31 March 2008

watch this space

more good things should be on the way from White Goods (Pwll Glas)......here is a taster.......

Dave G on the new route; Ready Steady Hook

Simon also on Ready Steady Hook

22 March 2008

Back to reality?

I have booked a ferry back to the UK. I have decided to travel early easter monday partly as it is cheaper and partly to avoid any traffic. These are not the sort of decisions i have become used to making in the last three months and I'm not sure I like the prospect of more of the same. I am interested to find out what it will be like going back to work; will i remember what to do? How do i climb more?

Font has been a grin but it has made me realise that bouldering is mainly about the physical side of climbing. Of course there are some of the best moves in the world to be found in the Forest and great people too, but getting gripped and sketching about [with a rope on] and the feeling of big air over your shoulder is not replicated by your average highball boulder problem.

For me this trip has been full of new experiences and minor adventures.
I owe you one for inviting me (and going back one more time for Musashi).
You will boulder 8a soon if you carry on climbing like you have been this last couple of weeks.

A photo never lies......

This photo was taken by Lohann, my 1 year old nephew! Admittedly he was poking his fingers at the shiny button and tried to lick the lens afterwards but it shows that taking photos is easy. And here is what he thinks of my efforts...............

put the lens cap back on!!!

16 March 2008

Bacon saved by Danish

Excellent photo in the previous post, thanks Dave and Duncan.

Over the last week we have managed to climb most days despite the changeable weather. I had forgotten how quickly conditions change here in Fontainebleau compared to tooling where climbing can be done pretty much despite the weather. I have been taking it fairly easy so I don't ruin my delicate fingers but have found that i can still boulder at about the same grade as when i swapped bouldering for toooling 9 months ago (a very average grade! compared to what i have tooled). Bouldering is a good crack but I slightly miss the Russian roulette of figure fouring across a roof on bouncy pick bending pockets !!!!!??? (finding that the tarpaulin covering the campsite has blown away just doesn't have the same thrill)

Opening Dave's van using a life saving length of wire provided by some travelling Danish cimbers. (photo: Sven)

Danny surviving the Carnage (photo: Sven)

Dave on Gravillon (photo: Danny)

Two different problems at Petit Bois.
Two different grades: 6b & 7c.
Similar difficulty depending on your talents???

Me at Roche aux Sabots

14 March 2008

Good to see you back on European soil. More photos from Font please.

I'm training hard for July, I've lost 10 lbs since Christmas and managing to crank out the odd v7/v8 down Craggy. Give us a shout when you're back

Dave sent me this the other day....... the old crew

The Forest

Since the last post I have been back to the Zoo and visited another venue; Le Sanglier, both crags were good to me during what has turned out to be my last week dry-tooling.

Le Sanglier; an good crag that is excellent for onsighting routes as the holds are obvious and secure.

This is absolutely the correct way to do the moves over the roof on the good M7 at the left of the crag. (le Sanglier Dry Tooling photos by Kat)

I seem to be living in the Font forest! I can't tell you exactly where as a) i'm not 100% sure and b) the loggers might remove all of the trees that are holding the camp up.

I have met up with Danny and some of his mates from Hampi who keep appearing from the UK, Germany, Spain, etc......

Dave latching Jet Set

Sven on Graviton on sight

Above is a photo of Danny climbing 7c, 7b+ & 7b whilst the camera was in the bag!!

Tomorrow I go for the first shower in a week.....

4 March 2008

this should be big news!!


3 March 2008

Norway ICE !!

These photos are a week or so old so there might not be any ice now!!!

Shelle on the sharp end


Thanks for the photos Toby

the Zoo - a Big crag

Look hard; that red thing is Malc!!

Haston's 08

The new routes above Pema and Cpt. Hook have turned out to be better than expected the two guys Andrea Arici and Raffaele Mercuriali who have developed it have done a good job. The standard dry-tooling drill has been used to create placements but only where necessary and there are a lot of dodgy slopers in the roof of the cave that I was wishing were drilled deeply as I tried to keep the tension on the stein pulls! I'm not sure about the grades there; Lacrime de Sangue felt ok and i'm sure it wouldn't get M11 at the Zoo but then the straight up (Sexy something?) felt pretty tricky!!! I'll put it down to style.

Malc working some moves

Me working the moves

Tyrannosaurus Pecks

After Saas Fee we were on a bit of a downer. The weather had got hot and the ice was finished which meant that 'Dry'lands was probably out as it is one of those locations that seeps a lot and probably needs to be frozen for the rock to be at it's strongest. Law and Order? as far as I know that is one route in a cave with long term project written all over it. Back to Uschinen? my knowledge of euro dry-tooling was running dry. The best option was to bring forward our meeting with the Zoo.

What a result. The Zoo is awsome; a big steep crag with 20+ dry-tooling routes giving us plenty to go at. We have run in to some problems though; apart from the two routes that we were told were the warm ups it all seems a bit 'ard. Not many fig4s are used as the crag is steep but not horizontal so deep lock offs are the order of the day (bring your biceps). Then if you can see the next drilled hold, yes drilled (about 75% of the holds are drilled) you know the next move is a reach up to a stein pull with a scary transition on to the upside down axe followed by some brutal pulling with the axe head by your feet.

The crag has been equiped by Jeff Mercier, Boris Bihler and Eric Doizeau, these guys have done a brilliant job and must have put a shit load of effort in to make it what it is know. A topo can be found in: cascades de glace, du mont Blanc au Leman (book 2) although there are already some new routes not in the guide (I hope to add that info here soon). One oddity is the animal theme for the route names, each route has a animal (plastic) screwed to the start! strange enough, but there are 4 dinosaurs!!! so, if you pay this crag a visit you had better be able to spot the difference between a Lamarasaurus, an [allo] Allosaurus and a MadeinChinasaur.

P.S. Hastons for a weekend break than back to the Zoo (photo Kat)

Late News!!

I have only seen 2 real climbing competitions and they have both been mixed comps. One was in Ouray and the other Saas Fee and, sorry Ouray, there was no comparison between events. The organisation and the climbing was far better in Saas Fee and the final was totally gripping. (The event was filmed by Triple Echo so you might get to see it??)

After 2 days of excellent climbing in the qualifiers the comp climaxed with the last four in the mens final. The first of the four was Markus Bendler who got some air time when the corner of one of the drilled ice blocks broke off so 8th place for Markus! Then came Evgeny Kryvosheytsev who fought his way to the penultimate ice bollard before being timed out, on the way he held a one handed fall on to a stein pull during a tricky section high up on the route. I didn't know much (anything!) about climbing in Korea but they entered a quality team in the comp and it was Park Hee-Yong who climbed fastest in the final and who knows where he would have finished if it wasn't for the tricky stein pull. As it was Park spent a long time getting past this sequence and didn't quite get as high as Evgeny before his 12 minutes was up. With only Simon Anthamatten left to climb Evgeny was in the lead. Simon tore up the route using his hands on some of the real rock holds (learn this trick, they were all at it). His instinctive climbing style was enerjetic and dynamic and he stuck moves that looked like they were about to go badly wrong. He was blasting up the route finding extra in every move. Simon got an axe in the same bollard that Evgeny reached and, suddenly, everything cut loose leaving him hanging one handed, he rolled his shoulder and hooked the other axe in. At this point the crowd went loopy, it was saturday night, a home comp for Simon and the climbing was spectacular. As the clock counted the last seconds Simon had got in to the same position on the bollard as Evgeny but he had found a bit more strength and height to get a winning extra clip.

Simon Anthamatten on the last bollard of the board