I'm a woman

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

Friday, 31 August 2012

The truth about women, by Stevie Haston

This blog piece is going to be too good for this blog. It should be in a magazine but of course magazines are failing to do any kind of job. Blogs are just blogs so can't fail, Andrew Bisharat take note. Women on the other hand don't fail, they succeed, they succeed more than men because they don't try as hard as men and still do a great job. Well most of the time anyway. In Yoga most of the teachers are women. In climbing most of the good climbers are men, but how much do the men try compared to the women? Now I am generally a fan of women, but despite what I have just said, I have to tell you that you are under achieving. There is a great deal of chauvinism in climbing which is keeping girls back. So girls don't take any notice.

This is Laurence (Laurence is a girl's name) burning me off on a very importantly sized edge. Despite much training this edge is very hard for this particular male climber to pull on. I am a good climber, Laurence is a good climber, but Laurence is more comfortable on this edge. In my family there are a few females who climb they all have stronger small hold capability. There are in my family two yoga teachers and sundry members who practice yoga and stretching, only two can do perfect box splits, one is a yoga teacher the other me. Who has tried harder at box splits the girl or me? Is it harder to do box splits if you are of the disadvantaged sex? Is it harder to pull on tiny holds if you are of the larger sex?  

In order of appearance are Harmonie, Melody and Stevie warming up. Who will be the best climber, who has the most advantages? At the moment it will be me, but not for long, if these girls keep it up I believe they will out climb me, and I look foreword to it. When Fishuber did the famous route Action Direct-the 'male route' which has testosterone written all over it, he was asked if a woman would ever do it. To his credit he said, they would if they had sufficient height. Years ago a sport climbing champion said that women would never on-sight 7c (yes Jibe that was you), how wrong he was. Today I can now see no reason why girls won't onsight 8c, or more!
And some of the guys out there are thinking what about power and how it affects climbing? Well girls are just as powerful as men if you weigh them, and thats what counts. If a girl wants to carry 5O kgs sacs of grain like me, she won't look like a ballerina. If a girl wants to climb a powerful climb like Action direct she won't even have to be very powerful, just have strong fingers, a strong core, and know how to move. I can't wait for this to happen, it makes me smile just thinking about it.

Grivel Rocker and Haul Pack by Stevie Haston

The Grivel Rocker is a purpose designed day out at the crag, or bouldering cliff back pack. Its great advantage is that is an organizer while being good to carry. The opening is a very robust zip flap which folds out flat allowing you access to a large main area which takes a lot of gear. There are various pockets and sleeves for your gear with a clip in gear rail for your draws, descender and belay device, this facility will hopefully help you stop loosing gear. There is a rope tarp as well, which keeps things a bit cleaner. All in all an interesting bag, it makes me wonder what I did before, and then I realize how much time I lost looking for things, and the tangled mess! I am not a logical person or a tidy one and this rucksac works real well. The only draw back is the single color which makes being individual hard in our big family as every body likes this bag!

Do you get the idea? Gear loops etc, pockets for different stuff, easier access.

This is the Grivel small haul pack and its robust and about right for me to do a bit of equipping or a short route where I only need to haul a small amount. This last spring, I ruined a couple of packs hauling thru abrasion this one should last thru the next trip. Its basically the normal bomb proof little haul bag, it's got some straps which fit in to a zipped pouch for hauling and you take them out for back packing. I tested the bag with loads of weight, seemed to do the job, there you go. 
If you want to check on Grivel gear here. 

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Training the progression and progressing the training, by Stevie locomotive Haston

This is my non-climbing wife burning me off on the 6 millimeter edge, 18 secs! She has been training, and very well indeed, but not for long! She has always amazed me, but at the moment, I am going to slow her down. And I am going to slow down too.

This is a one arm 'lefty' weak arm, with + 14 kgs. In April I couldn't do a good one arm!

Middle two, multiple one arm.

 This is not sorted totally, but is coming on good. Its the twist, and an extention up, very useful for me, as I tend to pull and stop, and thus induce failure.

 Trying the same thing with weight on a rail.

Back two fingers, this is not a good idea for most folk!
I want to thank Eva Lopez. I want to thank Jurgen Reiss.
Its funny to think that Action Direct is so far from me because clearly it might be possible. I talked to Wolfgang  in a cafe in Wolfsburg (I think) we talked about power and how elusive it could be. It is a little sad that at the end of my sporting life I am getting results that I would have sold my soul for. Like I said I am going to slow down, train my progression back to zero, and try to make micro improvements. I have very big problems with back pain, and calcification on one finger, plus a tendency for two knuckles to deform and hurt. Working around these problems has been interesting.
The biggest problem is my wife Laurence, she is starting more classes of Kundalini Yoga and we have less time together to enjoy our climbing and her amazing potential.

Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Why do you climb? By Stevie ? Haston

Everest mother of all mountains looking groovy, because you can't see all the people!

The British climber George Mallory was asked, 'Why do you climb', and he famously replied 'Because its there'. Information has just reached me thru the celestial internet, that what he actually said was, 'to get away from the Cnuts'. 
Cavers cave 'because its not there'. I climb because, 'theres nothing else'. 

Everest or Chomolungma, with its prayer flag praying in the wind, flapping against the vapid egos of human ants.  

Every year or so I give up climbing and do something else, sometimes its running and sometimes its snowboarding sometimes its caving, and weirdly sometimes its climbing! Thats right I give up climbing, and go climbing!
When I had money, I would disappear into the desert of the Four Corners of America or go running in the Himalayas, today I feel like disappearing into deepest France, the new great cliffs that have blossomed like magic mushrooms. Overhangs are always there........

Sunday, 26 August 2012

Climbing is ruled by Idiots, by Stevie Haston

Today was a day for Yoga, but my life interferes, my life at the moment revolves around climbing, and climbing is as usual a total mess.
Killian Fischuber, was robbed of the bouldering title  by the incompetence and mismanagement of the organizers.
Like wise Ramon ‘the champ’ was eliminated from a comp because of a long move.

In some ways these things pale into insignificance when one realizes that most of the best of today are on the bread line.
Manufacturers and the industry are paying less than peanuts for their climbing monkeys.
An industry that increasingly  cares less and less, a public that wants more and more, but supports less and less.
Today we have great climbers, make no mistake, but we reward them with what? Most of them can’t afford the petrol to go to the cliffs.

Right, back to Yoga.

La Grimpe est gouvernée par des Idiots, by Stevie Haston

Aujourd'hui était un jour pour le Yoga, mais ma vie s'immisce, ma vie tourne à l'heure actuelle autour du monde de la grimpe et ce monde est comme d'habitude un désordre total.
Killian Fischuber, a été privé du titre de Champion en Bloc par l'incompétence et la mauvaise gestion des organisateurs.
Comme Ramon  ' le  grand champion ' a été éliminé d'un comp à cause d'un long mouvement.

D'une certaine manière cela s'évapore dans l'insignifiance quand on se rend compte que la plupart des meilleurs grimpeurs d'aujourd'hui doivent pratiquement aller à la soupe populaire.
Les fabricants et l'industrie payent moins que des cacahouètes  leurs singes grimpeurs.
Une industrie qui s'en fiche de plus en plus, un public qui veut de plus en plus, mais supporte de moins en moins.
Aujourd'hui nous avons de fantastiques grimpeurs, ne vous méprenez pas, mais nous les récompensons avec quoi ? La plupart d'entre eux n'ont   même pas les moyens de mettre de l'essence pour aller aux falaises.
Je retourne à ma séance de yoga.

Deep Water Soloing on Malta and more bolts news, by Stevie Haston

Jeff on King of Kings.

Deep water soloing or sea soloing is a big thing in the Maltese summer and summer in Malta is a long affair. Jeff Camilleri one of my friends on the islands is responsible for a huge amount of development and says that there have been a few great additions of late. So just as a reminder there is great stuff over three islands with an un-ending amount of rock.

Jeff trying the wicked crux of Dinosaur balls V9.

The greatest development of good solos is still probably at Har Hassan which is one of the most accessible cliffs from the capitol.
New routes are Silence must be heard 7a, TNT for the brain7c, Return to Innocence7b, at the Inigma sector. 
Jeff will help anyone with a bit of beta and has a contact at 

Charlie the owner of Wallrats, a  retail shop, has kindly offered to help me out with some bolts. Check him out if you need to buy gear.

Saturday, 25 August 2012

Being grateful, by Stevie Haston

I have had a bad week, but I did the "welcome the sun salutation" with the grand kids, and other stuff like caving and pull ups, their joy was my joy. The man above is the Yogi Bhajan, he is dead but he speaks to me thru his work. It is the Yogi's birthday tomorrow and many of my wife's friends around the world will all be celebrating this man's work and life, I will be too and I want my friends and family to celebrate goodness and correctness and peace in their way too. I had many lovely messages this week from people around the world which has helped me with the usual nonsense of most human existence. Have some good vibes back, tomorrow I will wake up before the sun and walk up the mountain, when I get to the summit I will have a look all around and be at peace, and I will be grateful.

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Kids just wanna have fun, by Stevie Madonna Haston

 Grand Kids arrived from Wales, full of energy! This is probably the last time Pappy will be able to do pull ups with all the gran Kids, this lot already weigh more than me, and young James who was just born last month is now a couple of kgs more!

 Doing a bit of stretching...

Trying to enter into some Yoga....

 The Deeeeep Blue for Harmony.....


Melody burnt me off at splits and although she will be one of the youngest black belts very soon, lacks a little balance and strength, report card goes back to her mother, 'must try harder, and have more fun and success.'

Thanks to Rob for the pics!

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Tolerating pain, by Stevie Haston

Too much pain to train my back, plus no mojo. Anyway pain is there for most of us, its in not giving it, and trying to ignore it that we gain. 

So, I have a back problem, doing this doesn't bother it, might try some gentle hangs later.

Its very hot, around 36 or 38 degrees, pointless climbing, can't wait for the autumn and the cold of early winter, getting excited about my new climbing thing, I think its time to just hunker down, earn some money, and think about a longer term approach before I'am injured. Plus too much involvement in the higher machinations of climbing are a pain, and not soothing to the mind. My mind needs peace, harmony, and understanding....

Bolts and you, by Stevie Haston

Bolts are the main stay of climbing today! And yet most of you know nothing about them and you certainly haven't placed one. Have you fallen on one? Have you a right to trust them? 
Bolts are now very, very good, and with a bit of care in placement should be extremely reliable. The only real problem with bolts is in a corrosive area and getting dumb people like me to place them! In a corrosive area, i.e. by the sea, you need very good stainless steel, the higher qualities involve costly processes, polishing and very stringent quality control, this all goes to make them very expensive. Have you donated to a bolt fund?

These are bolts that we used to fall on. I still fall on these! The right hand one, some of you will recognize as the first bolts you ever used, it is very rare to see these around today. They were bomber, and I took many wild whippers on to these in the Verdon and in Wales. The one on the left is a 'button head' its still actually bomber to fall on if placed correctly! The bolts that are being used today are very good but are very expensive, the quality above is more expensive still. Are you contributing to them? If you enjoy bolt climbing perhaps you should donate a bit of money to bolting.
If you are guide book writers who earn money out of the climber and the routes maybe you should give some money! If you are climbing news media perhaps you should give money! 
The climbing community and its related business are worth millions, I mean this, it is a recognized fact, and yet the climbers are ripped off. Climbers are expected to break their backs bolting, and then some people  want them held responsible for maintenance of bolts and cliffs, all for free. Are you all joking.

There is a bolt fund here  that you can donate to, this will contribute to re-bolting with higher quality bolts. Thank you!
There are similar  bolt fund in many areas, please check them out thank you.

Sunday, 19 August 2012

Bolt failure on Malta, by Stevie Haston

A bolt failed on the island of Malta this week, august 2012. This particular  bolt was only placed circa 5 years ago. More information can be had from the Maltese climbing clubs, but I would like to add a couple of things. The bolt that failed was stainless steel just like in the photo above, these bolts are now thought to be unsuitable for a Marine situation. The bolts that have been placed more recently are better in that they are more suitable for a sea cliff. How suitable is still something of a question even to me, so please take care with all bolts on Malta, and on coastal cliffs and indeed anywhere. 
There seems to be a general feeling that climbing and bolts etc should be 100% safe, I do not agree with this and think it is hog wash. It is you who are responsible for your safety, if in doubt don't climb a route. 
You cannot tell if a bolt is safe by looking at it. Bolts even of a suitable grade i.e. 316 stainless can be weakened, the only grade of metal in the splash zone (in Malta this is 40 meters) which could be thought 'bomb proof' is surgical grade stainless, this grade is very , very expensive!
It is prudent to at least test bolts before you trust your life to them. In Marine locations especially the first 20 feet (the swell zone) I would jump test them, if in doubt. The splash zone is an ill defined place but I have seen the air saturated in some sea cliffs for long periods, beware!   
I do not personally guaranty the safety of any of my routes, I do not guaranty the rock, the bolts, the 'trad gear' or indeed the journey thru Maltese traffic to the cliff, safe climbing to you all.

If anybody would like to link this to UKC I'll be grateful.
The splash zone is at least 40 meters on some cliffs....

Injury, inspiration, infinity, by Stevie Haston

I am injured, more than usual, but I train. I fell off going for it on a project and took a twisting fall, hurt my back. Couldn't really do much for a few days, today 1000 pull ups. It is not as Nietzsche said, 'what does not kill you makes you stronger', rather 'don't do nuffing when you can do sumfing. Nietzsche was institutionalized and was a drippy writer of melodramatic nonsence, I on the other hand....

Back aint right for sure, but it has actually got better as I trained the erectors are loosening up and de-contracting, they were tight to protect my spine.

New cat, the reincarnation of Zulu...chumming me in the 'Chamber', I have decided to call it the chamber as in experiments and torture and dissection are happening here, rather than calling it the Temple where people just pray for improvement.

Frankenjura, Frankenstein, Frankly I don't give a damn... 

Cat leapt for me, not impressed with the flash..  

Inspiring stuff has happened in the last month, Enzo is doing well, the Wold Cup is producing some very good stuff, climbers are contacting me giving me inspiration hope and guidance. My strength is going up just as it should, 'you train you gain', 23° at 7am means it really hot but people are still taking down 9a in Gorge de Loup, wow ......

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Levers and one arm day, by Stevie Haston

So, I am still massively weak, but its getting better. Summer is here and its bad for small holds etc, don't care anyway, cos the plan is the plan, stick to the plan, man!

One arm on a comfy mono thread, and then extend, at the moment its rubbish hope to have made a bit of progress in a few months and after cutting off my legs, brain and other non useful bits.

          Kick, and lever it out a bit. I consulted a  friend who said I could loose 7 kgs, I am inclined to believe him, although he may be mad! If he is right and my calculations are right, Ground Zero Gravity Day will come in 8 weeks, factor in Sods Law, Murphys Law, and Zandradoxx disease, an in two months I will do a reasonable route. May the force be with you, more fun and success.

Failed attempt, pull up +80KG on campus rung.

Pyramid up, pyramid down, pull a stack of plates, rock the rhomboids, shock the spinal erectors....

Monday, 13 August 2012

I bridge too far, by Stevie Haston

This is for Katie, Melody, and her Karate Teacher Sensi.

And this is for my old Kung Fu Teacher Allan Whittal, may he rest in peace and thanks for all the bruises.

Sunday, 12 August 2012

Yoga helps climbing, by Stevie Haston

Yoga helps climbing, well what a shock! But some people don't get it, Yoga helps everything, Yoga is more than stretching, yep it is the way thru life.

Here are a few things I do, to help me climb. What you don't see, is me breathing, me pushing my internal organs around, and me being calm, and empty of worry. 

The pancake stretch, lying down version a must do, and a bit difficult.

The pancake stretch sitting, not too difficult, good if you can raise and lower your partner.

Side stretch, can't do with out this one, count 1 mississippi..... 30 mississippi.

Rest tranquil, go to sleep little boy.....slight arch in back, must  work on this...

This is a kind of good morning one for me.

Just recently I needed to get back to Box splits, and was having trouble with the last bit, so I resurrected this from my Martial Arts days, it worked. Today I had a good days climbing, I was able to work out a new sequence on an 8c+ that perplexed me a few years ago when I was stronger, I put this down to being more flexible in my body and in my mind. You may not believe it but Yoga is good for climbing. It's not just about being flexible, this is a small part of yoga....