I'm a woman

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

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Orchestral Maneuvers in the Dark, by Stevie Haston

Stevie equipping Orchestral Maneuvers in the Dark

Some routes are just special, some routes are ultra special, you know just like people, they are not like the american constitution says ....equal. Anyway did a good route which took a bit of effort and the result was worth  the work, only a couple of days work but a bit of thinking how to do it. 

If the route was in Britain it would be famous and celebrated but as it's in Gozo, or Ghawdex as it should be known. The route should really be at gogarth but it can't be as it's got bolts in, it wouldn't be allowed still, and all it is a bit tough and a bit pokey but stars of quality it has a myriad.

Do you know the music of Orchestral Maneuvers in the Dark? You know the best one that's named after the plane that bombed Hiroshima Enola Gay!
So grades, cause grades are important three pitches I think it's engaged grade five but it has a discrete section of 6c slab and a huge traverse of fifty meters with two bolts so the grade is open to question, but the quality isn't, in fact I have probably not sung it's praises enough!

Friday, 28 March 2014

Gozo or Ghawdex, climbing or living. By Stevie Haston.

Everlasting flowers.© Laurence Gouault.Haston

Things have different names, so do people, when there are different words or we use different names sometimes we get confused and don’t recognize what we are looking at, even if we are staring in the mirror. Plus we can be different for different people, we see their need or different understanding and feed them and wonder where the feast came from when we thought there was nothing in the cupboard.
Has climbing got anything to do with living? Not a funny question for me as that’s all I have ever done it seems. On this Island that has two names where I have been climbing nearly all my living time, the sea and the wind wash away many of questions that don’t really need answers.
‘Did I tell you of my visit to Ghawdex, vulgarly called Gozo. It was a most pleasant one., I drew every bit of it…it's coastal scenery may truly be called Pomskizillous and Grophibberous being as no other words can describe its magnificence’ A guy called Edwin Lear wrote these words a long time ago when Ghawdex not Gozo was even more magnificent  and Majestic than it is today. And by the way Edwin was born on the 12 of May and of course so was I, how renobulous!
These is a particular plant that grows on the island called Maltese Everlasting that may be my favourite flowering shrub, it is endemic to only a few cliffs in the world, and  it has as it's epicenter of total manifest munificence the top of my favourite climbs, how obvious and right is that. So far correct, yeah. Well no, cos it ain't Maltese Everlasting, neither is it Gozo Everlasting, it's gotta be Ghawdex  Everlasting, or more possible Underworld Everlasting.
Salt pan, © Inigo Taylor

As Andrew Marvel said ‘Our vegetable love would grow, vaster than empires and more slow.

The rock on Gozo, Ghawdex or what ever this little rock adrift in the sea of modern Europe is called, is very beau, it's varied and jeweled  with crystals, veined , marbled, has patches of intergalactic Teflon, interspursed with the roughest rock that resembles shark skin, it's damned lovely and really tactile, it feels you. And there we have it, let's Rock. Let's Dance, let's Live.

Friday, 21 March 2014

The incredible lightness of hope, by Stevie pessimistic Haston

Thanks to Inigo for those images, © Inigo Taylor

The island of Gozo where I am is beautiful, it's steadily getting over populated and at the end of May becomes so massively laden with dumb tourists that it is in danger of sinking, my only real hope is that aliens’ will abduct Gozo . Gozo is such a paradox for me,  it’s where I half grew up, where I wanted to get away from real quick and it's probably one of the three countries that I could now live in. For the record I could live in Northern Italy, southern France, and Gozo. Gozo isn’t even really a country unless it’s a country in your heart it's supposed to be part of Malta but the people are fiercely independent  and idiosyncratic. 

The rock on Gozo is fiercely beau, the sea is twenty shades of blue and another 50 of green, the light rebounds from clouds and sky to sea and back again creating lovely hues of perpetual hope and happiness. The sunsets are a pleasure that you want to stretch, so like Ulysses you don’t leave. Today I was on a stellar project called Phantom Lover it's so wonderful that I wish it was a  weird exercise machine, a perpetual route ,a fit climbers hamster cage wheel, the eternal pumpathon.

Anyway I have decided to hope that things turn out well for this planet, simply because it's good to be positive, and some people around me have given me pleasure. My daughter Kate came to climb with me, she escaped her responsibilities as a mum for a week and cheered me up with her enjoyment of the routes here.  I hope to climb with her more.

A while ago I decided to loose weight and it's slowly happening, this has given me hope that I might climb well again. For those of you who are trying to loose weight, it's worth it. You will feel light and start to fly, you won't be anchored to the ground. Keep at it. It's good to climb again. As part of the plan I have been doing Martial arts again and at one of the classes was surrounded by police officers, not generally my favourite people, I was pleasantly surprised how lovely and gentle they were, this gave me hope and reminded me not to judge people by their uniform or job or other detail. Anyway the Moon was big and bright the sun has been shining, the plants are green and bursting, the flowers are smiling and things are all roses (actually hibiscus) in my garden.

Hope you all have a great spring do good routes meet lovely warm people and have more fun and sucesss. The photo of the Turkish flag by Inigo is to remimd me that a smile is a crescent moon. The moon was upside down the other week smiling like mad, it was a good week.

Sunday, 2 March 2014

Gozo Chalice, by Stevie supplicant Haston

Climbing on Gozo keeps giving me solace. A week ago I was depressed, today ecstatic !! The ordinary day becomes something more, by chance, the chance is Gozo, and it's called choice. You choose, or you loose.

Yesterday Katie visited the Underworld, and did 3 great routes, The gift of small things, The Kinky Dwarf  and Styx and Stoners, all 3  stars routes, all unique.

Today we went to Sopu Tower and Inigo wanted to take photos. With truth I didn’t, but you know you got to compromise and in the compromising we got a first ascent of  a route called The Inflatable Madonna 6c, poor rock leading to perfect bridging over a huge  chasm. 

Inigo tried to do it but  was defeated by careless and cavalier cleaning. We also did an ascent of Chalice of Malice 7a which despite its low grade. Continues to shock.

Thank you,

Have a nice day.

Friday, 21 February 2014

Normal abnormal Malta, by Stevie normal Haston.

So it's back to the sun, Britain is flooding, Malta is dry, surprise! Actually France was fairly gash, damp and boring, small snow, avalanche prone, and repleat with masses of great food. Fat had overtaken me, off to diet, sun, and rock.

A major problem was no drill! Still first day I cleaned a great new route at 7c+, then day two, a swim, and a run as part of an ongoing plan for alpine betterment.

Here is a few photos in no particular order, cleaning routes is fairly good for the soul but so is looking at things you wouldnt normaly see.
Just before  my little  trip a friend came over from Switerland a good extreme telemarker with a few nice mountain descents, hello mr Steve Hadik,and hello to all my friends in Verbier, I do miss the alps but not in a bad snow year. As for my lucky mates in the Dolimites who are having a good year, well great you lucky people, enjoy.

Friday, 14 February 2014

La Sportva Olympus Mons, Stevie Haston.

The warmest boot La Sportiva make is the Olympus Mons, its prime market are the big hills, 8000 mt peaks. I have warn the prototype, which was already good, but this is much better. It's a bit lighter, in smaller sizes you get 1.2 kg each boot, 2.4 a pair. It's a big boot which walks and climbs O.K, dont expect the nimbleness of the Batura 2.O, which you might be able to get away with on 7000 meter peaks. I had my protos for snowboarding above 7000 mts and they worked like a snowboard boot but I am keen to try these out as they look a bit better.  

The inner is really toasty with a reflective material, check the sizing out realy well for the boots as they cost a bomb. You need to size them with your sock system and add a bit for swelling feet. Constriction brings on the cold but too loose and you swim around. It's worth taking a long time to get the fit right. 

The lacing system is really speedy and convenient  There's no friction thru the eyelets and pulley hook eyelets to make it as easy as possible. And truth to tell, putting your boots on in the morning with cold hands is one of the harder things in big hill climbing. The overgaiter is really good with a weather proof seal zip. It's a three layer boot, removable inner, then a substanial warm boot covered in an insulated gaiter. It is the most popular boot on big mountains. Check the LaSportiva catalogue for details of materials etc, and remember this might be too much boot for you, especialy if you are doing low treking peaks. The Batura 2.0 for lower peaks is very hard to beat and actually climbs very well. With the  Olympus Mons you can put clip crampons on front and back, and maybe you should invest in a light pair, the lighter your foot package the swifter of foot you will be. 

I am planning to go to the big hills again, and with these boots I should bring my toes back. Today I went for a little walk in the snow, post holing, and was thinking about the boys on Nanga Parbat this winter, hope you guys are good, and enjoy sucess.

Wednesday, 12 February 2014

Quarry threatens Ariege peace, by Stevie Haston.

The climbing and tourism in Ariege, in my part of France, is part of our culture, and our wealth, now we are to have a Quarry in the middle, in the heart of all our beauty. So start shouting now.
Never mind that its in 'site a 2000 natura', and there are rare birds there, this doesn't matter. A wierd nefarious agreement has been struck, and the evil, noisey, dusty machine is due to start. 120 trucks a day one every four minuits in a peaceful hameu less than a hundred yards from houses! This is just behind, and adjacent to the parking for Calames cliff one of the oldest, and the most frequented in Ariege. Nobody local wants this, local inhabitants, climbers, walkers. 
Here are a few links, this is a disaster localy, do something if you can please.  
Voici un résumé des nuisances que causeront la réouverture de la carrière de Bédeilhac en Ariège dans une magnifique vallée classée "Site Natura 2000", dans un charmant village, et proche d'un superbe site d'escalade et de balades, alors si vous aimez vous balader, grimper dans des beaux sites comme l'Ariège signer la pétition!