I'm a woman

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

Friday, 30 September 2016

New AgeTraining 60. By Steve young Haston.


The water is getting cold, and the climbing is getting better, good temperatures and wind has come. Only trouble is I am no where near being fit.


 the cave of internal pleasure….

I finally worked out a couple of things in free diving, but obviously I don't need to work anything out in climbing. Climbing although very skill based still has only fitness limits for me! So it's back to basic exercises, like weighted pull ups.

 bit of a free diving party.

There's a lot of free divers about. Malta and Gozo are probably the most popular places in the world at the moment. Gozo is a safe destination compared with the Middle East I guess.

 older, no wiser, less fit, well temporarily.

Next year I am 60, and I'ave already decided I want to do a few things , The Bacher/ Yerian in the US of A, Madagasca for some big wall granit, and free diving with Whales. To do these things I need to be fit, no where near as fit as Iave ever been, but fit none the less. 

 same as it ever was.

Today I did a little free dive that has been bugging me since I was about 14! My free dive buddy did it, and obviously I was supposed to do it. Now peer pressure means nothing to me, I'ave had mates die from peer pressure, and other peoples expectations. But…. anyway I went down to have a look, and over shot the entrance. Coming back up, I thought I spotted the entrance so stuck my body in to get it located in my brain, and before I knew it I was going through the tight bendy tube! There's no where to turn so it's a one way street, that's what happened to me when I was 14, I panicked and had a very traumatising time reversing out! This time it was so easy, effortless, and I had tonnes of gas left at the end. Preparation is everything. Except I should not have done it.


 the squeeze at the top.

Pull ups, yes pull ups, they are still so sweet a thing. In my 60 year probably on my birthday I will do 1000 pull ups and 1000 press ups, the old Jack LaLanne test of steel. Is there any point in this test, yes a bit, but for me it will mean more than if a young buck does it for sure. I just don't want to let my body go, I just don't.

for your sins my son, you will do a penance, a million pull ups…OK.

Old Jack Lalanne was right up my street, good nutrition, and exercise. He did his little test when he was 45, in a time of 1 hour 22 mins, if I remember correctly, it's been beaten once or twice.But I don't think anybody has done it at 60! I think it will take me 1hr 40 max. Any bets-any takers.

Tuesday, 20 September 2016

Choosing a sports rope, by Stevie Sporty Haston.

When you climb a great deal, you can use, and abuse your gear. Nowadays I abuse less, I use my Sports ropes more, and I abuse them less. It's a definite function of age, but along with age comes, a lot of knowledge in my case. Many people, even some people who should know better, say a ropes is just a rope. This is fundamentally not true. First think about the ropes intended function, and then pick the rope, price is not the first  consideration! Colour is not the first or second consideration!

The Energy is my chosen rope of the moment. Why?

What is the first consideration? First consideration of a rope should be that it can catch your fall with out imparting so much force that it hurts you. The rope is the cord that binds the climbing protection system together. So it must stretch, to absorb impact.

 Theres lots of info out there, but low impact force, with a good life expectancy, and fit for purpose is what I want.

The diameter of my rope is one of the main things I look for. Why? Well, thin ropes which have their place, are more difficult to use in belay devices, and wear faster. I want a balance, you probably should think about this more than me, because you defiantly want your rope to last.


 diameter and weight are not often what you think, so check.

Thin ropes, are less drag thru gear, and if they are robust because of a good sheath might last a good while.  But really you need to think about diameter, For me anything under 9.4 is a red point super effort job, and needs lots of care. 9. 5 mm is bang in the middle, over 9.5 is getting a bit heavy and a bit slow on the clips and a bit too much friction. At 9. 8 the rope should be able to take a lot of abuse, and at 10 mm will last for a very long time. How we climbed on 11 mm is a wonder and testament to how strong we were in our miss spent youth!


 get a good middle mark if you can!

Please take care of your rope! The more care of your rope the more care it will take of you! Unwind it care fully, not in a rush, get rid of every bend in it from when you first buy it. Seriously the more care you first put in the better. Try to belay especially when lowering without putting a slow twist in the rope, its very easy to do this, so take care. When lowering try binders and chains make sure you are no unwittingly putting twists in the rope.


So Edelweiss 9.5 mm it is at the moment.


Use a climbing tarp, or rope bag all the time. Minimise drag, or eliminate drag when ever possible. Change ends after falls, or sessions otherwise wear will be concentrated in on e place! And how long is you rope, do you know? You knew when you bought it right, do you still know a year later when on a quick trip and suddenly you are lowering off a route and it seems veeeery long, is it gonna be too long, and the end of the rope is going to zip through the belay device?
I love 80 meter ropes, why, its not because they are heavy (because they are)  its because I know they are long, as in too long for most people to screw up. When choosing a rope, think diameter,  think length, think low impact force, think good middle mark, think good treatment on all parts of the rope,  think price, and colour last. Look after your rope, and don't lend it to anyone, keep your eye on it, treat it right.

Saturday, 17 September 2016

Gozo's climbing potential is huge. By Stevie Haston.



I'ave climbed in thousands of places around the world and I can say that one day Gozo will be known just as much for its climbing, as its Scuba Diving. The potential in climbing tourism for the Island is very high, and in the off season, when everything else slumps, climbing comes into its own due to the cooler temperatures.

Yesterday, 2 kilometres of swimming to look at cliffs and caves, a brilliant day.

It's very disturbing to see the sea full of plastic, and to mention it, is a sin in some peoples eyes. Equally the car pollution in summer -or indeed most of the year. Mentioning Birds on the Maltese Islands is a political night mare and I have already been threatened.



 One of the caves on the coast, 40 meter + visibility yesterday, crazy clear.

Along the coast we have potential for thousands of climbing routes, and an Eco Sport excellent for foreigners and locals alike. A sport that promotes health, and enjoyment of the out doors, and will bring us valuable Euros.

 Climbing up after my companion, heavily laden, on a new route that once cleaned up would be fabulous.

 Edelweiss Canyon rope, the new diving rope colour!


The gift fairies brought me two ropes, thanks Edelweiss.

The first rope is a Canyon rope whose colour is so good I begged one off the Edelweiss Boss straight away.
This canyon rope is  at 47 meters, a bit long for a geriatric diver like me-especialy as I am stuck at around 30 meters with equalisation problems. We will see, as it's hard to teach an old dog new tricks, but Iam willing to learn.

Edelweiss 9.5 Energy rope, best bang for your buck in a sports rope? We will see-my mission is to test it to destruction.

Had a great day out swimming, and climbing, despite seeing people spraying pesticides every where, dumping building rubble, and you can guess what else. But hey I won't talk about that today...

Friday, 16 September 2016

Death of Hope and 3 Honey Buzzards, by Stevie Sad Haston.

We were nearly shot by illegal hunters today, but they did manage to kill three honey buzzards. I will drag this out, but if you don't want to get upset don't read on, or look at the photos.

 we started the day full of hope, going down about 55 meters of cliff.

The plan was to decend a trad route of mine, think about turning it into a more accessible sport route and look at others by a pleasant swim. The sea was limpid, and the viz was the best I have had this year perhaps 40 meters!

 going down the cliff with fragile fins and exploratory gear, bit of a palava, but normally worth it.

So I am rarely happy, its a fault of mine, but this day, this sublime day, I was as happy as I get, fucking Cloud 9 to the Nth power.
After a few dives were I was seriously in trouble because I kept going down, because the viz was champagne, or as cave divers say "Gin clear". No matter what words you used, I was in danger of being intoxicated with pure 22 carrat happiness.


 After swimming under a route called Moushi, we saw some Egrets, white Egrets, nice we thought. Under the water we saw a couple of Groupers and Parrot fish, and swarms of bait fish. Then ….. a very large band of Honey Buzzards flew next to us and we were nearly shot. Two hunters were firing at the Buzzards without care for us. Buzzards are protected, but so theoretically are swimmers!

 Three Buzzards were shot illegally, the hunters kept shooting even though I was shouting, I have a very loud voice easily capable of traveling 55 meters!

 We tried to rescue one which wasn't dead.

I swum hard trying to stay safe but then went for a bird I saw flapping around. I hoped that the jerk above would stop shooting.

 the Honey Buzzard died, sadly.

We climbed the cliff with the bird, which was too complicated in the end and took too long. Anyway the bird died.
She was a little Honey.

And even more sadly the police can't do much.

We made a report to the police, they will try their best. I chased the young man, but he got away on a dirt bike. In retrospect I am glad I didn't catch him. There were maybe 10 hunters shooting birds over the sea on this section of cliff. The two near us who shot without due consideration for us were targeting Honey Buzzards. The others even if shooting legal birds were shooting for fun, and sadism, as you can't collect birds from the bottom of 50 -60 meer cliffs. The best day I have had for years was exploded by Remington multiple illegal shot guns.

Death of Hope and 3 Honey Buzzards, by Stevie Sad Haston.

We were nearly shot by illegal hunters today, but they did manage to kill three honey buzzards. I will drag this out, but if you don't want to get upset don't read on, or look at the photos.

 we started the day full of hope, going down about 55 meters of cliff.

The plan was to decend a trad route of mine, think about turning it into a more accessible sport route, and look at other things by a pleasant swim. The sea was limpid, and the viz was the best I have had this year perhaps 40 meters!

 going down the cliff with fragile fins and exploratory gear, bit of a palava, but normally worth it.

So I am rarely happy, it's a fault of mine, but this day this sublime day I was as happy as I get, fucking Cloud 9 to the Nth power.
After a few dives were I was seriously in trouble because I kept going down because the viz was champagne, or as cave divers say Gin clear. No matter what words you used, I was in danger of being intoxicated with pure 22 carrat happiness.


 After swimming under a route called Moushi, we saw some Egrets, white Egrets, nice we thought. Under the water we saw a couple of Groupers, and Parrot fish, and swarms of bait fish. Then ….. a very large band of Honey Buzzards flew next to us and we were nearly shot. Two hunters were firing at the Buzzards without care for us. Buzzards are protected, but so theoretically are swimmers!

 Three Buzzards were shot illegally, the hunters kept shooting even though I was shouting, I have a very loud voice easily capable of traveling 55 meters!

 We tried to rescue one which wasn't dead.

I swum hard trying to stay safe from shot gun blasts, but then went for a bird I saw flapping around. I hoped that the jerk above would stop shooting.

 the Honey Buzzard died, sadly.

We climbed the cliff with the bird, which was too complicated in the end, and took too long. Anyway the bird died.
She was a little Honey.

And even more sadly the police can't do much.

We made a report to the police, they will try their best. I chased the young man, but he got away on a dirt bike. In retrospect I am glad I didn't catch him. There were maybe 10 hunters shooting birds over the sea on this section of cliff. The two near us who shot without due consideration for us were targeting Honey Buzzards. The others even if shooting legal birds were shooting for fun, and sadism, as you can't collect birds from the bottom of 50 -60 meer cliffs. The best day I have had for years was exploded by Remington multiple illegal shot guns.

Tuesday, 13 September 2016

Holiday blues, by Stevie Baby Blue Haston.

here is a little boy I like, very clever, more than a bit hyper active modelling the Stealth helmet! He knew every thing, and was really helpful.




Unfortunately it's still holiday season here on Gozo! Some of the other destinations for holidays are affected by war, so what's bad for them, is good for our economy, but bad for me, I don't like people! Well, no not really, individually if they are nice, sure, but on the whole…


 feeling peckish, just say yes.

Was on the big island,Malta, diving on two wrecks or sunken ships. There were hundreds of divers, one got bent (as in the Bends) and had to be hospitalised, the second accident in a month. I helped a woman a few weeks ago, very unfit person who should not have been at depth! 

 a sea star, sweet, took it back, obviously.

Had a very enjoyable time, met some Czech Republic guys and girls, very nice people-free divers. Have to say Free Divers are generally great, like climbers were and to most extents and purposes still are, along with Cavers and Mountain runners. And a few others…
One of the guys was very competent at 30+ meters with very useful time down there touristing around-wish I was that good. Always nice to be inspired-thanks guys!

the Venus Belt, a really wonderful thing!

The good "free divers" had some really cool Carbon Fins, made me a bit envious, but I can't max out my own lungs and fins yet, still a novice.
I was very excited watching these people, and when we left them we swum through numerous rock arches and tunnels, with a very nice nonchalance thanks to them. Took the ferry back home to Gozo, and I hadn't really had enough, so went for another session, this time with a Mono fin, and broke my distance record! Nice day, first of 10, a holiday before work!

Wednesday, 7 September 2016

Sky is changing, by Stevie seasonal Haston.



For some reason the sky has gone more mellow, its welcome. The temperature of the sea was down a few degrees and yesterday I saw a very big Eagle Ray the biggest one Iave ever seen. The temps are good for climbing but who knows with weather, its called weather because it does what it likes wether we like it or not!

The dag.

 Excitement is mounting for climbing this autumn, gonna put up some huge stamina monsters, and get fit for my 60th year on this planet! tting excited for climbing this autumn, gonna put up some huge stamina monsters and get fit for my 60th year on this planet! 

 this is the view from my fast food establishment, watching bats is the only entertainment.

My climbing this year has gone from a high point of 8b+ to 8a, you might think its ok, and in my mellow moments I do too. However in my sharp, lucid, ego piercing examinations I think it's lazy!

On the North Coast there is always shade and cooler temps.

What does one actually do at 60 years old? I thought about a years mountain running, and doing the Tor de Giants again. After all I would move up a veterans age category, and could conceivably place! But I think I want to climb, and more importantly I would really prefer to climb well. So I'll start preparing now. Some weight training was done this week, it was horrible, certainly I wouldn't be seen that weak in a gym. Next year the only thing I have sketched in as a route is the Bacher Yanirian in the USA. Wow I have just said it, oh dear. Oh dearie me.

Saturday, 3 September 2016

Eyes to sea and cliff glasses, by Stevie Haston.


 I have a bad neck from climbing, belaying, and fighting. I do lots of stuff for it, but nothing really helps. Belay glasses, and not getting kicked in the head seem to help.

 they are looking at something!But will they see?

Cuttle fish see better than we do! They can also change colour, politicians don't even blush when they skin their own people alive!

You need eyes to see, and a brain to work it out,
 some times glasses work and of course if you are a politician you might need a heart.  I have a bad neck, one side is really bad, most of the routes I did in a huge cave went right to left! Anyway you might have seen climbing glasses or heard of them, but I will recommend them for some people, people like me need them for sure.  Strangely climbing wall folk need them more than most. If you get a chance check them out, these ones are reasonably priced and made from good quality glass. Plus I like the guys behind the company. 

Y&Y Vertical glasses- very good things indeed.

I have been training this week, its hard, same as it ever was, not very good. But I did get a 30 meter dive, probably my best for years! Good luck to anybody else who is training this week.

Bernd Arnold minor actor in acclaimed vid, by Stevie Saxon Haston.


With great anticipation that this is going to win at Sundance, we have a world premier here, at your finger tips. Bernd Arnolds English is not very good, and neither is mine, so its kinnda silent, except for music borrowed from Gene Wilders "Bride of Saxon Swiss Sexy Suffragettes".

video


One of the climbs, the crack we are abseiling down was tough. Another where a steaming Stevie Haston is pointing up, had 12 "threaded clocks" or little threaded holes! Bernd is one of the great personages of rock climbing, he is the Master.

Paradise can wait, by Stevie patient Haston.



Today was supposed to be a climbing day, but I thought I'd show Alex sector Heaven can wait.
It's a bit of a swim at present, but in future it will be a reasonable abseil down the escape route, canoe, or water taxi.

sector Heaven can wait.

We did a few little underwater tunnels on the way, and played with some one's underwater camera, my video skills are coming on, but my East End Landen accent is so broad, it embarrases me!

 the full scale of this cliff is hard to get in, its really really big.

There's room for only a few routes in the big overhanging sector, but what there is, should be of staggering quality. A quick look on an abseil, left me reeling with pleasure, and fear of exploding forearms.

 some of the rock quality on the easy routes will be high!

 On the access ledge there were a few fishermen's holds, maybe 10, possibly very old, don't know how they would have accessed this area other than to down solo 6a!

The potential here is very high, but it will be a winter cliff, and it only has a few feet in some places from the waves, so it will be a special place.

the start of an 8 something!

There's a bit of a party scene here in the summer, with people having barbecues, and leaving rubbish! We cleaned it up a bit, but it does get to be a pain. What is going on in peoples heads nowadays? My dear friend Laurence, says it's the same in France at the moment, no Burkinis, but plenty of litter, and whale blubber on display. Anyway need lots of bolts, and glue, and energy. Edelweiss are sending me a couple of ropes, but anybody with stainless steel carabiners, and HD stainless expansion please think of giving me an early Xmass present.  

Friday, 2 September 2016

Ralphy and the Arch, by Stevie Haston.



Ralphy had done a bit of climbing already and thought it was just Ok! So we decided to up the stakes, up the level. His Dad, and I thought it was a reasonable decision based on his physical ability and strength. I had been swimming with them and diving so was confident that it would be within his mental capabilities but …Anyway it had to be the Arch. We did three little short things to warm up, and sort them out-dad came along.

trepidation, looking at the sea chopping away at the bottom of the cliff.


Ralphy  thought the little warm ups were good, but its kindda what he was used to in climbing, so it was no big deal. But the Arch was outside of his sphere of reference, and he eat it up, morsel by morsel. Two routes on the Arch, an easy one, exposed and breezy, and one that stretched him, literally, he is a bit short! Paul the Dad, although a good runner who has done the Marathon des Sables, begged off the last two routes, height isn't his thing, although it was also clear he wanted these photos as a reminder. When I asked the young rock climber what he thought he said he was "robbed for words", a great well behaved boy, he will do well. I was happy also, to share the joy of my sport and passion, and see it so well received. It is  one of the deeper satisfactions I experience, this sharing thing. There must be a few now over the years who have learnt something from me. At the Arco meeting and Comp, we did many sessions for young kiddies. Climbing is great, long live climbing, and all who love climbing. 

Thursday, 1 September 2016

Rock as Art, by Stevie the poor artist Haston.


There is a lot of pretention in the world, and I might be adding to it by the following few words, and photos.  But Rock with a capital Rrrrr is Art, it's great Art, well sometimes, for a few nano seconds anyway. At the risk of appearing in Pseuds Corner in a satirical magazine, here is some stuff.

 The route Bernd, a masterpiece of rock architecture and a fairly hard bit of climbing 8b+.

Ordinary cliffs, interest me in an ordinary way, but extraordinary ones have both added to my character, and chiseled some of my flaws away. Too pompous? Perhaps, but true none the less. I should add that climbing has driven me mad at times. Too dramatic, not really, more of my friends are dead than alive, their time lines aren't imaginary shit on a computer. 

 Antonia walking thru the Underworld, the river Styx is peaceful and the ferryman has been paid.

 The route Bernd again, headless horseman, or headless chicken.


What immortal eye
could frame thy fearful symmetry

I live in caves, cathedrals of steepness and severity, a monk(key) trying to usurp the powers of gravity, and twist them by force of will, and alchemy. Pretentious? Possibly. But sadly true. And to add the blatantly obvious, a deluded sad man doomed to failure.


Kyle. 

 Humour has its place, the bond between climbers is legend, my friend Kyle, "how big Kyle are our  egos"? Behind are colonnettes, tuffas, made of silk….. there is a 6c+ at Seynes that looks exactly like this photo, laughing is good medicine, so is rock.

 the eye of Odin Norway? No it is the eye of Ulysses Gozo.

The magic of rock and cliffs haven't really created poets like William Blake and we are so poor in intellect nowadays that our artists and writers are often treated as ponces. I don't agree with the mad adulation of the literary convention, or group masturbation circle, but hey a good book can be a good read. But if a painting is worth a thousand words (it is not, not good ones anyway) is a photo of a good bit of rock worth caressing or at least a quick fondle?

an ordinary tale of 6b, Arco, Italy.

Arco Italy where rock is interspersed with Cedar trees, Olive and fig, where conversation is lubricated by Aperol Spritzer, where a pizza is a revolving flying saucer of happiness rock is sumptuous.
Noblesse Oblige means climb attractive rocks with a dizzying passion, it means the clock is running out, the rock will out live you, your bones will be ground to dust, a mountain is there a bit longer than your ego.