I'm a woman

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

Sunday, 28 February 2010

Kids by Stevie Haston

I hate the web. On the other hand, I love some of the stuff, that sometimes finds its way to me thru the ether of the web. Anything to do with Kids, cats, skateboarding, and snowboarding. This blog/diary is a way of communicating with my grandchildren, family, and friends, and so yes it is utile. Kids climbing, yea. When do Kids not climb? I climb, therefore I am still a Kid, right on. The family Raboutou is, it seems, a climbing family. Mum and dad, both great climbing champs, and now Brooke and Shawn just like them, except more didi than Didier. Check them out on the web at Hueco tanks, made me happy. I got on the phone talked to my grand Kids, and got them watching. Their Mum, Katie climbed just like these Kids, when she was a Kid, straight arms, week, all akimbo, and forging onwards with gusto. Yesterday I climbed like that on a route and nearly got it, climb like a kid, that’s what I say. Mr Raboutou has always impressed me with his strength, apart from his flawless technique. He was a native of Ariege where I now live, and is typical of the region, strong and straight.

Kidding. By Stevie Haston

Where have all the flowers gone?

Here’s a couple of my favorite bits of Kidding:

Scottish Mixed being pure *****

Ground up ascents that have been abbed and checked****

Ground up ascents that are actually Mat up ascents****

Mixed routes in Scotland that have less ice than a cocktail****

Discreet climbers that have helicopters in attendance****

Being thought a good climber in Britain when you would be rubbish in Europe****

Climbing E2 and having an opinion on climbing****

Climbing lower than grade 6 and having an opinion****

Climbing lower than grade 3 and having an opinion****

The list could go on.

Banning climbing on cliffs because of birds, which are not even there****

Bears in the Pyrenees, when we don’t want them****

Wolfs being reintroduced when we don’t want them****

The so called War in Iraq***********

Oh sorry that one’s not Kidding, that’s an outrageous, shameful war crime.

Friday, 26 February 2010

Desperatly absurdy seeking publicity by Stevie scrooge Haston

Some presents from my sponsor arrived and I cant help touching maulling and fondling. Some really great quick draws, which are easy to put to use, but the problem lies in the ergonomic carbon fibered mixed tool which to be honest is a bit too good for the likes of me, my car used to be a BMW M3 and this is a Ferrari. What to do? Over the years I’ave had alootta arguments with sponsors (and myself) about what constitutes self advertising and gear pushing. Years ago I loved mixed climbing, and it was easy to be good, even when it got harder I could always steal a march because I designed gear that made it easier. Now its getting harder to cause a splash because the gear is so good its reduced alotta mixed to pulling up on vertical jugs. You can even make some tough rock routes easier in winter because its easier to pull on an ergonomic shaft than a minging crimp. About 1979 in North Wales I realised that to do harder routes I needed to get away from drainage lines and attack walls but of course these walls already had nice rock routes up them like Lord of the Flies. Now then I am a greedy money grabbing working class scoundrel but I wouldn’t dry tool my way up the likes of ‘Lord’ even if it would be easy with axes. Over the years some of the younger lads came to me for advice and after a quick chat they seemed to think the same. So really you are left with dry tooling venues and some of these are really good fun but its hard to make money out of them or weave a legend. So what can I do to get publicity?
 Well I have found a crag with great routes and hanging ice daggers on but the rock is so good I think Id rather bolt it and make good 8bs. Maybe go to Scotland there’s only one good climber there the net keeps telling me. I don’t even like Scotland but Scotland so the Scots tell me is the best and the hardest and the purist so I gotta do it there right. Plus I heard of this ultimate trad route there called Eco wall which might be hard to dry tool but will win me euros. And to be honest it looks like a decent bold challenge with rock shoes on and with axes I can cut into the crimpy bits, cause although my open hand strength is great, my crimp is still a limiting factor in my climbing. Yes man what a great plan, and so what if I ruin a good rock climb, I desperately need the publicity man. Idea number two, head to Craig Doris in Wales, trash my own routes, they are soft and the bird shit looks like snow anyway, the dumb flockers who read mags, the net, listen to the radio wont know the difference anyway. Hey man its just about selling thermonuclear proof cags to hip shoppers anyway, so who cares. No my heart wont allow it I am just doomed to go rockclimbing and fail on routes.

Wednesday, 24 February 2010

Stephan Mifsud, a true mutant by Stevie Haston

Tools of the trade

There are some people who I simply wish to meet shake their hand, pay them a compliment, say thank you for inspiration and leave them to it. Climbers are sometimes on the list but they are eclipsed by some one of the athletic stature of Stephan Mifsud. Stephan lives in the south of France and likes to swim and dive underwater, he also loves to chase fish. I share his loves but at a very punterish level and am very impressed (astounded!) with his accomplishments. He currently holds the world record for breath holding underwater at 11 mins 35 sec, he has an estimated lung capacity of 11 liters. Clearly he would at this body type make a good climber. Anyway please look him up, and admire his work. And so, thank you, thank, you very much Stephan, if I have trouble training, just thinking about 11 mins 35 secs will get me back to the job. I really would like your autograph to put on the wall next to my pull-up board. Good luck.

Tools of the trade

Curriculum climum and a few thoughts by stevie haston

Ploding on towards 7000m
Early climbs with grandfather, mostly on dodgy rock.
Roped climbing at 14 but often solo
First trip to Alps 15
First winter trip to Alps 16
One of the early E5 leaders in Britain and soloers
Bouldering font 7c+ 1979
One of the fast and light brigade in the Alps and greater ranges, mais je préfère en Français Pur et Dur
Mixed climbing first VIII in Britain
Mixed climbing first M9 M10 M11
Mixed climbing gear development and proponent of a few conventions to keep it all fair, primarily no spurs
Ice climbing a few grade 7 solo
Grande courses innumerable, many solo
Snowboarding, couloir du diable and others §m surfing Mountains in Himalayas over 7000 meters is as good as it gets
Best efforts are doing new routes, from Britain ‘Dervish’ etc to new routes in Himalayas and still plodding on in old age. Loose rock and dangerous ice really test, avalanche prone slopes, crevasses when alone in mist, these are all more of a test than most people realise. Most proud of Walker Spur in Winter all free.
Bad surfing conditions at altitude
Wish list : push bolt grade, surf a few big mountains in mega snow, not disqualify myself from life and getting better, by involuntary death. Having a bit of money to do more, wish I was younger etc

Saturday, 13 February 2010

70 Millions de Français et moi et moi et moi by Stevie roast beef Haston.

La plupart de mes blogs sont en anglais à cause de ma nullité en français excusez moi et moi et moi. France est le pays où je vis et travaille et je la remercie vivement. La belle France s’est charge de mes six dernières opérations, vite et bien. Les docteurs m’ont traité comme un être humain et avec toutes leurs attentions, ce ne sont pas que les montagnes qui m’ont retenu et pour cela je lui suis très reconnaissant. En arrivant en France il y a 20 ans je croyais être un très bon grimpeur mais rapidement j’ai apprécié la diversité et la profondeur du talent des grimpeurs français, avec leur aide j’ai fini d’apprendre mon métier. Des grimpeurs comme Thierry « turbo » Renault maître de la cascade de glace, des surfers des neiges comme Jérôme Ruby et feu Dédé Rhem, littéralement des centaines de grimpeurs fantastiques sans oublier monsieur tout le monde qui fait du vélo et de la rando le weekend, ils m’ont tous appris quelque chose. Pendant de longues années Chamonix fut mon chez moi, ces montagnes me manquent terriblement ; mais les batailles dans les cabines les jours de poudreuses et sachant que je mourrai un jour m’ont fait partir. L’Ariège est mon nouveau chez moi , là où je vieillirai en compagnie de gens réellement connectés avec la nature. L’escalade, la marche, la spéléo y sont excellents et la diversité de sa population fat qu’un étranger est accepté. Pas loin de la mer et dans les montagnes l’Ariège me convient très bien, mais souvenez vous je ne suis pas 100% Roastbeef , plus comme quelqu’un dont le cœur est bien plus sud que l’Espagne. J’aimerai pouvoir écrire en Français et ne pas le charcuter, ce n’est pas un langage de charcuterie mais celui de la poésie. Alors de nouveau excusez moi et moi et moi-même.
La différence entre un froggy et un roastbeef n’est pas aussi importante que leurs similarités. Ces similarités sont de plus en plus évidentes maintenant que je vieillis. Evidement la France ce n’est pas juste le pays des Parisiens mais aussi celui des Corses comme la grimpe ce n’est pas juste un truc anglo-saxon. Qu’est ce que j’aime le plus en France ? Il est difficile de répondre à cette question parce qu’ il y a 300 différentes réponses comme ces fromages. Le fromage, une des choses que j’aime et que je ne dois pas manger à cause de mon régime pour la grimpe…Vive la différence et Bonne grimpe…

Ps : il n’y a rien de mieux que le meilleur fromage, mais mon préféré n’est pas français mais d’Asturias en Espagne et il s’appelle Cabrales…

A black climber on a black background, by Stevie Zulu Haston

Today climbers blast their success from the summit of Everest by expensive satellite phone. Actually delete that, they bombard you with ‘twitter’ before they have done it, or even left their homeland. Climbers rarely wait a week to announce their success, or mull over things, like grade significance, or worthiness, no it has to be now, I want my strokes now, it has to be now. The Scottish mixed climb can be dry, the climb incomplete, the boulder problem just the start or the finish done, Everest with oxygen and guides, you get the picture, or half of it at any rate. They argue on the net, surmising without proof, supposing without facts, and being snidy without sympathy. Theres a couple of mountaineers got a bashing this week, Messner for the Nanga Parbat film and Harrer for the slating without sympathy of the recently deceased Corti, about the Eiger incident. I personally have no proof on either, I have ideas, formulations of various possibilities and different possible scenarios but can offer no proof to help. I have been on Nanga Parbat the famous Himalayan giant, and know only too well how confusing the stress of being above 7000 meters, and ambition can be. I have been on the Eiger, indeed I have even had frostbite, and been rescued from the White Spider in winter and I can relate only too well to that kind of stress. My team members on the Eiger climb were attacked in the press. The pressure to go back and vindicate myself became too great and I succumbed. A few weeks later with damaged hands I went back and finished the climb. Luckily I didn’t end up dead or worse being rescued again and getting it in the neck from the press. Can you imagine the approbation and field day the sharks would have had with a 20 year old punk from London and his folly. To lose a rope companion as Messner did on Nanga Parbat when his brother Gunter died is trauma of the worst kind possibly, something that will deeply affect anyone. It deserves understanding, and no speculation from people who know nothing, it only deserves facts. Corti lost his rope mate and was then besieged by the press and various famous climber trying to accrue publicity off the back of a gallant rescue by Hellier. Corti certainly didn’t deserve the put down he got in Harrers book. But whether Harrer was a racist seems to me taking it too far without proof. Facts are key, if Harrer made a mistake in going too far with the Corti incident, guard that you don’t go too far with Harrer.

There are an incredible amount of good climbs and climbers out there today. A few prefer to stay out of the limelight or certainly keep a bushel over their special things. The reason is the peanut gallery, and the people who sell the peanuts. It is hard, nay, impossible not to be hit when the peanuts are web nuts, and the vendors are nutty web site hosts. I know of many ascents and many climbers that are stealth climbers, they are shying away from the light, and through out history it has always been like that. But the worrying slant is that before, you were judged by your peers, however jealous, racist, or nasty, and now you are maligned by a keyboard moron who hides behind a pseudonym.

Who are the black cats of today? We the grey people can only speculate, but they are there, grade nine ninjas and climbers without permits in the big mountains.

Thursday, 11 February 2010

Training and sorrow, by Stevie Haston

There’s a head space that’s optimum for good training, but of course it’s not always there. There are different states of excitement which are correct for different sports, they are called the correct ‘arousal levels’, too excited and you risk blowing it, too relaxed and your not bothered enough. So you don’t always get it right, or you’re not in the mood. Champs aren’t perfect, I think most champs are just stayers, or obstinate, or good old boring creatures of habit. In the end it’s the condition of your body that matters most, so keep plugging away, and one day your head might just help out, and you will do some thing reasonable. So with these words in mind I have kept it up dear diary, kept plugging away despite being under the weather, and under a dark cloud. ‘Perseverance pays’, who said that, I cant remember, was it Perseus or Popeye? Anyway there you go lack-luster training. Working a physical job and sport training rarely work out, even having the necessary energy is hard to muster. It might be better to opt for just a maintenance strategy of just keeping what you got, or worse case scenario not loosing too much. It’s the latter for me, a case of not loosing too much, but even that has seemed unbearably hard. The temptation not to get stuck into huge pies and wine after a hard days work is tough.

The other day a 5 am run in the pre dawn, a hard days work, and I just couldn’t face the 3 ton of wood that had been delivered, so I left it in the rain. Bad boy, no Brownie points for being lazy. Next day struggled on the 8a warm up. Then tried a fantastic route in the cold, got interested in the end, but even so, the legs felt heavy, bum felt huge. Felt generally big and heavy. Watched the rain fall at the edge of the overhangs umbrella and thought of all the poor souls not able to climb. So at the end of the day felt really good, just happy to be hanging in space upside down. Went home and shifted 3 ton of sodden wood with a smile.

The man who some times delivers my wood died recently, crushed to death under the tipper lorry. The hidden cost of keeping me warm, and my house warm, is a human life. The old bloke had a very good pair of arms, he was hewn out of a hunk of oak, and I will always think of him with fondness when I chop and stack wood. His son a climber was totalled when I saw him, I pray that he can have a springtime soon. Life is terrible, and sad, more than we would like. So we must take joy when we can, and hold onto the special things. In a part of our hearts, like visiting a shrine. Thank you Monsieur for inspiring me to be strong.

Sunday, 7 February 2010

Addicted to sex, by Stevie the cockerel Haston

So, my long-suffering wife has decided that enough is enough, the problem of my appalling addiction has to be faced and cured. For years now I have led a double life, while hiding a dark, and despicable debauched character, which has caused untold harm. After extensive counselling, we have realised that I will have to go and spend time in a special clinic, and become a vegetarian again. As we have no money, I wont be going to a fancy Beverly Hills with those cute blonde nurses, which seems like a shame, but have to take the traditional Pyrenees remedy instead. I have been locked in the chicken shed. The withdrawal symptoms are terrible, cold turkey indeed means different things in the French Pyrenees than in Hollywood. There is however plenty of time to go over my wasted life, ponder the profligate path of a priapic punter and generally wear sac cloth and ashes. It is time to make amends, I am sorry for all those great times I had, I deeply regret all that kinky callisthenics stuff, and all those great gymnastic positions, experiencing all that fun, and especially regret being caught. Being a 9th Dan Tantric sex master was not all it's cracked up to be, I can tell you. It’s like being good in any sport, people just expect to much of you after a while, and the lack of good serious supportive sponsors wore me out.

Realising that you were guilty of double standards is a terrible thing, but I have come to realise the folly of my ways. I apologise. Can I please come out of the chicken shed now, as I am starting to get fond of these birds and am feeling peckish.

Wednesday, 3 February 2010

Tempus fugit moronicus, By Stevie, Fleeting Haston.

High risk of avalanches four out of five.
Be careful

Talked to one of my running mates, just now. Usual boring running stuff, it’s incredible how boring these conversations sound when played back, and yet they are medicine, food, a panacea. The essence of the conversation was that there are so many good runs or walks to do, but only so many running days left in your poxy life. Obviously the same applies to climbing, but I always get more passion from my running, or caving mates, than I do climbers. So the upshot of the chat was that I put my on running shoes, and instead of going back to work, I went for a run. I live in a civilised country and lunches are as long as I bloody-well like! It wasn’t a big run, an hour, but it was in the snow, against the wind on the way out, and fairly bitter. I followed a fox’s trail, the fox was then joined by a deer. I turned around at a frozen waterfall, but stopped to look at the frozen blobs, and golbs, and globbers, dancing and sparkling in the winter light. It was a typical jog, nothing earth shattering. It did the trick though. I went back to work, and decided to hand in my notice. No more work soon. And enough money to do a couple of months climbing, with maybe a few double day hill walks. And all because, the lady loves to lace her running shoes, thanks for the phone call princess, and good luck with your running and climbing this year.

Boris is a big boy but has crossed teeth so I might have to put him down