I'm a woman

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

Monday, 14 August 2017

The Art of Freedom, a biography of Voytek Kurtyka by Bernadette McDonald reviewed by Stevie Haston.

So looked in my mail box, and found what I been waiting for-the book arrived. Like a bright cloud on a grey day, it's a happy sight,  promise of a change in the weather, or in this case a good few hours immersed in mountains.

 the long awaited book.

Is it better to do or to read about the doing by others? In the case of Voytek, maybe we all can just rest calm, lie on the sofa and enjoy his climbs. Can one enjoy the first ascent of the mythic West Face of Gasherbrum 1V, which Kurtyka and Schauer did all those years ago? Can one visit the day when standards were perhaps frozen? We will see, for as yet the book is open, or opened at odd photos which sometimes trigger emotions and memories. 

John Porters photo of the 1978 team of Porter, Zurek, Kurtyka, and Dirty Alex MacIntyre.

I have been climbing in the morning,  Free Dived in the early afternoon, and now I will vicariously share steep, startling difficult climbs, on my sofa. In the picture above you will see a big rucsacs carried by slight men, their houses and futures loaded on their backs, refugees from the modern world trying to rediscover pre second world war commitment. Kurtyka has often hidden, or ducked interviews, and celebrity, perhaps this book will tell us why. Soon I will share my impressions of this book, of this great climber, until then take it from me, the thoughts of some of these climbs sends shivers down my weak spine. Bye from the sofa.

The Book is published by Vertebrate publishing, and Rocky Mountain Books Canada.

Sunday, 13 August 2017

Selling Hot Rocks, by Stevie Haston.

Right wing extremist riots in southern states of America, threats of  war by the Trump Monster, the Out Door Show goes to Denver… life such as it is goes on. I guess there will come a time when life won't go on, oh, maybe that will come  sooner than we think.

 exploring the coast with Gozo Adventures and Alex.

Anyway "whats the use of worrying" as the song goes. Songs like that were perhaps paid for by the governmental propaganda machine, so I have put in a bid for next years song lyrics. Lines like "when in doubt run it out", "To Desmond, or not to Desmond", "there I was, way, way above my RPs", "my pick snapped",  "I'am short of the belay", "I'ave just dropped the stove"…..

 Tony and Francois, if you can get their second names, award your self a beer, or a rice cake depending on which end of the climbing scale your on.

When a famous guy, or girl die, they sometimes erect a statue in their honour! But if you have been a caver, and a climber, perhaps the statue, and the hole cancel each other out, so there is just nothing!Ah nothing, lovely nuffin.

 Work does this to me.

The sea is hovering at 32 degrees C, a few more degrees than normal, Global warming has fully kicked in, and the BBC, the British Broadcasting Coooonts are still trying to mislead the public on it, it's not just Trump.

 Jake, in climbing mode, and not designing stuff mode.

I had an incredible urge to stay in Utah, the reason is that despite what you hear about Utah from certain climbing manufacturers', it is a great state, not a perfect State, but a great State. We are now moving the Out Door Show to Colorado which is supposed to be better, the state where they have Fracking plants next to schools! Mind you they have freed the Weed! The politics and humbug of pretending to be politically correct, and being goody- goody green, and an easy marketing ploy have more to do with the move to Denver than reality! But hey, the climbing marketing and bull shizer humbug went fully Trump years ago.


Bar humbug. There should be an article about climbing in Gozo and Malta in Klettern, the German Magazine  I may have had something to do with this article, and the climbing! It may or not be any good, have a look. Cheers.

Tuesday, 8 August 2017

Guide book thieves, by Stevie Haston.

People are often nasty, rarely correct. For years now a few climbers have done the lions share of the routes and crag maintenance on Malta and now people are putting info out for their own profit and gain! If people who have done no local work accrue the money doesn't it sound like crookery to you!

 A Bonfire of Vanities, a conflagration of mirrors…

I cannot continue my contribution to route development if people continually steal the info. I am by no means  rich, and have trouble doing what I do, if certain people continue to give away the fruits of what a few climbers here shed blood for I will stop developing routes, and my info will remain for my friends.

 A little bouldering place which will in all likely hood stay secret now.

 There are 27 new routes at this cliff not in the guide book, these will stay for my friends if people continue to muscle and thieve info!

 Old bit of protection, Titanium is what the modern UIAA recommendations suggest is the best, which would you like?

Patrick on the Last of the Mohicans, a brilliant project that needs better equipment.

I really have trouble understanding people who steal from poor climbers! So please you climbers out there, in the case of a small area, buy local guidebooks and donate to a fund for local climbing.

Thursday, 3 August 2017

The Eye of the Beholder, by Stevie all seeing Haston.

 Gozo can be very beautiful if you have eyes to see, and the fingers and heart to feel. 6a.

Sorry this isn't about City of the Rocks in Idaho, but you will have to lump it.

 a place of worship between the cliffs, the chestnut trees, and heaven, half way up a good hours walk up the hill is this place…

Different places different moods, Italy, America, India, all the same, no not really, but what can you say there is the same thread, worship of certain things, for me its trees, mountains, sea, flowers ….. 

 Stevie myself I, doing my Polish Miner impression.

I am not from Poland and wasn't a chimney sweep but after a couple of nights out on the town I can look a bit rough…

 Pitch two, how many pitches have I done in my poxy life?

 Devil Fish with the Devil in Red.

First day back in the sea I was down beyond 20 meters, it was lovely, not the Green room, the Blue room, well its neither Green nor Blue, its in-between. 

The Eye has it, these fish can see you through fog, beware the Jubjub fish!

Fish predators and raptors have huge eyes, predators eyes- babies have big eyes too-they prey on your love.

Wednesday, 2 August 2017

Maple sirop, no pancakes by Stevie the bear Haston.

Arriving at SaltLake City the other day was hard, modern travel seems to leave your soul far behind, but as soon as I got through bothersome immigration I smiled, America!

  The Interstate is more of a soul renacher, the big trucks the big cars, they scream consumerism and excess… but its what feeds me, its the modern dilemma. The sign which says Las Vegas is very tempting to take, avoid the Climbing Trade show and go straight to climbing!

 Danger humans this sign should have said.

Effectively I did avoid the trade show-between the kindness of my bosses, a bit of clubbing in Maple Canyon was arranged with Big Narhan. Nathan now does guide books and media for climbing brands, employ this man he is good.


Maple Canyon is a place I love, its conglomerate climbing with often long pitches or big roofs, it has a habit of getting  you fit, Not in one session however-one session will often destroy you.

 Sector Zen Garden, I had last climbed here 15 years ago with Laurence Gouault.

Ah memories, so many of my memories are in America.

 What a pleasant belay seat.

The show was very good for me, met lots of friends, and did my stuff well-even if I do say so myself! Unfortunately I didn't see Steve and Cynthia, so if you are reading this, I am sorry, very sorry. I might see you in the winter, ice climbing may be re invented for me, and whiskey and ice will suffer.

Leaving Maple, you cannot now guawk at the insane turkey farms with there overcrowding, it has all been sanitising with anti terrorism laws so you don't get close. But this unexpected wonderful sight might make yo smile and believe in old America.

Tuesday, 1 August 2017

America my second home, by Stevie Haston.

So I'ave been to Italy and America and I haven't blogged or posted anything, I'ave been slack lazy, I have a malaise, but I will try harder. 

 My island is good but it is small, four pitches high in one dimension.

The climbing what little I have done has been truly wonderful, a classic multi pitch in Italy with two nice Italian boys who love climbing. Company is one of the prime ingredients of good climbing, although I have enjoyed soloing, its because I have a multiple personality.


 Grand Torino, was in Turin but this is in Germany so obviously was in Germany as well. 5 litre engine carbon foot print is big to Big at the moment.

The show in Germany was good, but the USA one was better, more fun-I have to thank a few, Jake and Doug, and Nathan and Rich, Pete, and the boss Gary. And all the others around the Liberty Mountain Booth, and all my mates in the States, wow, thanks guys, and girls. 

 Italy, this is the normal Macherby cliff, we climbed on a steeper buttress!

Napoleon went around to attack the local fortress by steep hiking with a big army, the Italians were probably drinking and making love and messing about so northern Italy was lost. Did Napolian think about climbing? 

 Brill  route 6 pitches, I have been wanting to do it for more than 20 years.

A wonderful walk up through a chestnut forest followed by a great route and then and over large late lunch. I didn't for once drink the grappa!

 Francoise a good lad, employ him if you was a goods climbing.

The Rose was maximum 6b, brill rock, which unusually for Gneiss has pockets, unbelievable quality climbing thanks gus, was going to have a run in the heat and veg out. Instead….pleasure. 

Oliviero poor fellow 12 pitches the day before and a mother 6 today, blisters and no bad temper, we fly tomorrow dude!

So went to America the next day, America under Trump is still a great place but maybe its better because they understand that something is very, very wrong.  Anyway I,ll get on the case and blog a bit more. I might even write something good, or long. If people less than half my age have written books perhaps I should. Or at least I should try!

Sunday, 16 July 2017

Setting yourself goals, by Stevie Haston.

Some days getting up in the morning seems really hard! I don't get them kinda days, I am not saying I am immune, but I try to stay away from depression, and hating jobs. Some of you are probably laughing, because you know I don't work very much!

Enjoying what is left of my life is my prime goal….

It's very hot, and climbing can seem unbearable, but there is so much to do, exploring, looking at lines, doing the odd set of pull ups, I haven't really had a goal in climbing since I did the route Bernd, it was so good and hard, it pretty much burnt out the circuitry in my already frazzled brain.

Looking through the looking glass…

I was looking at a friend Chris AKA Bladders photos of climbs of Chris Gore on some Grit classics and this brought lots of things back. Like how stupid we were climbing Grit in the sun, EB boots, unprotected landings, fear, yes huge whopping amounts of FEAR.  Anyway Goals, enjoy myself as much as I did 40 years ago, do shit instead of thinking about it. Be fit, creative, and generous, laugh and smile, they don't cost much!

the climb Spunky Arette is crying out for a solo or three.

A little light soloing 6c is good for you even when they are  a bit slimy, solo more, life is a bit of a solo performance, you are an island, sure you must love, but nobody is really there to catch your fall, or bring you up from deep down in the water.

Ahh new routes… what would I do without new routes…do more new routes.

Anyway doing new things is great, went bubble diving with my friend Alex, and enjoyed it. I did a bit of tight and nasty cave diving years ago in the UK, but I missed out on recreational swimming about enjoying oneself. So its funny how after more than 30 years I can remember my side mounted bottles, and the calm you need. You need calm, or CALM in big 40° proof bottles. This morning I was down at 30 meters, no tanks, and no noise from air bubbles, and it was magic. The solitude, the serenity, it is overwhelmingly stupendous. Anyway you can't push the boat out all the time, now can you, so enjoy the journey to the goals. Goal for me is to dive a bit deeper, another few meters on my island, and another 15 seconds will give me more awareness. Look out for an article in Climb Mag on soloing with reference to Free Rider, I was asked for a slight contribution, hopefully the editor has put this solo in its place away from American hyperbole. Just try and remember when Mayol went beyond 100 meters  in the sea, he knew some one would go more, and yes it was his friend. Things are ever thus, and Mr Mayol most ardent wish was not to break records, but to play with dolphins. It is a great thing to play with dolphins, having swum with one of the biggest jamborees of dolphins I ever heard of, I can attest to it being a pleasure. If I could have days like that again would I give up climbing, no of course not. Why, because you can have both. But you better hurry, dolphins are going the way of the dodo. Be careful who you vote for, and how you spend your money.

Wednesday, 12 July 2017

America is coming, by Stevie 5 th of July Haston.

OK America Iam coming over! Salt Lake City Out Door show here I come, my American friends are flying me over, so let the good times roll.
 Shame Iam a bit out of shape other wise it would be straight over to the Meadows to do that run out 5.11 that Bacher put up all those years ago to embarrass people. I still have a bad thumb which is making things problematic.
 A perfect 6a we did a while back.

Went diving and swimming today, it was relaxed with kids and visitors, the sea breezes kept the temps dow. Politics aside we need to do something about Global warning my American friends. Me too, my carbon foot print will be over loaded.

 Do you trust stainless steel bolts?  Do you its a serious question, I use Titanium, donate to my bolt and climbing fund , top of the page.

So whats up, not a great deal, I been diving and initial success was surprising but now I'am stuck, Free Diving is like climbing but more so. The mind is a strange device, its more like a break on a wheel.

 New Ice axe from Grivel, Grivel are 200 years old next year!

Grivel are 200 years old soon, thats not bad, shows something I guess.

 Good ropes are a fundamental thing which you should never think about, gear is not to think about, good gear just is.

The last year for the Salt Lake show, I believe it will go to Denver next year! The end of an era!

 Albert driving the boat around to Santa Maria Caves, Albert is a cool happy guy, he made us lunch and marvelled at a shell I brought up, I want to be Albert!

Saw a few fish today, lots of people enjoying the Blue Lagoon and other places, I also saw lots of rubbish on the sea bed! Wake up people I can't pick it up! I would like to pick some up, but I get fed up, just like I get fed up picking it up near the climbing cliffs.

A nautilus shell.

Here you go guys, this is what your climbing cams are based on! This little beauty is incredibly fragile and I have never seen one like it. The spine was also thick, or wide, just like a soft rock cam! This is for Fred who works for a rival company and has just produced some great cams. If you see this and know who Fred is, tell him.   

Tuesday, 11 July 2017

The Darkness Beckons, Cave diving book review by Stevie Haston.

Sorry for the delay in this review, but I have been reading it-yes this is sometimes what a reviewing person might do! Anyway this book is a fantastic read, and is not only a must read for cavers, and divers, but a must read and have for climbers, because every page is soaked in sweat, and adventure.

 exploring rocks, caves, and cliffs-Alexandra.

The Darkness Beckons is a huge thick book, it's full of the history of the sport of diving, it's full of wonderful photos, and is a loving testament to the shared brotherhood of the sport throughout the world. It's kind of like climbing was-not that climbing is passé, but it is overhyped at times. Cave diving is a bit like soloing, it's pure and committing, and an individual small journey, an odyssey in a world where everything is now a package holiday!   

 the first (?) cave dive, Mr Casteraete my "hero"and muse since I was a boy.

This great book is too big to take in one sitting, but if you'r like me, you will have many long reads, and then just keep dipping back into many individual journeys down water filled dreams, or nightmarish tunnels. The modern photos of clear water can not convey the grimness of many dark tight little worm holes that have been done, but it's all there, mud and glory, and clear crystal water too. Neither can the images of sublime overburdened divers at great depth on occasion, convey the crazy pressure on mind, and body that these aqua knights boldly venture into.

the beautiful climbing cover of the Darkness Beckons by by Mr Farr.

If you are squeamish you shouldn't read this book, but it seems to be one of the last frontiers of human endeavour, so for me and many of the people I know, it is a must purchase acquisition. When Honould soloed El Cap the other day there was a lot of American Chest beating about it being sports greatest achievement, and I certainly cried bollocks, if you want to know why read this book, there are hundreds of instances of great daring do on the brink of the sports upper curve!

 A great historical photo from Balcombs collection, Balcomb was instrumental in beginning cave diving in the UK.

There is a great deal of vicarious pleasure, and misery, and sadness to be had in this book, it's as big as the Bible with better stories, please buy it and enjoy it, the author Mr Farr deserves some recompense for his dedication to the sport, and for his measured, and devoted recordings, and research. Martin Farr has been involved in cave diving since a young man, and shows no danger of giving it up, I for one thank you very much for sharing your wonderful world with me.

Friday, 30 June 2017

The Darkness Beckons by Martin Farr a book review by Stevie Haston.

Here it is , I got my grubby  hands on the new, The Darkness Beckons. First impressions are, it's the same, but better! It's the third edition of this truly great book, it's a re vamp, it's got more photos, it's more in depth obviously with the new stuff, the tech dives that are going deeeep!

 Cover is different, so is the foreword by Bill Stone.

Its the same,  but different, reassuringly the same as it treats this fascinating cave diving experience with the love and adoration of one of its long time adherents the author and aquanaut Martin Farr! 

 Theres poetry in the title and mystery and suspense….

I will give it a proper more thought out review after I have read and reread this book. The most important thing for you might be these words, buy it! Publication date is the 3rd of July!

Martin Farr.

You people out there might know I love climbing, but some of you also know I am an avid caving fan, and water man, some times these wonderful things can all come together, they do in this book. Ultimately this book is about the passion for exploration, and today with google maps, the bastardisation of guided mountains, and  drone footage for tomorrows latest clothing advert,  exploration is quivering in its death throws. This book in its foreword even talks about that as we have even today the capability to send robots beyond the Darkness!  But hey, the Darkness still Beckons! For me this book is a loving pilgrimage with some friends, and indeed lost friends, and people who I don't know, but have admired and respected for years. With this new rendition I have met new adventures, and adventurers, I'll share the review with you as soon as I can get my head out of its lovely words, and photos.  

Friday, 23 June 2017

Ben 9a Moons Fore arms, by Stevie weak Haston.

Ia've just been at the Summer trade show in Germany, and it was great! Sound like Trump I hope not! People might suspect that the truth is somewhat different but hell yes I enjoyed it, the unpleasant things about work, politics, and being tired I ignored.

 Being in Germany made me love my home and love being alive..

Those people wishing to know about Ben Moons forearms should skip forewords. Seeing mates and old climbing buddies just seemed the special thing it always is.  So seeing people like Ben Moon and Paul Craven (among others ) just made me smile. They are younger than me but still like me keen as mustard! Paul is older than Ben and was an early member of the Stoney Middleton Woodshed dossiers club as was I. Ben is just Ben.

 The pieces of a life, a thousand piece jigsaw…

I promise to write a book, every body who asked OK. I need to dive and swim but I promise to write, especially as I now seem to be selectively forgetting. Oh the unbearable sweetness of selective forgetting.

 If you remember these things your one of the chosen tribe of Rock.

Good gear, good people, and stupendous beer, that was the summer show.

 One of the Lords of Font, Big Joe.

Climbing is so easy today, good gear, good info, etc, its amazing that people don't take up the gauntlet and crush (new words for old success), boots in particular-you should try climbing in old EBs, but more precisely slabs at Font.

Benedict Moons forearms..; such wonderful devices shame you can't buy them.

Ben Moon as some of you might know did a 9a just before his 50 birthday a few years ago, this year he has some fore arm issues and believe it or not is Trad climbing! 

More stuff soon, sorry I haven't been blogging but I got a lazy pencil.