I'm a woman

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

Thursday, 28 April 2011

A bit of Cycling history, by Stevie Haston

Stopping at a local pushbike shop to satisfy my love of fondling tubes and suchlike on a fancy swank velocipede, I was struck more than ever by the magic of bikes. It didn’t help of course that these bikes were Lapierre, sponsor for the last French team in the Tour. Lapierre bikes are works of art, I can’t afford one, but the guy doesn’t mind me coming in and dribbling over them. Anyway after this reverie of pleasantness it was out, and go climbing! But as a last delay I stopped off to put a few flowers at the little sculpture of Maurice Garin on the roundabout. Maurice was born here in Italy not far from where I live, went to France as an infant and won the first two Tours. Not many people know he was Italian and no one really wants to claim him as he was disqualified for excessive cheating in the second Tour, the first of many! Public morality being what it is, he is forgotten about, which I think is terrible. I don’t condone his actions and in later life he clearly regretted them, but there you go, it’s just a human thing. So the sculpture is simple and beau, it’s on a lovely verdant and attractive roundabout, and if you are a biking nerd I invite you to stop and have a look. In the first Tour the bikes were crap and the stages were way longer, sometimes no tarmac for long distances, no creatine, just sweat and saddle sores. I gave the brave little bronze cyclist a last fond pat, and went climbing.

There are many memorials along the roads in Europe commemorating dead cyclists. I stop when I can and say a hello. I have lived in two places on the Tour and know many of its tales, cols and epic cardiovascular battles, it’s part of my being in the same way that mountains are. Anyway among my many sporting gods that I sometimes pray to, are Merckx and Indurain, two former Tour winners. Indurain is my personnel favorite and at a Sporting meeting some years ago I noticed an old pro riders bike on a roped off podium. By all the gods it was the great mans bike! I immediately skipped over the rope and began stroking the master’s saddle, this odd behavior was quickly curtailed by a pleasant corpulent policeman, who on being told that I was a speaker and more importantly a fan went off and got me a glass of champagne. I have to report a failure to stroke Eddie Merckx bike. After tracking it down I am sorry to report because it was behind bullet proof glass! I hope this failure doesn’t disappoint you too much. 

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Grivel Ultra Light Plume carabiner, by Stevie Haston

The Grivel Plume carabiner is one of my favorite bits of kit, its just plain useful and damn light. It is about 28grs, you can get biners a few grams lighter but they wont feel as ‘big’ in your hand, this is important if you have big clumsy hands like me or are just plain clumsy. If you use them in winter you will also find the gate open width very favorable to gloved hands. Nowadays people carry a lotta of very useful gear but in the end in all mounts up and things get heavy. The plume helps things stay light and real.
The Grivel Plume also comes as a screw-gate and which is so didi you just cant believe it! It comes in at just over 30grs for a screw-gate, so you might not even notice two of them at the back of your harness.
Each Plume is individually tested on a very controlled and computer calibrated machine. (check the video on www.grivel.com)

Friday, 15 April 2011

Melloblocco May 5th/8th 2011, May 6th slideshow by Stevie Mellow Haston

The Melloblocco international bouldering event is staged in the incredible Val Masino on May 5th to 8th, it’s an event not to miss. The great –and I mean size of houses boulders- are a sight to see, and for the enthusiast a joy to climb. The often rough granite is an excellent medium to climb on, while the scenery is a feast for the eyes. Each year this competition and fiesta attracts up to 2000 happy visitors, some come to watch most come to boulder. I have been invited to give a lecture/slideshow which pleases me as I wanted an excuse to visit the valley again, so if you have time visit my
show on May 6th. My slides will cover some bouldering, big rocks, and bigger mountains and I hope it will please diverse tastes, it normally does. In the past the Melloblocco has attracted some of the worlds best boulders and believe me it is a shock to see what they can pull on, probably even more of a shock to see them do stuff way beyond your level first time around! A visit to the area is a must if you are a boulderer but do not neglect to go if you love climbing granite single or multi pitch. When I went to the valley I thought the climbing comparable to Yosemite but without the crowds. There will be crowds on the weekend of the competition but away from the boulders it will be tranquille. Likewise if you like running trails you will be delighted with the high trails in very wild mountains. The valley has been used as a Sky running comp before so it is an exciting place for running giving high rough trails and lower valley mellowness. My fondest memory is of doing the classic route which looks like a stuck on boot, it was in my opinion better than Astroman. There you go, you can’t fail to have a good time.  

Thursday, 14 April 2011

DESERT TOWERS a great book by Steve Bartlett aka "Crusher"

Just got a book written by Steve "Crusher" Bartlett, a flash of  some nice memories of Desert climbing, some epics, freeing quite a few towers!!!! A great book about the history of desert and towers climbing.. And if you haven't climb a Desert tower, in the Fisher or Monument Bassin you've missed something....Stevie will do a better review later...
We look so young!!!
Crusher and Stevie, fully racked!

Sunset on the Fisher

Freeing the Hindu Tower.

Ruby's café

Monday, 4 April 2011

Honouree, and Honourable by Stevie Cry Havoc Haston

Being an Honourable Member was I always thought a bit of a veiled joke, the stress, in my mind, was always on the word Member. Kinda appropriate when thinking of Members of Parliament for instance. Anyway the Malta Climbing Club thought they would flatter me by creating me a lifelong, Honoree Participant. Great except the engraver wrote Honourable, when I pedantically pointed out the mistake they were dully apologetic, and insisted on having it changed, I adamantly refused. I preferred the Honourable to the Honouree, in fact I would even like a few more words tagged on, like venerable and then venerated. So we would in fact need a scroll, rather than a plaque! Reminds me of those ancient generals with tons of medals, which they clearly didn’t earn. Or perhaps those climbers who turn up year after interminable year at international meetings, harking, and barking on about trivial things they did a quarter of a century ago. I am now over a half century old, and I am tempted to ask will I ever do anything that is note worthy again? Hopefully I will do a few honourable things and so the Plaque I had from the Malta Climbing club will serve as a reminder to be Honourable, so thanks guys. Plus I think I don’t have the energy to be even mischievous, let alone, cause dishonourable havoc ever again.