I'm a woman

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

Wednesday, 15 November 2017

Get over it, by Stevie Haston.

Getting over things, is a hard task if you are not flexible, or strong. Now there is mental flexibility and physical, but there is an old odd thing called being stubborn which often has a purgative ring to, being stubborn can also be useful!

 a bit of flexibility is always handy, hip flexors.

What should it be, flexibility, or stubbornness? In many surveys of leading climbers, stubbornness showed, or shined through. Can you get it, or are you flexible enough to  slink into a position where you can be more persistent?

Soloing little or big routes was always a great love of mine, I am flexible enough to hang on to this habit as it gives me great joy-joy is where it's all at!

It is not the slow progress that is terrible in training, it's the set backs, or the mental blocks people have that are the big barriers. This year I have had a broken thumb, a broken toe, money problems, and I still just got on with it-in a normal year I would, or might have thrown a wobbler. Where did I get this new found equanimity? I found them in better habits. We are creatures of habit. Try very hard not to be a rabbit!

A good habit is waking up!
A good habit is doing good, or correct things.
A few simple things to get you going, look at a photo of something wonderful, maybe a route, a mountain, or special place, a lovely person.
A good habit is a little yoga.
A few pull-ups.
Failing all that, a good cup of coffee, and get to F….ing work.

Monday, 13 November 2017

Unbelievers, by Stevie a believer Haston.

Do you love rock? Do you love fresh powder? Do you love icy mountains? Yes, oh yes! Do you love the sea, sea cliffs, and what are under them? Iam very lucky I love these things, I like caves, and climb in and through them, sometimes I swim through them, I think I commune with all these things, and sometimes pray to them in my sleep. To speak of praying, and gods, or God to many of my friends is a wasted effort, but the great god of hope is always there ruling our lives whether we realise it, or not. Hope for a fair world where we treat each other with respect and kindness, and look after the sea and the mountains!Yes, yes let me into that church.

 An Eagle Ray a bit over 2 meters wide.

The internet and the rabid press of the UK and other strange countries would have you believe that Muslims are out to get you. My experience in the Red Sea was that Egyptians are very much after your money, the same as vendors, taxi drivers and hoteliers the world over. 

 Crossing the Gulf of Suez.

Perhaps you shouldn't travel to certain places, there is a UK advisory against travel in Sinai, but hey I just had the one of the best trips of my life. I went to the Sinai to see the mountains and the sea, there is huge potential for climbing which is under developed and much potential for diving which has reached maturity regards development.

 A long line of Free Divers entering the Legend that is the Blue Hole of Dahab.

I want to go back, indeed I am very sad to be back as I write, I will get over it by climbing my superb sea cliffs here, but the smell of the desert and sea, is there now for ever. I interacted with people and fish, you might not understand this or perhaps you do. There are few fish to interact with in Malta, because we catch and eat every little one we can lay our hands on. Similarly the Maltese natural friendliness and curiosity, has been replaced by that  all pervasive surliness common to all over crowded, modern rat race course, metropolises.

 Pretty Monofins all in a row, not your usual cafe!

Sitting in a cafe eating a Beduin breakfast (but later as first you swim) you gaze towards Mecca, and you cannot escape the thought of how much trouble religion has caused. But it is not here today, these people love your custom, your money. 

 Taxi hurtling across the Sinai.

I went to see a geological feature known as the Blue Hole of Dahab, it's a pond in the reef, it's deep-over 100 meters deep,and it is connected to the sea by a 30 meter tunnel at 55 meters depth. A few years ago, a man named William, dove through this feature without fins! I went to pay homage, they say over a hundred people have lost their lives in the Blue Hole, it is a Nanga Parbat of the Red sea to stretch things a bit. The climbing of the granite in Sinai is long over due, get going kids.

endless granite, mostly not vey good but some very classy buttresses and towers.

As some one once said, "I will be back". Did I say, I swam with turtles, and many Rays, did I say my eyes thought they had taken more drugs than the Rolling stones ever dreamed of as I gazed at fish that looked like they came from Jupiter or Saturn. One of my favourite memories apart from staring at endless granite was going down about 20 meters to see something in the sand, it was an old clam shell. It was the size of a wash basin and you could have bathed a little child in it!

Post Apocalypse Propaganda, by Stevie Haston.

Be careful of bolts made of sub standard material. This is my advice for today!
I have just been to a lovely country full of wonderful people, surprisingly you as British, or perhaps from other countries will advised not to travel there! I can not give you advice about traveling, I can not give you advice about many things, but I will say that in general I found Eygptians some of the loveliest people I have ever had contact with! 

 I am trying to update some routes on this lovely 28 meter high block with Titanium bolts supplied to me by the Malta Climbing Club!

You probably realise I haven't been doing much exploratory climbing of late. Instead due to lack of money and enthusiasm I have been working for myself, trying to create a safe bubble of security and pleasure around myself!
This awesome project has been bothered by many outside malign forces, politics, funds, etc, however one unforeseen problem wa that some of my happiness is bound up in the creation of new routes and helping others-so yes I will do some new routes soon. If you think this might be good and have some spare money donate to my donate button at the top of the page. There are plans for a new guide book here, but I think more routes for beginners and 6a climbers are necessary! I repeat please donate, or I cannot in all justification do the work.
 These are two bits of "marine" grade stainless steel, they are by the same manufacturer, but clearly one is from a much worse grade of steel than the other! Three months use!!! Beware stainless steel.

Some news for people who like my writing, is that I have done a little work trying to remember some of the crazy, or interesting things that have happened in my climbing and extra climbing activities, and put them into words suitable for the general public! People who have perhaps heard a lecture of mine, a particularly drunken or raucous one might find my writing too polite and indeed I am finding the middle path of discretion and dishonesty hard to follow, the tell it as it was seems ok in a lecture but when it is written down in illegible print it is fairly damning. I guess thats why they have laws about liable and suchlike…we will see, I wouldnt want my writing to be wishy washy or boring.  

 I have just been here… an odd place, a wonderful place…

In the mail this morning was a book brochure of Doug Scots book about his Ogre adventure, I must say it seems a very good bit of writing, and I look foreword to reading it in full!

 back on Gozo and keen to climb I still have half my heart back in this place…

Did you see the Economist front cover of Trump?

Friday, 27 October 2017

Happy work, by Stevie sometimes Haston.

Work is some times necessary! Sometimes work is happy! 
Anyway Richard a lovely guy and a journalist brought his kids over and Tutu to climb with me and Alex. Climbing in the sun and shade trying to give something from the great sport of climbing to other people, it can be more of a pleasure than I can say, its also harder than I can say, very hard.

 Mgar Xini where the shot guns are many and the youngest asks why do you kill birds Stevie!

Journalists are very much in the news in my small country where our best journalist was assassinated in the last few days and our country is in a turmoil! I have the pleasure and honour of knowing more than a few journalists come to that a few bankers as well, yes I often disagree with them, but obviously not about climbing in this we are all agreed. More people should go climbing but certainly not Toni Zarb the government political advisor who likened some female protestor yesterday to prostitutes. What a monumental dick Mr Zarb from the planet misoginist is, how can he underline more the zeros of the present incumbent.

 Buddy checking each other!

I insist on Buddy checks it's not something that would have gone down well in the early 1970s, misogyny and bullying should also be out of fashion today. One of the things I love and increasingly love about climbing is it's anti sexist nature, it's anti ageist nature, it really is a sport for all, But please mr Tony Zarb, never darken my cliffs, you will have an argument on your hands. 

 the main aim of today was to get us down here and back!

When these fine folk go I will be sad, Richard the Journo likes my blog, and is complaining I don't blog enough, he is right. But you all know the reason Iam not blogging, it's because I am naffed off, Grenfield Tower, Malta nonsense, arms sales, British ministers not knowing that certain countries ceased to exist 20 years ago! I have been looking after myself, my own sanity, please forgive me, I have been climbing for my self, swimming for my self, and scuba diving for my self.

 Tutu waving.

My little island in the sun, my little brain tangled with Gordian political knots, the pleasure of others wiping everything clean.

 Sebastian looking cool.

I will do new routes, I promise to increase the pleasure, even though I had a report that a public footpath now has a gate on it, and hunters have made a small lake where they are attracting ducks to shoot on the way to one of our best cliffs, and barring us from climbing. Can you believe it? Nearly as daft as rich people killing foxes for nuffing except pleasure and snobbery.

 9 years old, which one is nine years old, or are there three?

I,ll leave you with this, this is a doorway to pleasure, its Alice down through the looking glass to a strange world, or the yellow brick road….

Bye for now.

Sunday, 15 October 2017

Are you young, by Stevie not old Haston.

There is chronological age, and physiological age, emotional, intellectual and a few more. Are you young, is your body young enough to climb well?

 Old enough to buy gear, or having kids when you should be having fun! You working too much?

How old am I? I would say I am any where between 7 and 20, I pass physical tests for normal people with ease, yet I have the wonder of a 7 year old. Am I happy with my body, yes provided it does what I ask, its getting a bit less co operative. Or is it, there has always been a battle to just sit on my arse!

 Do you wonder if your body is out of synch with your ambitions-me thinking can I dive deeper, or do I want another 2 pints. Will I climb or swim tomorrow?

 Are you still being silly, up for a jape, etc.

 Do you know whats available to help you climb and their only cost is money, not effort?

 Spice up your life, do it different, try visiting world class cliffs.

Go snowboarding, run up that little hill and go red. Swim with the fishes, sleep out under the stars, do not buy that electric can opener.

 Harder than nails, can you still trim your own?

Skip breakfast, unless its nails! 

 Little test, do it, fail or pass?

 Little test fail or pass?

 Are you happy when you train? Be happy.

Adults forget what the floor is, they want seats, and posh ones, get on the ground, get on the sea, or under it, rough paths not easy roads, try a bit, stretch your self.

Think how your body can help you, it is your only real friend, unless you are very sick, it wants to help you. But sometimes do use a stick, beat yourself once in a while, you must be in control of your space craft. Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun. Pipers at the Gates of Dawn, listen to your heart, and breath before you are listening to a wheeze, you're dying gasp. Too late, is too late.

Tuesday, 10 October 2017

Just like that, by Stevie Shoes Haston.

My life seems to be flowing away, from the mountains to the sea. It's been a nice journey-bucolic at times, but now it seems to be turning into the last rendition of Blade Runner-a confused story with lots of product placement. Beware the Ides of March.

Wheres my climbing shoes, bare foot climbing is not all its cracked up to be.

Confession part one, I am a very big nerd!
Confession two, I don't like boots and shoes, I love them for what they can do.

 Discussing fins for free diving, when the current record for no fins diving is over 100 meters depth, makes me feel a bit useless, discussing boots when people have done 8b barefoot might appear the same!

Without boots I can climb certain 6bs on face climbs, that's really  it. I don't climb crack without shoes, I promised myself never to suffer that degree of pain unless it was with a pretty domiatrix, crack climbing bare foot is a hell of pain. Boots, or shoes are climbing to me. The better the shoes the harder I climb, the kinder the shoes to my feet, the longer I enjoy that special pleasure of movement.  I have more climbing shoes, diving fins, running shoes, ice climbing boots than anybody on the planet, I take them very seriously. 

 The Chimera, I climbed 8b+, or this boot did straight out of the box!

When I help people climb I spend a few minutes talking about climbing shoes, and I then ask them to remember what I have said as I take them climbing. Most climbers think hands and fingers, as they climb.As they climb harder they worry about foot holds, and shaking off the holds, you start to ask your boots to stick, or edge, or to get further in that pocket. Good boots really help. A good fit really helps. Understanding your requirements, the rocks requirements, and where those bones in your feet that support your weight, and stick to the rock are fundamental to success. Please take boots seriously. 

 Scarpa Furia, a narrower toe which has a soft and comfy foot bed, velcro fitting for ease of, ON and OFF.

I used to climb dangerous 7b in really bad shoes, with rubbish gear, god only knows how good I was, because today if you gave shoes like that, I would be in hospital. I climbed the Eiger in mountain boots which weighed four times what a modern mountain boot can. Take boots, and how they fit you seriously.

My all-round shoe, it's ON and OFF in the blink of an eye, The Stix sticks to a teflon shovel!!!!3 mm rubber ensures I feel every thing!

Climbing shoes are to me like the ones that nimble Greek God Mercury wears, he has little wings at the back, and allow him to be a bit super human. Be nice to your shoes, place them with care, exactly right, press the rubber into the rock, engage the rubber-it will stick, push on your wonderful godlike fully graceful body, which is in harmony with the rock, succeed -fly.
If I can bore you just a bit longer, when I free dive, after 18 meters depth I normally don't have to fin, or swim, you glide through the water propelled by your negative buoyancy, and some impetuous. This "glide" is one of the most incredible things in my life, I used to get it running, I used to get it trudging up mountains, and I still get it rock climbing when my body and feet propel me through mysterious rock with magical ease. So guys get those winged feet. 

Friday, 22 September 2017

Too much information, by Stevie confused Haston.

Apparently you can only process 120 bites of info a second-well! Is that a lot I wondered as I flicked to the vid of an indonesian family and their bought on higher purchase rickshaw being eaten by a record breaking vegan snake! Seriously there's just too much info, the other day when Ondra climbed the first 9c there were other things put up for our delectation, some scantily clad of no import type of titilition  stuff, shit 9c was enough!
I cannot keep up any more, and don't know if I even want too, 9c and Freerider soloed are enough for me, just tell me what these guys eat, how they train, that's enough for me.
Editors need lots of stuff otherwise they don't have a job, they need their nationalism, they need their page three tits, whether they are boy tits, girl tits, or undecided tits!

 New Bouldering area ,its the bomb! Well its very old-apparently its over a few thousand years old according to a local I talked to, and its also far from being the Bomb!

I guess the Piolet d'Or will be up for nomination soon, neither the 9c, or Freerider will be up for anything, because they don't require an axe! 

 good problems here, its also just very nice.

Apparently there is more than 100,000 words flicking past me in a very short time, as I read that I wondered at the people with small vocabularies! I wasn't being cruel, just wondered. There is a safety device in humans that when too much is going on they loose interest, or start arguing, I had a friend at  school, a dear close family member, who when things got too much would dribble, mathematics did this very quickly-the same feeling hits me when I click on to BritainFirstClimbing@com.

    lie down my son, sit down starts are so passé.

Bouldering is so interesting, and so trivial at the same time, without the writing about it, the photos about it, the mags and internet would be liberated of gigamegazigystar dust bites of space where we could have long worded bigly sentences about snow plodding up unpronounceable mountains in countries which will soon have no snow on them due to global warming, and thus will be eligible for new ascents! 

laughing when you should be crying!

Slipping and sliding to un understanding of climbing as I get old, is 8b hard I wonder? Is 60 years old? 60 years old when I was young was one foot, one lung, and half a liver in the grave. Is there a mag out there that takes me more than 5 mins to read? Ah, the answer to that is yes, a copy of the America mag Ascent was given to me, and is brilliant, it's about 5 cappuccinos long! My happiness was rather subdued when I realised I have already read most of the articles before, still what a fab issue!  The View from Dead Horse Point is one article, I notice the 9c route had Silence as its name, when we can write as well as those before perhaps mags will come back! What do you not think, or did you click on to Twerking in Tumbridge Wells (Bumbridge?) after the first sentence of this blog and a quick perusal of the photos?

Tuesday, 19 September 2017

Improving your climbing, by Stevie above average Haston.

If you wake up in the morning, and the first thing you do is download a vid of a giant snake in Indonesia eating an entire family, and the rickshaw they live on-well- I don't think you will have the concentration level to improve your climbing, or your life for that matter.

 This arch is no longer there, so its hard to "cease the day"Carpe diem indeed.

Today I will not look at my liberal mates Face Book pages deriding the Orange Buffoon saying he will flatten another country with his fat ego! No I will not look at the papers owned by rich loonies, instead I will do a bit of Yoga, if you don't like the word Yoga because it's too Fru Fru, substitute Pilates, or stretching,  or Kick boxing, or even Navy Seal Training warm ups, I don't care, just don't start playing Grand theft Auto while eating an american sugar coated poison burger!
Good habits maketh man, or in this case a climber, or a physically prepared person. Try a 20 min run, stretch your legs and lungs!

pick a nice spot and do some exercise.

Why am I training? Because I don't want to be sick, because I don't want to be infirm, because I don't want to be average, or heaven forbid below average. Instead of wasting your time, spend it profitably. At the risk of sounding like the old granddad athlete I am, write something on the Fridge, like I want to be fit, and strong enough to do X. I am writing it on the drinks cabinet!

 Explore your possibilities, the good possibilities, not the nacho covered in chemical cheese possibilities.

New routes, new places, new levels of fitness, or for me regaining some finger strength. Carpe Diem indeed, I was thinking about time, and how it runs out yesterday, I was hovering above a sunken ship at 30 meters depth, and I could hear time ticking. You should listen to time ticking every day, do something for your self, by yourself, run, do pull ups in the park- just stay away from Jerry Springer day Time TV life style living, get your body a life!

Friday, 15 September 2017

Free Climbing is not Free! by Stevie not Free Haston.

You know the term Free Climbing, but have you ever paused to think, is it free? Or how free, freeish perhaps? Free Diving, is not exactly Free unless your a lotus eater living by the sea. Terms of endearment, or willy waving terms to big up the protagonist? Freedom was a big massive word when I was young, its still the biggest word in my vocabulary, but the meaning seems lost to me now.

 3 years ago, stretchy rope, inattentive belayed, work the next day!

Four years ago I pulled out of a big race, my knee collapsed, I had been up in the first twenty places for bits, I had trained for nearly a year and wanted to place fairly high, the injury was certainly free!


Free Ride was the upmarket term for what I had always done, which was to ski off piste in the mountains! Suddenly every Nob, and his Dog was doing it! The gear certainly got nicer! It came at a cost of course, the authorities started to shut things, and put barriers up, saying danger and other obvious stuff!

 Chicks for free?

There's lots of songs about Free, strangely they all seem to cost money. Where's my interesting life, where's my interesting wife, wheres my fast car? The sea was full of plastic today, the southern wind kept all the carbage pressed on the southern coast, more plastic than fish.

 Free Lunch, or poison?

I dearly want to go back to Dresden Sandstone, in the old days I would have hitch hiked and dossed down in caves, and it would've cost me nothing but time! Today most places don't allow hitch hiking, or it's kept to a minimum, and you can't stay in caves in Dresden, it's verboten!

 7c, six bolts, about 130 foot, free becomes a relative term.

The above climb is fast receding, I won't have the level soon, old age will forbid it, or the social police will drag me away as being to old to risk my life. A friend posted a photo of an early attempt at Salathe wall just before Todd and Pianna did it, he didn't, he had other things to do, his life was not free. In reality Freedom is way too big a word for humans. It's a term that can only apply to animals, not social and confined humans.  

Big fish, was free, now dead.

Free, not really, already caught it was dying at 18 meters depth! Trapped in line it drowned, I couldnt free it, perhaps I,ll eat it, or feed it to the stray cats. The stray cats are free, they breed, and most die, some live a short while, and breed before they die, some climb the tree they are born under, but they don't have a word for Free climbing, they beg for food as there arnt the free animal resources in the village to sustain them. Am I like one of these stray cats I wondered today? Like them, I have no concept of freedom. I felt free for a few hours climbing over rocks and swimming this morning, but then I do not go back to my cave, I go back to my apartment, and clean my expensive carbon fins, and classify my day into words. Maybe I,ll drink several beers…… and fall off my balcony…shades of ….a friend… who once new freedom… and couldn't cope with the chains of being ordinary.

Friday, 8 September 2017

Gozo is going, by Stevie gone Haston.

Gozo just featured in the German mag Klettern, it is not a bad spread. Words by me, some photos not by me, or by my dearest, poverty does not allow for a good photo machine at the moment! Double shot (admittedly very good) was by some yanks, Americans only contribution recently were a few dangerous, now rusty bolts. To be fair, the Canadian Sonny Trotter, added a few sweet deep water solos a decade ago, but he is Canadian!

 In Charlottesville America they want to tear down some ex slavers statues, meanwhile in the UK we honour one dollop of a human nasty racist with being on the £5 note, mind you it will soon be worth 5 shillings!

Gozo just got some rain, and we saw a few more German climbers, if you want a few more climbs, donate to my fund for more routes, access, and safety. The new guide book to the climbing here might have the deepwater soloing in it, what do you think? I hesitated to have it in, and finally didn't because our deep water stuff here can be very high! Lots of good stuff goes over 15 meters, topping out can be very high!

 Ray Charles visited me recently.

 the route portrayed here on this page is 40 meets and lots of bolts, they should be of Titanium. The route just to the right is easier 6a, not in the present guide book, and 43 meters, even more bolts! Expensive!

Gozo is still very beautiful, routes etc, but now that some of the summer tourists are going its breathing again...

It's raining today, first for months and months, winter is coming, and I need to do at least 20 new routes! 
Saw a Sea Horse the other day, Verner a diving instructor noticed us free diving and very kindly signalled to us, and we went down, and saw it, just mind you, their cammo is amazing, thanks Verner! The world does not go around because of money, it is pushed and heaved around by people doing good things, and showing me Sea Horses.