Wednesday, 30 September 2015
There's a great deal of climbing on my island of Gozo, and it seems that nobody knows about it! So here you go, I'll tell you a little. Gozo is a pleasant tourist island with a cultural history that is as long as any where. Megalithic temples, Medieval Forts, More modern stuff, nearly 400 hundred attractive climbs, and lots of Trad climbing and deep water soloing with a little bouldering. We get many climbers from different parts of the world, and we need them, we need them in a couple of ways, we need their money, and we need their support for our sport.
Gozo has very reliable weather, which is just changing from the heat of Summer to the less hot Autumn. Autumn is still very warm, but there's a little wind now, and a few clouds which very often produce incredible colourful skies. The sea too is warm, a pleasure. The climbing as I'ave said is very good, and getting better.
The climbing here is very varied, all grades, all angles of terrain, and we have inland and sea cliffs.
If you have the time please like this page as we would like to make the climbing better, and convince local people and government of this great resort to enjoyment health and adventure.
This is just a Face book page and we hope to expand info stuff and photos.
The guide book to the islands is very good, I should know as some of my work is in it. Good maps and info. There are of course three islands, Malta the bigger one is the one you will fly to, and land on. Comino is the tiny middle island, with lots of deep water soloing, and adventure swimming and diving. Gozo is in my opinion defiantly worth one or two weeks of anybodies time as a climbing holiday, and represents good value. So come to Gozo have a great climbing holiday. This goes for the Maltese too, this week I have seen more people from abroad than locals, it's probably time you came back, the newly developed cliff of Fruit Cake Land is as good as it gets, while the White tower is the cliff to give you stamina for Europian sports cliffs. Come and visit Gozo, support Gozo climbing.
Saturday, 26 September 2015
The Everest film is out, some people say it's good, others say it's bad. One of the critics is John Krackauer, a man who wrote a good book about the debacle where a few people lost their lives. John is a very interesting intelligent man who was also a very able climber, he says he deeply regrets ever going to Everest now. Everest for me was interesting in some ways, notably for the crass humans who crawled over it for money and glory. I don't blame John for his regrets, I lost a lot of money on Everest and had a general shite time, best day I had was snow boarding a lesser lump of snow nearby. I took exception to a few things in Johns book 'Into thin Air', and probably preferred Anatolis Boukreevs book on the famous, and now very lucrative death of a few people. I still advise people to read both accounts. Krackow has moved on to produce brilliant work, check out his new film on Mormons.
Everest was nearly climbed by some daft, eccentric, tweed wearing Brits in the 1920s, in todays age of exploration perhaps we should be portraying something other than the foibles of rich trophy hunters. This week has been interesting in many ways, a Prime Minister has been accused of using his member as a tooth brush on a Hoggs head, and Volkswagen have been found to lie about emissions which could add more than 5000 deaths due to pollution! 5OOO deaths compared to a few people on a snowy blob!
Going thru a rucksack of gear I threw away about 20 bits and bobs, they had kinnda exploded. It's a reminder of what salt, and a few other chemicals will do to your gear. I had a few camming devices which really got it, Iam not going to give names of the crabs, as it effects all forged crabs in my opinion, and Iam not going to name the camming device, it's a good one, but there's a serious miss match of materials that customers might not like.
There's a great deal of fantastic gear, some of the gear now is so finely engineered it is a bit like a carbon bike, It needs constant attention, and watching. You should know your gear, and how to use it, as well as your own limitations. Everest is strangely on the limit of human physiology, a fact that has been known since the 1920s, stupidity, greed, and emissions on the other hand may be on the increase, or disguised.
Saudi Arabia (our friends and buyers of our overpriced weapons) are about to make Atheism a crime, when in fact you should get a medal for it. Thank god (haha forgot he doesn't exist) there's no Everest in the land that started Wahhabism. Oh, and they said they are going to crucify a 17 year old boy for taking part in a political demo. All hail.
Friday, 25 September 2015
Malta has just won the Obesity lottery in the EU, obviously not very proud of this one. We are now the fattest people who seem to do the least, if it matters on a recent trip to America we seemed equal in mass. Our islands don't have much and we are increasingly sacrificing them to the gods of tourism. We need tourism but we don't need trash and being crowded out of our own beaches and cafes!
We attract people who throw their rubbish away, the locals dump building material, we have hardly any country walks because there is very little public land, and no pressure for country activities from politicians.
This beautiful rock arch is slowly collapsing, and it is our biggest touristic attraction. The tourists come in busses, taxis, jeep safaris, and one or two adventurous cyclists. The tourist buy a coke, or a beer, throw the can away, and go away. The locals often then come at night to BBQ, and leave further rubbish. The few climbers we get stay for one or two weeks, care and appreciate our rocks, we want more tourists like these.
I watched a young man throw himself off the arch this week, he went to hospital in a critical condition. It was a macho act that I criticised even though I have done the same thing! It's easy to complain, but it's not easy to solve things. Perhaps some walks amoung the flowers for people who love the countryside should be made or encouraged. Perhaps more climbing could be done for the young to express themselves in a safe adventurous way. It's crowded here, the world is increasingly more crowded, so we must help each other more. This week a local boy of fourteen died of injuries when his friend landed on his back in a small jump, the solution to this is a court case, and probably another restriction. People are loosing any sense they had! We need more education, help with sport, help with eating properly and be encouraged to help our islands be a better place to live and visit.
It's nice being home on Gozo and Malta, but picking up litter is not really what I came back for. I came back to enjoy the sea, not aluminium cans and plastic. The sea has very little life in it, and it's dirty after all the boats and swimmers. There were a few days when flocks of Bee Eater birds gathered over my village before going home to Africa, it was fantastic. These bird days are rare today. When I was young there were clouds of Quail, and turtle dove. those days are gone. Today its clouds of rubbish in the sea and land, and a wealth of plump tourists, wealth of course is not the appropriate word, it's budget tourism!
Wednesday, 16 September 2015
'A book is a thief of time', an image is worth a thousand words, without doubt they can change you. The book on Colorado climbing was one of the great influences on my early life, sad really as Colorado life isn't compatible with being an East end of London Boy. 'West end girls and east end boys', the Pet shop Boys song was a bit late in explaing a social faux pas. The fashion of wearing whatever was worn in this book went on for many years, with many a lad trying to look like Bacher for years. Victims of fashion, victims of the often petty rules that formed by drunken osmosis from elitist climbers of these days. I grew up soloing and top roping, and the ethics in-between these two facetes always were a puzzle for me, but hey I tried to fit in, I tried to be one of the tribe.
Here's a book written by my mate Crusher, buy one, because if you buy one your keeping something a live-history. It's not as important as other stories, but it's our story, a climbers story, our sport. With out these books there is no story. Even if the authors get things wrong, or just a bit wrong, it's important to our group that there is a story.
Skip is an icon, my latest Skip joke is that he was so anti-social they named a form of communication after, just to piss him off, Skype!
Skip did early repeat go Midnight Lightning, and was generally always using his feet where others were mindlessly pulling.
I met Pat in Boulder recently, and was able to talk about a few things that happened years and years ago. Many of the older climbers are dying off, so the story, or the song of early stone is dying in the wind. I'ts sometimes forgotten how much we owe to others. We owe our sport to lots of people, my sport was done on the shoulders of many, without them I don't have one! Colorado climbing, along with Chamonix climbing, has a very large part to play in what I am, so thanks.
Saturday, 12 September 2015
Returning from the States has left me in a bit of a vacuum. I had a really great time, with old friends and new ones. The economy is going real well in the States and theres lots of people climbing and enjoying their climbing. Obviously American Foreign policy leaves a great deal to be desired, but then don't talk about British or EU policy either. In the photo above is a little cairn made by an artist in Boulder Colorado, they (the powers that be) wanted him arrested. Well you can't have cairns everywhere, now can you? Sense finally prevailed he wasn't arrested, but if you think about it, these kinnda cairns might become a bit much.
Money is too tight to mention at the moment, wide spread immigration within the climbing community has led to a severe drop in wages! Climbers and Climbing trainers are not who you think, they are not refugees or sports asylum seekers, they are em …. guys trying to earn money and survive!
The perenial problem of earning money has risen its ugly head again. I keep downsizing and moving further south. More south than where I am is Libya! Is there a job opportunity there for a climbing grand dad with a life time in the business?
So I was on the train in Salt Lake City, going to the airport when about 30 young guys in blue suits walked in, it's half 6 in the morning. It's a city Matrix film thing, except these guys are Mormons, it's weird you expect to be in a Sci Fi film, Iam looking at them and being judgmental, when I realise Iam almost entirely dressed in yellow, with matching Haul bag and carry on! You can catch yourself so easily being stupid so easily, you just have to think a tiny bit! But there's the rub, few people think anymore. There is a big war going on in the East at the moment, and consequences are normal. It's hard to understand that in America, or Britain where they have just had the largest Arms Fair in the world. Arms Fair, as in guns and Amunition, rockets and death, not Arms as in Biceps.
When they want to buy you out, you don't have to sell your principles, but it's polite if they ask, or at least offer you some money! I feel like this old building in Salt Lake City today, largely forgotten.
I started writing my book in the last few days, but realise its gonna have to be classed as fiction! Will I ever finish writing it? Will it get published, can I buy food this week.Which is the more important question this week?
Anyway a bit of climbing and swimming, I will sustain myself on the memories of Utah and Colorado, food for thought, thoughts for food!
Friday, 11 September 2015
I am back on my scrawny rock in the middle of the Mediterranean sea! Gozo is nice after all. Well the USA was great. Thanks are due to the guys at Liberty Mountain, Rich (good luck with the Logan to Jackson Cycle race), Jake (keep shredding) and Nathan (will climb with you mate you make me look good in Photos) and Pete (hope the honeymoon is sweet), and their Boss Gary-thanks for thinking my slide show was great (it is!).
My stay in Boulder was thanks to the Lefkoff family, Kyle has been my friend for more than 30 years!
I would like you to come to see me on my island, and climb and swim. It's 27° centigrade, that's 77° Fahrenheit, more humidity than Utah and Colorado, but very acceptable. Sea is 24°C or 75° F, which is more than acceptable.
Iam sorry I haven't been blogging, but was having problems with my computer and been traveling the last week. Ok, now training time, as the next time I go the the States I actually need to climb something!
Tuesday, 1 September 2015
Ok sorry to go on about the slide show on thursday at Neptunes, but as I might never do one again, it would be nice if there were a few people who liked a few good climbing shots.
I have got a few Grivel Carabiners, with the twin gate system to give away!
I'ave got one pair of mono points for some lucky ice chap, or chapess to give away, and a few posters. There are a few good slides from sport climbing to the bigger mountains of the world! Be there.Heckling is optional and always welcome!