I'm a woman

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

Friday, 23 March 2018

Against my wishes, by Stevie Haston

Just did an interview for UKclimbing I don't know why I do interviews anymore. On this occasion Iam doing it for a very talented ex climber whose first ascents I loved and who I also liked. Iave done more interviews than any UK climber except for Chris Bonnington, and I used to criticise people like Lord Bonnington, or Sir Chris, or what ever toss pot stupid royal stamp of approvable these kind of people have in front of their names. Hasty hash tag Stevie Haston I aint. So Andy Pollit if you make me look like something other than a cuddly yoga and peace loving man I will come to australia and put spiders under the toilet pan lid!

 Churchill that arch murderer than the UK honours once said "History will love me, because I will write History". Is Mr Haston the only climber worth his salt who hasn't written his own version of History?

 My friend Alex underwater.

 History is a commodity, and cult status is now easily achieved through social media, today you don't have to do anything, and indeed you can't, whats the point anyway, just comb your hair smile with bought teeth and pretend. Its all about clicks.  Cliks rule the world, so my interviews are normally about clicks,  not my yoga. Strangely almost to contradict this I have had an interview in a yoga magazine, and I am very  proud of it. Unlike one particular climber sponsored by yoga clothing, I actually do yoga! The ability of an ordinary person to affect laws, or resist chopping down even a tree in Sheffield has been taken away from you. Climbing is like that, you still can't climb in the himalaya without being rich and getting involved in the snakes and ladders of fame and personality contests.

It fell down, the Maltese people want to rewrite history and replace it with a false one. Fake news, Fake Rock arches.
Dancing or climbing?

Has the world of climbing been so dumbed down,  or is it rose tinted belay glasses I am looking through.
Give me the serenity to change the things I can change and bugger the rest.

This year I will do my best to produce lots of knew routes, spread the joy, increase knowledge and be a happy sharing person. That is the interview I do with myself every day I do yoga.

Thursday, 22 March 2018

Admiring others, by Stevie Haston.

 Pointing to a brilliant  very loooong 7c.

 beautiful chipped stairs.

 Stairs again, different ones.

A big group of kids (young people) lots of climbing done, they loved it, makes me proud to be able to share a passion.

As I look back through the years there are so many people to admire. I often wonder where people are and what they are up to.

Looking at this commemorative plaque always makes me feel small and puny. I nearly always stop to pay homage to this unrepeated swim. What do you think? The plaque is on the way back from one of my favourite cliffs to climb and I regularly dive where Nicky landed.

 Swimming more than 90 km, can't be easy, doing 8b with a rope sometimes has been very reasonable for me, and boulder problems even hard ones are over in the blink of an eye and the flick of a wrist!

 Celia and myself in the days when we used to jump off bridges, cables, and high things. Also in the days when I wore scarfs!

Toe is a bit trashed still, putting on climbing shoes hurts, and pressing up on foot holds kills.

Monday, 19 March 2018

Grivel Rocker rucksac, by Stevie Rocker Haston.

The new version of the Rocker rucsac is a bit lighter than the old one, thus giving you a bit more carry on stuff rather than just rucsac. I am reviewing this in some ways for the modern climber-the modern climber travels budget airlines, and sometimes only uses carry on. You have to be careful with carry on, and this is a tadge under Easyjets little nazi square box. It will squash in if its not overloaded, but don't relie on it. Otherwise it is a brilliant bag for flying around and traveling.

 The carry strap on the side is handy for moving it around like a case, or throwing it up into the overhead bins.

 The side next to your back is generously padded for a light pac of this size, 2.1 kg, or 76 oz. Don't expect it to carry like a rucksack, it carries like one of the big camera bags, I don't find this disagree able for short walk inns. It's got a waist strap, and a chest strap.

 The inside is the big feature, it opens like a case, which I find totally brilliant for hotel rooms or the crag floor under routes. It square shape makes it un knock able, it doesn't roll etc, its stable and thus contains it stuff as thus becomes your climbing base. 

 Along with the case lid entrance comes pockets and a gear rail/rack. Again these are brill feature if like me you have lost loads of kit over the years by being careless, no more excuses.

The Rocker comes with a basic rope tarp of a good size.

I'ave had a few of these over the years, even over using them in situations they weren't designed for, like equipping routes. Use them properly and they will be a pleasant addition to climbing or other holiday trips. They are not an Alpine bag, not a running bag, but in its area of expetise the Rocker rocks. 

Ethelred the Unready, by Stevie resigned Haston.

I am unready, I am unfit-therefore I can't do! Does this stop politicians? Is Teresa May fit for leading this poor benighted country, or is she the worst leader that good old England had since Ethelred the Unready?

 Mrs May seems to have an IQ that is woefully inadequate for her task, her accent seems ok for high faluting, but I wouldn't trust her to make the tea. Her Christian name was shared by my Mum who although a saint would have probably fallen for all the anti Ruskie Bollux, and silver chains, and twin set-but hey my mum was not very bright. My Mum was a tea lady who would most likely put her hand in her pocket, and bought any hungry child a meal, May would eat the childs meal saying she was preparing for the Viking invaders, but most likely on the wrong coast.

Climbing is a simple affair, you get weak you fail.

You get strong and the route sometimes passes.
 I'll whisper in your shell like Mrs May, "you'r a fool and your playing with our lives", the Russians are our brothers and sisters, they are poor like us, you may hang out with oligarchs, but I have hung out with the Russian ice climbers, and they are the same as me.

 It is not a Red Day, it is not a time to cut throats, or rattle sabres, it's a hungry day, a bare day, the electricity bill needs paying, sort our need for food banks out, give food back to the poor.

 Stop listening to your portfolio of companies with money invested in death.

I canot personally think of a time when we had a dump ass in the Presidency of the USA who entertains Porn stars, and a Dumb ass in the prime minister ship who entertains delusion and unreadiness, all at the same time.

Cold War, get ready, get prepared.

Being a climber I am used to looking at what people climb, indeed my job is too improve their ability, if I had two students like Trump and May,  I would dissuade them from climbing, they would trip up over their egos before tying their knot wrong!

If any of you people out there in Na Na land think that May cares about an ex Russian spy, or Trump cares about a wall, you have won the booby prize. Do you for one second think she, or he care? And if you think it is terrible for the Russians (who ever they are?) to interfere in an election, try thinking about Bush's brother doing exactly that in Florida! Democracy doesn't work when you have a two horse race with both horse owners are often selling off the stables, or are all related by business. 

Thursday, 15 March 2018

New Horizons, by Stevie horizontal Haston.

The weather has gone from mixed horribleness to perfect perfect. 
I suppose in a few years if the predictions of global warming are correct which I think they are, we will have horrible winters with very hot insuperable summers.

 Spot the diver. Rough of late, better wet in the sea than wet on the cliff.

 Spot the diver! Different day, crystal clear, nobody else, it will be different soon, same spot other 50 divers.
 These flowers are from Rocket salad, lovely tall flowers, leaves are still good, your supposed to rip them up before this but I have left a few plants just for pleasing my eye and the bees.

 An old cliff, by the hidden door, cleaned three routes, two short 5s and a tricky 6+, the latter 35 meter slab, wonderful. 
 prelude to some slick slab climbing, here its richly pocketed, one day it should become a jolly cliff in the lower grades with possibly the finest bouldering wall in the Maltese Islands.

Cyclops Eye grade 5 superb route, very pleased to have rediscovered this pleasant spot.
If people would like to see more routes, they should think of donating to my Donation button at the top of my page, this was 3 days work, and I need to organise a big rubbish clean up. Please think of Donating.

Wednesday, 14 March 2018

Wearing Helmets, by Stevie Haston.

Stealth Helmet in yellow,  198 grams!
Do you wear a helmet? You should, I must confess I don't all the time, but I insist everybody who I teach at beginner level does. If you don't wear one why? In the old days they were heavy and made you look like a dork, today they are much better and attractive. Reasons for wearing them are less.
The Harder shelled version is more durable and less worrisome when your baggage is not in sight or with careless users. The HS also has less ventilation holes so is potentially warmer!

 Stealth Helmet more side protection.

TheStealth is a very good helmet I prefer it in version 198 grams because I am a minimalist but its worth looking at in the slightly heavier version.

 Even my hard as rock head needs protecting sometimes.

The Stealth comes in a Carbon shell but unless you are very wealthy the normal versions are the war to go.  I don't like to say you should wear a helmet, but I think you should consider it. I always wear one where things could hit me, falling ice, climbers dropping gear. The yellow one protects you from the sun a bit and is a good hot weather in the sun helmet. The Hard shell version is white and might be an even better hot weather helmet. The choice is yours.

Grivel Stealth Helmet comes in Yellow and Titanium. The Stealth comes in a harder shell for more durability, this is called StealthHard Shell (HS), it is slightly heavier but will prolong the use of the Helmet.

Be safe.

Tuesday, 13 March 2018

One line blog, by Stevie Haston.

First World War = 10% civilian casualties.
Second World War  = 50% civilian casualties.
Vietnam War = 70% civilian casualties.
Iraq War = 90% civilian casualties.

In the next War truth is not a casualty but dies. Double speak which was born long ago, finally gains its crown

There are no such things as smart bombs, only dumb people who believe in smart bombs.

Thursday, 8 March 2018

Unknown Pleasures by Andy Kirkpatrick a review by Stevie Haston.

Who is Andy Kirkpatrcik? I thought I knew, I certainly once knew, but now I am absolutly sure I don't. Is this a good thing? Yes it is, he is not a climber any longer, but a very good crafty writer. Maybe I should rephrase that because his razor like prose and acid sharp remarks should really drag out some precision from me. So, he was once a fairly rubbish chubby climber who literally dragged himself up by his boot laces to being an accomplished  aid climber (and not to denigrate that substrata of climbing too much) he did in all that pounding of metal into defenceless rock, seems to have found himself as a real adventurer  with some astounding stuff under his belt, that isn't just "smelly cod from Hull". Why the reference to smelly stuff from Hull? Well Andy's beatification is a tortuous one, from a lowly impoverished housing estate in one England's finest forgotten deprived areas, he some how arose to being a very funny guy with lots of social insight and very popular to boot. But obviously his journey has marks, if not scars, he did badly at school etc how one asks can some one with such a talent for drawing be regarded as sub normal shows the mistakes that the UK system is stuffed with. His vehicle was climbing. Fighting dyslexia, and a lack of true climbing ability he triumphed against all odds and did some very fine climbs. Its like a rags to riches tale and very exciting. Am I joking? No I am not. How does his book score? 9 out of 10 for me and for like minded people, but please take a brain, he has pointed this book and these discourses at the high brows.

   One of the very fine bits of art work by Andy Kirkpatrick  in his own wonderful book, its an opening of a page, it is almost like being at an autopsy and discovering inner workings, workings of a fine mind.

If you want another review of this book you can have a much wordier and more polished one from Denis Gray in the web site One for the Crow. He points out that many fine climbers emanated from the Hull area, but really this is  silly. Comparing Kirkparick to Redhead, or Dirty Alex Mac, or even suggesting that there might be something in those dark waters which might after distillation produce climbing excellence or writing ability would be racism. Which brings me to an interesting point, Andy talks politics, perhaps not my kind, but very interesting and as Denis the Menace points out left him rethinking some of his stances. This political content and sometimes anti liberal view point is what has brought some criticism of Andy recently. I think some people, Andy included would say he is poking fun at correct received liberal thinking, AKA Political correctness, I might after a few drinks be on the authors side so put me down for some of that finger waving. It is for you to make the call, I for one would defend his right to speak, and I did find myself listening, not all the time and certainly not on the diatribe on abortion. 

Andy's book Psychovertical was an immensely good book and rightly won much praise, but Unknown Pleasures is much better, its more raw, less ingenuously about climbing and more about what we all are- self absorbed. But again is this compliment, or spite? It's a compliment, read the book you will get much pleasure, his illustrations are worth it by themselves, but it his written self portraits through 50 % of the chapters that is truly interesting. 

A little snippet from Andy's Epilogue. This is simply to prove, although I love this book to bits, he can get things very wrong, wrongest, or wonderfully wrong, and thus inducing much thought and conversation. He somehow conquered dyslexia, but getting around the crux of a hard slab will forever be out of his reach. This is the magic of climbing, it refuses to be dissected, climbings greatest achievement was being the camel  that bore this writer on his wonderful journey from Hull across Yosemite granite and arctic ice! On this camel he traversed dyslexia to great writer prowess, he forged climbing into his own instrument of torture, he became a fat Russell Brand with sex and tell, he talks of bodily functions where others fear to tread. A wonderful book, I raise a glass to you.

Wednesday, 7 March 2018

Pride before fall, by Stevie Haston.

When things are fraught, the tough get going! In my case when things get tough I normally retreat. A few fairly minor injuries are adding up. How do I know they are minor-well because they are. Have you seen the Paul Pritchard hit by a rock/open like a tin can brain photo? Now thats an accident, that's not minor. Paul's book might be reprinted soon, it won the Boardman Tasker and the Bannf grande Prix in the same year. Paul was also unlike many people who write books nowadays, the real thing!

 Pride comes before a fall. My last great route, when I wanted to strip a few pieces of kit off it months later I took a fall with the rope wrapped around my thumb and nearly tore it off.

 Finding lines, joining the dots, masterpieces by the easy painting method.

 Some days are stoned immaculate, but they are a bit apart, I'am up to my 50 scuba dive in the last few months, some of these have been extraordinary, some dare I say it ordinary!

 Is all bread equal? No of course not. Wolfsburg in Germany is the richest city in Germany and was made to make cars! A shame we don't respect Bread as much as cars.

 Entering a sucking vortex of a cave, will I come out!

 The dog is thinking, "my master who controls my food has disappeared should I get worried"?

An early example of Double Speak, gobbledy gook.

I found a new cliff the other month, perfect for easier routes, no gear to equip them however and there is rubbish to be removed. It's a lovely place, overlooked by walkers, tourists, and nasty hunters drop their cartridges there and kill birds with impunity. Worst of all is the villagers use it to dump rubbish. Can I be bothered to clean this place up? Do I have the time?

Thursday, 1 March 2018

A couple of reviews coming up, by Stevie Haston.

Hearing is not listening, reading isn't understanding, and well, climbing is many different things to many people! I have a seemingly impossible review of an excellent book to do. It's impossible for perhaps only me to give this brilliant book the review it deserves, but I will strive to do so. Possibly I will do it in a strenuous fashion, but I feel obliged to give it a good long intense review. Andy Kirkpatrick has won the Boardman Tasker twice, and certainly deserved it once, this isn't faint praise as I thought one of his books brilliant. This book is touted as brilliant, but it seems more than that to me, more honest, more the inner man, less the actor, writer, and funny lecturer, and more the man! 

 A person should listen, as well as see and read, and perhaps observe in different modes, camera obscurer, and fish eye for the masses.

 Artwork in this book is by Andy himself, and is a pleasure.

 The Rocker rucksack  has been improved and lightened, I'l give it a twirl  for you soon.

Andy in his book is hinting at much baggage, and talks about it a lot, he is very brave in his writing, perhaps braver than in his climbing.

the Rocker is probably the best airplane bag/rucksack you could every own.

Do you need to love mountains to appreciate them? What is your opinion on Abortion? The book Unknown Pleasures might have been called Unknown Questions, and I think many people will like it. Review soon.