I'm a woman

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

Monday, 28 January 2019

The beast is slain, by Stevie Haston.

At last got the route! With the help of Christina and Mandy we climbed the cliff in iffy weather, but with determination-we were determined to get back to the car in one piece!

This cliff is a lot of fun, its big with a big feel.

The girls getting ready, sartorial elegance aside, puffer jacket went puff and spewed a few feathers and it was really too cold for tights!

Spot Christina!I was left waiting at the bottom, I think they thought it wise to take their time and enjoy the ambiance.

A bit lower, the abseil is very spectacular!

 this photo doesn't do the surge justice, my little camera has a delay on it, but we were getting wet and the sea is 5 or 6 meters under us.

The first pitch, no bolts, trad gear mainly slings on spikes, easy but bold.

Mandy smiling when it didn't really occur to her-"for the photo". 40 meter pitch.

 Christina leaning to bridge where you are meant to -with 85 meters of air under you, it felt hard! 40 meters again. All in all a great route, Gogarth in the UK would have this as a starred route, and it would be a classic. I need to add a few bolts, and bolt the first pitch so that others will love it. The Girls need to name it, it was their first new route! Its called Ganesh in the splits- they just mailed me.

Thursday, 24 January 2019

Through work comes Joy, by Stevie Haston.

Sometimes work is enjoyable! When you take 9 young kids out, it can, and nearly always causes panic in me, because I want them to love it so much, it is hard to manage.  

Weather was iffy, so more panic, I had to cancel stuff all week, I just don't want to disappoint kids. And jee, it's one of the young girls birthday.
Will you become a climber little Noelle?

"Ok girls, and one boy who has sneaked in, you will enjoy yourselves".

 Safe little kletter garden area, with sun, flowers, and lots of smiles.

There were cakes as well.

A tearful moment, quickly over, she then ran up the rest of the routes. Hard to believe the miracle that happens between fear, and joy. My fear is that they will simply not like the outside world, and climbing, but they always do!
 Special thanks go to Mandy- happy mum, and climber, Alex and Emma. Strangely we all had a great time, but were exhausted. The Big Question remains, how do heroic teachers manage big groups of kids without going mad?

Wednesday, 23 January 2019

Bachar belated goodbye, by Stevie Haston.

Its 10 years since Bachar died! I remember where I was when I heard the news, this isnt a joke, its just that it was an important event for me.
10 years have passed and some how his death has only hit me now. His passing came back to me a few days ago when doing a course for 10 little kiddies who were asking how safe climbing was. I had no problem saying climbing was safe, its as safe as life after all. Bachar lived to 52 years old! Bachar did incredible things that fed incredible things by climbers in the UK!
Climbing still owes a debt to Bachar. But hey kids dont be Bachar!

 For Bachar and others, stone is still sacred. To my friends who still climb, for the people who feel a tingle in their finger tips.

The new latest splash zone, I cant help feeling that Bachar would have liked it here.

 Gear, use gear and your chance of reading about others might increase! Use gear and it might be more boring too!

I still have the odd day soloing, I still love it. Will I die,? Yes of couse I will die. So before I go, I will thank now all those people who put a tingle in my finger tips, they are far too many people to mention (sadly) but Bachar is one, and I'll just mention Tony Willmot, because he was the first guy I knew who died soloing. Some of Tony's gear some how came into my clasp, and helped me stay alive!

Sunday, 13 January 2019

Big Audio Dynamite by Stevie Haston.

When you do a really good route, that you know is going to be enjoyed forever, well that pal, is a good feeling! 

 Simon looking happy placing a belay at the top of one of my old classic routes, its called "Spunky arete"6b+ or 6c depending who you talk to, or whether they fell off it, or not!

Can you just see Simon? Just in the middle there! He is on one of his classic routes in this new sector called Elephants Head.

 I am at the bottom of a route here, getting zapped by a wave!

Can you believe rock like this?
The route I did is 5a 40 metres and 6a 35 metres, for a truly classic two pitch climb!

 In this photo you can see an overhanging arete which isn't very hard, but is as exposed as you can get without being on the end of an Apollo rocket. My little sweet route is just left of this arete, and although not as exposed will still make you wet your pants!

A cold day, it was windy, and it rained to finish. Anyway the cliff let a few of its secrets out to me today. Despite having traversed this cliff on a 2 kilometre traverse, I still cant work it out very well. Anyway it's a pearl, with a bit of work it will be pure pleasure.

Sunday, 6 January 2019

Still smiling , still standing, by Stevie Haston.

So no politics, right? Got up, thought I got a couple of hours to kill befor my mate comes around to go climbing, So I do my mail, text zee girlfriend who is away, and try and stay away from the papers, or the internet! You know it just aint gonna work, but this is about climbing so no politics. Anyway my mate comes around and we start messing and joking, so I reckon the biggest joke is me insisting that we have Titanium bolts on the islands because they dont corrode-so whats the punch line I hear you ask? Well the bolts should last 50 years minimum! The bad news is we have only 12 years to sort out global warming!

Kayaking and swimming around these cliffs was great not today, a heavy swell and Butt freezing (for Gozo) temps made it a wooly hat day.

Simon packing two rucsacs a rope and a smile. 

 Whats he so happy about our islands are being sold to developers and the Prime minister wont allow drowning people to be put ashore! No politics!

Non political red sunset.
I am safe at home with a big cut in my head because a block of rock fell on me. Now normaly my head being hard, and some of our local rock being soft, the rock normally breaks, and leaves me unharmed. Well I must be getting soft cos I got a cut! Or is it a plot? So what did we find ? Routes-Golden routes Simon prepared 2, and I found four! I think one will be one of the best 6a's I will have ever done. It goes something like this. Abseil down towards the sea not believing that it can only be 6a, stare upwards, swear at the guy who put it up, swear at yourself for being conned, try to get your buddy to lead it. Piss your pants, shake and do an impression of mrs May doing an egyptian when she has had too many port and limes, and a big line of Coke.  Arrive at the top in a glow of beatification, swear to buy me a non tee total beverage and give me money. Goodnight, thanks for listening to the non political broadcast from Radio Gozo.   

Friday, 4 January 2019

The Ponzi Tunnel to Gozo, by Stevie Ponzi Haston.

I live on a small island, the island will soon sink under tourism, and a new population. The government wants to make this easier by a faster connection tunnel rather than the already fast ferry service, why? Votes as the wise man said! Does Gozo need more tourists? No it doesn't, we have too many! Does Gozo need better connections? No, not necessarily, people need access to hospitals and jobs, but they certainly don't need more cars, more people, less parking, less beach space for themselves, and just need less noise, hassle, and confusion. Do the people of my island want to be slaves to tourism and sacrifice their own happy slow life, and little island at the alter of servicing tourists, and the mighty euro?

What happens when your dives have too many people in them? Do you move to another country? Not everybody can move, eh?

What happens when there are too many tourists on your climbs?

 I am nowMaltese, was I ever British? Most people can't change their passport, they can't even change house!

 Lets change reef Said, ok? Well not really, that isn't easy when most hotels own the reef in some countries. Some hotels in Malta seem to exclude locals from common ground!

Peace and quiet, well not really, there's bird hunters and we had to really work hard to get away from everybody.

 Hunters excluding walkers!

Solitude costs more than you think, for most people solitude does not exist.

My own private bit of rock, how long before the Vandals, the Hun and the Pink skinned Brit invade.
There are a few issues here, there is mass tourism, there is immigration, there is the locals right to live in a reasonable way without their own government treating them like a theme park, and there is For Feck sake we are running out of land and space!

Thursday, 3 January 2019

New Years Rubbish,and Gifts by Stevie Haston.

Easy to make a resolution, not easy to keep. Is there any point in making a New years Resolution? My usual thoughts go around my..(continued lower down)...much lower down, ignor my advice to train!

A km out on the reef-whats below Said? Said my friend stay healthy strong and happy!

A project I wont do unless I pull not just one finger out, but lots! Train! It doesn't matter if they are New Years Resolutions or even if you fail- just try, have a go. Get off the sofa.

Alex looking happy on a expensive boat on a reef in the middle of a still breathing sea! Train Alex, there never is a next time, there never is a better time!Always say NEVER!

Alex looking aghast on one of the thousand of stretches of the Red sea covered in rubbish. We picked a few bits up, felt completely destroyed to see this over and over, but we always picked up a bit, remind me that my middle name is Sisyphus.

 My White cliff has rubbish thrown down it in several places! It's a warm winter cliff, looks like I am moving to be closer to this, it loose and 140 meters high.

Inspiration from a while back, thanks Jonny and Craig.

 Wind eroded soft limestone-hard to climb, easy to break!

Normal sunset at the moment!

Train at something everyday.
Finger Boarding along with climbing with some you can watch, and learn from, is the way to improve. Your character I cant really help.
Hello Said. greetings, train your breathing! .

befuddled head, pathetic!I am over weight, old, feeble, arthritic, with lots of small to large mental issues-yep I think I will resolve these by being young again, having better DNA and being King Canute's clever brother who knew about Tide Tables. Why not loose weight? Why not get fitter? Why not be kinder? So you fail, so what?  Why not try. "Sugar" as my dad used to say, "I have to try hard to get out of bed of a morning". In truth my dad used to use foul profanity, he also had a lot of trouble getting out of bed, he was parralised down one side, had a missing leg, undiagnosed stuff like a balled up hand getting worse, and  very little working inside his head-along with his usual demons. Tourettes wasn't a problem. Sometimes there was a shadow in his eye, where a thought or two of remorse would push out a tear, he was wishing he was better, less angry, could speak, tried harder, sometimes it worked, most times it didn't.

My resolution is to save some carbon and my own scant pennies, by eating local, using less "petro chems", so that I can climb, and swim in a few different places!