30 April 2009

too much thinking time (From ice to Iceberg)

I guess it is actually a bit odd the level of significance that climbing up a boulder a specific way becomes. A strange hobby; bouldering, in fact climbing in general is fairly inane. Now that i think about it what is the point of any sport or hobby? skiing, football, cycling, train spotting. Not too sure i care as long as it's fun.

Difficult easy mantle made harder by trying to avoid headbutting the camera and smile.

thanks Richard

It's also funny how things turn out some times: one evening Pete and I agreed to take a look at my project if it didn't rain during the night. Later, after answering that the flashes were flash photos i was surprised by thunder and enough rain for a stream to form along the path from Isatis to the car park. So no project. But the following morning the sky was clear and a quick check revealed all of the boulders washed clean of their coating of Easter punter chalk, and dry. And grippy, game on .... no luck for me that day though.

for Allyn

I see why i was told i jump like a pregnant woman

It wasn't until my penultimate day in font that i realised what a burden of expectation my project had become, how much i wanted to stick that final hold. Stupidly right from the start i had assumed i would climb this line - not an un-reasonable assumption as i had done the stand and could regularly do the traverse in to the stand BUT I kept failing on the last move; slipping heal, slipping fingers or, worse, split tips. The problem was starting to slip through my fingers and on to the list of notable failures. A list of climbs that particularly get under my skin, climbs that I could have done but haven't. Brad Pitt and Musashi top the list, luckily they ARE the list.

So on my last full day in the Forest my belief that i would tick the problem was lacking, but I felt I had to try. Best to ignore the cakes and beer that had been creeping in to my diet over the last days of my holiday. Best to ignore feeling tired and achey. On the upside I had two handfulls of skin (the 8 day old crimp slice and 12 day old ripped tip had sort of scarred over).

After a warm up I started up (along!) the line and suddenly found myself looking at the finishing hold.
been here before.
as usual too low.

Second go felt ok but as I tried to gain extra height my heel slid off as usual.

Next go felt harder.
tired probably.
and the moves didn't feel quite right.
then my hand stuck the finishing sloper. It is a better hold higher up but i didn't have hold of that part, so now my heel is on a sloper that never sticks, my left hand is on a sloper and so is my right. As i feel my fingers slipping I struggle to place my left toe but succede. And that was that! my highest number tick and biggest bouldering buzz. Now if i would have had to walk away without the tick?

good fun

20 April 2009

Let the credits roll

This is my last few days in France as i'm returning to the UK to see what is in store for the next few months (hopefully lots of trad and maybe some work). After three and half months practically full time climbing it's going to be interesting going back to a more conventional lifestyle.

Font has been awesome, it was a good decision to drop in on the way home, but when I look at my tally of climbs from 6 weeks bouldering it amounts to what a lot of climbers would do in a week(end). Luckily I didn't have any expectations of how i would climb and have ticked some brilliant problems, a couple of 8's would have been nice though! (probably never going to happen). There seems to be lots of strong climbers in the forest and I saw a serious attempt on Partage, Cochinelle ticked and various laps of Carnage - Berenzina links.

Everyone who visited from the UK was quickly ticking 7a's (even Pete who had been training by sewing the interior of his van!). Conditions have been a bit special this year, tons of ice in the alps then basically all of March was cool and dry in Font. Lucky.

One of the many brilliant things about Font is the huge amount of rock, there are so many good problems as only the best lines have been cleaned and there is a lifetimes supply of new problems if you want. It was cool to discover a striking line i had never seen before only 15min from Cuisiniere, ok it was a 14m slopey 7a traverse so not everyones cup of tea! but still an awesome line.

I hope you have been entertained reading about my trip. With luck there will be more to follow ......... watch this space ........

Thanks Andy, Stew & Sam, Ramon, Matt, Lucasz, Pti, Dennis, Marcus, Pavel, Nick, Charley, Paul, Andre, Pete, Caroline & Eden, Richard.
Rob Adie, Anne Arran.
Patrice, Helen, Lohann & Allyn.

Fontainebleau highlights: (well basically, all-lights!) .... Festin de Pierre, Angle Bens, Retour Aux Sources, Zen, La Memel, El Poussif, Bioethique, L'abattoire, Les Monos, Belle Gueule, Iceberg. Most of these were ticked thanks to beta from Paul and then ticked faster by Pete!

Lowlights: Excalibur, Breaking my camera (lens?), L'impasse du Hasard, Weeks of weak skin, Gargantoit (assis), Red 1 at Roche aux Sabot!! 6a my sandy arse

8 April 2009

A question of style

I'm not one for making tick lists but over the last couple of months some good looking or challenging lines have caught my attention and i have been making a mental note of them to try and go back to them sometime. But then I arrived in Font and there are so many awesome lines (thanks for pointing them out Paul) that I started to note them down. Now i have a some problems written on a piece of paper as an aide memoir. This is not a tick list.

On that problem again today. The rain held off long enough for me to peel my finger on the crimp on my last (and best ever) attempt. I could not have been closer to climbing it; I felt the good bit of the finishing hold with my right hand before my left slipped. At least i have found a new way to fall off the problem as it is always the right heel that slips.

Good points
- i have re-learned the subtle moves I need to use for the finishing sequence
- i can climb it for sure

Less good points
- i forgot the subtle movements i used last time for the finishing sequence
- i knew as soon as i did the stand i could climb it from a sit
- today is the 4th session working the sit
- two split finger tips now (one split on a sloper?!!)