All paths lead nowhere, choose with heart

I’m in a thing! October 24, 2012

One reason that I suspect bouldering is super popular is that it’s sooooo much easier to get awesome bouldering pictures than it is other kinds of climbing pictures. And awesome pictures inspire people to do whatever is in the picture, so we’re all bouldering.

see? easy as crack

I was kind of whining to Vinny a few months ago that it was awkward and hard to get good sport climbing pictures, and that was my excuse for not sending him and ClimbTech more stuff faster. He was like, Ann, just tell a photographer that you work with a company called ClimbTech and they’ll be psyched to take pictures of you. But I was too insecure. What if they turned out to be a shitty photographer or it just didn’t work out and CT hated the shots and it came to nothing? And the person didn’t want to be friends with me anymore because they jugged up and sat in a harness for hours while I flailed away in a tank top for nothing? How…totally awful, to lose a friend that way. So I haven’t done it.

Anyway, I’ve been intimidated to ask anyone to do sport climbing pics, until I got to Tahoe and asked Lauren Lindley to do it. Cause she’s an Austin person and I felt like I could totally ask Erik or Merrick to do it, and she’s in that club. And of course she was like, YES, before I was even done asking! Lauren is pretty much ready to throw all her enthusiasm behind whatever adventure or task catches her interest. She’s like the productive/creative version of one of those guys who are super intense about whatever they’re into, and if you get even five minutes of their glorious attention and focus on YOU you’re like, in love with them for a year and a half even though it’s never gonna happen because, please, that guy is in love with himself and his bullshit freedom, and eventually a chunky blonde. Like that, but Lauren’s attention is useful and genuine. Man, that brought up a very annoying memory from like ’02. Ew!!

So Lauren and her amazing friend Damion and I went out to tackle some powerful, tricky granite sport lines over Emerald Bay. So wow. I even tried something super hard for me! Finally! And ya know what, it felt totally possible! Her shots have been amazing so far, and I’m psyched to share them with you as they come out! A few were featured TODAY on the Tahoe South website, along with a very cool article Lauren wrote about our days up at Mayhem.

Click through for the article. Thanks so much Lauren!! Ps my dad wants to see more soon! :-)




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In front of TV December 14, 2010

Filed under: Climbing — sendann @ 12:03 am
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A great group of ATX boyz came out last week –  Vinny, Merrick, Cody Cox and TV. I had the typical blast climbing with them, and did a bunch of projects. It was Channukah, and I had several miracle sends come out of nowhere, after feeling pretty weak for my first couple weeks here. It was so fun to have those guys out during a peak in my own climbing. Mainly because I could keep up with them, and even peace them out on a cryptic warm up roof eliminate — pure Austin style.

TV took some lovely shots of the trip. Of course, here are the ones of me:

I never tried Jigsaw Puzzle last year, because despite the modest grade it's kind of intimidating.

I managed to get through it pretty fast though -- two short sessions, both with Merrick

This is my new and probably last project for this trip, Eckstein. It’s the perfect problem for me. A stout, butt-dragger traverse on slopers, a huge manly huck, some swing time, and a hard but fun crimpy low ball end section. I managed to do all the moves for the first time that day. But I think I went at it too hard, and now my wrist is tweaked. I’m going to rest until the end of the week, then go back and hopefully send when the weather cools off on Friday. To paraphrase Adam Ondra, it is a very nice looking problem, and it is also a very big number.


It was an awesome visit and a great Channukah in the desert with good friends, new and old.


halleluja August 11, 2010

Filed under: Climbing — sendann @ 3:37 pm
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Finally sent Talk To Jesus(/Chuy) last night, with the starting tufa about a foot out of the water. I nailed every move on it with no extra swings, and I think that’s just how it had to go. I was tired on the last moves, but got my feet back on and took my time on the sort of insecure top out. I’m so glad to have sent it, finally, from a  respectably low start, and it was extra cool because Vinny and all my favorite dudes were there! Even Gus happened to be out, which was a rare treat. We met climbing, but Gus and I climb together maybe once or twice a year. I forget that he even climbs sometimes, and I’m sure he does the same with me.


Capt. Bastard got a great video of the send, and after climbing we all went back to Vinny’s to watch footage from the last couple weeks on his fancy enormous tv. All the lake footage looked incredible with the HD camera. Then we watched old videos from the last two years of climbing in central Texas, and talked about how lucky we are to live and climb here.

So now I just wait for the water to drop, warm up on Jesus, be bold and do it from ever-lower starts. Here are a few grabs from last season when Capt first did it. I don’t know what my limit will be, but I guess I’ll keep running it until I leave. At the rate the lake is dropping, it’ll still be starting about 10 feet higher than in these shots.

I started with my feet just above where his head is

Will definitely need to converse with a higher force to get through all that roof climbing with 40 feet of air below me

Psyched. Hopefully I’ll have the video to post eventually. Now I get to pick my next project out there. I’m thinking Better than Soccer, this weird double-toe hooks line. I might not be able to reach the start anymore though. We’ll see. Amistad this weekend for a change.


Mas Lake Para Mi August 8, 2010

Filed under: Climbing — sendann @ 1:54 am
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Erik and Merrick and Capt. Bastard and pretty much all dudes don’t like this bathing suit. But most women, including myself, love it. It’s black, it’s modest, it makes me look curvy, and it doesn’t move weirdly while I’m climbing. Granted, it’s a bit conservative, and the black doesn’t make for those easy-to-compose “red shirt”photos, but oh well. Here’s more shots of me on Chuy, which I have now fallen off the top out of twice. Pretty lame, but it was a beautiful day/night out there anyway.


All these pictures are by Erik Moore. Thanks for making me look so pretty and strong, even in my downright Victorian-era one-piece, Erik!


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Merrick got some pictures of he and Vinny a couple weeks ago out there, working on a different problem.

So that’s the boys.


I worked on another line out there yesterday – the new, lower-water start to a warm up that I’ve finished a few times before. The new opening moves are sooooo much fun, big hard long stuff on jugs, but I kept falling at the link-point. I ignored Chuy all day and just took one run at the end, and fell in the middle. It’s cool. Capt. says I’ll send both of them after two days of rest. I think he was just trying out a whole “being sweet” thing, though. But I’m gonna try the rest and go thing anyway and focus on working, thrift shopping, Pilates, and rebuilding my itunes library after a dramatic hard drive meltdown (No thanks to HITACHI) until at least Monday.


Which reminds me, I’m finishing up my teacher training apprenticeship now, teaching my friends at the Joy Moves studio. It’s scary and exciting. I hope they like it!


Mrs. Trooper July 8, 2010

Filed under: Cars — sendann @ 7:27 pm
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Yesterday I was cruising around in ATX heaven – from a girlfriend’s house to the springs, then soccer at Justine’s! It was a haiku of awesome, but then my car started to smell like chemical fire. I rationalized that the smell was coming from construction that I was driving by.

Ok here’s how it goes with me: I had a low mileage (75k) 2000 Toyota Camry that my mom gave me, and a 1991 Isuzu Trooper with 185k on it from my father-in-law.

What Would Ann Raber Do? Obviously she’d sell the Camry, stash the cash, and live out of the Trooper. Is this taking the vintage aesthetic too far? Perhaps.

But it’s been a great car so far, as rolling greenhouse death traps go. I have this fantasy of trying to do mechanical work on it myself some day. So far I have replaced the radiator cap, and the headlight (bulb). Both times I had to have AO coach me through it on gchat. From “where do I get a radiator cap” to “what do you mean ‘go in through the hood?!?'” It’s been educational.

Here’s the Trooper with Rick Rivera’s boat hitched to it. Living up to its name in a big way.

This is the Trooper in Hueco when Vinny and I broke the door, and the Hueco Rock Ranch dudes helped fix it.

And here it is on the way to Hueco last year.

A couple weeks ago it started doing this thing where it took a few seconds to change gears. Like from reverese to drive and back it struggled to get going. It was Saturday, so I had to take it to a non-favorite mechanic. They said the transmission has a leak in the gasket or pan, and to give them 600 dollars. I said fuggedaboutit, and had them top off the fluid. I’d lost 3 quarts of tranny fluid in 6 months! Ugggghhhhh!

Then I had the best mechanic and one of the best people in Austin, and also probably one of the best men on the earth, Mike Yost, check it out. I was gonna ask him what he thought of the idea of me doing it myself was. But then, as he was laying underneath it in the parking lot he goes “It’s gonna be a huge job to get in there.” I got down there too and he showed me how the transmission is up above the exhaust system, and that it will involve taking tons of other parts off to get to and change. So I didn’t even ask about my DIY idea.

We agreed that for now I need to just check the level regularly and be sure to top it off. I said, “I read online that if you overfill the transmission fluid in this car even a little, it catches fire. There was even a recall about it in the 90s. So I’m scared.” To which Mike Yost responded: “Get full coverage.”

Oh, and so after the soccer game (I don’t know if I’m more excited to see the German’s lose, Spain win, or Paul the psychic octopus be proved right YET AGAIN) I drove to work, and the fire smell started again, then a big noise, then the battery light went on and I couldn’t steer, and when I finally got off 183 safely, I saw a broken belt dangling out of the bottom of the car, and the whole inside of the hood was covered in this gross black mank.

Alternator belt. Replaced within an hour by the other Mike at Yost Automotive.

Parts and Labor, $82.



sports climbing lifestyle action July 7, 2010

Filed under: Climbing — sendann @ 3:12 am
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I hate sports that involve endurance (or momentum, incidentally, but that’s another issue). I hate running, and I hate being tired and breathing heavy, and yeah. I panic and quit before this supposed “zone” I keep hearing about sets in.

I have lots of shorty sport climbing projects that don’t go because I get tired and sloppy on V1 moves at the top. Basically, wherever the chains are, I get to right below and come off. People are always nice about it. They congratulate me on getting through the crux, and say encouraging things about how it’s an endurance thing and not about climbing skill and I’m plenty strong and so on being nice.  But the truth is I’m lazy and I don’t believe. I doubt that I can finish, I get close to the end, I remember how I never finish, then I lose my focus and get sloppy and fail.

Here’s me on a sports project last summer (2009). It took me two days to get all the moves and beta worked out, and for two months after that I one-fell it twenty different ways. But most often, I fell making the last move.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Vinny stitched this video together out of pity, after the area shut down for the season and I still hadn’t sent. The move (at 2:30) is piss. It’s a swing out on two softballs, swing back, tow on a big roof chip (I can even not swing sometimes, just toe the chip and push out) heel hook on a HUGE ear with a tick mark, and lever up to a HUGE jug like a foot away, if that. So sad.

It’s like this on SO many lines. I feel the same on this 13a as I do down the wall on a 12a warm up of the same angle and style. Same deal there –cruise to the top, get tired, panic, rush, slop around for ten minutes, and fall off jugs before the top out.

And so now, maybe as a sort of decadent penance for being such a difficult person this spring, I’ve created a huge sport climbing trip season for myself. A week from today (!!!!!) I’m heading to the New River Gorge with Homoclimbtastic. Six weeks after that I’m going to Europe for a 40-day post-divorce exodus of sport climbing.

Then I’ll go to Hueco, happily ditching the rope in a closet somewhere and settling in for the winter. Although if sport climbing is going really well (which if it’s not by then I need to just give up the ghost already right?) I might try to go to Colorado for a couple weeks in late October, to take advantage of the fitness and try some American classics.


My training plan for this whole Divorcees Without Borders semester is this:

Swim 150 meters a day every day until the New. At once. Without stopping. At this point I can do it with one break and I’m pretty pumped and sloppy after 50 meters, stupid desperate to the end, being laughed at by children. I want to be able to go hard the whole time at an almost-my-maximum-effort pace. Tim said to grip these squeezy rings in my hands while I swim for additional helaciousness.

But I will not be doing that. Not this week at least.

Then, after four days on at the New, I’ll come back and change it to 300 meters of swimming 3 times a week until the community pools close in mid-August.

That and my regular climbing schedule of anytime anyone will dawn patrol Reimers or take me out on a boat is as far as I’ve gotten with the training plan so far. Stacking paper for these trips, and hustling to finish my Pilates teacher training apprenticeship will keep me pretty busy up until the day I go to Europe.

That is all. New blog. So far so good.