I'm a woman

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

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.

Thursday, 12 July 2018

Climbing when you should be Diving, Diving when you should be running. By Stevie Haston

Life is far from perfect! Perfect does exist, but for only short bits of time. Perfect is a brief smile, its a joke, a long smile becomes a gurn, a long joke is a Trump or a Mrs May!

 The Long Goodbye is the longest traverse on the Maltese Islands and involves two swims. Its mega and lasts a bit longer than a loooonnnngg smile!

 Here you go-have a fig says the suspicious man in the Bush.

 An Eco belay-two holes!
 A bit of filming for German TV, no animals were hurt in this film, but one drone was hung drawn quartered and then drowned!

 Never trust one belay the Instruction book says-I didn't write that book and its wrong!

 Alex climbing up from a very nice dive under the cliff of Fishermans and Pirates. A big cave with very nice Fan Coral and shrimps. We also dove through giant boulders the size houses, and lots of illigal fishing gear. Underwater it did indeed look like the rigging on Pirate ships!

The Dag contemplating  on a few world leaders, and farting some disgusting gas.

If there were time enough....I would write a poem describing the worlds beauty. If there were time I would plant a beautiful hanging garden, or three. If there were time I would operate on  a certain Orange Frogs brain and find the malignancy.

Enjoy your span on this fast fading green and blue with a little white ice, afore she dies. Go climbing! Look around befor they turn everything into a supermarket carpark! 

Thursday, 28 June 2018

Fishermans and Pirates by Stevie Haston.

It's getting hot on the small rock I live on in the middle sea!
You must in the shade climb says Yoda. So we went to Fisherman and Pirates sector. We even met one of the fabled climbing fishermen!

 Christina climbing towards me. 

At the moment the wind is a bit odd so its choppy and you must watch the swell which isn't the same thing-thank god we don't have tides to deal with.

 Mandy following a really nice easy route! Pure joy to climb on this sector.

 Christina, giving me the evil eye as I take a photo of her as she embarks on a tricky but beautifuly sculptured finish.

 A bit of hanging belay practise for the girls to show them how awkward things get.

Mandy following a superb 6a+,it needs bolting with Titanium bolts if anybody wants to donate to my bolting fund, Donation PayPal button at top of page!
The last week after the Climbing Trade show has been fun. I miss the sophistication of those Northern Euros and all the great design, but I love the simpleness  of going climbing and freediving.
I had the honour of meeting great climber as you can imagine at the show, but on returning to my island I bumped into two great free divers! Mr Nox from southern France has lots of inspiring vids on Youtube to look at, and Jesper Mr Innerdive who has a freediving school here on Gozo and the odd vid down there at 50+ meters depth! It was an honour to meet you guys.  

Sunday, 24 June 2018

Good Stuff. By Stevie be good Haston.

The Summer Trade show was great, saw lots of good equipment from the Out Door industry. Saw lots of friends, who are still active happy and alive!

So what pleases me-lots but I'll keep this simple, cos simple is often best.  Clever stuff that makes climbing or any other sport more fun.

Some math One light quick draw=55grs
                    20   light quick draws=1.100kg

Are light carabiners weaker?  Not the Grivel one above, its 22kn across the major axis and gate open 8!

Is it hard to clip, not for me. Yes I am an expert but its easy to improve your game. Clipping biners is not an a mysterious art form its a simple learnable process like easy climbing. Learn and improve! How much weight do you save? You save a bit is the real answer, but that bit is the bit you carry! The weight you save is the bit that pulls your ass down on an overhang! 

If you chose the right gear everything from packing your bag for that flight to the walk up to the climb of your dreams becomes easier. Easy!  

Friday, 15 June 2018

Climbing versus Trade show, by Stevie win win Haston.

So, I am on the road to the Summer Climbing Trade show, but thought I'd give you a few photos of why there is an Out door show!

 Ali following, he can't swim that well,so he is a bit scared!

 A 70 meter groove that got away, it's very neat and tidy, will go back!

 This is me in a wet suit, water was 19, it's now 23°C, so might go back in a banana sling, and get a bit higher!

 Diego the dog, he is a few kilometres away from his food bowl, but he does like swimming and climbing. 

 In the Italian cafe yesterday, I noticed this, its a farming thing, the big girl cows are scary, they joust a bit, and its a spectacle, not sure about it, I went once, and it was ok, lots of drinking etc.

Working like a dog!

So I will be at the Trade show, visit me at the Grivel booth. Happy show to everybody.

Friday, 8 June 2018

Sizing climbing shoes. By Stevie size matters Haston.

So as if sizing climbing shoes isn't hard enough, it is getting hot and the problem gets bigger!

 Secret Stuff is effective for lots of chalk use, use all the secrets of climbing and use them well. The end result is did you clip the chains and have a good time!

 Right nitty gritty time. Shoes have got better recently, they have got very very good! Thats good news. There is no bad news. There is a problem though, climbing shoes pinch, hurt, or are trouble some to some degree. Again the good news is that this problem is almost gone if you climb lower grades. If you start edging or toeing harder grades you enter the twilight zone of differing degrees of discomfort. The modern thought is that shoes are so good that it has almost disappeared-well. Discomfort is dependent on a number of things, mainly you fitting in to that tight shoe brilliant climb harder shoe.

 Edge rubber, brill in that it gives good support and better edging and will last longer but it won't stretch as much-OK.

 A soft shoe is the opposite of what beginners choose but could be the answer. Why lots of reasons but mainly it gives and is kinder to your feet.

 Width matters! Above are two shoes same size in this case a 41 but different widths, which one do you want to be waiting on a hot day?

 Instinct VS from Scarpa is a brill boot which fits my foot really well, and is the perfect fit for me, but I normally choose a shoe with softer rubber, and synch it up tight because I have a foot with special odd places, so I have trouble outside edging.  I can also tolerate some pain, so I go with pain. In summer (here it is very hot, 30°C) I like a shoe with a bit more room, and I normally don't climb very hard in the summer anyway.

Furia S is very much a killing shoe, and along with the Chimera it is one of my favourites. It's a slipper and the Chimera is a lace up, in sumer I'll choose a velcro over a lace up.
Older fitting practises have changed, you don't need to hurt badly, and people who are still growing should probably go for softer shoes. My advice has always been to get the absolute best fitting shoe. If you have to get it tight because your standard is high, and the route demands it, take them off after you hit the chain, or ledge. Multi pitch, or all day shoes are a different kettle of fish, comfort over performance. Take care folks and enjoy your climbing. Don't let adverts fool you, don't let shops, or mags push you, don't be kippered by shop staff. The good news is that there are brill shoes out there, and they don't need to hurt. Well maybe a little, and your wallet might take a dent because you do need shoes, plural!  

Thursday, 7 June 2018

Rocks, Food, and taking risks causes death. By Stevie Haston.

Apple Crumble rock! This kind of rock is very hard to climb. I forgot that I didn't have a harness for this route due to a senior citizens moment, not very Health and Safety!
Are you unimpressed with the Nose record? I don't have any hidden agenda, its just a question! Where you less impressed with it coming down a few days later, and then a few days later again? I was fairly astounded by some people remarks that speed was dangerous particularly John Longs. John Long was largely responsible for starting the whole shebang with their drugged up one day ascent four or five centuries ago!
Ice is beautiful and nice, its more dangerous in a drink than when you climb on it!

The opinions of journalists, or ink sellers, and other assorted writers should not be taken as truth just because they are good at putting shiny nice words together. One climbing writer who I like is against abortion, should I never read his stuff again? I think I will. One writer I like tells massive fibs! Shall I read his stuff, I think I will, but I have always regarded it as fantasy, or fiction. The Nose record to me, is just the record for 880 meters of steep granite in a restricted park, in a politically dubious country. Still it's fairly impressive, the Eiger times are way, way more impressive. And if you think I am anti Yank you are wrong, the Freeblast solo was a record that seriously impressed me. Selling words is a funny thing. Climbing Mags are not, and never were good at it.

Tuesday, 29 May 2018

Fit for purpose, by Stevie not fit Haston.

I am a bit fat- I don't like it. I am a bit unfit-I don't like it! I can do my work, but it hurts, training is out-just can't get my shoulder to work. 
I hate having an excuse, hate having an injury. What can I do? Nothing much.

Pierre Allain, a great underrated French climber, seen here doing the odd pull up at 82, what I love about this photo is his smug look, his touch of pride, his happiness at being able to do a pull up.

What is being fit? What is the purpose of being fit? 

At the moment I live on a small island with some small steep cliffs surrounded by sea. I think I should be fit for my island and my work. So I should climb, and be aquatic. How fit though?

Fit for Gogarth, is not being fit for Sport climbing!

Getting out of shape, or getting injured, or being lazy is easy. Getting fit requires a bit of effort-getting seriously fit requires serious effort!

lovely rock.

The appropriate level of fitness I need now is something like this.

 5km sea swim
40 meter dive
Half marathon
20 rope lengths of climbing

lets say 20 pull ups set
100 push up set

Fit to eat! "Not nice for Mr Pig to be eaten", says Yoda.

Is my proposed level of fitness possible? Yes of course it is! Why do I want it? Because,  that's what I want.
And I also want to do the Peutery Integral on the Monte Bianco, and not look like a truck driver! 

Friday, 25 May 2018

Old lives, new dreams, by Stevie Haston.

If I said I had many lives it wouldn't be a boast, if I said I had many unforefilled dreams it wouldn't be a lament. Regrets, sure, thousands! But climbing the rock that is so hard, so marvellous, so slithery, yes climbing slate was never a regret, even when I fell, and the fall seemingly went on forever. 

Partners in crime were Mad Madge Maginly, The Captain (Cliff Philips), the Yob (Mr Howard), Chipper Jones, Ray Kay the rhyming climber, et bloody al.

 I got the feeling this was taken by Paul Whilliams, it's of me on one of his routes, he said something like "it is has the wildest heel hook in the world", and I retorted, "it would have been, for a man with two wooden legs", he didn't laugh!

Me and Mr Crook, he is politely laughing at one of our shared stories, some of them weren't funny!

 Mr Crook can share my shivers if we talk of the dalles Grisses, in a former life he was an Alpinist. There arnt many who really know what your talking about, and those that do, they have lived their lives and dreamt their own dreams.

today we live other dreams, here I am a few days ago with Chris and Ali, on a new route called Three old fossils.

Lives have to be lived, but there was a time that my candle was burning at both ends.