I'm a woman

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

Monday, 25 December 2017

Ho Ho Ho, by Stevie Ho Chi Haston.

Firstly, happy seasonal greetings, even grumps like me can get behind this silly bon homy. Secondly there is no secondly, lets all wish each other the best and mean it! Words are cheap but they are good nice little words, Happy solstice!

 Little Emma going for it, a bit cold yesterday but she's tough! This is a Gozo Fisherman's route and she was full of respect for them.

The weather has been a bit all over the place lately, cold, windy, perturbed-like the male violence of most unkind politics and political thieves and bully boys. Any way, good vibes and good times to you all even if you know you don't really deserve it from me!

 Fatso descending a skinny stretchy rope to look at a prospective route

 The skinny stretchy rope belayed to a small boulder along way away, in between is a big hole so even if the rock was pulled by my enormous weight it would fall down the hole-I reckon!

 Don't you love these rocks, on top of a wonderful cliff!

yet another finish to another brill shiny thing!

Went swimming, and climbing, and diving, and scuba this week, all good. Tried not to think about politics, this is actually fairly easy on a skinny stretchy rope with a good rub point over the cliff edge. I recommend it! Today I swam through a lovely rock arch deep under the sea and the lubricous peace and serenity I found there was  wonderful, alas it was also untransportable. I still must harbour a nasty element because the two large Dentex at 55 meters looked at me with a definite distrust and did not wish me seasonal greetings! Must do more yoga. Am looking towards the New Year and a detox, and a month of morning yoga. It will be a new year, time to be reborn and make things better. More good routes, as I said before good vibes to you all. Salem Alekcum, or as we say in Maltese Alekcum which means peace to you, wow the same words who would have ever thunk it! And to my Jewish brothers and sisters, Shalom, Same Same, are we not we all the same? Well us peaceful folks are at any rate.


Saturday, 16 December 2017

Benedicto Pacifico Ramirez, by Stevie "the Rat" Haston.

Pacifico I aint, it is something I aspire to, like a new ocean to be explored,if I am unlucky it will be in my next life!
Waiting for a friend to pop!

The questions and doubts about your ability are at once the aspect that is most interesting about hard prolonged climbs or the most soul crushing.

My otherwise heroic body has let me down recently, after doing a couple of good hard routes, my shoulder has decided to be incapable of doing much, or agreeing to even think about doing much. My left knee too. Threats haven't worked!

 The Elves came early this Xmass, this one levitates!

Yoga mild and slow, swimming mild and slow, some good food, and certainly I won't be drinking and binging for the stupid festivities to honour a painted idol without any ears. He (for he is a he, so they say) has not listened to me once for my desire to be profoundly strong and healthy.

Hard work has brought back the splits - normal and box… every time I loose the splits I think they will never come back and then I find them again-just hard work.

presents from kind people.  

Only five routes here!!!

Looking at the above wall is so great, a 6a corner a three pitch adventure climbing thru the arch, two great multi pitch corner climbs and a 50 meter overhanging wall that would not be out of place in France.

Nice Bridge from little Lilly. 

One of the companies I work for will be 200 years old next year, just think 200 years in the mountains, thats a bit more than my 60 years most of which has been climbing!Is the world better than 200 years ago? Glaciers are smaller, less infant mortality, but very few Grandes Jorasses with Walker Spurs to do first on. When we are all put out of work by computers and robots, when there are no rocks to climb because Trump has turned them into coal, when we can't touch our toes, what will be our point? Your point might be different from mine, mine was certainly a very pointy point, but at least it wasn't a flat field below sea leval like a dull grey field in the fog in Holland!

Wednesday, 13 December 2017

Climbing, caving and diving. By Stevie amphibious Haston.

Do you like many things? Or do you like a few good things, or do you stick to one thing? I Love many things and have managed to love many of them through ups and downs,often literally. Apologies to Doug Scott for misspelling his name 5 or 6 times, I can only put it down to some time at high altitude, and broken brain cells, plus too much time underwater, and soggy brain cells!

 Chalk I am afraid is as different as chalk and cheese, this stuff is the dog's gonads.

If I had a choice today I would be on a sunny high traverse in the Karakorum of Pakistan, but I am just a poor man, though my wishes are often known; my lack of funds allows me time, but not money to squander. Apologies to The Boxer, oh and add training in Thailand under a strict nasty trainer in the jungle to my list of things I wanna do!

Todays dive. Coming out through the little tunnel with little waves in the sand was fairly Nexus 6.

Too much gear? Not enough gear?
Whatever I do, the dog is generally up for it, he sometimes watches the bubbles and swims over, poor thing, shall I get him a mask and a tank?

lovely easy route in the sun!!

Is climbing an easy option, it certainly is when its easy. Today I went diving a route underwater which is a little bit severe for odd little reasons but it was very interesting and worth while. There is a universe of wonderful things and we are so limited by time experience and money. The snow is there early, be careful if you are sliding around in the snow or on boards! If you are under water, remember the first rule of Cave Diving is, "Don't go Cave Diving".

Monday, 11 December 2017

The Ogre by Doug Scot review Stevie Haston.

The Ogre is a great mountain complex and beautiful, in this book by Doug Scot it's history and location is all treated with meticulous detail, and love. The Ogre's proper name is Bainth Brakk, not that the Ogre cares that much, history and men, women and egos, will not effect these mountains that much, that is probably one of the reasons we all love mountains -they are above us. One of the things Doug does so well in the book is show how small we are in the context of this huge mountain chain.

The cover is some how inadequate to convey the bulk of this gigantic mountain, the contents do it proud.

I liked this book immensely, and it is a timely reminder of how much Doug Scot has done. I was not a great fan of his when with Dougald Macsporan Haston he conquered Everest on supplementary oxygen in 1975, but in Dougs other many many expeditions he always showed a sense of adventure and massive respect for the mountain and more importantly the people surrounding the mountain. This small book is some how perfect in construction, it is in two parts, the history of the mountain and its location, and the second part, the story (I might even say epic story) of the injuries to Doug and to Chris Bonnington and their slow tortuous decent of the mountain.

Climbing books should have maps, stacks and stacks of maps!

If you haven't been to the Karakorum you are missing something special, the biggest glaciers outside the Antarctic, and the most high mountains in the world. The Karakorum is different from the himalaya proper and this comes out well in the book-although the political ramifications which has affected the area has not been gone into. With this book you get a good glimpse of the area and a detailed account of the Ogre in all its bulky glory. The Ogre is a complex mountain more toad like in its immensity than spire, but it is huge and foreboding. This difficult climb which was repeated some 30 years later to the amazement of the younger Huber brother stands as a very good achievement to that group UK climbers all those years ago.

 Doug Scot a great product of his age, countless expeditions and many a good deed.

Doug Scots is known for his climbing, but climbing is just climbing, just as in the book the climbing is secondary to the loyalty of Clive and Mo who literally saved two lives, so it might come as a shock to many that Doug's work in these mountains is really of great importance. As a thank you to the local people Doug set up a charity which brought water to a village and over the years this has saved many lives. Doug with this book is also saying thank you to Clive and Mo. It is great that this story has found a proper place in detail, and is not just a pub tale talked over quickly and then not even known about by the younger generation.

 We often forget the people and take mountains out of their own context, the very word Karakorum means black rocks, they were a barrier to trade and war.

 Clive and Mo, two guys who were very handy and tough, and in the context of this book brought Doug and Chris back from the clutches of an uncaring Ogre.

I can't say more, I have read the book twice, and will read it many times again, I will gaze at the many fine photos and dream. To talk more of its contents is to rob you of some of the joy. It is great that the book is in two such interesting but different parts, history and actuality. Mr Scot promises to do a few more books like this, one can only hope that they come up to this fantastic standard. Apparently the book was done very quickly, so much credit no doubt goes to other people-I personally thank everybody concerned. You can read this book and be happy, and there is a very big lesson within its pages which should not be forgotten. What is the lesson? Choose your rope mates with care! 

Wednesday, 6 December 2017

Scarpa climbing shoes, by Stevie Haston

If I said Scarpa climbing shoes keep getting better, I wouldn't be accurate because its hard to get better than some of there present and even some of their older shoes. Check them out and see if they fit your feet and your needs. Remember in climbing shoes the shape of the last, and the shape of the foot must go together otherwise it's not gonna happen. And remember reviews and reviews are sometimes paid for and some sponsored climbers can lie in 5 different languages! Try lots of shoes /boots on!

Chimera a startling good to absolutely profoundly magnificent!

The surest way to get better is not one arm pull ups, its feeling and understanding the foot hold and levering your body into the correct position for pushing and pulling up wards. Good shoes and understanding the shoe and the rubber will help you enormously.

 Drago is a very good steep rock shoe with the most toe rubber around for those funky toe hooks! Single velcro makes it a great bouldering shoe.

 Booster can stand on almost anything! Two velcro tabs make it convenient for most things if you size it comfy you should be able to wear it for multi pitch.

 Booster, it has a bit more support than I generally need unless theres a lot of edging and on long pitches it becomes more useful to me.

Spend as much time picking your shoes as you can or the assistant will tolerate, its a very important thing to do. Fit is everything, I can tolerate some pain for quite a while but most people can't, but in all cases try to avoid large empty spaces in your shoes, if there is an empty space your ability to push on that part of the shoe is vastly compromised.

Drago, slightly narrower toe box means I can get in the back of smaller pockets, great heel as with all the newer Scarpa shoe.
 Always take two pairs of shoes in your bag rucsac. Size matters!Style, as in design and performance matters absolutely. Think about your climbing more, understand climbing. Shoes are your primary tool.

Tuesday, 5 December 2017

Apropos of Nuffing, by Stevie half enlightened Haston.

I just saw that Hazel Finley did Salathea free- not much reaction from the climbing plebs. I saw that a girl did 9b-not much reaction from the climbing plebs. It does seem you have to do an awful lot to get noticed if you have the an appendage missing.

 the chillies are still growing, all my lettuce, chillies, a few tomatoes, and some greens are grown on two balconies.

There is less of me today than before, yet I think and hope that I am growing. I do my yoga everyday, it's like tending the garden, the sun shines (yes I am lucky), I grow but not side ways, something is growing within.

Shiva is a god in a certain part of the world, Shivling is a mountain!

To see, some times you must open your eyes. When I stared at Shivling 28 years ago I probably ceased to be a climber! I fell in love with mountains when I was young, but when I stared at Shivling I realised that in some way I was the mountain. Today people get embarrassed about talking from the heart more and more. We are told not to help poor people, it will only encourage them, we are told to respect other peoples views when they are clearly and fundamentally cruel, and wrong, we are guided by the payed for media, and our credit, our mortgage!

 Rishikesh, go there for a Satsang

I got robbed by monkeys (real monkeys if your wondering if it is a racist remark) on this bridge, they were clever, worked in gangs, used distraction and ambush. I want to go again, not to be robbed, but to listen to wise people. There is a man who speaks here called Mooji, he and I were living in Brixton many years ago, his path led him one way and mine another. I like to think it is a circular path and one day I will catch up with him.

 My path led me here, if I live longer, were will I go, who will I be, will I grow?

Why do we still think in terms of skin tone, and clothes? I still think in terms of success, not money, but climbs, and swimming, I still like to try hard-but the one thing you shouldn't have to try hard is how to love your fellow man. One friend this morning Andy Bailey reminded me by a photo of a steel works now long gone of how progressive governments have abandoned much of the UK to poverty, and depression. Another friend Des, showed me the way the earth is represented to give more significance to the UK, and its old Imperial importance. If you fly you can see all this very clearly, I love flying over the British Peak district and looking at its hugely important tiny gritstone edges, they are sometimes hardly higher than a hawthorn hedge! If you compare Burbage Edge to Shivling, or more especially Nang Parbat you might be a bit shocked. I laugh. Mooji and  Stevie, Brixton boys, same, same, different paths, one is ahead on the circular path -I think.

the world is misshaped on purpose. The UK is indeed small. How many Chines and Indian brothers and sisters do we have?

Africa is way bigger than you think, they lied to you, they always lie to you, its their job!

Peace and joy in your heart Satnam.

Thursday, 30 November 2017

Front page in 1979, by Stevie bad boy Haston.

 I aint got time to write this morning but this was the Mail front page in  1979.

This week I wrote a couple of snippets for a book, and an american article, but the kids found some of my dead mum press cuttings, first time I seen them for many a year.

 This strong boy broke two axes 5 out of 12 axes were broken! It was cold.

 Pilot was good, man on the winch cable got my jacket as a gift.

 Some readers thought no wonder I got cold dressed like this, "the rock suddenly gave way" looks like I am soloing grit there, its probably a photo of Chris Griffith's.

 I think Simon made a bit of Dosh out of it, he subsequently wrote a fairly accurate section in his award winning book The Bond.

 Beduin child.
Add caption. This is the Stevie the human swastika from the guardian possibly….

I was on ITV several times, News at 6, once live, I managed not to swear! In one article I was from Brixton, this was a reason we were on telly, because there were riots in Brixton! Distract the people! 

Monday, 27 November 2017

Turning Turner, going Gozo, by Stevie Haston

Master Ken belaying Francesco (?) 7b big island.

The painter Turner would have had a great time on my little island, best skies around this time of the year, it goes from averagely interesting, to way over the top-and of course during the war (second,lets not talk of the others) lots of smoking, limping, sinking ships to have painted!

 There's a lot of Blue here in the names but we often call it Azure when we remember our own language. Blue Lagoon, Blue Hole etc.

The variety of colour on rock is a mute point for many, they just don't see it, do they? Suppose it might depend on how big the pallet of colours your rocks have, but here, its a lot, try Bryce Canyon Utah, or the Verdon, or…..

 Ordinary sky number 1

Did you know that colour disappears according to depth underwater? So a red starfish will turn purple as you go deeper, until at around 60 meters blue disappears! It's a funny event! I always like the way holds start to disappear from sight as your fore arms get pumped, it's a disconcerting, but funny event also! 

Ordinary sky a bit later.

Morals, laws seem to disappear also when money is involved. It is not a funny event.

The way of the Sufi, or here Comes the Dervish.

Training is going well, keep hydrated it is very important!

Saturday, 25 November 2017

Plugging myself into the mains. by Stevie Haston.

The Way of the Sufi was a book I read many years ago, and they have fascinated me ever since, so it was with utter shock and horror that I read of the terrible tragedy with the cruel slaughter of more than 300 praying people in a Mosque. I doubt if anyone is now changing their Face book colours to Egypts, I am tempted, but like all shallow things in the face of senseless killing I,ll forego it, and save my money and go back to Sinai as soon as possible to show some solidarity.

 are you religious?

I do worship, I think every body does. But mine as you know is to do with the natural spirits and emotions that seem to be gloriously vibrant in certain natural places like cliffs, waterfalls, mountain, glacier and the sea!  Who worships cruelty, murder, and death?

 I am headless…not Ostrich like…. I was so happy listening to the songs, the calls to prayer, and watching the observance of prayer, being with lovely fair, good people.

Anyway not to dwell, I'll change the subject, Ogre, the Ogre in the mountain, or in your soul, the mote in Gods Eye, have you one?
The dedication inside Doug Scots very fine looking book is to Chris, Clive, Mo, Nick and Tut.
It is regrettably a small but succulent  book, rather than brashly big, or coffee table tome like. Chris is of course Bonnington, Tut is Braithwaite, Nick is Escourt, Mo is of course Antoine, and Clive is Rowland. I have had the incredible pleasure of at least knowing the great Mo Antoine fairly well, the story of Doug Scots injury and that of Chris is not that well known today, but should be, because it underlines loyalty and good correct action in bad and dangerous times. 

 A review of what looks like a very good book will come shortly.

There is no greater thief than a book, but it is often an invitation to voyage, here this book looks like a lesson in looking after your brothers. Please look after your brothers, and sisters people, look after the sick, and the poor, and the elderly. And if your in the mountains look after your rope mate, remember the Void will look back at you with a question mark if you don't.

Gozo subdued hues.

Training is very much part of my weeks, reforging steel seems harder this year. Hard is not impossible one must tell ones self. Repeat after me, Hard is not impossible!

Wednesday, 22 November 2017

The Best Climber, by Stevie Medium Haston.

The "Best Climber" is not the one who is having more fun, but the most angst ridden!
Alex Lowe's throw away remark about enjoying yourself, and not worrying about grades was probably based more on his nice feelings for lesser warriors than himself- he was a nice man after all. I on the other hand am not-get moving, get all knotted up, look in the mirror, and see a failure, and change!

 trying and feeling like a sac of potatoes!

I have been failing, working, and enjoying myself, I have not been putting it on the line, has it mattered, yes it has-I have done no really nasty hard routes lately.

sports where your weight is carried for you encourage an addition in ounces or grams around the waist.

It's been necessary to earn some money this year, and work on my happiness. I am sorry, oh great routes that were lurking on cliffs, you will have to wait. Likewise all you stupendous mountains in the Himilaya, well you know I just can't justify the expenditure in money and finances. I always wonder about the Piolet D'Or, and how they think that ten people who are either insane, or sponsored by governments or corporations, are worthy of accolades in anything but acting. Anyway we all like a great route, probably better if we some how accomplished it ourselves. But how. Well hard work I guess, if you are not a talented genius.

 I once stood on the shoulder of Orion.

Anyway Winter is here, Time to die, Time to be reborn in the furness of the Fingerboard.

 Less of this malarky, weight belts were never invented for diving, but were for pull ups.

So I was looking at one of my old projects a few days ago , "Gee that looks F…ing hard", I whispered to the warrior within, the warrior shrugged like an aquatic Atlas, and looked at the deep azure water underneath ,"Cant we go diving " Atlas sobbed. I went Diving, but came home and did my pull ups!

I mentioned this cover a while ago, it won my Piolet d'Or in the head, the Trotsky axe, or the Trump thumper Axe, 99 dollar veeery cheap my friend.

At the Kendal Film Festival the film about exploratory climbing called Ario won the film awards! Well it's good, I have seen some of it and it is gripping. Kinda funny when the winning film isn't climbing! Well Caving is climbing to me, just as snowboarding always has been, but quintessential climbing should from time to time be Rock, in the words of Farrokh Bulsara "We will rock you". Strangely my mothers families name is a corruption of Farrok, and all this blaa blaa is because I want to underline "I will absolutely do my finger training" and not piss about and flirt off into being a singer, or some other distraction from the pure path of Rock.