I'm a woman

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

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.

Saturday, 18 November 2017

Same old, by Stevie old Haston.

 The sun is shining, the good news is that it is generally shining somewhere, the bad news is that your somewhere else! It is (the sun) always above the yard arm, as the drunk says, but hey "Tempus Fugit", or some fink. I was talking to a Beduin man the other day, he was driving a toyota rather than a camel, but his sense came right out of the desert, where you quickly understand "if it is not useful, just forget it"! 

 Tempus Fugit, these climbs fell down, so you can't do them, it was called a window, so now you can't look out that way ever again.

Did you see the report of a girl doing 9b? It took my breath away. Is it 9b, if its done by a woman is it not automatically less? What has happened to male chauvinism? And what has happened to our sport, when the Uk has only one climbing "magazine", which seems to be mainly about learning to do knots, or find bits of rock 2 meters high. The demise of Climb magazine Uk is a terrible event for UK climbing, and the industry. If our sport is simply going to be swayed and influenced by internet plonked content, we are certainly doomed. It is no secret that I often disagree with editors, but Ian Parnell, and his very quiet editor who I won't even mention, did much much good, they both matured into extremely adult voices, and their banishment into the wilderness is bad. 

hello sailor.

On my island it is very noticeable that the people we get are often plunkers, there is nothing wrong with plonkers, I have been one, but when you can't abseil down a sea cliff, and don't know what prussic loops are, you are defiantly a plonker, and will become plonked if you haven't taken the other necessary step of practising using knots to ascend a rope.
 Hubble bubble.

I just did my First Aid course thingy, you know, health and safety thing, I always recommend them to people, and people never seem to do them.
Mine was over due, and it's funny, but there are a few new laws, or practises there, which are following the litigation roundabout. It is probably wise for people to keep up. 

 Health and Safety forbids this amount of Chilli in a meal!

The natural course of Health and Safety is to produce a society which is completely incapable of working, climbing, or eating anything that doesn't come out of a hermetically sealed packet. 

 Buyer beware.

I hear the UIAA is being broken up. Is this true? What is behind this UIAA Brexit. It's long overdue that there was some discussion about this all powerful organisation who are simply a business, but without mags and people with a voice, who will tell us whats going on!

the cliffs continue under the sea.

With the rise of plonked journalism came internet fake news, with the rise of weird European organisations came multitiered qualifications for plunkers who sometimes are not up to scratch. When I was in Egypt I was taken out by a diver whose level of concern and care was greater than the average I have witnessed elsewhere, so qualifications certainly in my eyes mean very little. My First Aid course was very good, the first one I took many many years ago was probably deeper and enabled me to do more of actually helping people, they are the same weight. It is very interesting that you must worry about sexual harassment when giving first aid today, and I am very glad that my job was much easier in the past. Will I, in a moment of cruciality, worry about step "5 bis" before I give CPR? Anyway guys and girls, despite what I say, do your first aid course, or refresher course. If I had money I would do the American much more involved course. I wonder if that has been watered down?  Is the world being watered down my friends, is the whole of human stuff just turning into so much cotton wool? Will all mountains be Mount Everest's done with Oxygen and aluminium ladder and nannies holding your hand?  

Wednesday, 15 November 2017

Get over it, by Stevie Haston.

Getting over things, is a hard task if you are not flexible, or strong. Now there is mental flexibility and physical, but there is an old odd thing called being stubborn which often has a purgative ring to, being stubborn can also be useful!

 a bit of flexibility is always handy, hip flexors.

What should it be, flexibility, or stubbornness? In many surveys of leading climbers, stubbornness showed, or shined through. Can you get it, or are you flexible enough to  slink into a position where you can be more persistent?

Soloing little or big routes was always a great love of mine, I am flexible enough to hang on to this habit as it gives me great joy-joy is where it's all at!

It is not the slow progress that is terrible in training, it's the set backs, or the mental blocks people have that are the big barriers. This year I have had a broken thumb, a broken toe, money problems, and I still just got on with it-in a normal year I would, or might have thrown a wobbler. Where did I get this new found equanimity? I found them in better habits. We are creatures of habit. Try very hard not to be a rabbit!

A good habit is waking up!
A good habit is doing good, or correct things.
A few simple things to get you going, look at a photo of something wonderful, maybe a route, a mountain, or special place, a lovely person.
A good habit is a little yoga.
A few pull-ups.
Failing all that, a good cup of coffee, and get to F….ing work.

Monday, 13 November 2017

Unbelievers, by Stevie a believer Haston.

Do you love rock? Do you love fresh powder? Do you love icy mountains? Yes, oh yes! Do you love the sea, sea cliffs, and what are under them? Iam very lucky I love these things, I like caves, and climb in and through them, sometimes I swim through them, I think I commune with all these things, and sometimes pray to them in my sleep. To speak of praying, and gods, or God to many of my friends is a wasted effort, but the great god of hope is always there ruling our lives whether we realise it, or not. Hope for a fair world where we treat each other with respect and kindness, and look after the sea and the mountains!Yes, yes let me into that church.

 An Eagle Ray a bit over 2 meters wide.

The internet and the rabid press of the UK and other strange countries would have you believe that Muslims are out to get you. My experience in the Red Sea was that Egyptians are very much after your money, the same as vendors, taxi drivers and hoteliers the world over. 

 Crossing the Gulf of Suez.

Perhaps you shouldn't travel to certain places, there is a UK advisory against travel in Sinai, but hey I just had the one of the best trips of my life. I went to the Sinai to see the mountains and the sea, there is huge potential for climbing which is under developed and much potential for diving which has reached maturity regards development.

 A long line of Free Divers entering the Legend that is the Blue Hole of Dahab.

I want to go back, indeed I am very sad to be back as I write, I will get over it by climbing my superb sea cliffs here, but the smell of the desert and sea, is there now for ever. I interacted with people and fish, you might not understand this or perhaps you do. There are few fish to interact with in Malta, because we catch and eat every little one we can lay our hands on. Similarly the Maltese natural friendliness and curiosity, has been replaced by that  all pervasive surliness common to all over crowded, modern rat race course, metropolises.

 Pretty Monofins all in a row, not your usual cafe!

Sitting in a cafe eating a Beduin breakfast (but later as first you swim) you gaze towards Mecca, and you cannot escape the thought of how much trouble religion has caused. But it is not here today, these people love your custom, your money. 

 Taxi hurtling across the Sinai.

I went to see a geological feature known as the Blue Hole of Dahab, it's a pond in the reef, it's deep-over 100 meters deep,and it is connected to the sea by a 30 meter tunnel at 55 meters depth. A few years ago, a man named William, dove through this feature without fins! I went to pay homage, they say over a hundred people have lost their lives in the Blue Hole, it is a Nanga Parbat of the Red sea to stretch things a bit. The climbing of the granite in Sinai is long over due, get going kids.

endless granite, mostly not vey good but some very classy buttresses and towers.

As some one once said, "I will be back". Did I say, I swam with turtles, and many Rays, did I say my eyes thought they had taken more drugs than the Rolling stones ever dreamed of as I gazed at fish that looked like they came from Jupiter or Saturn. One of my favourite memories apart from staring at endless granite was going down about 20 meters to see something in the sand, it was an old clam shell. It was the size of a wash basin and you could have bathed a little child in it!

Post Apocalypse Propaganda, by Stevie Haston.

Be careful of bolts made of sub standard material. This is my advice for today!
I have just been to a lovely country full of wonderful people, surprisingly you as British, or perhaps from other countries will advised not to travel there! I can not give you advice about traveling, I can not give you advice about many things, but I will say that in general I found Eygptians some of the loveliest people I have ever had contact with! 

 I am trying to update some routes on this lovely 28 meter high block with Titanium bolts supplied to me by the Malta Climbing Club!

You probably realise I haven't been doing much exploratory climbing of late. Instead due to lack of money and enthusiasm I have been working for myself, trying to create a safe bubble of security and pleasure around myself!
This awesome project has been bothered by many outside malign forces, politics, funds, etc, however one unforeseen problem wa that some of my happiness is bound up in the creation of new routes and helping others-so yes I will do some new routes soon. If you think this might be good and have some spare money donate to my donate button at the top of the page. There are plans for a new guide book here, but I think more routes for beginners and 6a climbers are necessary! I repeat please donate, or I cannot in all justification do the work.
 These are two bits of "marine" grade stainless steel, they are by the same manufacturer, but clearly one is from a much worse grade of steel than the other! Three months use!!! Beware stainless steel.

Some news for people who like my writing, is that I have done a little work trying to remember some of the crazy, or interesting things that have happened in my climbing and extra climbing activities, and put them into words suitable for the general public! People who have perhaps heard a lecture of mine, a particularly drunken or raucous one might find my writing too polite and indeed I am finding the middle path of discretion and dishonesty hard to follow, the tell it as it was seems ok in a lecture but when it is written down in illegible print it is fairly damning. I guess thats why they have laws about liable and suchlike…we will see, I wouldnt want my writing to be wishy washy or boring.  

 I have just been here… an odd place, a wonderful place…

In the mail this morning was a book brochure of Doug Scots book about his Ogre adventure, I must say it seems a very good bit of writing, and I look foreword to reading it in full!

 back on Gozo and keen to climb I still have half my heart back in this place…

Did you see the Economist front cover of Trump?