I'm a woman

I'm a woman
Photos copyright Laurence Gouault
No reproduction on other media without the photographer's permission.

Sunday, 16 July 2017

Setting yourself goals, by Stevie Haston.

Some days getting up in the morning seems really hard! I don't get them kinda days, I am not saying I am immune, but I try to stay away from depression, and hating jobs. Some of you are probably laughing, because you know I don't work very much!

Enjoying what is left of my life is my prime goal….

It's very hot, and climbing can seem unbearable, but there is so much to do, exploring, looking at lines, doing the odd set of pull ups, I haven't really had a goal in climbing since I did the route Bernd, it was so good and hard, it pretty much burnt out the circuitry in my already frazzled brain.

Looking through the looking glass…

I was looking at a friend Chris AKA Bladders photos of climbs of Chris Gore on some Grit classics and this brought lots of things back. Like how stupid we were climbing Grit in the sun, EB boots, unprotected landings, fear, yes huge whopping amounts of FEAR.  Anyway Goals, enjoy myself as much as I did 40 years ago, do shit instead of thinking about it. Be fit, creative, and generous, laugh and smile, they don't cost much!

the climb Spunky Arette is crying out for a solo or three.

A little light soloing 6c is good for you even when they are  a bit slimy, solo more, life is a bit of a solo performance, you are an island, sure you must love, but nobody is really there to catch your fall, or bring you up from deep down in the water.

Ahh new routes… what would I do without new routes…do more new routes.

Anyway doing new things is great, went bubble diving with my friend Alex, and enjoyed it. I did a bit of tight and nasty cave diving years ago in the UK, but I missed out on recreational swimming about enjoying oneself. So its funny how after more than 30 years I can remember my side mounted bottles, and the calm you need. You need calm, or CALM in big 40° proof bottles. This morning I was down at 30 meters, no tanks, and no noise from air bubbles, and it was magic. The solitude, the serenity, it is overwhelmingly stupendous. Anyway you can't push the boat out all the time, now can you, so enjoy the journey to the goals. Goal for me is to dive a bit deeper, another few meters on my island, and another 15 seconds will give me more awareness. Look out for an article in Climb Mag on soloing with reference to Free Rider, I was asked for a slight contribution, hopefully the editor has put this solo in its place away from American hyperbole. Just try and remember when Mayol went beyond 100 meters  in the sea, he knew some one would go more, and yes it was his friend. Things are ever thus, and Mr Mayol most ardent wish was not to break records, but to play with dolphins. It is a great thing to play with dolphins, having swum with one of the biggest jamborees of dolphins I ever heard of, I can attest to it being a pleasure. If I could have days like that again would I give up climbing, no of course not. Why, because you can have both. But you better hurry, dolphins are going the way of the dodo. Be careful who you vote for, and how you spend your money.

Wednesday, 12 July 2017

America is coming, by Stevie 5 th of July Haston.

OK America Iam coming over! Salt Lake City Out Door show here I come, my American friends are flying me over, so let the good times roll.
 Shame Iam a bit out of shape other wise it would be straight over to the Meadows to do that run out 5.11 that Bacher put up all those years ago to embarrass people. I still have a bad thumb which is making things problematic.
 A perfect 6a we did a while back.

Went diving and swimming today, it was relaxed with kids and visitors, the sea breezes kept the temps dow. Politics aside we need to do something about Global warning my American friends. Me too, my carbon foot print will be over loaded.

 Do you trust stainless steel bolts?  Do you its a serious question, I use Titanium, donate to my bolt and climbing fund , top of the page.

So whats up, not a great deal, I been diving and initial success was surprising but now I'am stuck, Free Diving is like climbing but more so. The mind is a strange device, its more like a break on a wheel.

 New Ice axe from Grivel, Grivel are 200 years old next year!

Grivel are 200 years old soon, thats not bad, shows something I guess.

 Good ropes are a fundamental thing which you should never think about, gear is not to think about, good gear just is.

The last year for the Salt Lake show, I believe it will go to Denver next year! The end of an era!

 Albert driving the boat around to Santa Maria Caves, Albert is a cool happy guy, he made us lunch and marvelled at a shell I brought up, I want to be Albert!

Saw a few fish today, lots of people enjoying the Blue Lagoon and other places, I also saw lots of rubbish on the sea bed! Wake up people I can't pick it up! I would like to pick some up, but I get fed up, just like I get fed up picking it up near the climbing cliffs.

A nautilus shell.

Here you go guys, this is what your climbing cams are based on! This little beauty is incredibly fragile and I have never seen one like it. The spine was also thick, or wide, just like a soft rock cam! This is for Fred who works for a rival company and has just produced some great cams. If you see this and know who Fred is, tell him.   

Tuesday, 11 July 2017

The Darkness Beckons, Cave diving book review by Stevie Haston.

Sorry for the delay in this review, but I have been reading it-yes this is sometimes what a reviewing person might do! Anyway this book is a fantastic read, and is not only a must read for cavers, and divers, but a must read and have for climbers, because every page is soaked in sweat, and adventure.

 exploring rocks, caves, and cliffs-Alexandra.

The Darkness Beckons is a huge thick book, it's full of the history of the sport of diving, it's full of wonderful photos, and is a loving testament to the shared brotherhood of the sport throughout the world. It's kind of like climbing was-not that climbing is passé, but it is overhyped at times. Cave diving is a bit like soloing, it's pure and committing, and an individual small journey, an odyssey in a world where everything is now a package holiday!   

 the first (?) cave dive, Mr Casteraete my "hero"and muse since I was a boy.

This great book is too big to take in one sitting, but if you'r like me, you will have many long reads, and then just keep dipping back into many individual journeys down water filled dreams, or nightmarish tunnels. The modern photos of clear water can not convey the grimness of many dark tight little worm holes that have been done, but it's all there, mud and glory, and clear crystal water too. Neither can the images of sublime overburdened divers at great depth on occasion, convey the crazy pressure on mind, and body that these aqua knights boldly venture into.

the beautiful climbing cover of the Darkness Beckons by by Mr Farr.

If you are squeamish you shouldn't read this book, but it seems to be one of the last frontiers of human endeavour, so for me and many of the people I know, it is a must purchase acquisition. When Honould soloed El Cap the other day there was a lot of American Chest beating about it being sports greatest achievement, and I certainly cried bollocks, if you want to know why read this book, there are hundreds of instances of great daring do on the brink of the sports upper curve!

 A great historical photo from Balcombs collection, Balcomb was instrumental in beginning cave diving in the UK.

There is a great deal of vicarious pleasure, and misery, and sadness to be had in this book, it's as big as the Bible with better stories, please buy it and enjoy it, the author Mr Farr deserves some recompense for his dedication to the sport, and for his measured, and devoted recordings, and research. Martin Farr has been involved in cave diving since a young man, and shows no danger of giving it up, I for one thank you very much for sharing your wonderful world with me.

Friday, 30 June 2017

The Darkness Beckons by Martin Farr a book review by Stevie Haston.

Here it is , I got my grubby  hands on the new, The Darkness Beckons. First impressions are, it's the same, but better! It's the third edition of this truly great book, it's a re vamp, it's got more photos, it's more in depth obviously with the new stuff, the tech dives that are going deeeep!

 Cover is different, so is the foreword by Bill Stone.

Its the same,  but different, reassuringly the same as it treats this fascinating cave diving experience with the love and adoration of one of its long time adherents the author and aquanaut Martin Farr! 

 Theres poetry in the title and mystery and suspense….

I will give it a proper more thought out review after I have read and reread this book. The most important thing for you might be these words, buy it! Publication date is the 3rd of July!

Martin Farr.

You people out there might know I love climbing, but some of you also know I am an avid caving fan, and water man, some times these wonderful things can all come together, they do in this book. Ultimately this book is about the passion for exploration, and today with google maps, the bastardisation of guided mountains, and  drone footage for tomorrows latest clothing advert,  exploration is quivering in its death throws. This book in its foreword even talks about that as we have even today the capability to send robots beyond the Darkness!  But hey, the Darkness still Beckons! For me this book is a loving pilgrimage with some friends, and indeed lost friends, and people who I don't know, but have admired and respected for years. With this new rendition I have met new adventures, and adventurers, I'll share the review with you as soon as I can get my head out of its lovely words, and photos.  

Friday, 23 June 2017

Ben 9a Moons Fore arms, by Stevie weak Haston.

Ia've just been at the Summer trade show in Germany, and it was great! Sound like Trump I hope not! People might suspect that the truth is somewhat different but hell yes I enjoyed it, the unpleasant things about work, politics, and being tired I ignored.

 Being in Germany made me love my home and love being alive..

Those people wishing to know about Ben Moons forearms should skip forewords. Seeing mates and old climbing buddies just seemed the special thing it always is.  So seeing people like Ben Moon and Paul Craven (among others ) just made me smile. They are younger than me but still like me keen as mustard! Paul is older than Ben and was an early member of the Stoney Middleton Woodshed dossiers club as was I. Ben is just Ben.

 The pieces of a life, a thousand piece jigsaw…

I promise to write a book, every body who asked OK. I need to dive and swim but I promise to write, especially as I now seem to be selectively forgetting. Oh the unbearable sweetness of selective forgetting.

 If you remember these things your one of the chosen tribe of Rock.

Good gear, good people, and stupendous beer, that was the summer show.

 One of the Lords of Font, Big Joe.

Climbing is so easy today, good gear, good info, etc, its amazing that people don't take up the gauntlet and crush (new words for old success), boots in particular-you should try climbing in old EBs, but more precisely slabs at Font.

Benedict Moons forearms..; such wonderful devices shame you can't buy them.

Ben Moon as some of you might know did a 9a just before his 50 birthday a few years ago, this year he has some fore arm issues and believe it or not is Trad climbing! 

More stuff soon, sorry I haven't been blogging but I got a lazy pencil.

Thursday, 1 June 2017

Another day another new route, by Stevie Haston.

 Kids , dogs , ropes, diving gear…

Did two hours swimming, but missed the fish! We saw a shoal of big fish from the top of the cliff, but they saw us coming ofcourse. We found a few swim throughs underwater, nice arches, and a few holes in the underwater cliffs. All good fun.

 Alex going for a vertical series of holes.

We did an old route called Aero Rambler 6b+, and brill, then we did a new one 6a+, and really good too.

Alex climbing the cliff after the swim.

There was some building rubbish thrown down one cliff, and a lot underwater, horrible to see how people trash their own back yard.

Tuesday, 30 May 2017

Lovely summer climbing, by Stevie shady Haston.

 the combination of wonderful rock the sea and a nice person…

Been climbing… its like the sign on the old guys fishing shop when it says "gone fishing be back at sunset or tomorrow". Anyway been climbing and free diving, seen a school of tuna, or big fish anyway as its early for Tuna, there were 24 of them, I counted them. I saw a very bid Barracuda two days running cruising along the cliffs, he looks old, you don't get old and big like him without being clever and wary.

 Antonia leading one of three routes in the day, all good but this one is best.

 Happy girl, sore toes from climbing and blisters but smiling..

Its summer time and the North Coast comes into its element,mellow to outrageous sea cliff climbing. Early morning it can be fresh with a sea breeze, some times its too humid without a wind, but its always bliss. 

 typical route 6a, a bit steep underneath…

Saw a turtle and a Barracuda today.

the big one, telephoto,she's 30 meters away.. 

Did one of my favourite routes today Hilwa ta Turk, its 6b+ and about 35 meters of climbing up an out of this world wall, looks crazy hard and is mostly on big holds, everything is sculptured sandstone and you finish on a few layback holds on a huge block.

"Stevie you said it was 5+ after the crux, it felt much harder", "em I lied", well what can I say, there is such a thing as too much information, 5 star route.

See you soon, my friend your stronger, bolder… and your enjoyment of rock makes mine more.

Friday, 26 May 2017

Happy Ramadan bruv, by Stevie Haston.

 some guys sitting under Palm trees, pre Ramadan munching.

Happy Ramadan to my Muslim friends. Tough month for you, its very hot, make sure your drinking water at night. I had a bit of religion today, went to put my mum and dad and Granny in a new place, they now look out over the sea, mind you they were looking out over the sea already. A change is as good as a rest they say, and they are certainly resting after their hard lives now!

 local bus, now a bit of a rarity.

It was odd touching the remains of dead people, it was comforting, if a religion brings you comfort and makes you live in a good way great. Religion and codes of conduct can be good. Lets concentrate on the good.

 our island which is starting to become desert and predicted to be so by 2100 due to Global warming, nobody is taking notice!

Don't you love flowers! 

re interning my mum and dad in one box, and my Granny Sunta -smaller box!

Not a bad day, went climbing, moved some relations and remembered to be part of the big brother and sisterhood that is the world. 

Thursday, 25 May 2017

The Puzzle of life, by Stevie puzzled Haston.

 Calm weather, stormy weather, weather!

Global warming is making more storms, and now there is a President in America who says that Global warming doesn't exist! What do you do? Start by complaining.

 Classic Gozo view, a bit different since the rock arch fell down!

There are too many cars on my island, it is a small island, we have sun power we should be electric.

 A book whose title says it all.

Climbing was part of my islands life, it isn't anymore, smoking, eating, watching other people live is the modern way. We are now a catering industry for richer people to have fun!
Where is our fun?

My Jigsaw puzzle, its soooo cool.

My last little birthday present arrived, it was a jigsaw puzzle of a thousand pieces, it really is great, and I love it. It comes from China! I wish it didn't! There are so many complex things in life, it's all a puzzle.

Please vote Labour in the UK -less puzzles with Labour. In Malta where there is another election, it is a bit more complex as the Labour party have been boiling in a scandal of corruption, if it helps my Maltese friends, I,ll say this, both Parties have similar promises, democracy has failed to make any difference between them, it's just a name thing! People make puzzles out of simple things to confuse people, it's called trying to con people. Malta's people face a difficult choice. The people of the UK face an easy choice, vote for all.    

Friday, 19 May 2017

It's horrible being human by Stevie sometimes more Haston.

 Chris visiting the Underworld.

25 mins yoga, felt hard!

 a remembrance of bad things past?

Some pull ups felt hard!

 Good things present.

Breathing exercises felt hard.

a window in your life is necessary.

Laughing at and hating certain politicians was all too easy.

Wednesday, 17 May 2017

The Tiranic Barracuda, by Stevie chubby Haston.

It's cool being 60, it's not cool being useless at climbing, and having a bad thumb. Still all that is better than being dead, one must maintain perspective.

 Optimistic hippy mode, vibe, thingy, peace to you all.

Went climbing, I thought it would be a hard day, but it was a bit pathetic, when your egos reach exceeds your ability, its bound to hurt.  

 cool people do cool things even if they are a bit pinko.

The North coast of Gozo has some class climbing but today I couldn't do it justice.

 The local Cop shop! Gozo style.

It was humid, I was fat, gravity was unkind as always.

 A card from a lovely young lady, thx  Lena.

We did seven routes but not the one I really wanted.

 the Titanic Barracuda laughed at me!

I even tried supper boots, nothing helped!

 Scarpa Chimaeras are the best boots I'ave ever had but they can't change a pigs ear into a silk purse!

Alex did some nice climbing but took a slight excursion into orbit when she was careless. Sector Vortex is cruel.
a fat old bloke, admitting defeat, heading to a more amenable sector

It looks like training is back on the menu boys.