note the time and eat 1 baggie.


Every 45-55 minutes thereafter, I eat a 100 calorie baggie, even if I don’t feel like it.


That’s it. And water, but not any more than my usual. I bring out 1.5 liters and usually have about 1/5 of it left at the end. I might chug some gatorate beforehand, and sometimes some supplemental energy something, but honestly I don’t have any of that stuff out here and it hasn’t seemed to make a difference.


Also, if sending happens or doesn’t happen and I feel emotional about it, I might gorge on all the baggies at once in an effort to devour the feelings. This usually ends the day right there.