Friday, 30 December 2016
I have been introducing, or helping people enjoy their climbing recently, and it's rewarding. To see people progress, or simple enjoy is a great feeling, I am a fairly selfish person, but occasionally my nice side pokes out.
The Malta Climbing Club have come to my aid, and will help me improve the state of some bolts on the Tower of Power boulder, thanks guys! Gozo has been full up with climbers over the Xmass holidays, over 50 people at Mgar Ix Xini for a few days now. Climbers need to spread out a little, but the bad or cold weather has kept them sheltering from the wind. And I need to to some easier routes for people, 5s and 6s, but hey guys I need help. And some of the climbers need to visit the easier routes on the sea cliffs, learn to abseil, and learn to be competent please.
A few people have donated for better bolts recently, thanks guys, every little helps.
Remember if you see any bad bolts, or have comments, or spare dosh send it my way, my Xmass in the clinic is nearly over, and will be putting up a few routes next week.
Wednesday, 28 December 2016
The swirl of chalk caught in an up draft of warm breeze, the bubbles off my fins, these are the things that remind me of you.
these fish were eaten for their hallucinatory effects "class A fish"-they are better smoked-its the way I tell em folks.
An ordinary good route… like many.. a moment of grace in the human animal fight against his own pathetic nature.
Oh yes another day, we tick them off, why? I want to reverse the direction, turn back the sun, push or roll him across the sky, I want my tight skin back, not my climbing tights, my tight skin.
A silver lining to you, a special silver lining.
Sunday, 25 December 2016
Funny weather this year, a lot of wind, do you think they would tell you if things were going to get really bad. Probably not. They would want your money in the bank while they made money from it, instead of you enjoying it.
Weather is a bit too weathery.
Happy whatever you want to call today, hope you have peace, and don't have to dodge bombs or sleep out rough and then get fined for the privilege!
Old men climbing. Or were they young men who looked old because of mountains.
My life in the mountains seems far away, I will be going to the Winter show and rubbing shoulders with ice wielding folk and skiers and sliders of all description hopefully I'l get inspired or get some money to do something.
The flowers are out here, it's truly beautiful, but I do wish to see those spears of granite piercing the sky. The Baltoro glacier has not had the grace of my presence, one day!
Silence under the water is a rediscovered magic, when you don't have it its like the loss of a lover. The mountains are like that, a bit more cold and physical. The sea is easier to understand in a spiritual way. The sea and the mountains have always been my gods.
Hope fully I will do lots of new routes, in the next year a modest target of 100 should do it!
These two books are total magic, the first cemented the connection between poetry and mountains for me, the second shows the cost. How they escape more wide spread approval or a bigger audience is beyond me. The latter book is about K2, which of course is really the prise, its never been Everest, its always been K2, and you can clearly see the none sense of human recordings or scribble when you notice its still all about Everest. Julie Tullis and Alan Rouse died on K2, both people I liked and admired, others died too, a story and a half. They weren't commercial cannon fodderr as on Everest, they were romantic pilgrims.
Wednesday, 21 December 2016
It's the Winter Solstice Celebration, for me, but not necessarily for you the most important day of the Winter. It's good news for all those people affected by seasonal affected disorder, or the winter blues. Everyday gets longer instead of shorter. More climbing time.
More flowers will come, we have some already, we are lucky we don't ever really run out. Alas we never have snow but Chamonix and Courmayeur have reasonable skiing already, and there's some ice, especially in America. Good luck, stay safe.
I was in the sea this morning, it wasn't really cold with a 3.5 mm wet suit, but for me it's Baltic. You might know I climb the cliffs above the sea, but I can glide down 20 meters in 15 secs with or with out my arms. I do love this extension of my cliffs, the architecture is some how gilded but the colours more muted under the surface and their are a thousand blues and greens to make up for all the snow that I miss.
The bad weather is past, it never lasts long here, and in dire need a quick wet abseil will lead me to the Underworld and its crazy routes.
This coming year is hopefully gonna be a full one for me. Hope its good for everybody, alas it won't be, but I will make an extra effort to be kind with the stupid, with the repeatedly stupid Odins axe has been sharpened-family tradition and all that.
Sunday, 18 December 2016
How do you get better instantly? Buy and fit a good climbing shoe! I don't say you will master climbing, or that shoe, but even with your low, average, or high ability, you will instantly be better.
good shoes, no heels, still climb…
I have climbed with bad shoes, sloppy shoes, Winter double boots, crampons, and no shoes, but I generally climb in the best shoes I can with a very good fit. The better the fit (not the tighter) the better I climb. The shoe is the car, the tyres are the sole, You can't have good performance without the good car and tyres, but of course the driver in the end counts for a lot!
When you put on a pair of shoes if your skin is damp, you will ruck up the skin, and may not even be able to put your foot in a shoe that is the correct size! You need to be able to apply force to tiny foot holds, and whatever is in the way must be kept to a minimum. Not touching the end of a rock climbing shoe is of course a no no-you must touch the end on the shoe, and your toes need to be bent over. If you climb under 6a 5.9/5.10 you can get away with poor shoes and poor fit, but it gets more and more important as you creap up the grades. I won't talk about Trad shoes, or crack shoes, but if it is a hard route crack, or trad I tend to keep the shoe that fits like a glove regardless of other considerations like pain. Pain is how you say in english -temporary.
For years I thought my skill was off, it was in part, but it was mostly my shoes, and the rubber.
I love slippers, but lace ups might give you that bit of extra tailoring. Slippers are quick, Velcro straps are quick, but a good super quick lacing like on the Chimera works a treat.
Heres a pair of other shoes well fitted and being broken in, shoes don't need breaking in, but its real goof if everything is moulded in the correct place.
On cold days take extra care getting into your shoes, skin folds will reduce your effectiveness and cause pain.
In the old days I would take ages to get my shoe to work well, I might even giving it to some one else to wear for a few routes, today you can take a new shoe out of its wrapper and clamp really well. The brand new rubber on the bottom surface needs to become pitted to maximise friction, and sometimes the edge itself needs to be worn a bit to stand on the tiniest bumps and edges.
Forgive me if I am preaching to the choir, but people come to me to improve their climbing, and they turn up in what I term Wellington boots, or Flip Flops.
Once you got the boots, learn to dance, learn to kick your feet up, learn to hook, learn how to drag, toe hook, and move on rubber that is sliding. You have to feel rock in the end, the shoe has to communicate the shape of the hold to you, and you must understand this, and do your stuff, it is an art, but the shoes are the instrument, and you are the musician.
Saturday, 17 December 2016
You know when FB, and the internet help, and you know when it doesn't, you know when it's just a communication problem, and sometimes it's an attention one combined with a lack of intelligence, but what if it's all at once! Or gods forbid it, your own problem. Probably time to train.
The weather is atrocious, high winds, and rain, almost impossible to do anything. But obviously thats not true, it's just an excuse.
A short walk in the Hindu Kush is still a great book, but what has happened to that valley? 1956, the year before I was born, when you could just go there if you were an englishman of certain pedigree, can you go now? Of whatever pedigree?
In the book they gloss over their experience of mountaineering, quickly do a days course in climbing, and some how fumble their way up a 20,000 foot mountain, it's all rather jolly, and English, which I would normally hate, but it is a very funny book. I hesitate to recommend it, but as I have read it a few times, and most of my contemporaries will have read it, it might appear to be necessary reading, not for the Hindu Kush, because you can't really get there, but to that forgotten region, the back of an old climbers brain. Dashiell Hammetts novels in one book is brill also, might just sit in, and even if the weather gets better, and just keep hiding my head in the sand, because the real world, as usual don't make any sense. "Cockup", by Colin Spenser although written in 1974, it is about the overthrow of the Greek government, and talks about the CIA etc. Are we to wait 7 years for a book like Cock-Up to tell us what really happened in Syria? Most people I discus things with on FB weren't even born in 1967, and if they were they didn't know that Greece existed, after all there was no climbing there-right!
Friday, 16 December 2016
Shadows climbing on the wall…life is a stage but more so the political one -staring lying toe rags.
Spent an interesting day with a pleasant photographer, its not clement weather and Iam tired of climbing and swimming and a bit of training, also tired of the infernal nonsense that is the main stream media at the moment. My first contact with Journalists was when they broke into my flat in London and nicked photos when I did the Eiger Nordwand. It didn't matter that the only photos they could get were ones of me soloing on Gritstone in a pair of tight and a skimpy girls vest! The caption read Stevie Haston on Eiger or chirpy cockney or some such bollards. Naturally everybody thought no wonder he got frostbite!
Sector Titan with Mt Titan bolts Martin a year ago…nice memories.
Revisited sector Titan were I had a very pleasant time placing Titanium protection last year, great routes hardest 8a, but the 7a is also world class and the eponymous Titan aint bad.
Old traditional fishing off the Gozo cliffs.
My island isn't much in the great scheme of things but we have had 6a climbing a thousand years before the UK, and if a journalist wants me to offer proof, I want proof that they know the difference between editor, and boss, as words first.
For Solly hope you had a good time climbing and swimming with me…
I had a lovely few days trying to improve a guy called Solly, not in a moral way, more of a you got it in there anyway kinda way. It worked he fought his way up Vampire Lats a tough severely overhanging lat puller, and a bit of a nappy filler.
Swimming and diving is fun but not when your hooked up. Hunters above the sea and hunters or fishermen leaving their nets and lines below-not nice my precious, not nice at all.
Big old film camera by a guy who knows what he is doing, subject knows how to keep his hands in his pockets.
The year will be soon over and my bigger one will start, 6 months training then a full years climbing and diving. Got to make some money some how to finance it. Especialy as America now officially does not believe in Global Warming!
Wednesday, 14 December 2016
The weather for the sunniest island in Europe was a bit grey, but hey, I climbed and swam when I wanted. Ben a young writer and climber came over to do a piece for a swanky magazine, we hit it off and I took him too the Underworld cliff. Peoples reaction to the Underworld can be a bit mixed as its an imposing place but I thought Ben would like it. I was wrong he loved it.
Ben over lapped with Solly, who came over for a quick few days to check out his climbing, and for me to give him some tips, and training. First place I took Solly, was the Underworld as he had done stuff like the Cassin on the Tre Cima, he lapped it up just like Ben.
Solly and I share a lot of things so there wasn't even an adjustment phase, both the sons of immigrants! Today I was very tired, but my mission was to some how trick Solly into climbing like I knew he could! Well I did it, or he did it, don't know how to put it. A stiff burly 7b went down to my Solly, it's called Vampire Lats and is a 5 star classic. Big holds, scary steepness, and some blind and improbable climbing, partly over the sea make for one of those special moments in time.
Tomorrow Solly and I will swim, before he goes back to his day job as a London Fireman. Thanks for your service to Gotham City, and see you next time.
Saturday, 10 December 2016
I'ave been busy recently with my plans for a coup at Davos, where I will kidnap the King Gnomes of Industry, Trade, and Banking, and lock them in an unbreakable Castle made of Adamantine.
Lots of swimming by myself, and a little "light" soloing leads you into a very simplistic way of thinking that is as clear as the waters, and the sky. Things have reached a "pretty pass"
as they say, the lunatics are in charge of the asylum, and the Vandals are at the gates, or are expected to crash the dull boring silver spoon in the mouth party.
Ben has been nice company, over an introduction, he handed me a copy of the Guardian, which looked like a pop paper/rag, Boy f….ing George at the top of the Head lines, when he has done feck all to help the world, as Ben said rather vacuously at least he's wearing a nice hat. I have read Boy Georges biography (strangely enough) and it was a story, a life , but really nothing of major importance, he was a talented singer, thats all. What has happened to great institutions like the Guardian? Underneath theBoy George thingy and something about X Factor Factit Winners was news of the latest Borris Johnson gaff, and a doctored photo of Trump arm in arm with the Klu KluxClan-what need of Fake news when the politicians, and photographers do it for you? And helps them all along!
Wednesday, 7 December 2016
I love it when politicians bang on about how religious they are, its like a religious competition, at the moment with our true, and completely untrustworthy leaders, they are spoken to at an almost unprecedented rate.
There have been various cons, and conspiracies committed on people over the millennium, but the Immaculate Conception seems the best to me. It's probably a favourite of mine, with Ganesh the friendly Elephant, and Varsuki par bat, actually the latter, Iave forgotten what the attached miracle was!
In my flat I am thinking of celebrating Pussy Riot instead of the Imaculate con Ception, because of all the pro Putin stuff even I put out! When Putin starts to look good in the world of Politics you must seriously re-calibrate what you think of your own country. Remember please that our countries are going backwards as to what civil liberties mean.
Malta has just out lawed the practise of persuading gays that they shouldn't be gay by punishing means. How is it in your Country, and why did it take until now to do this?
Climbing is a great sport and sometimes broadens the mind but today, climbing can narrow ones focus till you have your head in the sand. Climbing was about freedom, today its as much a commodity, or an expensive accoutrement as Gucci.