I'm a woman

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

Friday, 25 August 2017

Maurice Fargues by Stevie not Maurice Haston.

"The sea is calm, the sky is clear", these are the words spoken in his honour at a ceremony celebrating his death. Who was Maurice Fargues?

Maurice was a friend  of Jacques Cousteau who was second in command of a navy project which was experimenting with tanks of air and diving. Maurice was a young man of 34 with two kids, and had previously pulled out the now famous Cousteau, and his other boss out of the Fontaine de  Voucluse when they got Nitrogen narcosis compounded by carbon monoxide! This was the forefront of human exploration, as captivating, or more to me than future moon landings!

Why does Maurices death still affect me? You have to go back in time to how a young boys mind works-and of course "working mind" is perhaps not the term which is most accurate in describing with male brain function.

My young mind and perhaps it is egotistical to speak only of my mind but mine was seriously affected by thoughts of adventure! People who are my age, and a little bit older where fundamentally affected by Jacques Cousteau, and another man called Marcel Ichac - this is even more true in France. Although French, Cousteau was all over the UK cinema, he made great little films, and had that modest intelligent demeanour that has largely disappeared from sportsmen's portfolio. Cousteau when he was a kid had teamed  up with Marcel Ichac in Megeve, just a long stones throw from the mecca of World Alpinism! Synchronicity is a funny thing-isnt it? Marcel ended up the Alpinist chap who did a documentary about Annapurna,  and of course Cousteau did the underwater stuff-the two other Poles of the Earth. My little life has been fundamentally damaged, or enhanced by all this propaganda. I guess without these two guys Ichac and Cousteau, and the caving book by the frenchman …. I would not be who I am.

Now back to Maurice Fargues. Maurice died on the end of a rope at 120meters depth, he had successfully signed his name on a slate, but then for obvious reasons (nitrogen narcosis) started his journey towards death. He died on normal air -air becomes toxic at -66 meters, or even before.
He died in an experiment to understand depth and air toxicity, in doing so he saved lives. He was a French Navy diver and there is a room some where named after him in a Naval school- better than the small polluted round about named after Lionel Terray in Chamonix! Ichac did a documentary about Lionel which I haven't seen BTW-hope it was good.

So now you know who Maurice Fargues was! Thanks Maurice for your service.

As a footnote I would like to mention Cousteaus brother Antoine who was nasty piece of work, and who wrote a paper during the war with very dubious  content, he was anti semitic,

    Diving and climbing are accessible to all thanks to the few who went before.

Me warding of Nitrogen narcosis…thanks Maurice.

and defended collaboration even after the war, he spoke in favour of internment of Jews
 that earned him the death penalty. This sentence was commuted to a long prison term. Cousteau kept a very long arms distance away from his sibling, and was of a profoundly different structure, but I would, I think be remiss in not mentioning this evil. Evil is there, it can even appear in our own sport, climbers are not immune from being dicks, or worse. Climbers being dragged into the Nazi propaganda machine is an easy example of it.   Anyway here is me raising a glass to diving and climbing, sometimes the confusing thing about people is they can do something great with their left hand, but something awful with the right. It took me two broken legs to understand the ground was hard, other moral and political lessons seem to be getting confused in todays silly times.

Tuesday, 22 August 2017

Controversy, gear and fear, by Stevie Shaking Haston.

 A little light discussion might follow! Those of an argumentative nature should probably talk about football, or politics.

This arch of beautiful rock has gone the way of many humans,poof it is no more. The Azure Window as it was viewed by my dog who was more interested in sniffing out human shit.

The world changes, "nuffing" as they say stays the same. A sea arch falls down and a nation goes into mourning, albeit a small tiny nation.  The temperature of the earth changes and what happens to peoples psyche-shit they just buy more sun tan lotion! People are truly dumb, Trump master bating (baking he certainly nurtured them) the Nazi and other evil deviants. The Nation Health Service  in the UK is being sold to people like Richard Branson, and nobody seems to care. Well.

 My little life betwixt the sky and the sea floor.

The rescue services of Chamonix, guys I used to boulder with, and who would risk their lives to save my sorry ass have recently issued some guide lines about equipment. Nothing terrible an ax, crampons, suitable foot wear, and a down jacket, strangely enough I have nearly always taken just that. Sometimes a little cord was added for rappels or crevasses! It sufficed for hundreds, or thousands of routes. Was I safe-who knows-but at least I covered my bases. Is a runner in trainers safe on the MontBlanc, well depends on the runner, but generally we would have to say, no he isn't equipped. Was Honnold well equipped on Freerider? Yes I think he was. Would I have been safe on Freerider with the same gear? Of course not, my mental equipment, and skill level were and are inadequate. 

 An old tradition of Lace making, my mother and her mother did it,we try to keep it alive, but very few care.

Some things change,climbing has changed, but being cold and slipping down towards a crevasse are largely the same I would say. So kit up. I have always said that racing is for the track, even though I have raced in the mountains. The time for the Blanc can only go down by a few mins, and if you ask me the real time is a good bit slowed. 

 Naked before the Fan.

Naked Before the Mountain was the title of a book by  who? Certainly not a runner, naked this, Alpine style that, Naked Climbing was a term of Voytek used to differentiate his ascents from lower climbers, Fast and Free was a term I like, and grew up with and even propounded. They are all just marketing in many ways. The book about Voytek which I will review next goes into detail how Voytek thinks his best climbing partner was locked into a competitive battle with Messener to climb all 8000sand meter peaks-well of course he was! But Voyteks very climbing was the same, it was all one upmanship.

When you are in an Alien environment you must take certain precautions- you are a visitor only!

I spend time in the water, probably half my free time is in the water, I know the sea since a child, it is not my friend, but I still love the sea. I treat the sea with huge respect, different equipment choices, I never race the sea, never. Do I go into it naked-yes I do. I sometimes have used tanks of air, and I also free dive-is one better than the other-no it isn't. In the mountains with snow and ice and crevasses, an ax is a very handy bit of kit, so are a good appropriate pair of shoes with some spikes on it. Have more Fun and success, but engage brain, its an often neglected bit of kit.

Monday, 14 August 2017

The Art of Freedom, a biography of Voytek Kurtyka by Bernadette McDonald reviewed by Stevie Haston.

So looked in my mail box, and found what I been waiting for-the book arrived. Like a bright cloud on a grey day, it's a happy sight,  promise of a change in the weather, or in this case a good few hours immersed in mountains.

 the long awaited book.

Is it better to do or to read about the doing by others? In the case of Voytek, maybe we all can just rest calm, lie on the sofa and enjoy his climbs. Can one enjoy the first ascent of the mythic West Face of Gasherbrum 1V, which Kurtyka and Schauer did all those years ago? Can one visit the day when standards were perhaps frozen? We will see, for as yet the book is open, or opened at odd photos which sometimes trigger emotions and memories. 

John Porters photo of the 1978 team of Porter, Zurek, Kurtyka, and Dirty Alex MacIntyre.

I have been climbing in the morning,  Free Dived in the early afternoon, and now I will vicariously share steep, startling difficult climbs, on my sofa. In the picture above you will see a big rucsacs carried by slight men, their houses and futures loaded on their backs, refugees from the modern world trying to rediscover pre second world war commitment. Kurtyka has often hidden, or ducked interviews, and celebrity, perhaps this book will tell us why. Soon I will share my impressions of this book, of this great climber, until then take it from me, the thoughts of some of these climbs sends shivers down my weak spine. Bye from the sofa.

The Book is published by Vertebrate publishing, and Rocky Mountain Books Canada.

Sunday, 13 August 2017

Selling Hot Rocks, by Stevie Haston.

Right wing extremist riots in southern states of America, threats of  war by the Trump Monster, the Out Door Show goes to Denver… life such as it is goes on. I guess there will come a time when life won't go on, oh, maybe that will come  sooner than we think.

 exploring the coast with Gozo Adventures and Alex.

Anyway "whats the use of worrying" as the song goes. Songs like that were perhaps paid for by the governmental propaganda machine, so I have put in a bid for next years song lyrics. Lines like "when in doubt run it out", "To Desmond, or not to Desmond", "there I was, way, way above my RPs", "my pick snapped",  "I'am short of the belay", "I'ave just dropped the stove"…..

 Tony and Francois, if you can get their second names, award your self a beer, or a rice cake depending on which end of the climbing scale your on.

When a famous guy, or girl die, they sometimes erect a statue in their honour! But if you have been a caver, and a climber, perhaps the statue, and the hole cancel each other out, so there is just nothing!Ah nothing, lovely nuffin.

 Work does this to me.

The sea is hovering at 32 degrees C, a few more degrees than normal, Global warming has fully kicked in, and the BBC, the British Broadcasting Coooonts are still trying to mislead the public on it, it's not just Trump.

 Jake, in climbing mode, and not designing stuff mode.

I had an incredible urge to stay in Utah, the reason is that despite what you hear about Utah from certain climbing manufacturers', it is a great state, not a perfect State, but a great State. We are now moving the Out Door Show to Colorado which is supposed to be better, the state where they have Fracking plants next to schools! Mind you they have freed the Weed! The politics and humbug of pretending to be politically correct, and being goody- goody green, and an easy marketing ploy have more to do with the move to Denver than reality! But hey, the climbing marketing and bull shizer humbug went fully Trump years ago.


Bar humbug. There should be an article about climbing in Gozo and Malta in Klettern, the German Magazine  I may have had something to do with this article, and the climbing! It may or not be any good, have a look. Cheers.

Tuesday, 8 August 2017

Guide book thieves, by Stevie Haston.

People are often nasty, rarely correct. For years now a few climbers have done the lions share of the routes and crag maintenance on Malta and now people are putting info out for their own profit and gain! If people who have done no local work accrue the money doesn't it sound like crookery to you!

 A Bonfire of Vanities, a conflagration of mirrors…

I cannot continue my contribution to route development if people continually steal the info. I am by no means  rich, and have trouble doing what I do, if certain people continue to give away the fruits of what a few climbers here shed blood for I will stop developing routes, and my info will remain for my friends.

 A little bouldering place which will in all likely hood stay secret now.

 There are 27 new routes at this cliff not in the guide book, these will stay for my friends if people continue to muscle and thieve info!

 Old bit of protection, Titanium is what the modern UIAA recommendations suggest is the best, which would you like?

Patrick on the Last of the Mohicans, a brilliant project that needs better equipment.

I really have trouble understanding people who steal from poor climbers! So please you climbers out there, in the case of a small area, buy local guidebooks and donate to a fund for local climbing.

Thursday, 3 August 2017

The Eye of the Beholder, by Stevie all seeing Haston.

 Gozo can be very beautiful if you have eyes to see, and the fingers and heart to feel. 6a.

Sorry this isn't about City of the Rocks in Idaho, but you will have to lump it.

 a place of worship between the cliffs, the chestnut trees, and heaven, half way up a good hours walk up the hill is this place…

Different places different moods, Italy, America, India, all the same, no not really, but what can you say there is the same thread, worship of certain things, for me its trees, mountains, sea, flowers ….. 

 Stevie myself I, doing my Polish Miner impression.

I am not from Poland and wasn't a chimney sweep but after a couple of nights out on the town I can look a bit rough…

 Pitch two, how many pitches have I done in my poxy life?

 Devil Fish with the Devil in Red.

First day back in the sea I was down beyond 20 meters, it was lovely, not the Green room, the Blue room, well its neither Green nor Blue, its in-between. 

The Eye has it, these fish can see you through fog, beware the Jubjub fish!

Fish predators and raptors have huge eyes, predators eyes- babies have big eyes too-they prey on your love.

Wednesday, 2 August 2017

Maple sirop, no pancakes by Stevie the bear Haston.

Arriving at SaltLake City the other day was hard, modern travel seems to leave your soul far behind, but as soon as I got through bothersome immigration I smiled, America!

  The Interstate is more of a soul renacher, the big trucks the big cars, they scream consumerism and excess… but its what feeds me, its the modern dilemma. The sign which says Las Vegas is very tempting to take, avoid the Climbing Trade show and go straight to climbing!

 Danger humans this sign should have said.

Effectively I did avoid the trade show-between the kindness of my bosses, a bit of clubbing in Maple Canyon was arranged with Big Narhan. Nathan now does guide books and media for climbing brands, employ this man he is good.


Maple Canyon is a place I love, its conglomerate climbing with often long pitches or big roofs, it has a habit of getting  you fit, Not in one session however-one session will often destroy you.

 Sector Zen Garden, I had last climbed here 15 years ago with Laurence Gouault.

Ah memories, so many of my memories are in America.

 What a pleasant belay seat.

The show was very good for me, met lots of friends, and did my stuff well-even if I do say so myself! Unfortunately I didn't see Steve and Cynthia, so if you are reading this, I am sorry, very sorry. I might see you in the winter, ice climbing may be re invented for me, and whiskey and ice will suffer.

Leaving Maple, you cannot now guawk at the insane turkey farms with there overcrowding, it has all been sanitising with anti terrorism laws so you don't get close. But this unexpected wonderful sight might make yo smile and believe in old America.

Tuesday, 1 August 2017

America my second home, by Stevie Haston.

So I'ave been to Italy and America and I haven't blogged or posted anything, I'ave been slack lazy, I have a malaise, but I will try harder. 

 My island is good but it is small, four pitches high in one dimension.

The climbing what little I have done has been truly wonderful, a classic multi pitch in Italy with two nice Italian boys who love climbing. Company is one of the prime ingredients of good climbing, although I have enjoyed soloing, its because I have a multiple personality.


 Grand Torino, was in Turin but this is in Germany so obviously was in Germany as well. 5 litre engine carbon foot print is big to Big at the moment.

The show in Germany was good, but the USA one was better, more fun-I have to thank a few, Jake and Doug, and Nathan and Rich, Pete, and the boss Gary. And all the others around the Liberty Mountain Booth, and all my mates in the States, wow, thanks guys, and girls. 

 Italy, this is the normal Macherby cliff, we climbed on a steeper buttress!

Napoleon went around to attack the local fortress by steep hiking with a big army, the Italians were probably drinking and making love and messing about so northern Italy was lost. Did Napolian think about climbing? 

 Brill  route 6 pitches, I have been wanting to do it for more than 20 years.

A wonderful walk up through a chestnut forest followed by a great route and then and over large late lunch. I didn't for once drink the grappa!

 Francoise a good lad, employ him if you was a goods climbing.

The Rose was maximum 6b, brill rock, which unusually for Gneiss has pockets, unbelievable quality climbing thanks gus, was going to have a run in the heat and veg out. Instead….pleasure. 

Oliviero poor fellow 12 pitches the day before and a mother 6 today, blisters and no bad temper, we fly tomorrow dude!

So went to America the next day, America under Trump is still a great place but maybe its better because they understand that something is very, very wrong.  Anyway I,ll get on the case and blog a bit more. I might even write something good, or long. If people less than half my age have written books perhaps I should. Or at least I should try!