I'm a woman

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

Thursday, 31 October 2013

Abba helps slay roof, by Stevie Fernando Haston

Good temps produced good results, Fernando. 1x8a,1x 8a+,1x8c,1x fail 8b+, 1x8a.   

photo Inigo Taylor

Now we're old and grey Fernando
And since many years I haven't seen a chalk bag in your hand
Can you hear the chains Fernando
Can you still recall your first 8b
I can see it in your eyes 
How proud you were to fight for freedom on the cliff

So inspired by him above, and having only one beer in five weeks, dawn runs, and getting a bit better.

I can do pull ups on these with my light weight belt of 23 lbs, but it still felt hard today Fernando. 
And I still thought the last holds to the chain were poor!It does bode well for after I loose weight.

There was some friction in the air today
The stars were bright Fernando
They were shining for you and me for liberty Fernando
Though we never thought we wouldn't reach the Chains
There is no regret Fernando
If I had to do the same again
I would my friend Fernando.

If you think Abba is naff, which of course it might be, you weren't there my friends, at that weird party. 

Monday, 28 October 2013

Finger Board Theory, by Stevie doctor Haston.

You need to mimic hold shape and use different size holds for all round gains, and it is really very, very useful to be able to hold them for more than a few seconds. Climbers should try a bit longer than they think, i.e. longer than 7 seconds. 

Above you see a set up that provides a good selection of holds. 
Finger strength and finger performance are key elements that decide your maximum grade! What is the best way to train them? Well theres the rub! Can any one tell you? Theres alotta different stuff out there! The one thing I do know is you should put lots of work in, over as long a period as you can, with slow, slooooow increments, or progression. 

Your fingers are what really makes man unique, and the variety of hold shapes on routes is fairly endless. If you train on one shape of hold, you will get better at that hold. If you then do not train that hold you will get worse at that hold. You may also have a mental block against injury if you have already suffered finger damage. 

If you are trying too hard you will defo fook up, so extreme tests should be out; if you don't test you won't do! Max tests are nearly always a bad idea. I have only one finger weakness, its the crimp, it scares me, it messes with my head. But I haven't hurt my fingers in a very long time, so I am kinnda glad I am scared.

 This test took me longer than I thought it would! I have always prided myself on my mono strength, and years ago used to do mono one arms on nylon slings. Today I don't and I won't. Its really easy to injure the knuckle. But because I don't, this little test got further away over the years. So when I got so embarrassed by my inability to do it, I took care, and it took me a long, long time to get. Now I have got it with a margin, because I am over weight.

Here's some preparation, it's maybe even better from a climbing point of view.

 This is the Board that Mr Crusher Holds made for me especially with some better holds that I could hold for longer.

This is my best friend, the three tiered foot stool, long holds with twists in the body. I have a belief that old climbers had as strong fingers as people today, but that their boots and core are not up to todays standards.

Type writers, do em or you'll regret it, they really are the business.

Saturday, 26 October 2013

Big Cliff in the sun, by Stevie Haston.

This cliff is over a thousand feet of Verdon quality rock, but it's normally infernally hot, today wasn't an exception, phew, sweat, twitch. Tried to free a really high quality route, but the first pitch is 8a in direct sun, small holds, tricky moves, sun stroke, whacking of head type of thing as feet slip off…. 

Some folk having a bit of a battle to our left, way too hot at the end of October, But there's a ridiculously long bird ban on the cliff!!!!!!! It's not the climbers, it's the hunters, and lack of food Mr Bird People, wake up.

This cliff is banned and there are no ledges for nests, hello bird people wake up!

This cliff  is brill it's bird banned don't ask me why never seen a bird on it, it's got three route I want to free though. Seven pitches overhanging in the orange! 

Praying Mantis, nice, me praying for some cooperation with the stupid bird restrictions on this cliff. Talked to one of the bird guys, he was a power mad lunatic, asked him why he didn't ban the hunters and of course he said well we can't they are too powerful a voting lobby, so that's right folks, the climbers and walkers are banned. 

Grivel Haul Pack, by Stevie Haston

This haul bag has been beefed up from the last model, which was all ready good enough for me. Its all so a tiny bit bigger which is a good thing and it is rounder rather than oval. Is it worth having? Yes it is if you have a need for a very heavy duty bag, say you are doing day walls and your bag is too heavy to carry free, or you are a roped access worker or a caver. 

What are the interesting bits and bobs? It's got a velcro close and twist roll flap, pretty good.
It's got interior clip things and a secure zip pocket.

It's got very simple yet comfortable straps, these are very good simple to sort out for stream line hauling.

 It's very bright! Good safety color, not the most subtle, your not gonna leave it behind!

Removable straps…for hauling….

 Rear pulling handle, good for tubes, handing thru letterboxes etc, notice the heavy weight trim shown above, and the Alu quick release buckles. These buckles have an abrasion flap over them too.
All in all it's kinda bomb proof knockabout little haul bag, I was happy with the last one this should prove even better, I did a lotta new routes and caves with the last one it's still going, this one looks more durable. Grivel make bigger haul bags, I have not used them they might suit you check them out if you have the need.

Friday, 25 October 2013

The one who doesn't obey, by Stevie disobedient Haston

So I got my own way, we went out to play. The house was left to the cats. Zee wifette didn't really want to play she was way to chilled out by yoga exams with her nice mates, she didn't want to resort to agro upside down violence, although she did give me the odd elbow flick on the way to the crag, strictly by accident you understand.

This me looking sweet, big roofs for meeee, yippee. Anyway it went pretty good, did a few routes, and then thought I would do Dame de Sabart to the top chain. Now then the full route of Dame is a tricky 8a to a belay in a big upside down hole, and then the weirdest moves out of this hole and up a 7c+ wall of pockets and knee bars. It adds up to a roof thats 27 meters measured on the ground, or as the French say 27m d' avancĂ©e. As I wanted a big roof, but didn't feel up to the harder things that I'd been working on lately this was the soft option. Well what can I say, it beat me up bad, felt like Id been stampeded, don't remember it being that hard gee, my core felt like it had been used for kendo practice. And, this is the funny thing I KNOW the first pitch backward having done it hundreds of times, thats right lots of times x ten. Its 13 clips, feels engaged in a weird way, how its not one of the most sort after routes in the world I don't know. The book price for the route is 8a+, and that you can be very proud of, I have to say I was really pleasured with the route, and so glad I got my little day out. And didn't do DIY, or tidying up, or hoovering, or all the other things that don't involve immense overhanging contorted strenuosity. 

This is for Kurt Albert. I hope you are having a drink. 

Never drink and drive, which is easy for me as I don't have a license. First beer for a month. Cool.

Thursday, 24 October 2013

Dawn of the DIY Dead, by Stevie Haston

Dawn isn't that early anymore, nice well done, I can get up later. Lost a couple of pounds, generally put them back on by some kinda Osmosis, and for those folks out there in weightloss world, well, I have to say amputation seems easier.
Sleep was full of eagles being shot, and I was unable to help, the NSA were monitoring me as I was talking to Mrs Merkle about putting bromide in Maltese Macaroni.

Was supposed to do some revamping of the training area, but thought, bugger it. The boss, SHE who SHALL be OBEYED came home from a yoga meeting/jamboree/curry eating fest and tore into me about the state of the house. SHE cooed at the cats, who had done most of the mess, the cats smirked at me, they know I am dumb, but they shouldn't rub it in like that!
Flook it to hell, grab zee wife, lets go big over hang climbing instead of tearing me a new orifice, we will see who's smirking then, you lentil munching turbabanised colleague. 

Crusher Holds and their finger boards, by Stevie Metamorforce Haston

I have been waiting for an early Xmass present from Crusher Holds, and it took a while, some really great stuff, check them out, do your self a favor, they work really well and don't hurt your fingers, or your pocket!
So this is  MetaMoreForce, its really wide, much wider than most finger boards, which means you can do nice wide pull ups if you want, I have found normal boards can be a bit too narrow, if you give them a lotta concentrated use.

So it's nearly 80 cm wide, and if you use it Wide its got a slight angled sloper, so it turns the wrist-well good and sensible.
I got this board in the afternoon, put it up, and took it for a test drive, around my fingers,and arms, and back, really great. It's a bit of a custom job.

Here you can see just how wide it is. Under the Metamorforce is an old climbing partner gift to me, it was a portable board which took him to three big champ wins, I,ll never get rid of it. Thank you Patrick. Any way look at the short height of the board, you can easily put one of these up any where, no excuses. Crusher makes a smaller in length rung which is really great value, like I said check them out here. They got loads of stuff.

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Ben is back, by Stevie Haston

Ben, Mike and Stevie the stalker

Ben Moon the English climber of the late 80s had a huge influence on rock climbing standards. In my opinion he could have climbed harder. Now after many years Ben is Back, he just red pointed 8c again after casting his Zimmer frame away.  In celebration of his comeback I reprint a little piece I wrote which prophetically credits Ben with the first 9a. 

Ben Moon did the first ascent of Hubble in 1990, it was the first 9a in the world under the new Uefa grading system, I burnt him off once. He wasn’t pleased!
Ben Moon was eclipsed in many ways by Wolfgang Gullich, who was certainly not Bens equal in pure bouldering, or redpointing. This is the odd way history is,  its not an accurate thing, its easily subverted.
Now then a few months after Ben did Hubble, his best buddy Jerry Moffat was climbing well so he thought he would try Hubble. By some weird coincidence I was there with Kurt Albert, Wolfgang’s old training buddy. The World is indeed a small place full of odd coincidences. Anyway Jerry huffed and puffed but could not blow Hubble away, Kurt and I laughed, Jerry fumed and then went incandescent but all to no avail. Hubble is apparently a hard nut to crack. Kurt and I being out of our league decided to go arĂȘte climbing on the Grit instead, we did Archangel, Ulysses, Edge Lane and Great Arrete, we Talked about how routes can break you mentally, we had a great time. Kurt was a talented pianist and told me that certain bits of music broke him, a bit like redpointing, you know you can do them, but you cant!
Some years later in Salt Lake City I met up with a few strong people and we were all messing around. A certain Ben Moon became interested in picking up a weight attached to a needle, he was adamant that he could beat everybody, he was wrong. He couldn’t beat me. I burnt Ben Moon off.
I went out a few times to watch Ben and Mike Beck bouldering as a master class lesson. Mike Beck was really cranking at the time and it was very inspiring to watch him, very short, no excuses, and him and Ben enjoyed each others company. Anyway I moved Mats for them and brushed a few holds, and generally gawked.
At one boulder venue however I was lucky and did something and Ben looked at me shocked, and said ‘Stevie you could be good if you lost a bit of weight’, inside I laughed. “Condescending young Whippersnapper” I said, ‘I am the Champ at weight lifting with a needle and don’t forget it’..
After my tiny victory I was relegated to labouring for Ben and Mike, Ben would point at tree stumps and I would up root them like the trained Mule I am. Its horses for  courses, and bouldering is not weightlifting. 

Monday, 7 October 2013

Prohibition comes to the Pyrenees, by Stevie Haston.

Before you give up hope, give up food and alcohol! Still fat as a horney pig,and still strong as a dumb ox. 

 My skin has taken on a grayish tone as winter approaches. A few feet away trout were lazily swimming, and in an industrial town, not bad.

 Some local primitive art to remind us we are mountain folk, just 10 km is a little ski station.

 But this is more like where I live, its Hobbit land, tilled earth fruit and veg.

Despite being fat and massive, I refuse to give up. On the monos with the fat strong finger, I do forward toe touches, and its good and specific. If I try it on the pinky monos ....I crash and burn. Its funny but I could bang my sober head and die! Will be able to do a front lever of these suckers soon, sooner or now if I was the right bloody wieght!

Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Beach Boys tame roof, by Stevie Haston


 I'am picking up good
She's giving me excitation
Good good good good vibrations

Climbing is not always great, and its not always fun, and its hardly ever like dancing, and if you compare it to the excitement of being young and looking foreword to seeing your lady, they might put you away.

I just adore this cliff, she's magic.

Ah, I love the colourful clothes she wears
And the way the sunlight plays on her hair

Actually I love the way this roof pulls me to bits, and spits me out, sometimes disgorging me like puke or dung from one of the upside down pockets. Sometimes like today, I feel like she's been kicking me in the ribs, she's a banshee lover, she's bonkers, she bites and scratches.
Ok, lock me up!
I hear the sound of a gentle word
On the wind that lifts her perfume through the air

Today I linked Declarage into Dame, to give a really big outing, a tough power 8a, into a prolonged pummeling 8a.  It's kindda 8a+, tough, and it gave me good vibrations, can't thank the Beach Boys enough, and there is a perfume on the air, its partly bat urine, and moldy damp, and the acrid piss sweat being pushed into your nose, by being bent and contorted out of shape, by Houdini moves. Sabart is her name, and I stink of Sabart.