I'm a woman

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

Friday, 21 February 2014

Normal abnormal Malta, by Stevie normal Haston.

So it's back to the sun, Britain is flooding, Malta is dry, surprise! Actually France was fairly gash, damp and boring, small snow, avalanche prone, and repleat with masses of great food. Fat had overtaken me, off to diet, sun, and rock.

A major problem was no drill! Still first day I cleaned a great new route at 7c+, then day two, a swim, and a run as part of an ongoing plan for alpine betterment.

Here is a few photos in no particular order, cleaning routes is fairly good for the soul but so is looking at things you wouldnt normaly see.
Just before  my little  trip a friend came over from Switerland a good extreme telemarker with a few nice mountain descents, hello mr Steve Hadik,and hello to all my friends in Verbier, I do miss the alps but not in a bad snow year. As for my lucky mates in the Dolimites who are having a good year, well great you lucky people, enjoy.

Wednesday, 12 February 2014

Quarry threatens Ariege peace, by Stevie Haston.

The climbing and tourism in Ariege, in my part of France, is part of our culture, and our wealth, now we are to have a Quarry in the middle, in the heart of all our beauty. So start shouting now.
Never mind that its in 'site a 2000 natura', and there are rare birds there, this doesn't matter. A wierd nefarious agreement has been struck, and the evil, noisey, dusty machine is due to start. 120 trucks a day one every four minuits in a peaceful hameu less than a hundred yards from houses! This is just behind, and adjacent to the parking for Calames cliff one of the oldest, and the most frequented in Ariege. Nobody local wants this, local inhabitants, climbers, walkers. 
Here are a few links, this is a disaster localy, do something if you can please.  
Voici un résumé des nuisances que causeront la réouverture de la carrière de Bédeilhac en Ariège dans une magnifique vallée classée "Site Natura 2000", dans un charmant village, et proche d'un superbe site d'escalade et de balades, alors si vous aimez vous balader, grimper dans des beaux sites comme l'Ariège signer la pétition! 

Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Spell Kukuczka, by Stevie Haston.

I was asked who the best Himalayan climber was the other day by two editors of magazines. I knew it was a loaded question, so I gave back a loaded answer. Kukuczka. Can you spell Kukuczka I asked? One could. I also did an interview with one of the most prominent mags, but I guess that won't be published, cos although that editor agreed with me 90%, it's way to against everything you read.

Anyway, 4 of the 8000 meter peaks in winter, before it became the last bastion of big marketing brands! It was all a long time ago, so perhaps you have every right not to know, and no one tells you right.

Friday, 7 February 2014

Ordinary perfect. By Stevie defect Haston.

What's more ordinary than a walk? Nothing! So I am depressed, it's low cloud, drizzle and grumpy me is going to go running, but not looking forward to putting waterproofs on. I prevaricate. 
Laurence comes home from the market and says there's good weather coming, so why dont I go up the mountain and check the snow? Yea, maybe, it might be ok, etc, what ever, but I get ready.

So the hill infront of zee house is an ordinary montagne à vache as we say in French, it's 1200 meters up and indeed in summer there's horses, sheep and cows right on the top. But before the top there's a mystical beech forest, then there's a grove of birch, and then a few lonely gnarled junipers. And today it was sublime.

The walk up the though the beach had lots of animal tracks, as in winter the animals come down for food. there were chamois tracks, badger and fox and I got to see one young deer. Some birds were chirping lower down, but it got colder as I got higher, and then at a certain point you know life stops apart from visitors.

The reason for the walk?  Exercise? Checking conditions? Therapy? Well, to the left of the ridge is a deep bowl and it fills full of magical fluff, and theres good riding in there, and the view from the top can be good, and it's better than a run.

Cold it was, the camera thingy froze, Laurence caught me up, and she drank all my water, she always does that! But she did tell me to go for a walk, so I thank her.

These birch all had a wind mark of snow, but it was melting as we went down, some of the most beautiful stuff is very ephemeral, a bit like a human life as viewed thru geological time. A shame that we are distroying everthing in our short orgasim of existance. But today I don't care, I had a very ordinary pleasent walk. Tomorrow I might ride the big bowl which is full of windblown fluff, which wont be ordinary, it will be the ride of the Valkyries, but then words are never that trustworthy a thing, and the bilberies under my board wont even know I have passed, and the last wind knarled juniper which is older than my great great grandfather wont even flutter as I pass.

Wednesday, 5 February 2014

The new Light Brigade, by Stevie heavy Haston.

If you want to run over snow, you need a water proof running shoe and an alu crampon, I have a combo that weighs : 400 grs -shoe 200gr +crampon 200 grs. 
You have two feet total just under 800grs. 

If you want to run up ice it's 1 kg for one foot, 2 kg for Bi peds. This is the lightest combo with a back crampon§

If you want to run up steep mountains, this combo comes out at 1.5 kg, 3kg for Bi peds. This is the lightest boot crampon combo that was commercially possible, the boot and the axe are no longer manafactured. Why? Because you the customer dont know what you got till it's gone! And reviewers in mags and on the web dont know their  exit from their entry portal.

The last combo might just be ok in a karakorum summer§

Tuesday, 4 February 2014

Dru couloir '73 by Stevie old Haston.

Le Couloir du Dru is for me, and others,  the quintessential mixed climb of the great epoch.  The great epoch is the time before great gear, and knowledge tamed everything into banality. Walter Cecchinel (above photo) together with Claude Jager, waded thru huge powder to get to the route and their track was visible for weeks. The gear was not great, but it was the best of the time, I subsequently used this gear, and although it was an improvement on before, I have to say it was shizal compared to todays. Anyway I met Walter in Munich and he was kind enough to reminisce with me. He showed me photos out of a book on the ascent, and basically  I felt honoured to have this link with my past forged. 

Todays morning brought a light dusting of snow and it looked great to go running, but I shivered remembering the huge snow of those winters long ago, and the big packs pushing you down, deep to your axel-stuck in the snow, breathing like a dying race horse. 

Today climbers have great gear, which renders climbs tame, and so they boast, instead of looking for wilder beasts to slay. 

I don't really understand climbing, because it is today out moded, it's just a shallower game of an ancient rite of passage. 
And so I,ll digress and say please dont follow the Olympics, it's a business, and a wierd orginisation for conning you into thinking you are watching fair sport. They wont allow athletes to ware their own logos to make personel money, while filling their own pockets with black money. This year they finally let women do half the ski jump event, well thank you oh great Olympians, how nice nice of you. 
The other tit bit is that one climbing manufacture  put in 2 million euros (?) to help with showing off ice climbing, not as an event just as a showing off kinda thing. How many new Dru Couloirs could we have with this money?  How many dreams are we missing today in our great forgotten art, our great forgotten rite? 

Monday, 3 February 2014

Tread not on my dreams, stevie lucid Haston.

The winter trade show, that monster from which I have just escaped, is a cruel and hungry fiend. One goes there to win the money to make concrete the flimsy fabric of your dreams, but your soul pays more than your purse will ever win. Thousands and thousands of people, manufactures  retailers, merchants of Venice and one or two dreamers, once called climbers and snow sliders, all congregate in a vortex, a feeding frenzy, but there is less and less food and the big predators grab more and more for themselves.
This is for Serge, the man at Movment Skis and the man behind Wildduck Snowboard.

The good side of Ispo was I got to see lots of old and new friends and the wonder is that I have any at all, although there were less of the former and more of the latter, due to lets say wastage. Four magazines editors sook me out to do business and have  a chat, it wasn't happy. According to them the internet is indeed taking over and they are fighting a rear gaurd battle, it's more of a rout really. And you the reader, well truth to tell you dont even read do you, you simply glance over their glossy pages not noticing the pearls and gems amoung the mire. The great whore, the internet, is a cheap purveyor of dreams baubles, and trinkets and is having such a mark that my lazy friends these editors are worried, yes and it is no longer just their jobs and their business that they are worried about. The fabric that is our dreams, the mountains, cliffs and snow, is now being bought up by the big companies, instead of interviews you get press releases, not from athletes but from managers, the athletes are not allowed opinions they are mannequins for colourful fabrics that cost a lot of money, but don't often do their job.

For sure athletes like me have already mortgaged  our dreams long ago, and the corruption was always there, but we tried to be true, now you see this weeks new stunning ascent, being sold after last weeks stunning ascent and it dont matter what the value is. If you are not an American you won't get the internet hits! If you are not blond and a girl you wont get the internet hits! It helps if you smile and have perfect teeth, and ultimatly if you have an unpronounceable name and come from a buttsville eastern Europe, Asia, or old USSR, they wont buy your gear. Did I say it helps to be good looking.
This is for Fabrizio, Lorenzo, Filippo and all the others super snow bastardo!

And of course this is too long cos every thing has to fit into under three minuits of Ubend tube. I was looking at a web site that had the temerity to get it's viewers to vote on new gear, gear which they had never seen used or thought about! This is popularism taken to new height of idiocy, but it wont stop. We already have 9as that are two grades less, country to country, we have judges in international comps who are involved with clothing companies, and we have a public who doesn't climb or slide in dee snow man.
this is  Jurgen, still living the dream, and trying hard.

Anyway I wasn't actually that depressed, cos I know some people know, and there are some good people out there, but please people give some money to the good guys and girls. Because without the people with vision, without those passionate enthousiast we have no sport, we just have companies who copy each others gear and sell you a broken dream, a sheep in wolf's goretex.