I'm a woman

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

Sunday, 28 December 2014

Balls to Xmas, climbing is better. by Stevie Haston.

Do you have a love hate relationship with humanity? Maybe? It's that time of year, when for a week people sometimes smile at each other, give gifts, and go yo ho ho. Its all daft cos the rest of the year everybody is not that nice. 

  So here's a truth, it's my gift for Xmas, everybody knows it, but since we are all ego based and crass human beings we ignore it when it suits us. Climbing grades don't make any sense, but sometimes, or often, they are really nonsense, the whole basis on which we judge difficulty is based on make believe, and it is now proved time and time again by people with small fingers. You may well say yes but the little blighters can't reach holds, and this is true, but hey we don't judge them by what they can't do, we just judge them by what the head lines tell us they crush.

So bowling balls know all about difference in size, but climbing magazine editors clearly don't have any balls and never will. Small holds as well as  pockets are easier to pull on if you fit them. Holds below 6mm are really hard for people with fat meaty fingers. 

If you are heavy and have big feet, rubber will rip and tear easier, even if the boots are really well designed.

 This carabiner is a year old! I just took it off one of my routes, its a very good binner by a very good manufacturer, beware.
Anyway none of this matters if you like climbing, today like Xmas day I was climbing with friends and it was great, trying a route that is 50 meter and over hangs about 40 or 45 meters, it's a gift. 
There you go it's my gift to you all, its called Pleasant Pheasant Plucker.

Tuesday, 23 December 2014

Utah Dreaming by Stevie Haston

The O.R or Out door retail show in SaltLake City Utah might be requiring my skills. If this happens I get to see a great bunch of people and do a bit of work. I,ll keep you posted.

So this is a slight abstract, I like snow, I like rock, and I like sea.
I like Utah, I like Malta, Colorado, about a third of France, most of the Himalayas, and some other assorted bits and bobs. Don't like Lift Lines, motor ways, super markets, phones, bolts that rust.
 Super hard, pull on a finger nail size bit of rock, like in the verdon, or pull on a jug and it explodes in an audible poof of noise and dust.  
 Art is in the eye of the beholder, in this case not so much a painting as peeled paint. It reminded me of Indian art in the desert.
When is it Art, art, or just graffiti.
When is erotica, porn, when are climbing mags titillation. 

Always admired the way a Praying Mantis thanks her Lover. Thankyou Mister thank you very much, I mean munch.

    My majesticness, your majesticness, our majesticness.

Add caption

A night on the tiles.
Take the hidden door,

the path less travelled

Thursday, 18 December 2014

The Winkie Wankie bird. By Stevie Haston.

 Trusting this conveniently placed Butt blug belay was always going to have a risk, the risk being that when the coast guard rescue you, it's hard to explain how this rather odd shaped pole catapulted down the cliff and accidentally got stuck up yer bum. But there you go. Plus your never supposed to only trust one piece, are you not?

 It was a bit wet and windy to day and I got cabin fever, so between showers I finished a route and successfully scared my self stupid. This is the finish of a spectacular climb which seems a trifle deranged even for me, it's only 25 meters of roof, but the weird angles and facets that you climb thru, render your spacial awareness systems kaput.

The slightly acoustic slice of hard cheddar like sandstone got me all nostalgic for times past in the dessert of the USA. Eric Bjornstad sadly died recently and I couldn't help thinking about some of the great times I had with his guide books, thanks Eric and see you on the other side. 

Sunday, 14 December 2014

No rope, no hope. by Stevie Hopeful Haston.

 There's lots of hope without a rope. Climbing isn't about ropes, its not about mountains, it often starts as a little tree climb, maybe a climb over a wall into some one else's orchard to climb the apple tree to purloin that extra rosy apple. Anyway in the above photo is Heinz Mariacher, I have been wearing boots designed by him for a bloody long time, he's not as old as me, but he goes back to the days when it wasn't that advisable to fall.  On his blog thingy he says Never stop climbing
                                                                                            Never stop being yourself.
It would be hard for me, or him not to. Anyway thanks Heinz I have been wearing two of your new boots lately, and they suit me right good.

Stairway to heaven, local stone, local mason, its still there, theres stuff here from 3500 years before BC. Just found out that theres a more politically correct term than BC, forgive me for not using it, its just I keep forgetting it, not that I don't think its better than using a person who we don't really know much about, or if he could walk on water, turn water to wine etc, its just that I keep forgetting.

 The staircase is in the building in the background and this little roof is probably going to be very hard frankenjura style, a bit naffed off with cleaning and working for other peoples enjoyment though, would like some better bolts and some support, bla bla.

The famous little route called Spunky Arete, posing without a rope, fat overweight, if I plonk into the water I will probably just sink, so useless, I'll probably drown, just give up the ghost and slowly sink, glug, glug, glug.  Woe is me, my pathetic life is over, I'll never climb again, old age has finally claimed me, I think I'll stop climbing. Then the voice of Heinz comes skipping over the water from the north of Italy, "no Stevie hang on there is a Weiss beer at the top with your name on it". Well Ok then Heinz, I'll just some how stagger, limp, and drag my enfeebled ancient body up this "Stairway to heaven".  

Underneath in the next photo is me narrowly surviving my collision with oblivion, and discovering two super new routes, probably harder than Spunky which is in the guide book as 6c, but which grandad still maintains is grade 5. Well 5 dolomites 5 that is. Heinz would know what I am talking about!


Friday, 12 December 2014

Of Rabbits, Politics and Rock, by Stevie Haston.

 Went out climbing the other day and got accosted by a rabbit. So I caught said rabbit after a bit of a chase even though he was clearly a domesticated bunny and not that fit. Why catch rabbit you ask, well they shoot them here as they do else where, and the hunting dogs will rip it to pieces, so basically I am now its keeper, I sponsor the rabbit now called Iggy the second. Anyway he stopped me creating another masterpiece, I only half created one.

This is a masterpiece I prepared earlier, its called Kitten, it's a giant Kitten really, its 55 meters of overhanging megaton pre-Raphaelite orgasmic sphincter clenching pitch, haven't led it its truly truly madly steeply, its got nine bits of pro in the pitch so you take huge, huge whippers, its old style balls to the wall, or ovaries to the wall (doesn't sound the same does it) its nay bad. The rock is impeccable, royal, bubbly, and annoyingly slippery, its a little uncuddly.  

This is a bit out of focus but these photos of this trip were a bit troubled I was a bit anxious as we took an 11 year old girl into Cathederal cave, so she could have a swim and appreciate the ambiance, I set up this step ladder before so she wouldn't have to do the free dive to get out, she's a good little free diver but I wasn't prepared to take the responsibility of letting her even try. Its a 6 meter  deep 12 meter long dive but its incredible. Anyway you get this colour from the sun outside shining thru, its cool marine blue, a great little swim and cave.

 A little sunset, many like this oct, nov, dec, its nay bad but this year the weather seems to have changed weirdly, I hope global warming hasn't reached a little tipping point as far as the flowers are concerned, daffodils in early dec are a bit unsettling. 

 Some local politics, this is us lot, mates for the most part trying to organise ourselves to keep the cliffs up to date and safe, its proving very hard to get funds which is nuts cos climbing earns Malta and Gozo money in tourism dinare, geld, $, etc and is a great healthy sport for visitors and locals alike. Help us if you can, donate to the bolt fund and report dangerous in situ gear, loose rock and other stuff. Malta Climbing Association or local clubs.

Iggy the Second, hoping (not hopping) I am not going to put him in a pot, or turn him into a Bio sustainable chalk bag or Beany. He is very safe at the moment, am very seriously trying out being a part time vegan, it's hard here as we are a bit behind the times, not much access to veggie milks and I am not very organised, but I am trying from time to time. Peace and good will to humanoids and little beasties, haven't killed any octopuses, who despite having four times as many hands as politicians don't have one in the till! 

PS. Oh and basically for new year I am not going to say basically or whatever,  and your probably saying whatever, well what ever back.

Monday, 8 December 2014

Some training truths, by Stevie Haston.

Your not born to climbing greatness, you make your self better. Depending on the quality of your work, the quantity and then the rest, you should definitely get better, especially if you are rubbish.

The Rock Climbers Training manual is the latest training book and it does a great job although it has to be said there is alotta fluff in the way of flow charts diagrams and science. I hate the latter, you know science, 'cos basically there is none in climbing. Some of the best performers smoke dope and hang out, that's about all the science. Don't get me wrong this book is great and worth the price, but then so is Dave Mcleods book, they are worth reading and looking at, better would be to take notice of what they say and maybe go climbing and do some training. From what I can understand from the above book it basically recommends finger boarding, as do I, as does Mcleod and as does Eva Lopez. So get finger boarding.

This is the guide book to sport climbs in Malta and Gozo, and I just want to take this opportunity to remind people not to blindly trust bolts in situ, climbing gear belays, and indeed their own ability. All of these things can fail. In San Vito a belay failed resulting in a very unfortunate ground fall and a very proficient 8a rock climber being severely crushed. He was a guide also, I imagine he had the necessary experience to understand the danger of the situation.  I have had many accidents, pegs breaking nuts pulling through rock, even dare I say it simple pumping out where I shouldnt and then plummeting, please be careful no one is immune. 

 Good boots mean good technique, or can mean good technique, always wear good shoes, and in my opinion slightly tight ones that promote careful precise pressing. The Rock Climbers Manual actually say this and its true. Sloppy shoes can and generally do mean sloppy technique.

This is the most important guide to my climbing as you can see, I am 74 kgs I can climb 8a / 8a + at this ponderous weight! If I lose 10 kg I will possibly lead several grades harder at 64kg I will still be BMI 20, some climbers are below BMI 17! Be careful if and when you loose weight, it can be physically and mentally dangerous.

There is some very helpful stuff in the Rock Climbers Manual about weight loss. In general there is much to recommend this book, but I will have to take exception to the advice about pull ups, having good pull up strength is a definite advantage, just ask Dimitri who places in the top three every time he goes out. There is also no yoga or sport specific stretching for climbing, this is perhaps an oversight. 

Two books you should have are Performance Rock Climbing by Dale Goddard and Udo Neumann, and One Move too Many by Hochholzer and Voolker Schoeffl.  If you put all the books in a bag and did 18 mm finger tip pull ups it would still get you up to 8b+, that and a bit of grass, just ask some of the best boulderers in the world.  

How to be good by Nick Hornby has nothing to do with climbing, but read it anyway. 

Sunday, 7 December 2014

Destroying trees for Xmass, by Stevie Curmudgeon Haston.

Happy Xmass in whatever religion, style, language, or way you celebrate it, ok.  Or just destroy a tree for some kind of consumer western myth. I don't know, I can't keep track of all the bullshit in my life. Peace on The 25 th of Dec to everybody.

 I did this, copied it from something I saw on the internet, the internet is good for something finally! Made it, thought it was fairly good, took it down, and put the books back. Basta, enough fooking Xmass!  

 This is what I would like for Xmass, its only 8a+, leger surplombant, tecky, camoed foot holds, massive pump, only 25 meters no rest, two shake outs. Thanks to Jeff for coming over and getting his teeth into it. Theres a harder variant going out of it we are saving for New years!

This kinda route is one of my favourite styles, you always have to climb with restraint and control, weight the foot holds correctly, remember everything. Theres a few seeping pockets that are making us work for zee red point, all adding to zee flavour. Theres daffodils in bloom which seems preposterous, and was swimming yesterday, like I said happy Xmass