I'm a woman

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

Friday, 30 November 2012

Climbing in Gozo, by Stevie Haston

Peter enjoying some crimps...

Left  France in the snow, arrived in the sun, all of Northen Europe was under water or snow....So I went fro a swim and felt smug, why not! 

Next day two swiss guys contacted me and we went climbing, great lads, competent and good fun. They enjoyed my cliffs and my climbs. Best climbing on the Islands they said and they were miiiiine, I felt good about their compliment and glad I did the work. I did screw up a bit, put them on what I called a hard 7 which was about 8b, little joke you understand, well they thought it was funny! Anyway that was Peter a mountain guide and Michel zee gardener. Took them to the UnderWolrd, twenty foot wave but still good, a bit bit scary but good.
Michel zee swiss gardener....

Malta and Gozo are looking good all green and lots of flowers, Narcissus are out and dotting the cliffs, they is also a carnivorous flower which is pretty too. There has been a big storm but three of my cliffs are sheltered and the temperature is good so might try some of the harder ones...I have a few 8a and above to red-point which is good but I feel low and having some hand and finger problems, we will see. 

I wake up early before the sun and do an hour or two sometimes of Yoga. I did so much stretching one day that I had some leg shake climbing for the first time in a thousand years, felt ashamed.

Put my Matrix finger board up, and ready to go looking forward to seeing what 100 weeks will do, the last training seemed to have gone perfectly and I peaked just right and got a good route, maybe that's why I'm a bit down. Hope to get a little more finger strength going and it will look good.

Went on a fingers nightmare like a Cimia horror and was feeling solid on the crimps, still they are not done till the fat lady rolls over and dies, cheery oh from the  Bozo from Gozo

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Just landed in sunny Malta, by Stevie Haston

 Just landed in Sunny Malta, 26° Simon my private chauffeur is here...taking me to the ferry for Gozo for some new adventures....Can't wait to get unto my new project in the Underworld with my friends Simon, Jeffrey......
 The top pitches of the Underworld....
 Simon Alden equipping on fruit cake land, just flew over it....
 With Jeffrey in the Underworld...
 Jeffrey climbing Superfurry animal....
 Miiiiinnnnne precious, the Underwolrd...

 Best climber in the world...
 Old fashion style...retro pegs...

More news soonnnn from sunny GOZO Malta.....

Monday, 26 November 2012

Its Fffing raining. by Stevie sunny Haston.

It's raining, and what's much worse, it's damp, yuk! I have fallen back in love with an old project, and found two more, but bad conditions mean, damp holds.  Laurence has got lots of work, so me fly south, me stay away long time. Nay matter packed a Crusher Finger Board, industrial quantities of chalk, because its 22° and sunny when I land. My plan is to bolt the extension to my roof King of Kings and make around 70 meters of overhanging climbing, wish me luck. 
I have had six weeks of great climbing saw one of the best autumns ever, and lost weight, and got fitter. A few short trips to Spain shocked me, what is up with their grades, 8as that are 7c! Duh! 8cs that are 8b! I might start using this system it's easier, and easier is good, right? How can you have Pedreza grades, and Montserrat (monster-rat) grades, and Margalef grades? Campaign for real grades anyone, oh no thats way too hard for modern day commercial web sites.  

Saturday, 24 November 2012

Inch Reine, by Stevie Haston.

This is a great route!
It's long, difficult, super tekkie to start, then just mellows into outrageous thuggery.

You need super strong fingers. You need super strong toes. You need three arms. You need a very good core, possibly bullet proof. 

 You need a massive memory, otherwise the easy bits will kick you in the nuts. 

 You must be calm in the middle of a huge storm of stone.

You must rest, refill your arms and empty your head of doubt. You must do the last bit with drag cos you were too thick to change ropes.

 And you will be content.

Possibly you will be happy. There might even be a hint of pride!

Arab Spring Exercise, by Stevie Inshallah Haston.

Here's a crafty bit of exercising. Sorry about the gnome outfit, but hopefully you will understand the photos. People are continually arguing about specific exercises like pull ups being useless, and that out sport of climbing is movement based, well you know what, just argue away, and I'll get stronger. Guys who run the hundred meter dash, do squats, how about that!

 If you follow the photos, it might become obvious to you that there is a sticking point here, in this one. This is definitely a fail point on a route. It's mainly down to shoulders, but timing and twisting strength come heavily into play.  

 The last final bit is a very nice triceps push. You can make this very much harder by slowing bits down, or changing position and height of feet.

More fun and success is what I'am after.  There are a few interesting names asssociated with exercises like the 'Egyptian move' in climbing, which is very hard to do for a lotta people, and strangely, practice in isolation makes it very much easier. Another exercise, non climbing, perhaps to many is the 'Turkish getup', I have always liked the Turkish getup, as it uses alotta 'body english'. Anyway now I give you the Arab Spring, it is super good, and leaves me optimistic.
 Last photo is 'toeing the line', you do some pull ups, and then rest on your toes, then do more, 10 sets is normally sufficient to make you feel sick. Enjoy!

Thursday, 22 November 2012

Crusher Matrix board, by Stevie un-bored Haston

The Crusher Matrix Board is just what I need at the moment, and I will recommend it . Some people will say that a board is a board but thats very silly. The fingers are the primary link in climbing, if you have strong fingers at least you can hang on. Thats why climbing finger boards are often called Hang Boards. However you should ideally be able to pull as well as hang, so you need a bit of width to un traumatize the shoulders. Crushers Matrix board is 700 cm wide, which is a comfy width for pull ups. 

There's a stack of well designed holds, all in super gentle on your skin wood. The guy who makes them  is a climber who understands fingers and has spent alotta time on this board. there are different combos to use, theres a slot which allows pinches, theres a ton.  

 Big jug in the central region for big one arms. Big slopers for comfy pulls at the side.

There are some difficult holds. The monos are what I got the board for, they are preety much first joint and every one but experts will need a foot stool to take weight off on the two sets of small holds.

Mr Crusher has got a wealth of information on his web site, which includes advice on how to use this board, you should check it out. There are other boards too, but this one is in my opinion the most comprehensive. It is also very reasonable in price, I dare say it is the best bang for your buck in finger boards.
Another thing is its very light, I am taking one on a trip next week, because fingers first, eh?

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

A red day, by Stevie Haston

It's a red morning, the night faded into a lighter shade of black, and then blossomed, and then the grey sky was bludgeoned and bruised until you just stopped and gaped. Not bad I thought, a fox looked too, he knew better, 'rain tomorrow' he clearly indicated with a sniff of distain.
 Right, a red day means a red pointing day,  so we will go to a cliff and grip the grips, and pull the ears off the ogre. My monster is huge, and stronger than me, so I will use all my cunning. 

As I drink my coffee, I go over my plan, Move fast, change direction, be sure, with luck, the ogre will only feel where I have been, I will be one step ahead . He won't have time to react, and change his shape, and confound me. Then I will pluck out his red eyes, and chain him. 
Until the next time...

Monday, 19 November 2012

Climbing clothes poison! By Stevie slowly dying Haston

Thumb up for poison or thumb down for poison
The Outdoor industry are for the most part the same as other businesses and industries, they don't tell you the truth and are after your money.  So taking a leaf out of my own Blog I want to share with you a bit of troubling information. This information concerns rainwear and windproof garments. Are they poisonous? I don't know how correct this information is but it was sorted out by Greenpeace so potentially it is very accurate. You can make your own mind up, but as you aren't privy to any kind of meaningful test on humans perhaps your fashion prejudices will guide your decision.
I work in the Industry and am always told to keep my mouth shut-I generally do.
So 14 jackets were tested and found to have harmful poisons in them that when washed go into water and then they go where exactly?
What I don't understand is if they get into water why aren't they concerned about these poisons getting into you.   Doesn't a layer of perspiration normally build up under these supposedly breathable fabrics, and then lie on your skin? Perhaps they haven't done this particular test?

The Greenpeace report says "every piece of clothing was found to contain PFOA (which is Perfluorooctanoic Acid). With the highest concentration from Jack Wolfskin, Northface, Patagonia, Kaikkialla and Marmot." 

Marks and Spenser are following H&M's  in getting rid of this kind of poison, with a commitment to eliminating all other hazardous product by 2020. 

So is your raincoat poisonous? Answer; ' looks like it'.

Saturday, 17 November 2012

Adieu Patrick Edlinger, by Laurence Gouault.Haston

Triste nouvelle de la disparition de Patrick Edlinger. Le "Blond" comme il était surnommé, était la plus grande figure dans le milieu de l'escalade, Paris Match l'avait reconnu comme la personnalité préférée du  public tout sport  dans les années 80. Sa présence dans les médias était indescriptible, de nombreux films, vidéos, livres, articles....  L'escalade française ne serait pas où elle est aujourd'hui sans Patrick, il l'a fait découvrir et à inspirer des milliers de personnes et pas seulement en France. Et surtout il est l'homme qui a transformé ce sport en art, il dansait sur le rocher avec classe et élégance. 
Avec son grand compagnon Patrick Berhault, leurs enchainements  vertigineux dans le Verdon, à capturer l'imagination d'un sport en plein développement. Patrick Berhault nous a aussi quitté il y a quelques années. Pendant de nombreuses années le succès des grimpeurs français dans le monde était dû à ses deux personnalités,  l'escalade française leur doive énormément. L'influence de Patrick Edlinger était bien au delà de l'hexagone, comme sa victoire à la compétition de Snowbird en 1989 aux USA. Sa triple victoire en compétition sur une année était extraordinaire.
La poutre du Maitre!
J'ai eu la chance de rencontrer et de grimper avec la Légende, je m'entraine encore aujourd'hui sur la poutre d'entrainement qu'il  avait donné à Stevie! C'est toujours un moment spécial que de s'accrocher sur la poutre du Blond.

Friday, 16 November 2012

Patrick Edlinger Adieu, by Stevie Haston.

Spotting the King before matts, in Heuco Tanks 1993
Patrick Edlinger died Friday. He was known as Le Blond, and was a very big deal in rock climbing, as a rock climber he had the full palate of skills and strengths, power and grace, when he was on form this superiority rocketed him to the top. He was also bold, in fact thats how I thought of him many times holding his ropes, the bold blond, 1992 and 1993.   

9a, Obama, Climate change, by Stevie disgruntled Haston

What is a 9a. You don’t know do you? Has the Climate changed? I know. Did Obama deserve the  Nobel Peace prize, well clearly not. Have these things got anything in common? Actually more than you think.  And for me they are all linked in an intricate, strong, but brittle way. It’s called information.
9a is not what you think, and has been devalued by the climbing press, by massive inflation, and miss-reporting they don’t care, they are just a business that earns money.
American politics is business. Obama was given the Peace prize for what? It can’t have been for peace, America is still at War in a few countries. Just open your eyes and  read, stop surfing for women’s breasts, climbing titillation, and puerile distraction.
We are all sold stuff that is overpriced, or just junk. There wont be a pristine white  K2 any more, there will be a dry pile of rocks which some one will be sizing up to make nylon ropes out of.
When I open a web site concerned with climbing, do I see anything to do with Climate change? The climate was a boulder perched precariously on the edge of a huge mountain, and we knocked it off, now that it has started rolling can you imagine the trouble we are going to have to even slow it down. Tomorrow that boulder will be hurtling faster, and it will knock other little rocks which will join in destructive avalanche. In 5O years hopefully I will be dead, but the planet will be roughly 6° centigrade warmer, that’s hot as hell. Great ice climbs will be extinct, Skiing won’t exist, the Himalayas will just have there tips covered in frost in summer. A few years ago in Pakistan it was 30° at 6000 meters, and the snowfields were almost like treacle, slowly moving.
I swim in the sea, the temperature is going up! The acidity of the Mediterranean sea is also going up! The ability of sea water to contain minerals in suspension which creates shells and other living structures is in danger. The amount of plastic in the sea is gross.  Islands of plastic,  way bigger than Gozo float around seas, made up of plastic bottles, condoms, plastic bags, etc.  We hunt tuna with planes and then send massive boats to catch these fish, the fishermen are armed because its very, very big business. We then farm tuna. We feed Tuna cheap food to increase their weight , at the right time we then fly the carcass to some rich men’s tables, Japan or America. Then a climber eats it. Bon appetite.

Some climbers know more about climate change than any one, they live it first hand. They don’t speak up cos its bad for business. Old garbage dumps, toilets, dead bodies they are all being exhumed by climate change. Glaciers are disappearing, open your eyes. The pollution in the Chamonix valley is off the health scale, it is out side what should be allowed, this valley one of the most beautiful in the world is being killed by climbers, mountaineers, skiers, and the  general business of mountains. Happy climbs.

My ability to change the world for the good is low, my ability to change the world for the bad is great.  I would like it to be the other way around.

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Bench marking, by Stevie Haston

Bench Marking some personnel bests is always a good idea. Bench Marking allows you to know if your slack in one department, and tells you to get back up there. One of the best bench marks for climbing is simply your weight, if you fluctuate wildly. My weight is all over the place, so is my fat percentage.

Flexibility is not super important, it is just very important, good to know where you are. But do you know how much you fluctuate thru the day? My flexibility just after a short car journey is not good.

Tendons are probably the biggest problem for most climbers, and here a good result means you are in a good position to know what routes and what kind of routes you will get up. Pockets are different from flat ties, how's your thumb strength etc.
Any way I just did an assessment and found out my lower body muscle bulk is down, this is brilliant news.
Front lever strength is a bit down, not good news.
Back lever strength is a bit down.
Power is down a bit too.
Tendon strength is up, brilliant news.
Crimp is the same on small holds (ish)
Crimp stammina on medium holds is going up.
Pull up strength, very high considering power is down.

Conclusion; core needs work. One arm work is failing due to the core not assisting. This is probably why two arm strength is not affected, as it takes less core. Body fat shows a decrease, and so does muscle bulk, this leads to a bit of weakness.

The result of these changes has led to some good on sighting, which is not what I wanted but I won't look this particular 'gift horse in the mouth'.

Bench Marking should be done every four weeks or so, and it's good if you get a few good days rest before.

Saturday, 10 November 2012

Fall forever, by Stevie Haston

Went running. 

Got side tracked

 Met Laurence after her Yoga Workshop

Got Autumnised

Went to Orlu Boulder, very underrated.

I had a bottle of strong German beer, amber nectar, 
Took the Hand for a walk, this hand was last seen in a box in the Adam's family, wasn't it called 'It.' Oh yea, that's a bit of rock behind 'It', not wood!

Thursday, 8 November 2012

Auburn autumn aria, by Stevie 'audax et cautus' Haston

Had a fantastic little days climbing, perfect conditions, perfect light. It was about six degrees, low humidity, rested, keen, eager to see what the day, and our bodies would give. It was good, I would say brill, but no chain, no victory, just progress, and a feeling of bold cautiousness.
The lesson of today, was hurry slowly. I am always full of good advice but often I don't hear it myself, or am hurrying a bit too fast. 'Hurry slowly', is what I sometimes tell a student, and then of course some look at me like I'am daft. Some get it and keep it, and shine it and polish it. Another thing I tell them -or myself -is find the rhythm  of the route, I get some dumb looks with that one too.
So I was climbing 'like Pavarotti sings' today, made it all the way through some ridiculously hard climbing, because I hurried slowly and found the rhythm of a particularly bumpy bit of climbing, I was audacious and cautious at the same time, bang on with the timing and the pressure of the foot placements, magic, I was magic. 
Anyway I get lowered down, and its my running mate on Laurence's mobile, talking training and all enthusiastic, he's been at the training game way longer than me and given advice to some of the best long distance people in Britain. He was saying how great he felt and how he felt he was a better athlete now, and wait for it, he is 72! When I was running the other year, I made two mistakes, not doing enough speed work, and being too fat. This year I have made the same mistake that I always make, poor crimp and being too fat. I actually didn't have the time to fit the tuning in, like now, I don't have the time, so I have to make time. I will make the time, cos when you climb well its too good, its like Automn colors, its heroin for the eyes, its  a thrown pebble skipping across the water. Climbing well when you are audacious with crisp powerful moments, but being cautious not to forget the transitions, the thumbs, and clamping the crimp, and never loosing the rhythm of the route, is one of the few things that makes it worth living.
Arm bar machine..

When I got home all rosy cheeked and happy, I did my training, too ensure more fun and success. It was basic catching of holds and clamping the crimp on. Some swings to catch, some rolling over on the shoulder, and some static undercut holds, and mono work. Finnished off with 'the Bug' and a poor upside down Bug,  and another Bug, and now I feel buggered!