I'm a woman

I'm a woman
Photos copyright Laurence Gouault
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Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Snowing in november by Stevie Haston

It’s snowing, its dumping, and its only November. There’s ice, frozen waterfalls to be climbed, and a question that I need to answer. Will I climb in the mountains this winter? Yes or no? I am living in Coumayer, Italy at the foot of Montblanc and every day I stare at some great routes that I have dreamt of climbing and some I have climbed but wouldn’t mind doing again. Shall I stay or shall I go?

I left the Alps because it’s too serious for a man who loves mountains, steep powder, and wild ice. Somehow I am back here earning money and trying to admire from a distance, but I can feel myself loosing my grip, the urge is like the heroine itch, it’s more than a reminder.

Worse, is I am fit, fit for mountains. Anyway as they say over here, what will come will come. To be alone in a cruel winter, traipsing along those great ridges in splendid isolation is more than my heart can bear, so yes I guess I might do some.

But what and which and how, because I know why, because I never liked alpinism I always loved it. So I was up dreaming, planning and scheming, checking maps, guidebooks and photos. Making plans, appointments with destiny. Dramatic nonsense, overblown soliloquies with my own half listening ego. Yes ,yes, but there are routes that aren’t very hard, routes that are just exciting exercise, still memorable, and since the Tour de Giants I really feel the need for accomplishing slightly more grandiose things than short climbs beside the road. My time is running out, between earning money and pleasing other people I have hardly any time for myself.

I have been waking up at 6 at the latest every morning doing some yoga, and then either training or going to work. Its working in many ways, this routine. Discipline is key, a monks life, Spartan flat with wet running shoes, damp sweaty clothing, rotting in corners. How fit am I? Very, but not as fit as I would like to be, can I get fitter? Yes, more hard work, more discipline.

So what’s with the Yoga Stevie? Laurence my climbing partner is training to be a Kundalini yoga teacher and I had in many ways exhausted my own possibilities, so stretching is replaced with Yoga, as it’s my mind that needs to become supple and my breathing that must come under my control. Laurence is happier and I am happy for her, the mountains have their winter sable wrapped around their shoulders and look majestic. Running is at the moment replaced with uphill walking it’s called Denivelé in French, I did 4000 meters of snow covered hill twice this last week and felt my body waking up, I will do more.