So was in that Magic place, its my happy place, yes it was Italy , nearly every where in Italy is 'my happy place". Italy even has cities I have been happy in for a few days! Indeed Italy is great. However the particular happy place was Aosta area! It was a surprise to me to be so emotional on this last visit, a combination of memories and first ascents, pleasurable days running and people who are very alive, real mountain people.
This is the Noire, I took this through the glass of where we were conducting an interview in a moments respite from questions, memories and just real complicated feelings about my climbing life. There will never be a Haston book, its just too complicated, so my boss wanted to get a little bit down on the record concerning my ice climbing and mixed climbing.
This is a new make of helmet from Grivel, I find it very practical, it's called the Duetto, and weighs 215 grams or 7.6 ounces. Part of my visit to Italy was to catch up on Grivel product as there were some great new things happening. If you know me, you will understand my life is led out doors, but some of it is just work, all be it to do with climbing and the outdoors.
Ezio and me were the subject of interviews and many questions! Ezio and I go back years and did a few great new routes together we were catching up as well as answering questions as our routes together were 24 years before!
The place of the interview was chosen to put me at my ease and create the right mood, I was treated with kid cloves and I must say it all worked. Having refused the interview a couple of times, some pressure and cajoling was put on me and against my better judgement I went. But as I said although not fond of saying, 'I can be wrong", I was wrong, the whole thing was a great idea!
Ezio Malier on his phone, the guy is an olympic grade talker. He was reminding me about a route I vaguely remembered, I got all the details wrong, I was sure one of us was injured-it was me apparently! The route was 7 pitches and had a beautiful waterfall pitch of 6+ which took me 1 and a half hours, we finished in the dark, Ezio called it Classic Haston as a compliment to me! It hasn't formed since.
If this bit of writing is too much 'me' forgive me, in some ways these few days were a celebration of my life and my friends and work mates were being just wonderful to a grumpy old climber. This is a cover in Italy's best climbing mag, it shows me obviously in my element on one of the local cliffs. Love of rock, love of ice, mountains forever!
Above Ezio and I are a Ibex and Chamois and old wooden skis and an old ice axe. I was saying to Ezio that I always watched where the chamois walked as they had better senses than ordinary humans. He agreed and was nice enough to say so did I. One of the questions I was asked was about risk and death and chance, a very complicated series of questions all together. My answer was possibly stupid as for me to die living "the life", is not a loss, we will see what I said. Many, many times I nearly died, avalanche, rocks etc, I always played my 'joker card" and was lucky enough to have a full pack of jokers, no ace, no king but all jokers! Anyway Ezio and I went climbing one of his new mixed routes, it was actually brilliant, we were filmed a bit etc but that wasn't the best bit for me. The best bit for me was meeting all the guys, the Aosta gang, Ice climbers, skiers, snowboarders, climbing guides, they were nearly all there on the Cable Car. There was fresh snow on high and the gang were out, wow.