All paths lead nowhere, choose with heart

fast train October 12, 2011

Filed under: Climbing,Picture Taking,The Future,Trips — sendann @ 2:55 pm
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My first stop on the way from Leavenworth to Boone was in Missoula, to spend the night with Molly and Brandon. It was so good to see them, and I was bummed to be a few days late for their local climbing festival. Molly told me all about her new horse, Caper, and how stable and awesome he is. She had this very beautiful but very high maintenance horse when she was living in Austin. He had some kind of chronic pain condition that contributed to him being an almost constant jerk, and dangerous to ride. She finally sold him to a relatively inexperienced rider with a horse veterinarian in the family. The new owner seems to have the money and resources to take care of him, and doesn’t ask much of him in the ring. So it’s a reasonable, if unlikely match. Molly’s new horse is gorgeous and smart, and she’s been showing him around the region with great results. She said, “he’s the same horse every time I ride him.” Whereas the last one, she never knew who she was gonna get, and nothing she did helped him for any appreciable amount of time. But she can ride Caper anywhere. “I ride him next to the highway, trucks are going by, he’s fine. A train next to us, he’s fine. Now we’re gonna go faster. Now we’re gonna race the train! He’s perfect for me.” And it’s hard to imagine she spent so long feeling so bad over this sick horse who couldn’t keep up with her riding style and fancy horse ambitions. But it’s clear that the experience was traumatic and rattled her deeply, even though now things are quite perfect, and the old horse is doing well enough with his rich noob owner.

“Kind of sounds like men,” I said.

Then Molly asked me if I’d be down to do the 2 or 3 required USA Climbing local bouldering comps and go to Nationals in the winter with her. We could meet up! I said, “no way.”

The rest of my drive was full of amazing stormy skies from Wyoming to El Paso. I spent the night in Estes at Mama Bear Strong’s home for wayward climbers, and a fabulous morning on Pearl Street in Boulder having breakfast with Emilia, then coffee and shopping and a long talk with the Pigeon women. I pulled up to Shindaggar after midnight. It had been raining there too and the land was bursting green. I passed another great morning chatting with Andy, then had to drag myself away or risk staying for months.

And by the time I got to Austin I had decided Molly was right, it would be fun, and did an ABS comp in Houston before I headed east. I got to warm up with the Stone Moves team, and got some awesome coaching from Morgan and John from Team ARG. It was super fun, and I didn’t get beaten by any of the youth girls, so that was amazing. I’ve got another one in a couple weeks in Athens, and assuming she was serious, Molly and I will be meeting up at Nationals in February.

My predictions for Nationals:

I get second to last place in round 1

Molly goes to finals

Brandon and I get lost on a coffee run


sluddin it up March 14, 2011

Filed under: Climbing,Trips — sendann @ 2:27 am
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I was feeling pretty apathetic about my spring break trip to Hueco. I figured it would be hot and boring with most people gone already, and a heinous spring break college hell crowd. But, as usually happens when I come out here, I pulled up to the Mastodon, saw the stars, felt the dusty breeze, and big surprise I’m still in love. A lot of my favorite seasonal folks are gone now, but I had forgotten that my very very favorite month here is November, before anyone arrives and when it’s quiet in the hood. The vibe is similar to that again, and I’m feeling quite comfortable and at home. Joey and Lisa from Boone are still here at the Shindaggar, Gustavo and some other Mallorca boys are around, and even Jordan Shackleford, a cool dude I met in Bishop who doesn’t know what Prana is (in the yogic or tank tops sense of the word) is out for the break! Everyone who’s still here seems happy to be, and the park is full of new climbs and old projects in cool, shady caves.

Yesterday I tagged along on West with Allen and Andy and Ashley for some projects new and old. We found a possibly new but perfectly valid warm up area at ground level, tucked in with the grass. This short dome had 3 nice juggy lines and not far away there was a fun sneaker slab. We went to a fun hard project of Allen’s, and I figured out some beta for a slightly lower start, which felt like, ya know, a contribution. He sent it too, which was glorious. I was telling Allen that, since we’ve both been on the road and kind of out of our minds for most of the year, I think of us as being on parallel journeys. He was not amused, but the fact that he’s looking so strong, physically and in the mental/emotional sense after a tough year, is inspiring to me.

Ashley got this shot while Andy and I shuffled pads. Allen sounded kinda doubty about this project a few times during the session, and it was great to see his attitude shift and then annihilate it. THe problem is scary -- super steep, crumbly slopers, and a not ideal landing zone. Yeah EMA!


After that we went to Shroom, which I had tried earlier in the year and loved, but for this one hard move I couldn’t do. Well yesterday I still couldn’t pull it off, but the rest of the problem is fun and chill, so I don’t mind having to go back a few more times. The move I can’t get yet feels like McKinney. Same angle, close to the ground, sharp, just like the first move on Power Sludt. Heinous.

Today I was going to rest but instead went rogue with Gustavo. I had a tragic fall at the top of the Long Haul, which I was very psyched to have figured out with no beta and nailed almost ALMOST ALMOST all the way through in a couple hours. (video featuring some difficult to remember beta coming soon)

Next time. Then we went to a new problem he put up last week, and I got a nice little v3 ffa, “Beautiful Weirdo”.

I’m hoping to make it back to Austin by Wednesday or Thursday, to catch some friends who are in town and do some sxsw-ing with Rebecca and the neighborhood kids. But I’m having so much fun, I don’t know if I’ll be able to make myself go before I absolutely have to. OH, also, I did another totally valid v8 the other day, which makes, like, 5 or 6 of them! I think it’s my new 5.12. Ok that’s all. Andy’s about to boot me from the bathhouse!


praying, and some pictures of Hueco November 13, 2010

Filed under: Family — sendann @ 7:22 pm
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When I was a seriously troubled teenager, my mom went to Catholic mass (even though she converted 30 years ago) every week to pray for me. Since I got through that trying time, prayer and consciousness of some godly force have been a constant part of my life. My friends who are into it too call it the “God Club.” And generally speaking, pretty much all the things I pray for happen. I don’t know how that works, but I don’t think it’s magic or that some real live manforce in the sky is intervening in my pathetic life.

these hugies are all over the place right now

I have to pray in the super traditional, childhood “hey there god it’s me ann you’re the best thanks for the mastadon and keeping me healthy at hueco i promise I’ll try to be nicer to douchbags in the future. ok listen I have a problem and here it is can you help?” way. I think that hearing myself state the problem to someone I believe can make miracles happen, the miracle I want becomes a lot more clear, and then it doesn’t seem like such a miracle after all, and I find a satisfying solution pretty quickly.

Andy's bath house and the shoots, moments before he bulldozed his land into oblivian to make room for a car port. It's still awesome.

But before I pray about a problem, it’s like I’m standing at Home Depot, with only the foggiest notion of what it is I want to make. I don’t know what aisle anything is on, or even what category it would fall under. I don’t understand the store layout, and I’m paralyzed. I start to get mad. Goons I don’t trust keep approaching and asking me if I need help. I keep saying no, and wandering around looking at shower stalls and washing machines and grills and boxes of screws until I’m delirious, playing with the Ralph Lauren paint-color-matching machine, trying to make my outfit into a paint scheme for the exterior of a bungalow that I don’t even have anymore/yet. But after I pray, it’s like some patient Home Depot guy with nothing pressing listened to my jumbled explanation of my project and said, “I don’t know if that product exists, but you might try aluminum water-proofing tape. Let me show you my favorite brand.”

this isn't hueco at all of couse, but it was on my camera from capt. bastard's expedition to flat creek last month. It's a sweet shot of a beautiful place. And so freakishly well hydrated!


Anyway, I started thinking about this when I was reading about the Mi She’berach, the Jewish healing prayer. I read this interesting essay about just what the hell it is rational people are doing when we start asking for direct godly intervention in human lives.

On a somewhat more abstract level, this prayer seems to function less as a request for literal fulfillment of a petition but rather a means of setting one’s heart in the right direction.

I thought that was nice.