Wednesday, 31 August 2016
You probably know about pollution, you almost certainly live in a city, and are exposed to it. You also vaguely know it's not good for you, but do you really want to know its killing you? You don't, do you, your in denial. You just want to work, provide for yourself, or your family, and do a bit of climbing, or other sport. Pollution is killing us, and the planet, shortening our lives, and making the quality less.
Surfacing in a cave with tourist, and fisherman's rubbish is normal here in August. We were swimming and diving in the hope of seeing rare fish, but all we saw were plastic bags! The fish we wanted to see is the Mola Mola, and can be a really big fish up to 5000 kg, or a bit over 2000 kg. It eats among other things jelly fish, and plastic bags. Jelly fish we don't want, and neither do we want plastic bags, but the Mola Mola, along with whales, turtles and us, cannot digest plastic bags. The Mola is also killed as By Catch when they fish for Sword fish, the fishermen then de-fin this beautiful strange fish, and let it die. It is a protected fish in the EU. Anyway we are a By Catch of big business and Capitalism, it is time we woke up and asked our politicians for a bit of help. In Malta we have Tuna farms, your expensive Sushi probably comes from here, and it is fed all kinds of supposed fish and "stuff," like medicine, or worse. We have so much feeding of the Tuna, that in a few places we have feeding slime in the water which pollutes some of our swimming zones, these beaches are supposed to have excellent water according to EU certificates, it is not so. It is just not so! Air should be breathable, and in many places it is not so. Water should be drinkable and as you know, it is mostly not so. And how about food, clearly food is not food most of the time. I was just served shit on 6 flights, I was treated like an dumb animal served shit, and then not allowed to shit, because they want you in your seat all the time. Welcome to the Machine, we are By Catch.
Tuesday, 30 August 2016
Traveling around working, you realise the world works in a very clumsy way. Humans are crass useless things, we seem to have a propensity to just breath, and get fat. My least favourite places are airports and city motorways, I am lucky that its not Aleppo, or Gaza I'am zipping around, but still Iam in despair.
Romain Desgranges from Chamonix won the mens big event, it's only his second gold in about 14 years of comps, but if you have ever seen his precise flawless technique, and his never ending stamina you might be surprised that the boy can't walk on water.
Adam Ondra lost, shock horror. Adam the Ondra, the incredible guy that he is, has been climbing outside! Not the best things for plastic, golds come through working plastic! Olypians lookout, you are doomed to plastic prison, and hell. How did we turn a great wonderful pastime like climbing rocks, and mountains, into an indoor prison hell of urban hamsters?
Adam Ondra is off to the big stone soon, he has his eyes set on Salathea, and Dawn Wall. That's why he has been outside climbing, El Cap is decidedly outside. Dawn Wall has supposed 9a pitches on it, and is therefor possibly the hardest "Trad route" in the world. We will see, or Ondra will see for us. Good luck Adam, and congrats on winning the bouldering, no mistakes there eh?
Anak Verhoven won the girls comp, she is a fervent Christian, and climbs for Jesus. It seems to be working for her, I might try it.
Saturday, 27 August 2016
The Arco guide book now has thousands of high quality routes, its a must. But not now in this heat, its really hot, even in the shade, but its still so cool to be here as part of this gathering of the climbing clans, its mostly Italians but Germans and Austrians too.
Disco Jesus and lots of other people from the past seemed to be dancing last night. It was a hard working gig for me.
I always climbed well in Arco but I never got the classic big monsters at Massone. Need to try harder.
Need to spend month in the autumn.
Arco is beautiful if you didn't know. It was the scene of the first big comp back in the early 80s and its still going on. Climbing and biking are good for this town. So I am here with Grivel selling our gear.
If you can name the three in the photo above go to the head of your class! Or at least to the hall of the mountain dwarf.
Big party last night, Corrado the DJ was famous in Italy, he put some good stuff and people were dancing in the streets and squares. Its very summery and Italian, kids, food etc I did a climbing wall demo/thing and top roped a lot of kiddies up a wall future rock stars.
Thursday, 25 August 2016
What's the first thing you notice about Turkey? You might notice something different from me, or more interesting, but for me they are a genuine, happy honest people. Perhaps not all obviously, after all, between politicians, thieves, and the undecided, are a few percent of even the angels.
I like Turks even though they are my country's traditional enemy, of course we don't really have any traditional enemies, we don't really have the energy.
Istanbul is a country masquerading as a city, upwards of 15 million people, humans no less, and guess what, some are muslim. Yep, there's shock horror, women wearing veils!
I have a great route called Helva ta Turk, it's 5.10 or 5.11 depending how gripped you get (E2 or E3 in little Briton money). It's above the sea, it's rough, got texture, it's drippy, it's got run outs between bolts. It celebrates the failed take over of my country by the big knurly Turkish Empire. Please come to my island, and climb my route my Turkish friends. It's a great route like your country.
The more you travel the more people you realise there's only two kinds of people, "Cont, et non Cont" as the French would say. I love Turkish Airlines, they give you metal cutlery, trusting you not to spontaneously cut their throats, and take over the plane.
I am not religious as you know, but I worship blue-sky and sea, and frozen snow glacial ice.
Sunday, 21 August 2016
I am not a wise man, or a very organised one, neither am I powerful or rich, but isn't there a more sensible way to organise sports competition other than buying into the commercial nonsense that is the Olympics. The Olympics are a business riddled with corruption, and a farce. Lots of people won't like what I say, and even I choke in saying it, but really we do need to be reminded that sport is sport, its fun and games, not nonsense. It's not selling a circus with drugged up lunatics who trash places for fun.
Water from above clean looking a beau, underneath trash!
One of my friends posted a photo of the water around Rio full of plastic. It's not unusual, the sea is full of plastic, and effluent. Maybe we should clean it up. Four years ago there was a London olympics, while we were being sold Austerity, and whatever other bollards the Tory party were serving up. Money perhaps better spent else were, like on the poor, or the sick. Is it really important if some one shaves a few hundreds of a second on an arbitrary picked length of special bouncy rubber between disco moves?
Making sense to you? Is this spread by mosquitos or by insectacides
As a life time sports man, I am humbled and over joyed at the physical capabilities of some people, but I think my own food and water I drink should be higher quality than TV presentation. Do you remember the Beijing 6 circles of nonsense, which was just a Coke a Cola advert? Increasingly it becomes more, and more nonsense. Are we all so dumbed down that we need these advertorial gladiators, or even more dozy sports like synchronised, underwater macramé, to impress us, and get us off our fat arses? No because they don't even do that, do they? We are obese as nations. While Jamaica can get a hundred times more gold medals than America per population, despite being really, really stoned, and so can Wales, and Slovenia, it begs the question, what are the populations of Russia and America doing nowadays? The answer it would seem is, eating nachos, and drinking extra large portions of cola, and becoming diabetic.
Yesterday I went swimming, and did a few routes, I watched thirty boats moored under a cliff dropping rubbish into the sea, the boaters think they are sportsmen, women and children. Underneath the boats you will find beverage cans with contents carefully managed to hide the fact it's Maze, or corn sugar. You will find burger wrappers, wet wipes, cigarette buts, and nappies, aluminium foil, they even have barbecues on the boats or land to make fires, the burger wrappers are carefully worded to hide the fact that chemically the burgers are 65 % fat, and also made out of Maze and corn, because the poor sick cows are fed stuff that kills them. You can't see the damage we do to our world, and indeed people don't want to see it. But hey do something about what you eat because the Olympics do not mirror real life, they are an aberration. Real life is today is just making it up the stairs because you are a hundred pounds overweight, and taking multiple meds for high blood pressure, and other preventable nonsense.
Cheers, and really stuff the 100 meters where the sun don't shine.
Thursday, 18 August 2016
I bumped into an edifice while in America, Henry Barber! Known as Hot Henry Barber in the 1970s, his impact on climbing was deep, he left a hole that was hard to fill. The only person with such a big hit on climbing among the elite was Peter Croft years later. For me though Henry was the guy who made the whole thing a more serious game. It already was serious, after all, all the hard leads in the UK at this time involved serious injury as a consequence, but Henries majesty of movement in the various sub games was what I wanted to emulate.
There were many guys to look up to in the UK, many bold confident climbers, but Henry was good, and it wasn't his home ground-he was playing away. He was involved in the first visits to East Germany Elbe Sandstone, and brought over to the UK and Mountain Magazine tales of German superiority! No body wanted to know then, and the history of climbing is still badly Anglo /American slanted.
Anyway Henry came over while I was working, and cheered me up, and replayed my own Dresden Sandstone experience. Henry has an out of print book out there some where, with that stunning time all recorded. It's very hard to understand Henry's influence, but it lives on in those few who still solo on cool headed routes, and multi pitch, where it's not gym training, but mind control that is required.
Henry is big, he all ways was big, it's not a joke he is an edifice, he is like a big rock buttress standing proud. He is some one I'ave always looked up to, thanks for coming to the UK in the late 70s Henry, and showing us how to play the game. Climbing 5.11 is not really the same as in the mid 70s, we had just got Chouinard Hexs, and were just learning how good they were, cams weren't thought of yet. It's hard for kids today to understand seeing Henry climb, or hearing him speak, he had walked the walk, and talked the talk. Oh yes, and where I learnt to climb, North Wales, my mentors adored Henry. There you go, one day I would love to go back to German Sandstone with Henry, and do the definitive documentary on the history of modern rock climbing. Henry was a dream seller, I bought the dream.
Tuesday, 16 August 2016
Having just a package of traveling, and climbing work, my standard has gone backward. You must train to a peak, and perform. Any down time over 5 or 6 days will show regression. You know this? The human body and mind are surprisingly versatile, but can't do the impossible. The mind is more susceptible to shut down than the body I think. I can often disconnect my mind from the grind and the pain, especially in Ultras or big mountain shenanigans, but my mind is easily overrun by a quick flash or panic which will interfere with motor skills. Motor skills are climbing, or a lot of climbing.
You might be wondering why Maggie thatcher is masquerading as a Moustache wearing right wing dictator. Don't worry, its just a foible of mine, its one of my thoughts on how politics manipulates sport. The germans had an interesting Amphetamine in wide spread use in world war two, which was reportedly as strong as Crystal Meth to day. Is this the drug that Mr Buhl used on Nanga Parbat? One of the three drugs that he used? Today climbers regularly use three drugs on Everest and other big peaks as well as Oxygen at 2 litters and more a min. 4 drugs?
The Olypics are on, and really, it's business as usual. Records are tumbling, even when we know for sure that most (if not all) were established with a bit of pharmaceutical help! You see it's not sport, its the propaganda value of the winning, the artificial creation of fake nationalism. People who say politics has no place in sport have obviously missed the logic boat. The world not just my stamina is regressing. The politicians have finally one when when Mo Farrer runs for England but would be called a dirty immigrant in most of little UK. The Unthinking Kingdom that is not the United one.
Sunday, 14 August 2016
The 400 meter record has just been broken, I used to enjoy running the magic one lap, but any joy of seeing records is probably now smoke. The previous Olympic record was in Atlanta, whether this was by an enhanced human we will never know, but what is certain is that the new record broke that one by a considerable margin, and like Mr Bolts runs, seems to have been accomplished with the handbrake still engaged.
Yesterday we rescued a Chameleon from the road and took it to the live at the White Tower. Just a simple act of kindness to a fellow living thing. After this we climbed not seeing any body, because people are generally just to lazy to walk more than a a hundred yards in this country. They use American dietary adverts as their inspiration. Anyway Patrick got an 8a-good on him-I didn't, bad on me. Hopefully the Chameleon got a few ants!
Saturday, 13 August 2016
The summer brings tourists, pollution, noise and a grumpy mood, so we opted for a corner of the island where we wouldn't see anybody. My young swiss friend is always agreeable as long as he has good routes he is happy, so far a good plan. The car park is fool, looking down at the small beach it is also full, clearly there is very little tourism planing any where in Europe or in the world in general!
Patrick on Tirpitz a fantastic route, many boulder problems separated by rest platz.
Shade is essential, humidity is high, free wild figs, and hungry ants on one of the warm ups….
The initial move onto Tirpitz is a bit of a wide bridge over a 20 meter drop!
Shearwater tracks, a little bird with a lot of strength.
Some warm ups, a great 6a arete called Rocket man, 6a 30 meters, it climbs straight out of vines and figs into a breeze! Then we did Gormangast 6a, a hanging fig tree, ant colonies, and exposure guaranteed. We had had a few hard days and I was keen to see how Patrick did against Tirplitz as he was climbing well and his foot work was tip top. Tirplitz was a route that when I did the first ascent had me fully gibbering! It is a rising line to the left, and the exposure seems out of proportion to its length! How would Patrick do I wondered? Well he wobbled, and did a lot of talking to himself, and did a great lead. It's a great route and I think it's wonderful must do in this grade 7b (or 12b)-classic scare!
Friday, 12 August 2016
the route Titan is two pitches, about 70 meters, some lovely stone.
The sea was crashing today, and Patrick and I got splashed occasionally on bits of cliff hard to splash. Young Patrick was climbing well, relaxed and confident, we did 6 routes ( well he did) I did four.
We did an old route of mine called DNA which is a tough lead, mainly because the second can't hear you, and doesn't know how, or when to take in, or give slack. Potentially big falls are almost garrantied on this route, and with the sea running wild, its all a bit much, especially for a pumpy 7c+.
Patrick was still keen, and did a hard bouldery route that was previously graded 8a, but I will down grade it to 7c. He then went on a 7c+ that he thought was 8a! Grades are not rocket science and although we don't have many mistakes here on Gozo, I would like a few other opinions on grades from visitors. My grades reflect my strengths and my numerous weaknesses. If you have another opinion it might be good to drop me a line. Thanks.
Thursday, 11 August 2016
Back in Gozo, the jet lag is going, the ordinariness of my existence seems ok, I have seen a bit, time to hunker down, and get fit for the cooler months.
I been back and climbed the last two days with young Patrick from Swiss, White Tower, and today Sector Titan and UnderWorld. Not bad, well truth be told two of the best climbing cliffs you can be on, and it's where I live, not shabby is my place of abode!
Next time I am in Utah I gotta stay and climb, it was really nice, but the jet lag for a few days work is horrible. And seeing friends without associating is painful.
My last bit of work will be going to the Arco Competitions, which if you don't know is really one of the great highlights of the climbing year. Naturally I will be working and not competing, but I will not loose the opportunity to cheer the great climbers on. And all in the great town of Arco surrounded by the lake and cliffs and the warmth and sociability of Italy. Viva.
Tuesday, 9 August 2016
Thanks to Jake and Doug, we managed to escape the Out door show a few hours early and head into the mountains. It's high country, flowers, water in lakes, rocks and trees, it's absolutely wonderful.
I feel like this….
I never forget climbing and the natural world, but it's a struggle some times to re-boot the computer, and just go native again. Feeling like an asylum seeker from todays complicated life, I couldn't even go climbing for a few hours, preferring to do yoga by the lake.
The drive up was great, slowly leaving the modern world, and blending in with the high country. Metamorphosis was magically happening, my soul started to catch up with me.
Yoga is my anchor.
Did some yoga with my co worker, and drank some Hops chased down by some Rye. Talked to Alex from china who studies in France, we started talking about the complicated world, but gave up in the end and stared at the world around us. The Rye was chosen by Doug, he was sick of my whining about the poor quality of booze in Utah. He was right, and so was I, thanks Doug an excellent choice.
What can I say except that there were flowers floating, and a dragon fly flying, peace and serenity pervading.
Be careful when you drink at altitude, the store is a long way away…..
there is nothing to brew up there….
Well I am in Rome now, on the last hop across a bit of sea to my rock floating in my heart, I miss America and hope to see you again. Take care ….
Monday, 8 August 2016
So its goodbye America, had a great time, did some good work, renewed friendships, etc. Even went climbing.
The show was great, bloody hard work for me, but this was made better by so many people being nice to me. I love Salt Lake and their people.
We went up the pass to climb and I didn't really want to. I had a dream that it would rain and our team would get down in the dark. Guess what? It did!
I did yoga in the rain, and down by the car, where I was joined by a mummy deer and her two babies.
There was a great vibe this year at the show despite the most politics I have ever heard talked by our American cousins. Crossed fingers for the election in November.
Saturday, 6 August 2016
Gary came around with the original boot of Everests first ascent with oxygen. The boot is amazing, light function, and with the slimed down Grivel crampon. These are works of art, and functional design.
I,ll weigh them and give you a comparison with modern stuff, you will be shocked at the result I think.
The show was great, thanks everybody but particularly the great people at Liberty Mountain. Above is a photo of just some of them. They are real fun adorable people. Naturaly not one of them will vote for Trump. Noticeable this year was the fact that Americans were talking Politic,s which generally they would never do. Possibly bolting the Stable door after the horse has bolted but….