I'm a woman

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

Thursday, 28 January 2010

No Sense like Nonsense, by Stevie Sensi Haston

Thinking about training gives me a pain in the neck, doing it takes the headache away. Writing about training for climbing has earned me money, but it some how doesn’t make much sense, after all if I really knew what I was talking about I’d have done the hardest routes. So I’am getting money for old rope, good job I got a load of old knackered rope. Training for climbing should be, so obviously simple that even a dumb climber can understand it, but they can’t. That’s why of-course most of them can’t climb. So really, you must train to be able to be understood by dumb climbers. Aha! Now we’re getting somewhere, some pie charts, three little bears, and a load of touchie feely nonsense, charge a lot of money, and everybody wins. What ever you do, don’t tell them it’s about hard work, they wont like that. And don’t tell them, they are too lazy with hardly any hope at all. They defiantly wont like that either. Don’t tell them that most of the stuff that’s written is nonsense and overly complicated, because they want to believe in some mysterious art form like Zen karate, the Way of the climber, the Guru Fontshaker. Really being a trainer is about molly coddling your client and there I fail badly. Just pull on the stone, turn your body, reach the next hold, and kinda repeat. It would help of-course if your fingers are strong dude, I mean duh!

One of my friends was watching a group of novices climbing, or not climbing as the case was, they weren’t doing very well. My friend turned to the guide who was patiently belaying these atrocious novices and told him that they were, ‘a very untalented bunch of no hopers’. The guide turned around with infinite patience, smiled and said, ’they are blind, they are all blind’. My friend then tried to crawl into one of her own orifices, a feat almost as hard as the one she had been witnessing. Anyway the guide was just saying turn a bit, outside edge a bit, reach a bit,, you know the usual. There isn’t anything else to climbing you know. What about all the ‘new training stuff’, the punters ask. What new stuff I reply? 20 years ago Wolfgang Gullich did Action Direct, it took him a long time, because although strong, he probably only trained half of the year or less. In those days we were, if it’s not presumptuous to say, inventing, or reinventing parts of the sport. Nowadays we have full time climbers who know all the tricks, and a ready made sport, and guess what, they still take time to do Action Direct. Not long granted but still. We are supposed to be 3 grades further on from the grade of AD, which means that we should have a climber capable of onsighting it. But we haven’t reached that stage have we? We don’t even seem close do we? What’s going on? Don’t ask me, I’am just the janitor. In Britain they have E12s. Do they really? Man just imagine E12, do you explode when you look at it? Does this route have Ebola coated holds? Is that Anthrax in your chalk bag? If you can redpoint E12 you should be able to onsight E9! I think before this happens people will have to train a bit more! Good climbers today climb very well, it is hard for me to see them climbing better. It’s like a runner running a few years ago, how can thy run better, they can’t. They can only run faster, and for longer, or faster and longer. Climbing is more complicated than running, but do you understand that being stronger will give you more time, more time to think, more time to do. It’s funny, sometimes I climb well for no particular reason, it’s just a special day, and I smile cos I know it’s a freebee, a gift from the gods. Generally I climb better for a more prosaic reason, because I am stronger, people call it power endurance nowadays, and next year they will call it something else. It doesn’t matter what you call it. Just get it, and use it, on some good dead hard routes before you die. You can’t get it by reading about it, and you can’t buy it, you have to earn it! After all, ’there are none so blind as they who will not see’.

Sunday, 17 January 2010

Poisoned Food for thought. By Stevie Haston.

I love good tasty food. I will eat garbage. I am an omnivore; like a pig I eat when hungry or upset or for no bloody reason at all. Eating good food makes me healthy, fit, and well, its actually almost impossible to do that today, that’s why most of us are sick in some way and need huge amounts of medicine which makes us sick in some other way so we need more medicine. I was a veggie foe 20 years not because of the quality of food but because I don’t like hurting animals and if you know about farming you know that even the kindest farmer at least restricts and then kills his animals. I started eating meat again because the diet I had restricted myself to was affecting my health, I had noticed how sick I got when on expedition or in countries where the quality of food was low or appalling. Just eating meat wasn’t just it of course, my friend and companion sees to that, she makes me eat organic food and is very careful. Recently we decided to produce as much food as we could because you cant trust anyone. You certainly cant trust some weird product that is made of the cheapest ingredients and sourced on the internet. And to be frank can you even trust the friendly old mammy at the market who farms organically but her farm is beside a huge motorway junction?

My cousin Michel is an organic cattle farmer, he has now been to court three times to stop his cattle being forcibly inoculated with weird vaccines. Three times he has been to court and he has won and still they try again. The last time 20 CRS riot police turned up with TV cameras, Michel is a gentle person who is also a hemi-pleagic, does he warrant this treatment. If you put chemicals into meat you end up eating those chemicals and remember this is organic (bio) meat in France. So who can you trust. The answer is of course no one. We were given lots of cheese at Xmass in instead of traditional presents as the whole family seems to be broke. Anyway there is awaiting list for this cheese, you certainly wont be able to buy it because it is an illegal product, it comes from non treated cows, and non treated milk. It has hay (from a non treated meadow) imbedded in the skin, and it tastes sublime. When things like this cheese finally disappear I will blow my brains out somewhere public in Paris, I doubt that I will be alone.

Enjoying breakfast

Nietzsche was wrong when he said ‘what does not kill you, only makes you stronger’, often you just get weaker or sicker or your immune functions start getting slower. Bon App├ętit.

Thursday, 14 January 2010

Masonic Mountain Cult Madness, by Stevie the Moody Monk Haston.

Join my new cult it’s free and guaranties eternal ecstasy. You will be transported by sedan chair (teli-portion I’m working on, ok!), carried by celestial, well racked virgins, or handsome, well hung hunks, according to persuasion. Nirvana, Valhalla, will be replaced by a beautiful, many tiered cake of overhanging limestone, and some derelict half built workman’s huts. You must sign all your earthly riches away to me, because I will cater for your few needs, chiefly chalk and carrots. You will become godlike, but remain humble, and forever strong, and young. You will have a mid west accent, but somehow be able to complete full sentences, your mother might become proud of you, or as your new surrogate parents, I will be proud of you, and send you warm Emails from the Cayman Islands. I promise to get you up a 5.9 rockclimb, a V10, or Everest, or a bit of Scottish snow/moss/gunge/heather, or all of these, nothing, is beyond our multi-tasking mountain persons grasp. And also, at no extra charge, you get free access to my reams of righteous poetry, and sheafs of saintly ecstatic stuff, and be allowed to see my sublime simian art work, all instantly downloadable and linked to my sponsors pages. As soon as you join you get a free Tee shirt, with a breathing exercise in "scratch and sniff" on the back, its invisible, which even I thought was a very cool touch. In the second week you get some beads (these are not free but are coloured) and are taught how to comb your hair, not with a comb, but to artistically arrange it in the prescribed monkish manner with a tooth brush. You will not recognize yourself. Organic and hydroponically grown aromatic strong herbs will see to that. Other perks include seeing your ribs and having a reason to get up later every day.
Each acolyte will be given an animal totem/symbol/name/thingy so if in the previous life you were blond and intelligent, you will now be called the golden Labrador. If you were called Jack before, your new name is Ass, if you were chubby you are now called Porker etc.
Now you can listen to some ethereal music I spliced together from an erupting geyser in Yellowstone Park, some whales being amorous, and the music of Pulps Common people in Hindi. Please remember to live simply, take care of your carbon footprint, clean your nails, and buy extremely expensive, very seldomly used gear. I will leave you with the immortal words of Monsieur Minks the first Brit Guru to solo the Walker Spur, and a guru amoung out of work Scouse plumbers, one of the first and founding members of our secret, shrouded in smoke society, ‘Pass the chutney, and the chillum, duck, I’m feeling saintly and a bit peckish’.

Sunday, 10 January 2010

Dream Canyon Handshake by Stevie Shaking Haston.

So what is a Dream canyon Handshake? Lots of people have asked, and a few, a very few know. I will share cos, the others are too scared, or too politically correct to say. Dream canyon handshake is a route on the infamously loose, but in reality, extremely cuddly crag called Craig Dorris in Wales. It’s a friable E7 or E8, if numbers, or grades are your bag. It is also a beautiful committing and honest route. Why honest? Because what you see, is what you get. You can suss it out from the bottom, and just try it from the ground like trad routes are supposed to be. Its not really that hard, its just that you will break legs minimum, should you muff it. Its not like a pseudo new trad, that you have to practise and then redpoint. Anyway this route in a way is just an aside, just a celebration of the real ‘Dream canyon Handshake’, a not so private joke, a reminder of how self-serving the climbing scene is, and will always be.

Dream Canyon is a lovely, sheltered, and sunny, quite canyon close to Boulder in Colorado. It is frequented by the odd climbing team seeking great pitches on high quality granite. The older denizens were bears, mountain lions, and other wild life. Years ago it was very common to come across this other life, not so much now, as the climbers seem to have monopolised things recently. Anyway what would happen is this, as a keen climber you would rush into the canyon ahead of your sniggering mates, and you would meet a guy who would introduce himself as Bob, or Geof, or Doug. Nothing odd you might think, except Bob would be totally naked, and very ‘keen’ as it were to make your acquaintance. If you were keen, or eager, the dream canyon handshake would then take place. A mutual easing of tensions, as it were would happen, to each others benefit. There was no menace, it was as you may have guessed just the local hang (inappropriate word) for homosexuals. I always thought it funny or sweet and was never threatened? I always said ‘hello’, and made my excuses as you might, and rushed on to my climb. But the image of this low earnest handshake has always stayed with me, and I coined the term to describe the kind of stuff that goes on in climbing, the self serving, the deals between climbers, you pat me on the back and I’ll pat you on the back kind of associations. I have nothing against homosexuals, and I have nothing against the original Dream Canyon Handshake, or indeed the route of that name which is captivating.

If you have the required level of expertise I recommend the route even though it is a deadly serious proposition and Craig Dorris too, but I doubt they will make you laugh. I did, and I do, cos climbers are really funny, hypocritical, often shallow and in short just human. Routes like Dream Canyon Handshake should help people understand the underlining dichotomy of the new trad climbing as opposed to the old, acceptance of risk or practise the risk out of it. And then when you have confused or perverted trad climbing enough dream up huge grades like E11 or Scottish X1 and do it with the complicity of the climbing community, cos hey, we all need to make a buck, we all need our strokes, right?

Monday, 4 January 2010

Beastly beatitudes and no bongo, 2010 by Stevie Haston

Happy New year, Bonne Annee.

Due to this blog,/golb being publicized on UKC forum I was offered over £1000 by two kind people , they know who they are, and thanks, but no thanks. My new year’s resolution is to pack in my job, and crank de stein, to crush, to pulverize, to seek and destroy. Don’t know how to do this as I am skint. The normal state of things is for someone like me to fade into obscurity and become just another old geezer. It’s happened to people younger than me, and it’s happened to people better than me. The climbing community is now used to paying either no money, or just a few bits of gear, why should they pay when desperate people will do it for free and their promotion for nothing. The best climbers in Britain have often given up climbing and entered more normal employment because they weren’t able to balance things out. This is a shame as some of them have been at the very top of the game. When I have seen these lads give up I have often felt terrible for them, where would our sport be without them, how sad that they didn’t realize their dreams and push climbing a little bit further. Wake up Britain, they didn’t climb E2, they were good on a world scale, and they gave up because of lack of support.

Anyway a new year, wow, 365 days, of stuff. Well it won’t be sun if you live in Britain, and there won’t be much climbing, and if you are a womble, or a builder, it won’t be a superb standard. So my resolution is to sell my house, and move even further south, and live on nuts and berries. Sound a bit far fetched, well I have an acquaintance, who is going to move from stressful Ariege, to the hills of Laos. Goodluck Momo.

My own personal thing was to climb harder on more taxing climbs because that’s how I see one aspect of climbing and my continuing struggle with just being human. Trying harder, getting stronger, and doing it all with more snap and flick, is way more fantastic than failing on lesser climbs. This probably won’t be possible for a while as I am working in a different profession. I look on these periods when I am not doing reasonable stuff like climbing, caving, as death. Another less imposing word might be hibernation, but assuredly I will die soon, and then what of my own particular possibility of a unique life. Some people’s lives are, commuting in a car to work, then working, commuting back, television, sleep with tablets /drugs, alarm clock, repeat, add effing  nauseaum. My life such as it is with its hiccups and failures, highs and lows, has at least been interesting, and I don’t want to take Prozac.

This morning there was another litter of baby rabbits, the big buck father died the other day, Borrat was his name, my wife buried him. But some continuation is happening, a little joy. I hope if you read this, you will have some joy in 2010, get out climb in the sun, stare at a big mountain, smell the coffee, run thru the flowers, swim with the fishes off Madagascar. Oh, and if there are any Manic depressives out there, a word from our sponsor, ‘Enjoy the manic bits, cos the depression isn’t that jolly. Are you looking forward to the daffodils? We have a few brave snowdrops tinkling their white little heads in the frosty white grass.