I'm a woman

I'm a woman
Photos copyright Laurence Gouault
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Monday, 17 September 2018

Mick Fowler and Jelly fish by Stevie Haston.

Just got Mick Fowlers book -good read! Review "laters" as we Londoners say!

 Seems a while since I climbed well-pissing me off-but hey life is shit, and then you die!

This is a shout out for my mate who runs Scuba Kings Gozo diving, thanks for your help, thanks for your music. If anybody wants to dive on Gozo, give Scuba Kings a try.

Christina and Mandy down there in the Perfect Calm!

 These don't look like much, and jelly fish stings don't usually bother me except feeling like a good burn, or branding. This one left me floating in the water for a while a bit scared-dont know what kind of Jelly it was, it may have been two, the top one felt different from the bottom one, I had another on my arm but it was nothing compared to the lower one, I think it affected my breathing because the sting was just under my ribs when my belly was all pushed up by pressure.

Fried Egg Jellies, mainly for my daughter Katie, but really these are nice guys!

Moon demons!

Mick's book is great! I always liked Mick despite him being a Taxman! He mentions Victor Saunders, or Slippery as Mick named him, I have climbed with both of them, brilliant guys, they shine in so many ways. A ton of people were mentioned in this book that I knew and like, too many to mention. Best chapter for me is the one on Victor when he first meets him, and thinks him a twit. I thought the same, shows you both Mick and I were wrong Victor, is solid in the mountains. Not all life is in the mountains however, this is possibly were some of us get things wrong!

Friday, 31 August 2018

Fitness is wasted on the young, by Stevie Haston.

I was looking at some potential routes today, and felt sad.When I scout for routes I mostly feel happy but to see routes of such magnificence and know you wont be able to do them felt tragic. Getting old aint easy, roll on Altzheimers so I can forget about a former life as a minor rock star.

 Pleasant 6a, the kind of route we should all be doing with our zimmer frames clipped to our harnesses.

 The long walk down, probably only 50 meters vertical, but hard after the dive, and probably should have sun bathed for an hour to lessen chances of decompression sickness.

Pointing out a 7a that starts to high and should start where I am, complete route would be magic!

Alex forgot her Grigri, they probably don't work underwater.

 Dolphin, or what? Anybody got an idea?

 Nice, oh very nice indeed!

 Diving, walking, climbing, ah sunbathing too.

you must always look for Neptune, or other gods, they are always looking at you, or inventing things like bad shoulders, to piss you off.

To become old gracefully is a bit too hard, as my friends used to say! Some of them died painfully young! Have some of you been turned into rock faces? At the moment I am waiting for two books. One about Gogarth! One by Mick Fowler! I will keep you posted, both promise to be good. I will not keep you posted about ageing as I think I'll just bypass it.  

Tuesday, 28 August 2018

The DJ saved my life, by Stevie still living Haston.

There are Gurus, dragons may be dead, but there are gurus. Gurus come in all shapes,  and forms not necessarily from the Indian subcontinent. This week one of the Gurus of Ice climbing left this circle to climb perfect hanging frozen stuff in a another universe. Jeff Lowe is gone, but he will stay with us. 

 I used to think that when I climbed thin ice I was climbing on Mother of Pearl, and could see rain bows. Its a long time from ice climbing madness for me but I still see the pearlish rainbows sometimes when I close my eyes. Jeff and his talented family kept me at ice with their new inventions, like their ice screws, I thank you all.

 Squinting in the sun where ice lasts a very short time, how do you see the Gurus of almost a different planet? How do you recognise people who can see more than you?

My little Guru! I have had many gurus, George the Greek taught me some Yoga when I was young, tough kids in my neighbourhood  (the hood is not just an american thing just as gurus arn't Indian), poets, climbers, freedivers, steep snowboarders. I salute you all. I salute you Jeff.

Gurus can be big or small. "Live long and prosper" isnt what I would now say if I was Spock, rather "Live well and spend your time doing marvellous things, bring back the dragons,  instead of the DJs".

Tuesday, 21 August 2018

Happy climbs, starry skies, warm water, by Stevie Haston.

Dear all, I have a very bad shoulder which means I don't write so much on this blog! You might note that tapping a key isn't necessarily made impossible by a bad shoulder-correct. "Things" as a philosopher baggage handler once said "dont just get carried over by themselves Guv." Yes my shoulder is a bit of a downer, so is lack of equipment, anyway some new routes have been done-good ones.

 The Mountain Calls. A poster in the Space Grivel in Courmayer, a place of profound sanctity. Visit if you get the chance as you will see much to do with mountains and equipment, its a place of worship as much as a museum.

 Fins or flippers, you say tomato I say red thing. 
The lack of a functioning shoulder does not stop me from climbing, it causes pain and annoyance. It is amazing what you can do with out something if you want! I refuse to stop doing things. Seriously though, when fit and young why did I do so little?

 A happy look!

Swimming is difficult, diving is difficult, climbing is difficult-all three together in one day is difficult three times over-but its fun. Without fun you might as well put me into a blender!

 I need money, not baby bats.

 Young Tim, smiling when not talking politics a member of our third party in Malta the party Democratica. My new Scarpa slippers are very comfy BTW.

 Young Alex with Simon.  Alex is a professional singer with a voice like an angel, Simon is my old mate who has two left feet.

A fossil sharks tooth to replace one of my own which dropped out, now I only need to look for a shoulder!
I recently saw that K2 was skied down, I thought this was a good effort. I remember saying to a group of so called experts in the UK once that this would be done and they said "never"! If you asked me which of the two things which was most likely to be done "a free solo of free rider" or a ski decent of K2, I would have scoffed at Free rider-even I am wrong. Climbing is great, it is indeed Big. To climb on the teeth of Mega sharks and the wings of joy is where its at, but a quick run down K2 or a lap on Free rider would be sweet.

Monday, 30 July 2018

Attila Gyetvai, goodbye. By Stevie Haston.

Sad news was brought to my attention, Attila died in a rockfall accident on the Aiguile Noire.

For Attila, he loved his mountains.

I don't know what to say. To love Mountains, is to love life. Thanks to everybody who knew and loved him, climbed with him. Thanks.

Sunday, 29 July 2018

The Importance of Joy, by Stevie Haston.

This summer continues on un abated-its steaming. Fires, heat waves, adverse weather, even dear old England looks like it did in 1976 or probably worse. I digress from my ode to Joy. Oh to climb on lovely rock with a grip that wont let you go, with a scene that holds your breath. Yea to that and more. So yesterday I had a very good ballad like  dive with Alex to start the day early. An hour and a bit cruising from one wreck to another, the cool water embracing us in the deep, and then us floating mid water looking into deeper waters, meditating. Flying is possible for humans, wing suits for the brave Scuba for the less risk loving.

 Hege enjoying herself.

 Ida smiling.

The sea and the cliff meet but the cliff can continue down, it's funny how above water gravity becomes a very big worry but under the water we can glide and swoop.

 A Ton shell, these when the snail like creature dies are taken up by hermit crabs, but they dont last long and turn to sand which then turns to dust fairly soon.

Anyway a day of joy, a dive in the morning, three new routes and then another dive!

 a few things that live on a table, and are sometimes given back to the sea. Well thats not true the Zee stone has been with me for a very long time- it was a gift the man who bore it before said it had too much power for him.

 taking turns cleaning while the other hides from the sun.

Theres two more new routes in this little sector which will provide lots of joy. We watched the amber Jacks hunting in the water. But maybe the best things where a live "biggest Ton shell ever"with its zebra like foot,  and a Triton shell which is the biggest by far since I was a child. 

This turned out to be a very nice 6b with tuffas below.
So 6a, 6+ , 6b, 6a, lovely perfect routes, 30 meters of climbing. You can live but Joy is fleeting, so when it comes embrace it.

Saturday, 14 July 2018

The value of Confidence, by Stevie Haston.

Being what some people think of as an extremely confident person, I am sometimes aghast at how over confident some people can be. Confidence should always have a double dose of reality thrown in. It is OK to be confident in a running race, worst case, you pull a muscle or you shoot your mouth off predicting, and fall flat on your ass. What is the right level of confidence? When you preview your attempt, where should your limits be. As some one who has broken his leg on two different occasions soloing, I'll admit to getting it wrong when I was younger. Overconfident was perhaps my middle name, along with Danger.

 I had a very well earned beer today, I got down past 30 meters again freediving. 

 My island is surrounded by cliffs and sea, it's only natural to explore both.

 Chilli Sharman.

Climbing, and Freediving are a bit spicy, is confidence to be let loose? No of course not. I was reminded of this recently because a few of the old crew were climbing on Cloggy in North Wales. Cloggy is one of the ultimate "strap your balls on cliffs"! It's not my favorite, I left it to my betters, or more ambitious friends. The tales of Masters Wall, Indian Face et al are indeed legend. Anyway a climber called Caff, perhaps the UKs finest Trad climber had left unfinished the route called Masters Wall. He had a terrible epic on it when a kid, and nearly died! The years go by, and he straps the ostrich eggs on to tick this wall clean-he only has this route Masters Wall left. But he really finds it difficult, and fails again!

 Fins, Flippers call 'em what you like-they are tools of the trade!

Masters according to Caff could be harder than Indian Face! Masters Wall was done by Jerry (no fat) Moffat years ago. I was  above him and to the right doing a route with the deceased Jimmy Jewal. I shouted encouragement down to him when he ground to a halt way, way above and to the side of his gear! He looked like he was going to die! My encouragement was soft, assured, and hopefully correct, I did not want to give him an incorrect amount. Anyway to cut those nano seconds which lasted for eons down to a few words, he sucked it in, and stood up on those smears in those awful clunky Fire rock shoes and I new he was good.

 Climbing shoes-what would I do with out good ones?

I have made a bit of fun at Jerry's expense over the years, but not that year-he was supreme, confident, and a great climber.

My light clips, they give me confidence, just as flowers do and my breathing tasks ever morning.

So Jerry Moffat it looks like you did a very bold route all those years ago. We in Wales, knew you did. We were perturbed by the unjustified grade explosion that came after you.

Back to being 30 meters under water on a single breath. It is mostly confidence. I knew I could do it, but tension creates it's own horror, you cant equalise your ears! Anyway it  was done. I was down there on the wreck of the ship the Karwella-it was very cool in that water down there. When I came up Alex was there, she had lost sight of me. It's a funny thing this vanishing act you do, for your buddy you vanish until you reappear at 20 meters!

Anyway guys, and girls watch your over confidence.