I'm a woman

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

Tuesday, 13 October 2020

I conspire to climb spires, by Stevie Haston.

By popular demand a little bit of mixed climbing, or dry tooling, or just simple mountain climbing. Call it what you want, but yes it was a conspiracy, we conspired to climb, have fun, drink beers, and be happy-good plan Mr Secret Squirrel.


All photos Oliviero Gobbi. 


This is a class photo showing point Framboise in nice Scottish conditions which are often there after a quick storm, the storm came just as we ordered and was obedient enough to give us a good time. Well done Mr Storm.


Slightly out of order, this photo is going back to the bin, calling the Aosta Skyway a bin , is a bit of a sin, as its sumptuous. 

You can never ever have enough photos of the Noire, simply impossible.
The object of the exercise was to do a bit of filming on Ezio's new routes and for me to test the Grivel Dark Machine -hands down the greatest mixed /ice climbing tool thats ever been seen.
The Geant in the back ground floating around like the hallucination it is, a wonderfully easy climb but staggeringly magic.
Typical mixed ground, these routes vary from easy to very hard, too available from the Maestro Ezio.


 Now then this sculpture, or bass relief was once in plain air, but the Skyway Cable Car has incorporated it into its top restaurants, a brilliant move. The inscription reads something like if we all helped each other by holding hands, and pulling together life would be much easier. As you know I dont believe in a normal God, but believe in multiple gods, or Godettes. However I believe in this wonderful sentiment, and remember putting this photo in an article 20 or so years ago in that excellent magazine On the Edge! 


So that was a few words about a great day, the details are not super important, the sentiment was, the joy de vivre was, the emotion, ambiance and all the rest. Long live climbing, long life or short life to all who climb, nobody can burn as bright as the climber smiling on a sunny ridge heading towards the summit of their dreams.

Saturday, 10 October 2020

Climbing in Italy is Magic, by Stevie happy Haston

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So was in that Magic place, its my happy place, yes it was Italy , nearly every where in Italy is 'my happy place".  Italy even has cities I have been happy in for a few days! Indeed Italy is great. However the particular happy place was Aosta area! It was a surprise to me to be so emotional on this last visit, a combination of memories and first ascents, pleasurable days running and people who are very alive, real mountain people.

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This is the Noire, I took this through the glass of where we were conducting an interview in a moments respite from questions, memories and just real complicated feelings about my climbing life. There will never be a Haston book, its just too complicated, so my boss wanted to get a little bit down on the record concerning my ice climbing and mixed climbing. 
     

This is a new make of helmet from Grivel, I find it very practical, it's called the Duetto, and weighs 215 grams or 7.6 ounces. Part of my visit to Italy was to catch up on Grivel product as there were some great new things happening. If you know me, you will understand my life is led out doors, but some of it is just work, all be it to do with climbing and the outdoors.




Ezio and me were the subject of interviews and many questions! Ezio and I go back years and did a few great new routes together we were catching up as well as answering questions as our routes together were 24 years before!


This is Luqa , you won't have heard of him, unless you have an interest in steep skiing or skiing in the mountains! Luqa was doing the film stuff and asking a few questions himself as he is apart from being one of the great mountain skiers a local mountain guide! Hidden in the background is Mauro a guy I have worked with on climbing product for 27 years!


The place of the interview was chosen to put me at my ease and create the right mood, I was treated with kid cloves and I must say it all worked. Having refused the interview a couple of times, some pressure and cajoling was put on me and against my better judgement I went. But as I said although not fond of saying, 'I can be wrong", I was wrong, the whole thing was a great idea!


Ezio Malier on his phone, the guy is an olympic grade talker. He was reminding me about a route I vaguely remembered, I got all the details wrong, I was sure one of us was injured-it was me apparently! The route was 7 pitches and had a beautiful waterfall pitch of 6+ which took me 1 and a half hours, we finished in the dark, Ezio called it Classic Haston as a compliment to me! It hasn't formed since.


If this bit of writing is too much 'me' forgive me, in some ways these few days were a celebration of my life and my friends and work mates were being just wonderful to a grumpy old climber. This is a cover in Italy's best climbing mag, it shows me obviously in my element on one of the local cliffs. Love of rock, love of ice, mountains forever! 


Above Ezio and I are a Ibex and Chamois and old wooden skis and an old ice axe. I was saying to Ezio that I always watched where the chamois walked as they had better senses than ordinary humans. He agreed and was nice enough to say so did I. One of the questions I was asked was about risk and death and chance, a very complicated series of questions all together. My answer was possibly stupid as for me to die living "the life", is not a loss, we will see what I said. Many, many times I nearly died, avalanche, rocks etc, I always played my 'joker card" and was lucky enough to have a full pack of jokers, no ace, no king but all jokers! Anyway Ezio and I went climbing one of his new mixed routes, it was actually brilliant, we were filmed a bit etc but that wasn't the best bit for me. The best bit for me was meeting all the guys, the Aosta gang, Ice climbers, skiers, snowboarders, climbing guides, they were nearly all there on the Cable Car. There was fresh
snow on high and the gang were out, wow.



 


xxx

Sunday, 27 September 2020

UK Police being accused of using Agent provocateurs, by Stevie Haston


 It's not unknown for the police to stage dramatic false crimes, it may even be common.  I wonder what you think? Obviously many people are just too thick nowadays to know what an Agent Provocateur is, thanks to an education system that is actually trying to stop you thinking for your selves. So yesterday night I was looking at the usual mainstream media reporting on the Anti Corvid Madness that is going on, what did I see? Well lots of miss reporting,  lots of biased reporting, lots of really shit reporting, all adding up to to a sac grovelling journalists selling there own kind and fellow human beings down the river. I will just give you the best one. It's of some police men and women , because today of course we have equal opportunities Pantomine. The vidio from which this screen shot is taken is available on the Guardian paper. What the video wants you to believe is that a hard man copper has a perfect bandage put on his head in the middle of a melee, a perfect Turbanised work of First aid in the middle of a rugby scrum! Magic bit of film! If you are a first aider you will know how hard it is to bandage a head, and you would only do this for a wound. It's all Punch and Judy, it's theatre. If you look around the papers and the Net you can find lots of examples of this, but this fraud is a peach, right there in the heart of London, a stones throw from the Mother of all democratic Parliaments. Please don't accuse me of being right wing, or a Trump supporter, or wanting to infect my granny with a killer virus, but really a perfect bandage, no sign of blood? One could be forgiven for thinking it was under his hat and he presented it like a magician with a rabbit. The UK is a joke, a bad joke. Protest people, protest before your right to protest is taken away-sorry it already has been!

Friday, 25 September 2020

Covid Gladiator and the Pope, by Stevie Serious Haston







 I'am still alive, conditions on earth are worsening, but thank you guys for supporting me in my titanic struggle against the Dipthong thong Virus. Love you long time! Was walking today, diving today, and a tiny bit of climbing, viruses every where.


You do get points for knowing each item, and what they are for, clue some of these if inserted up your Prime Minister, or President of choice, will produce a giggle, tickle, or severe pain.



See no evil, am really happy to have burst through the 40 meter barrier, bust is not that appropriate a word since I have been diving underwater all my life. Finally made a bit of progress recently, Jacek my mate from Poland, Jesper from Denmark (100 meter diver) Alex from Germany, Fabritz from Malta were all in there, pushing me ever downwards.


Some where in the Sinai Egypt, forgotten where, it doesn't matter, I just love Eygptian people especially the people of that brilliant city Dahab.



Yesterday I was here with Sabine, and Mat, who had a great full days climbing, it was fantastic to meet Sabine as we had some friends together from the old Gang in France!

Lesser spotted Covid @


This little bugger (badly out of focus I know) was walking on a saints statue. Hard to control bugs isn't it?
Sabine climbing on her toes, I think the humidity is in the camera, or on the lens, humidity here is crazy at the moment, probably due to all that breathing in Ma.s.k.s.


Two little doggies in a big pocket, mine is the black one, the other comes from Kalyminos,  believe it or not!
Face Book wants to tell you that Stevie Haston has changed his Profile photo, and his details. The man formerly known as Stevie is now Covid Gladiator, and is fully sponsored by the W.H>O>R>E and the CDC and is a government advisor on masks.

For Sabine and Mat, they wanted to know what a "fried egg jelly fish' looked like. Here's one, all jelly fish are really beautiful, but this one might be my favourite, and can be 1 meter in diameter! Thanks Sabine and Mat for climbing with me.


 

Tuesday, 22 September 2020

Climbing without fear, living without fear.

At the begining of the year I was in Egypt having a great time, what the F..k happened! 

One Minuit I was doing my daily routine of Prana breathing , then physical yoga and the free diving and then maybe the odd set of pull ups, and the next Minuit it was the Pandemic. I remember thinking "oh here we go again, they will try the old Asian flu card". 

 

One of my old students, hello Mandy, hope you are well!


 I haven't blogged for a while, like most people Iam confused and battered but unlike most I am in fact desperate, no work this year means no money. I dont have a safety net underneath me like all these very nice people advocating a New Normal. I want my old normal back please, the one where I earned a bit of money, was a responsible citizen, and where low risks of death due to the flu was , well normal> 
An Aloe, tilted, it's time over, ready to die, When I die I hope its actually before my time. You might not understand what I just said so I'll spell it out for you. We are living so long that the last 10 years of most peoples lives is just a dreary purgatory of well misery. I watched my dad die, I have just watched a few die recently and you know what it wasn't nice. I dont want that, I want not to be bed ridden, I dont want to have my arse wiped like I did for my mum, I want to die a bit before I am a decaying cabbage!  



This photo is one of mine I found on the web, dont ask me how its there or why its got a frame, hey the world is changing and things are strange. I have to remember 65 codes for computers, bank accounts, phones, I have to use another 54 chargers for shit I didn't really ever want in the first place, and in having and using all this shit, I am making some people who I despise mega rich.


 This photo is from Norway I think. 2 meters of snow fell, no police, no sisters telling you not to slash the hell out of those steep slopes. It was a time before thought crime, it was a time before being accused of killing people by living. It was a great time.                                                                                   My shoulder is better, thanks to many people and no doctors, I,ll just give a shout out to Mick who sent me an exercise protocol and is enjoying a fruitful time climbing in North Wales. I was advised to have an operation by 3 doctors, but I didn't want to get cut up and suffer drugs again. So after a lot of messing around with lots of stuff, and listening to many friends but not doctors, the shoulder is finally co operating and letting me climb and swim.


This is a photo of me doing a bit of yoga, I have been doing yoga since an early age, some times its just a bit of stretching some times its actually lots more, its rebooting me, its anchoring me into this space and time, into this body and  into this kind inner mind that is always there. People who know me understand life is a little hard for me, modern life that is, mountains cliffs and the sea is where I need to be, I don't need no Facist groove thing going on. So because of my little journey into freediving my yoga practise has actually become an everyday practise, the morning Prana can be anything from 15 mins to 2 hours. What has this yoga stuff done for me I can hear you question. Well it allowed me to climb while weak, it allowed me to climb kinda without one shoulder, and it allowed me to make a little progress with my topsy turvy mind. Oh and it gave me a Breath hold of 5 mins and a deep dive of 42 meters.



This photo is one of mine from 2 years ago down there near Sudan. It was a pleasure to play with these cool cats. 

This blog will have to be cut short as my 'mother in law' wants to do some what we call 'disco keep fit', she is a demented old lady who we have to reboot everyday as she watches too much TV. We dont know how to wean her off the TV, the poor thing has to wear a mask and gets breathless when she does so. When the lock down was on we stretched the rules to get her out, but even with that she has put on many kilograms. Granny might have died in a home.


I'll say cheers to you all, I have been drinking a bit too much like many, so its time to stop. I have to tell you for 3 months in Egypt I didn't drink, this was easy to do and I felt wonderful. You probably know that drink is very bad for you, but some of my friends are dead because of drink. Some of my friends are very dead because of climbing, some died skiing or snowboarding, two free divers I knew just died, death is with us my friends but so is life. Celebrate life, the profits of doom, and the wages of fear go to the rich, life must be lived, you cannot mortgage life. Please guys and girls let people live their lives. 
 
 

Tuesday, 12 May 2020

Methuselah climbs still, by Stevie Haston.

Its my hundred and 11 birthday cries Frodo, it's my  969 says Crystal Meth Methuselah, its mine also says Stevie-shall we go climbing, of course says Piglet, Pooh,  Eeyore, and Tigger.   New routes are nearly alway the gift I give myself on my birthday, good routes, some times with a bit of bite. 


This is a sketch of Edward Lear a favourite character from my childhood. its prophetically of a favourite cliff of mine and he has some how painted me in belaying on top of one of my own routes! This is a bit of a shock because he died a long time before my birth. But hey, things today are not what they seem, we must trust experts, and funnily drawn graphs predicting 'Second waves' among other things.



So I remember this little 'second wave' from when I was about 9 years old, I was reading the nonsense poems of Edward Lear and hoping to see fabulous creatures with two heads, and people floating to sea in a pea green boat, and magic dragons, and elves and much more. But this second wave was there instead. It disappeared from my knowledge and reappeared a few years ago but I couldn't be bothered. Sometimes the big thing that's stops great routes is lethargy, Christmass pudding, or a Pandemic of hunters killing little birds. But there was a lull in the space time continuum  this year, and a route was born, or at least gestated. 

Just one glass for me, moderation is my middle name.



Oma is grandmother in German, here she is, her eyesight is all but gone and what she sees is often guesswork or wishful thinking. Does she know there is 300 feet of air beneath her?Actually she is a bit like her daughter, things like big cliffs don't phase her and she was begging to see us climbing. She begged and begged but we couldn't think how we could even get her to a cliff with out a cattle hoist and a helicopter, until I remembered the Second Wave! There was a place the Bat Car could approach very close and we could waddle granny down towards the edge for her appointment with climbing.

We tried to get Granny down to see this climb  but failed, we tried and tried, we finally had to invent a new cliff and a new climb. Such are the things you do on your birthday said Piglet, 'nobody said climbing was easy' said Poo.

Sunday, 10 May 2020

Temporary like Achilleas, by Stevie immortal Haston.

Tempting fate to say you're immortal? Of course it is. You are a temporary thing my friend, more bacteria than your ego will even allow you to know. We are deluded little creations of accident, waiting for our assured demise. But some one once said, that you can sometimes be a master of your life if you pick the time of your death! I prefer to think that I am a little bit in control occasionally, and not like a bit of flotsam being tossed around by the waves. Recently I have even felt lucky and blessed. That surprised me because I am normally a really miserable bastard.


I love routes where you open you're legs and feel the breeze... Chimneys are a very underrated lost art.



 This is what I looked like as a young man, I used to climb 6c maximum, but now that Scarpa makes better boots, my grade is still respectable.


A bit of tourism in Germany, trying, or not trying really, more like fondling the holds, you get a few points for knowing the route, and there will be a few of you that will get it, surprising how much strange bits of info we have in our brains.



You get a few more points for recognising the man in this photo, a very important man in climbing in my view.

A Dick standing between two gigantic dicks. You get another few points for knowing this route, it's one of the best routes in the world!

 I have been called a dick recently by a few people for being happy to be Temporary like Achilleas. Here I am demonstrating my Weltanschauung, dicks are very underrated as Mae West said, they have an important function.


A very strong Francois, Italian not French, I have known a lot of strong Fs over the years!
Anyway, there's lots of routes for me to do
Theres fun to be had
theres still sea to swim in
theres laughs to be had
theres the blue to stare into above as in the sky and the deep as under you in water
theres my body such as it is -to treat your body like a temple and not a toilet, should be one of humans main thoughts. Eat good healthy food, breath fresh air, drink nice pure water, win the good fight. Be amazed at the beauty of flowers, rocks, mountains, do things with grace even though you are a clumsy clod of clay, dance on the head of a needle.