I'm a woman

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

Wednesday, 29 April 2015

Fade away and Radiate, by Stevie Blondie Haston.

photo Inigo Taylor.

 Fruit Cake Land will produce some really good routes, maybe they are coming, maybe they are not, it all depends. I just glued up another route, and harness!  My climbing recently has been one 8a, and an 8b session, not enough to keep me trim. How so ever, today the wind blasted from a strange angle, and it was magic, foam and froth, and spray, and swaying on the end of zee rope exploring.

photo Inigo Taylor

 Running out of rope in the wrong place, tightens the balls and anus. My anus felt bullet proof! This photo and the next are on Fade away and Radiate 6c, it is more than amazing, it's the perfect afore mentioned bullet proof ass! Funny how a real climb can do that! A years worth of yoga excersize to give you a good core, and help your posture condensed into a simple 10 minutes of steep pulling on large holds.

photo Inigo Taylor.

 I wonder if it is easy, I did get blasted twice by an invigorating cloud of sputum. Who knows, who cares, it's majestic.

photo Inigo Taylor.

This is the finnish of a fairly hard route not equipped yet, ridiculous quality, can't wait to radiate up this one. Do you like Blondie songs? If not, don't worry, you will love these routes.

Electing to live, by Stevie dead Haston.

Are you going to vote? And for who? Vote for your self by going climbing, have a good time, breath moderately fresh air, do not look into the abyss of the politicians eyes, and lies, yes go climbing. But first consider voting. You may not have anyone to vote for, so choose the lesser of two or three evils, or weevils, as the joke goes, and yes politicians are jokes, bad jokes! If you don't want to vote, cos you think they are a bunch of insane, immoral lunatics, consider saying so. Shout it, not from the cliff tops, but in the pub, at work, SHOUT. Tell your friends, tell your family, tell the world you don't wanna go to a War Party, and have the Health service sold off.
The bat cave , home to super project no@#

Humid down here no politicians,  not even in those dark slimy caves. When I was young I went to the houses of Parliament a few times, I counted alotta guys asleep, fat comfy looking guys in good suits, asleep! I watched the two so called leaders arguing like two spoilt twats (brats is too honorific) over words, one guy had his feet up on the central table, he was so short it looked like he was going to slide off. 

When walking the other day, not thinking about boat people drowning, and poor people having their homes crumple around them, I spied this completely detached small abode. I thought perhaps I could move in and get off the grid, the political, electric, electoral, hell- even moral grid, so I went for a look. It took ages, bamboo, decaying garbage, collapsing fig trees, snakes, etc.

Got there, and it was an old Dove cot. A beauty too, a good century old, and more than a hundred nest boxes. It's a little climb up the cliff, a couple of locals know about it, that's it, it's in no books. It's great, I am moving in, but wait, where's the plug inns man? What about my drill charger, and the 55 other fecking chargers my modern life seems to fecking need?
Personally, I am voting for the No Fecking Chargers Party. 

Monday, 27 April 2015

Joyous rubbish, sad climbing. by Stevie Haston.

 This is a new cliff, well it's a few thousand years times another thousand. It's got about a dozen routes, 8 of which are sport climbs, and a few old trad. All high quality. Some good fisherman's routes are found here, complete with little chipped holds, and sometimes bollards. It's a great cliff, it's more sand stone than limestone, but it still has lots of fossils. It's very climbable, it's overholded for the most part, with an abundance of pockets.

Met some French climbers who are going to bring a big group next year for a long course in climbing, so yes we climbers are helping the local economy. It's lovely here at the moment, flowers cool temperatures clear skies.

this rubbish is from a fisherman.

Sadly there is more and more rubbish, from locals and tourists alike! National clean up day is the 9th of May, it's national clean up day for me most days, and yes I do want a medal! A typical empty gesture is to clean up something for one day, imagine your house, toilet, or garden if you only cleaned up once a year!

It's a lovely world when we humans aren't here! Nepal has just had a very bad earthquake with thousands dead, there will be as many drowned this year in the Middle Sea, it's gonna be a bad year. Prayers for the dead  and bereaved.

Friday, 24 April 2015

10 year old does 8c, by Stevie 58 Haston.

 A 10 does an 8c, it's big news. Then no body talks about it. Then everybody will forget about it. But I will for a laugh, just for a laugh you understand. Firstly the 10 year old can clearly climb as you can see in her videos, and yes she's a girl, which is more impressive. A few years ago, like maybe a decade I found kids ascents really super impressive, now I just find them totally impressive, in more than several ways. The biggest impressive thing is that there is no analysis, or measuring, or weighing, other than it's a new record!  

 This little route is 8a in the guide book, it's 8a because I can only get my ring finger in the mono. The ring finger is an easily snapped finger, so this route is a bit dangerous for me. The 8a grade or mark is by way of a warning more than a grade.  The 8c route the tiny impressive little child prodigy did,  is called Welcome to Tijuana, it's a very good route, and has been done by other very able youngsters. It's been done by a british climber who is well established and old too, it was done as one of the first female ascents (remember?) In the old days just the talk that a girl had been on it would automatically initiate downgrading procedures! Anyway is the route 8c? That's my simple question. Here is another, as the kids do it by a very different sequence of moves is it harder for them than some big tub of a beastie climber?

An odd bit of stone is the above, it doesn't ponder anything, not even alive to thought, I dropped one of my rock shoes into one of the "Moulins", and had to go rescue it. I slipped the last few feet and couldn't get out, that would have been a fine fate for a heretic like me, an apostate of true grades.  
Many routes are downgraded, the previously 9a Eclatamasters has just been downgraded by a few french climbers despite one of them being a girl-good on her. Era Vella 9a has been de mooted to 8c+ a few times, but nobody is interested. Meanwhile Hubble defies grading, or has it gone up from it's lowly 8c+, to the first 9a in the world, due to the fact that only Brits can do it?

This decaying carpet of rock would be easier to climb if you were very light, as in few kilos lighter, it's fragile, weak, requiring the gentle touch of a butterfly. It had a Golden Oriel streak across it moments before I took this photo. And this particular rock is called Greensand, don't ask me why? Or perhaps you should ask me why, because it's clearly not green! Just as Welcome to Tihuana is probably not 8c! But not because a 10 year old girl did it, and not because I am a cruel and heartless man, but because a friend who is my height says so, and "he who shall not be named" is the great arbitrator of grades pertaining to rock. So holy is this man for all grades-for all gods must be men nowadays-that his image is forbidden by the Holy Book and the Internet and any Trade agreement between North Atlanitic countries.  

Thursday, 23 April 2015

Czech direct, by Stevie Haston.

There's no snow here, perhaps it melts due to the large orange ball in zee sky?  Above is Inigo Taylor, a photographer who does  not want to give his labour away for free. Photographers are pressurised all the time to do this, and sadly they do it all the time, and they then kick the stool from under themselves, and find themselves with their little legs kicking! In this photo (mine) he is attempting a route called Czech Direct. It goes over the little roof, the last protection is a knotted sling just like they use in zee Czech republic, it's fun, it's a lotta fun. It's also a piss take name of a route on Denali where a couple of American Alpinists (there's a misnomer already, there's no Alps in zee America!) decided unilaterally that they had reinvented alpinism! Maybe they had reinvented Sierraism, or Solipsism, Saloperie-ism.

This is a Gozo Wall Lizard and he unilaterally reinvented slithering, he spat the word out with a lisp, a bit of lizard spittle, and then slithered off.

This is Inigo bravely going where Gozo fishermen have bravely gone before. Thanks to Rob and Stephanie from Grimsby for being nice climbing partners, hope you have a good day at Sopu Tower.

Monday, 20 April 2015

1000 pull ups 1000 climbs, by Stevie the centurion Haston.

Did a bit of training, 1000 pull ups and a bit of change. The bit of change today added up to a couple hundred extra, the extra pounds around my mid drift, and my mono pack probably means I am strong. Strong that is for an old bloke without a screaming reason for being brilliant anymore! A bit sad really not to be in contact with my mojo, but that's how it is, hope it comes back. In the above photo we had just found a great 28 meter pitch up fab rock, we will go back, and bolt it make it more enjoyable and safe. Cant think of a fab name for such a fab climb!

 I first climbed this little prick of a rock when I was a little pip-squeak, got up, felt like I'd conquered the kingdom of god, and couldn't get down for ages, nearly blubbered my eyes out. Was nearly the same deal a half century later.

Said goodbye to my american friends, Crusher and Fran, hope to see you State Side this summer, if I work the summer show. Thanks for enjoying my island, and adding to the magic with your presence.
Here's a photo for you, to remind you to come in the  Autumn and swim!  Please come again, and bring more American climbers.  

Thursday, 16 April 2015

Talk the Talk, by Stevie chatty Haston.

We salute you for being religious

Talking the talk, walking the walk, other carbage, other people’s words, other people's understanding. I hardley understand myself  after 55 years. Went out with some kids the other day, all university guys and dolls, seemed like infants to me, they were telling me how to think , and other stuff, got fed up with them at times, then became paternal, I hate being paternal. A girl was telling me about being vegetarian, and I was thinking about how I was a vegan and a veggie for longer than her entire life, but kept mum, when what I wanted to do  was talk about the killing of snails and other animals that the veggie industry, and just running across a field will do. But you know I just didn’t have the courage, to rant in a logical way, so I kept mum. Anyway there are a few veggies in the family and we talk about me coming back to the faith, and I will, but there are a couple of things I will have to come to terms with first.
We salute you for being Roman

We salute you…for being wombats, or for trying to get a bit part in the new Star wars movie.
So this week on my favorite island, I was passsing a bakery,  and the employees where bringing the wood in for the wood baked bread. But of course in this twisted world, the wood was treated wood, from old buildings and renovations, and thus poisoned. The bread on  the maltese islands has sometimes been tested to be over any acceptable levels of lead poisoning, but they still seem to be poisoning you, me and their relatives , because they don’t care. There's alotta cancer on the Maltese Islands, my Mum died of cancer. Any way in that Maltese way I didn’t report it to anyone, partly because you never tell the police anything, and also because you know that the Police wont do anything. Still in the end after the Easter Procession when Christ resurrected himself to save us because ‘we know not what we do’, I thought I would share it with you, and of course tell you that people use way too much pesticide here, but you will forget what I write, and eat the bread etc.
Had a good day today with my Maltese climbing chum who is trying to help Maltese climbing, he took me round, tried to help visiting climbers, wasted his own time and Jeff my other mates time, but the result was two lower offs, and 7 bolts in some very over hanging rock, back ache for me. 

Found a way through a big cliff at an easy, but scary grade  which should be classic, it's nice to be giver.
Done over 40 days of Yoga at day break, feel good about that, and the guru (who is dead but speaks to me) has influenced me, he gives me strength with his words, thanks Guru. My Mum who is also dead was talking to me, she helped, she was always kinder, and nicer than me, or my Dad, thanks Mum. Went to Church, prayed for Mum (I am not a beliver), had a really nice time, listened to other people praying,  everybody was good that day, Easter is good. I prayed for people in Iran, Afghanistan, Iraq, the Sudan, and other places I don’t know about, let my Mum and the Guru guide me.
Went climbing looked at the flowers, looked at the cliffs, looked at the sea, it was good.

This post is a repost of an old piece and a few things are different. 
1. I am now a vegetarian again!
2. We buried my aunt Maria who was a sainted lady in the sense she never harmed any one, and did lots of good, she died of cancer amoung other things. She will be missed greatly by me as she looked after me when I was vey young.
3. There is more cancer in the family.
4. I am 3 years older and none the wiser!
5. I am increasingly worried by governments who masquerade as democracies, and who just do the work of big corporations.

Monday, 13 April 2015

Grandads Rage Against the Machine, by Stevie Stately Haston.

 It's been a weird week, this week that was. It's been good and bad, there's been a mood of grey, and a sad air, and then of course luckily the sun shines and hope pervades. Please God, preserve me from the ordinary 50 shades of grey that can cloud our dreary existence.

 So, I met a couple of old guys, and we teamed up for a natter on the edge of existence, and perhaps ours, after all we are getting on. They were fishing off the 30 to 40 meter cliffs.
The older of the two, and of the the three (if your paying attention) was called Gerald from Valetta, a sprightly 74 years. I had watched him nimbly solo up and down a grade 5. He was a great lad as was his mate. Gerald was fascinated by our climbing antics. Gerald watched me attentively and kept asking questions, and then worked everything out for himself. He had worked on church domes in the casual style of the Maltese, i.e. total Insha'Allah lack of Health and Safety.

If any body knows Geralds last name, or knows him,  tell him to come back to us, and I'll take him on a route. He climbs the cliffs for pleasure to fish, and meditate-a lovely man. As we shook hands I noticed a missing thumb, he had lost it in an explosion.

So why is this spying going on? Blips of 21 hits a few times a day, repeatedly! Am I that much of a threat to the New World Order? Haven't the "Powers that Be" got anything better to do than spy on a climbing grandad? What do they think I am going to do? Tear down their stinking edifice with my rusty Zimmer frame? Get a real job NSA, or whoever it is! It used to be groups of 34 hits, at least that made more numbers on my blog! Try this W   A  N  K  E  R  S, thats code for desist.

Help needed with Rock by Stevie helpless Haston.

A bit of new route exploration, it will become a world class climb.

 Had a great time on the day of the referendum about hunting, which of course turned to total Scheisse when the results came in to allow the continued killing of birds about to breed! Anyway, the sun shone, there where families enjoying the countryside, it was great.

 I need help with this fossil! I don't know what it is! I have never seen anything like it. It was found in the lower Coraline layer on Gozo just before the layer of Silver Dollar sea urchins that marks the change to Globigerina. If you are a geologist, and don't know, please ask some one who might. 

 Crusher and Fran  flew all the way from Colorado in the USA, to see and climb on my island of Gozo. Happy tourists spending money on our island climbing who will spread the word about how good the climbing is. 

This place is magnificent, it's called Fruit Cake Land, great climbs, a world class experience. Fishermen use this spot and have been using it for a very long time. I have climbed there since I was a kid, along with fishermen of all ages, 30 meter routes by old guys and kids in bare feet. The tradition of climbing is thousands of years old on Gozo. If you are a hunter and want to climb instead this year, contact me, maybe we can go climbing together. Peace to all, and a peaceful clean countryside for all of us to enjoy.

Saturday, 11 April 2015

American climbers eat rock. by Stevie Hungry Haston

 Enormous hunger, gigantic thirst for life, fun, and rock. Yep, a lot of my friends seem to be hungry, and greedy for enjoying life's finer things. Two mates came over from the States to climb, and so far they seem to enjoy the rock, Fran and Crusher have been my mates for a really, really long time. 
And we have climbed together, and discussed stuff for a really, really long time. Last night, we were  talking about the 'Endless War' that's ravaging the Middle East.

 Fran and Crusher enjoying rock

There's a point when discussion, however heated, can stay a discussion, or rage into argument. I hope I always stay under that point, on the right side of that point. And that's the point!

This is a photo of me finally doing the crux of Hore Hound, a nasty tweaky 8a. The fact that I can now do it fairly well, suggests to me that it's not 8a. So it might go down in the next guide to 7a, or 6c +. That's my little joke for today. You have to laugh, don't ya, cos politics makes me want to scream,  and stamp my feet. Better to go climbing with friends, and have a laugh at the idiot who wrote the guide book!

Thursday, 9 April 2015

Pulling yourself up by your toger. Stevie grumpy Haston

 grumpy but sartorially elegant.

Down in the Underworld cliff, it was perfection, perfection of place, perfection of peace. Perfection until we discovered we didn't have our boots! Who was to blame? Can't be me, I am blameless, always perfect, the epitome of professional perfection. The last time there was a cock up in the Underworld, my mate tried to tell me I'd forgotten the rope. I told him that unless he wanted to swim he had to prussic up the 60 meter rope, go back to the car, and he'd find the rope where he left it on top of the car. Two hours later he appeared out of the sky with zee rope. Today I led Stix and Stoners  in training shoes, dressed like a guy too old for Raves. Also my apparel  was weirdly colour coordinated. I always dress this way in the hunting season, hopefully they won't mistake me for a wee harmless birdy.

 The rare flowering plant Everlasting is just starting to bloom.

This cliff is one of my favourites in the world, maybe my favourite. Huge overhangs big holds weird rock, fossils, fear, lots of fear.

The Underworld cliff in all it's colourful glory.

Tried a huge 8a today. It was brill and conditions were really good. Did not go across the time tunnel there were some very hard to time waves which only left a 6 second gap, too whimpy.

Here I am looking for the fairway, luckily I had a few spare draws for the 40 meter length, got a little pumped, and there were the odd bead of perspiration on my slightly troubled brow by the time I finished. In zee old days I would do it with the drill or a rucksack, must be getting old. Anyway, it was perfection of place, the cave is an old stream bed with cemented in boulders. 8  grade 8s, more coming soon if I get the drill. 

Monday, 6 April 2015

Is Climbing a Religion? by Stevie saintly Haston.

 I got Jewish friends, I got Christian friends, I got Hindu friends, I got Muslim friends, I wanted to have a Parsee friend but Freddy Mercury died. It has to be said that most of my friends are infact climbers, or Climbers. Strangely they are fairly tolerant for religious nutters, they tend to be not very orthodox. They can split into sub groups, and then we tend to look at each other with a bit of a shrug, we get new prophets, it's not fixed, or finished  this new religion.  

I myself have been a boulderer  an ice climber, a mixed climber, an alpinist, a himalayan climber and a trad climber, I worshiped in all the churches, if there was a god I surely didn't want to take the chance of being wrong, so I hedged my bets and tried them all.

 But I always come back to the thing that took me to this worship, or this belief in something greater than myself, it was beauty. Colour, sparkle, the shimmer  of the ice, the sky changing tone, my skin burning on the stone, my knees buckling as my god scared me, and warned me that if I didn't take him seriously I would die.

I do like my religion, I worship stone, and sky, Snow and slopes, and sweat and sacrifice, and now I can't think of any words starting with S, I'am going to do a few sets of pull ups, and offer them up as prayer. May your God go with you.

Saturday, 4 April 2015

Clubable Climbers, by Stevie Sociable Haston.

climber arguing with gravity and failing.

It's Easter and kids are stuffing their faces with chocolate eggs, and the climbers are stuffing their fingers in sharp pockets. There is a group dynamic at the moment and we need to get together, and become an organisation to help climbing in Malta move foreward, and you know, it's really difficult, people are difficult and prickly, and the vision gets lost. Climbing is a really great sport for kids, adults, semi adults, and those folk who don't even know what classification they should be heaped under. We have just made an agreement to gain us access to private land to climb it's very important to us, and yet some  of us think we have a god given right to climb were ever we want. Well folks we don't have that right, we have reasonable access to governmental land to recreate, as do hunters and other folks, some times we might be in conflict, and yet we must somehow accommodate every body.  And remember our voice is small, and many people don't understand us, or our sport.
Communication and friends in high places go along way.

Ken in action. Actions speck louder than words in climbing, but politics unfortunately have to be employed to.

 This is Ken from the MCA, whose enthusiasm has taken him to 8a+ in a short time, and he is a guy like me who has recently tried to help bring us all together in an official way to make more head way with the government. Ken is a burly beast who has a very gentle manner, and he is very patient with the right authorities. I would like to thank him here publicly for all his work to get climbers together, and give them a platform, it is very important for us and him, to share our opinions and create a group consensus.    

Fellow climber perhaps? We need Members bring your own rope, and boots, Crosses optional, all religions, colours, nationalities.

 These guys are using their democratic right to carry wooden crosses around. There are a lot of democratic rights, and sometimes it's hard to understand a new one, or a minority one. There are more shot gun licenses on this island than in any other country in Europe, maybe the world, and yet we are a fairly peaceable nation. We don't normally shoot each other. Some of us would like to climb, we think it's healthy, good for staying in shape, and doesn't harm anyone, we also want more climbers especially from the Maltese. 

some carabiners and chains from old routes used in penance, well seriously, on some routes we want to re equip, this stuff would be better!  
At the moment we are trying to get funds to re equip lots of climbs, make them safer for every body, and make some new climbs. If you think you can help, or want to affect policy please talk to Ken, me, or anybody concerned. Please join the Malta Climbing Association, help us make group policy, and speak with one voice so we can get somewhere with the government, and local bodies. They want to help, but their rules mean they want to deal with the Association. Ok lets boogie, personally I don't even want to be a member of a club, but I am. Personally I don't want to be a member of an association of clubs, personally I just want to climb. But, and it's a big but, you need to communicate this stuff with the big boys, the government and the guys with money. Ok.