I'm a woman

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

Tuesday, 9 February 2016

Mistra Rocks Labyrinth, by Stevie Haston.

Didi cleaning the Path.

The Mista Rocks area on Gozo has long fascinated me. I went there first with my grandfather in the 1960s, it hasn't changed much since then. The only people who went there in the old days were the odd subsistence farmer, and fisherman like my grandfather.

One of the big slots, 30 40 meters deep!

In Maltese this area is known as Jebel Gbere, and was thought dangerous, and indeed until recently it was. Today there is a path most of the way for the round the coast pathway, but the trekkers get lost occasionally.  The itinerary portrayed in this photo sequence is a more exciting loop around the cliffs, and inside them.

View towards San Blas bay.

This area has been climbed in by me for 40 years, but the fishermen,  bird trappers, and Caper gatherers have been climbing these rocks for millennium.

Emma 12 avoiding the smaller pit falls before things get big.

Some big walls connect fields of barren stones, or thick brambles.

40 meter cliffs, local arboreal rats, and rabbits abound.

Rock architecture, huge chock stones perched 35 meters above.

Inside the cliff, helmets, and a short rope are required.

A tiny bat, bat colonies don't exist anymore compared with the past. Pesticides and loss of habitat have taken there toll.
 On this occasion the dog was bagged on three of the small steps. His eagerness to be independent  had to be controlled.

 Just before one of the scrambles down into the abyss.

 The cliff above contrasts in colour with the trench below.

At the bottom of the biggest trench.

The route finding on the trip is hard, and at one point you go through a boulder chock in the floor to appear in a rift going back through the cliff. The route is counter intuitive, and perplexing at times, but very worth while. I don't recommend it for children, small dogs, or large people, due to, large holes, small holes, big gaps, lack of I Pads, and dog snacks. It is very dangerous due to a constant probability of grumpiness creeping on due to myriad questions like, "where do we go from here", when in fact I had forgotten. If you have the patience of a saint on Qua-lodes, and are interested in seeing something wonderful I might recommend it. I would probably not take the dog next time, he was too interested in the arboreal rats. The dog was the most obedient of the team, and liked it the most. Other general observations include kids need a bit of Carbohydrate every hour. Mantra that I remember, is "watch the drop, don't chase the rats, do as I say, be careful, smile, don't eat all the biscuits, leave some for the dogs and rats".

Saturday, 6 February 2016

Grivel Captive Carabiner, by Stevie Captive Haston.

 A rack of Grivel quick draws.

The Grivel Captive carabiner is the best quick draw I'ave used for sport climbing. It's good for several reasons. Give these reasons some considerations, and make your choice of whether it's good for you.
First reason, the top carabiner is captive, and so it can't turn over, or spin.

 So understand that if the top biner can't spin around it is always orientated, and thus loaded on its major axis, in this case 23 kns. The captive has nice geometry that eliminates cross loading, which is a caribiners weakest orientation.

 the Captive comes with a fat nylon draw, and a bent gate, or wire lower biner as options.

The Captive was designed for sport climbers who wanted a rugged long lasting carabiner, that was easy and safe to use. Sport climbing is supposed to be fun, after all. With this in mind we beefed up the draw itself, so it is easier to grab and hold. We also made it out of nylon, so it's less slippy than the lighter Dyneemer we use on our lightest draws.

The Captive showing the spring that allows the draw to "clip" into place thus ensuring that the carabiner can't revolve and be miss lined.

In all quick draws the top biner can not be fixed tightly otherwise this vastly increases it's chance of unclipping. The bottom biner is now normally fixed in it's orientation to make sure it's aligned for quick clipping. There are various ways for the bottom biner to be fixed, a simple rubber band, or more complex rubber band, or even tape. Some of the most popular fixes at the bottom biner, are rubber fixtures that can be incorrectly fixed as happened in the recent death of a young climber. Our fixture is sold fixed so it is correct, and at the same time open to view so you can verify this. It also sticks out a bit so as to shield the wear on the rubbing point of the lower draw which normally moves around a lot.

Captive draw comes in two lengths. 

In the above photo you can see the biner keeper on and off! Take a good look-you can always see the biner is actually clipped to the nylon sling so it is correct! Also note the lengths, there is a medium, and a long. That's 13cm and 18cm. Lastly these draws are always the right way up on your harness so when your going for that real quick clip the "fast draw" (thats why they are called draws) the quick draw is all ways the right way up, thus eliminating all that fumbling. Anyway there you go, look at the facts and details, see if it suits you. It suits me for Sport climbing, it's rugged and strong. I will be using it.

If you want to watch a video of me looking like Einstein explaining the Captive theory of Relativity check here at the Grivel factory. Or here at Ispo.

Friday, 5 February 2016

Respect. By Stevie Haston.

 Tower of Power.

Without respect for each of us as human beings we become mere numbers, drones, slaves to a state of Matrixdom. So please when you climb, respect first the landowner! The cliff, or rock is often owned, if privately owned, you are there with their permission, and it is beholden on you to behave, and have respect. My island has many new visitors, from the big island a few kilometres away, and visitors from the other side of the world, please respect owners and farmers.

Farmers living in harmony with the little that is left of the country.

At the Tower of Power, Nadur cliffs, the owner does not wish you to camp and make fires. Please, please do not camp, or make fires. Please show your selves to be better than the average user, pick up other peoples rubbish, and leave places cleaner than when you arrived. A lot of hard work has gone on to make climbing possible, and we are going backwards, please help. Keep the noise down as well, no shouting etc, keep everything tidy.  

30 meters down with another 30 meters of cliff on one side above.

Behind the Tower of Power are a labyrinth of cliffs with dark slots and tunnels between sectors, so why does every body hang out at the Tower of Power? Please don't be lazy. Explore, spread out, it is the same with parking, don't take the farmers parking place, walk a bit extra, please be considerate.

Tuesday, 2 February 2016

Fun and Success, by Stevie Sated Haston.

It's a pleasant day, sun is out, a bit too hot for climbing really. So I do the usual 21st Century shit like check mail, Face Book, blah, Blah, BLAH. Check the latest, weirdest shizel that they want you to believe on mainstream news, like Zirka Fever! Then you realise that the Flu your trying to shake off since Ispo trade show is really Zirka! Wow thank FFook for that, finally got a reasonable excuse to not train! Yep I am going to die!
Actually no, I trained, yes I know I am boring.

Climb Magazine's photo.

stevie  as appearing in the next issue of Climb Magazine.  
This is in the excellent Liberty Mountain Catalogue, USA.

Some of you may know I used to spend my time running around the world trying to get press, and photos, and razzmatazz. Well I had a bit of publicity  recently which is gratifying in a small way. Nowadays I don't really want to run around the world like a Blue Arsed Fly, or indeed a Zirka mosquito, I just want to train a bit, and climb a bit. Still when you get to travel you meet the odd person who is doing great stuff, like the Russians who dominate the Ice Climbing World cup. No one wants to talk about them for some bizarre reason. At Ispo I had two very pleasant visitors I failed to mention last time. The first one was Mick Fowler.  Mick a fellow Londoner, and former gritstone godette, is now still notching up his yearly ascent of some medium iconic mountain in the Himalayas. He was complimenting me on my climbing prowess, and bemoaning his own decline. I cheekily reminded him he was in decline from about 1977 or so - others may correct me here. Mick did one of the first E6s on grit with the first free ascent of Linden on Curbur edge!

Gozo Fireman and rescue dressing up a special needs young man!

Another visiter who came to see me was Pete Whitaker, one of the talented Wide Boys climbers who climbed my Century Crack in Utah! I say "my Century Crack", when I of course failed on it! I had a very pleasant chat with this very talented young climber who climbed E9 at a very early age, belayed by his Mum! Anyway you visitors keep coming I will be at the summer show, and am looking forward to having my work interrupted. Thanks as always to these great people who motivate me.

Saturday, 30 January 2016

No Winter present. by Stevie Haston.

Matterhon Boulder 30 meters high.

Yesterday I went around a few cliffs to help the local rescue people, it was a nice morning but there was no winter visible!

the flowers and vegetables are confused!

Being at the Ispo trade fair you get used to the common denominator of snow and ice, then sell your gear, but what if winter just does appear? As a sportsman I worry about my sport and business, but as a human being I should be worried about the planet.

this is an improvised hauling trick. You can try it, I use it, its better the backing binder is a srewgate and it needs preferably to be smaller.

The world is changing fast, very fast indeed. Even the fabric of governmental morality is not to be trusted anymore.  But what is to happen to our planet? Fish they say will disappear by 2050. Do you think the glaciers will be very big then? Do you think that the permafrost inside the big mountains will keep them glued in shape, or do you think there will be more collapse to iconic mountains like the Dru?

A perfect Cap by a perfect Barrista.

This lovely man lives in Sweden, but is Italian. Have you noticed that cross border pollination is going on? Iam not a nationalist, far from it, but all this moving, setting up of new homes, finding new work isn't it a waste of money, and resources? Cant we stay in one place anymore. 

the classic.

Of course coffee is one of the financial commodities of the world! Perhaps I should try to give it up! I might, but I won't give up climbing! Life without climbing isn't life!

Thursday, 28 January 2016

Winter show ISPO, by Stevie Dipso Haston.

Lorenzo searching for the light.

 Just got back from the Winter show at Munich. Biggest show in the world, an 80 Billion dollar industry as usual saying they don't make much money. Actually some  were doing good, and some doing not as well. The modern industry mantra of ever increasing sales can't be sustained, just like with the rest of the planet!  

 the book of books, Conquistadors of the Gifted.

Was tempted to purloin this book. Never saw it in Paperback! And never saw the mans signature. 

 zee stand up.

zee stand down. Just chilling reading about the Conqusitador of  Bottled dreams!

Saw a couple of great climbers, including a certain Mr Adler from East Germany-the venerable second ascentionist  of the famous Wolfgang route, Action Direct. Its funny to remember the hatchet job Grimpeur magazeeeen did on him, dismissing him etc. All one has to do is look at Adlers fingers to realise he could have climbed something much harder than Action. His fingers were alien, they made mine look like a Maltese catamites!

Anyway now back in sunny Gozo, sick as a dog with the Flooogang sickness and will be back on the Conquistadors trail soon as possible. 

Wednesday, 20 January 2016

Old, Older , Oldest, by Stevie ancient Haston.

 Avoiding work is fun, when there is so much climbing history around.

Flying over the Alps has to be one of the best things in life, a beer, a view, and above the mountains!

 I don't see you doing much walking, or climbing in these!

Gear gets better, perhaps we are getting weaker, or certainly softer.

 A farmers axe used for climbing.

 A friend, and a friend.

 Poster boys, heroism was always for sale, nearly said, or wrote sail.

 My back hurts looking at these old sacs.

 the Terrardactyle. 1970s.

 Lobster claw crampons.

Beer is still the same, well sometimes, if it is made with hops, good water, and a few
 other good things.