Friday, February 16, 2018

February 16, 2018 - It was worth it.

Just like I expected, I had to pay for the effort I made on Sunday to climb "Roche Métamorphique".
That same evening and night the flue really kicked in and I was unable to go to work the day after.
The doc wanted to write me home all week, but as I didn't feel that extremely bad at that moment thanks to the Paracetamol I took, I negotiated two days less, until Wednesday.
However, I had to promise that I would work from home if I wasn't 100% yet on Thursday.
Little did I know that the worst was yet to come.
On Wednesday I even felt that bad that I started doubting if it had been all worth it to have climbed on Sunday.

Thursday, after a bad night with high fever, it suddenly started fading and by noon I finally had no fever anymore.
As I had promised the doc, I worked from home yesterday and today to strengthen up.
Late this afternoon, after work, I had enough energy to go check out the recently published "Veuve Noire" in Roche aux Sabots Est, opened by, of course, Tony (Fouchereau).

Even though I wasn't ill anymore, I was out of breath after that short walk to the boulder, which was smaller than I expected.
It's a bit eliminate, so it took me a while before I found a method to get up, but in the end it wasn't as hard as I thought it would.
On the other hand, my heart was racing through my chest when I mantled up. It reminded me that I'm still recovering from the flue.

Walking back, I felt quite good again, thought about the past week and decided that it was worth it.

Fontainebleau - Roche aux Sabots Est - Veuve Noire 7C(7B+)

Sunday, February 11, 2018

February 11, 2018 - Do what it takes.

This week we had more snow here than the past four years altogether.
As long as the boulders are dry underneath the snow, it can create excellent conditions, but with the humidity from the weeks before, it was all wet.
It did create a beautiful white scenery in the forest though, however, I saw more trees that had fallen down under the weight of the snow than there were during the storms a while ago.

Yesterday, the sky finally cleared up and the sun started melting the thick layer of snow.
Hearing the constant sound of packs of melting snow falling from the trees, I had to look for a boulder that wasn't overshadowed by trees, and came up with "Atome Crochu" in Canche aux Merciers.
I spent some time in the morning wiping the snow off the boulder and drying it with my a towel that quickly became soaking wet.
When I returned a couple of hours later, it was in almost perfect conditions. The only boulder that was free from snow and dry.
The session lasted almost an hour and a half, twice I fell off the last move but I started feeling weak and had to give up.
At least, I had been able to climb on real rock!

Snow in Canche aux Merciers.

I had a bad night and woke up with a fever this morning.
My son who was struck with flue earlier this week, most likely passed it on to me.
The weather, however, was beautiful and a similar story like yesterday unfolded itself.
In the morning, I drove to Rocher de la Salamandre Est, knowing that the boulder of "Roche Métamorphique" is exposed to the sun and dries very quickly.
The boulder was indeed dry, but unfortunately, due to the rising air temperature, the small roof and the starting hold under it were condensed and very wet.

I dried the starting hold under the roof as much as I could with some toilet paper that I carried in my bag. Looking at the sun at that moment, it was only a matter of minutes before that hold would be exposed to it too.
The Paracetamol that I took after getting out of bed, was wearing out, and I could feel the fever coming back.
I decided to let the sun do its work and returned home for an new dose of anti-fever pills and put on some dry socks.
When I arrived at "Roche Métamorphique" again, a couple of hours later, it was perfectly dry. Even the starting hold under the roof.
I was delighted and started my session, hoping that I wouldn't be too weak because of the fever.

It took me a while and a lot of trying different methods, but in the end I found the one that suited me most and finished the problem.
Despite the flue that made me feel miserable, it felt great!

Fontainebleau - Rocher de la Salamandre Est - Roche Métamorphique 7B+(7C)

I'm already paying for having climbed today.
My body weakened and gave the flue the occasion to attack even more, but hey, when you really want to climb, sometimes you have to do what it takes and suffer the consequences.

Friday, February 2, 2018

February 02, 2018 - The ivory tower.

Every day since last Saturday was dominated by rain again, but today finally we had some sunny periods until late afternoon.
There was a 40% chance of rain and some of that had passed over the town of Montereau where I work, so everything was wet when I finished at 16h.
In the distance, I could see that the sky over the forest looked more clear and looking at the direction the clouds were going, I knew that the rain had passed there already. But there was still time to dry.
I calculated that the time needed to get to Gorge aux Châts would leave me with about 45 minutes of daylight left for climbing. At least, if it was dry enough already.

Arriving at "La Tour d'Ivoire", I was delighted to see that the overhanging boulder kept the holds underneath it perfectly dry.
The topout looked slippery but knowing that I was at least going to be able to practice the first part felt great on itself. I was finally going to move on rock again.
As a warmup, I tried the 6B standing start and discovered a method to do the dynamic move almost statically.
It motivated me, because I knew at that moment that a send could follow any time soon.

"La Tour d'Ivoire" has a really hard start with a small and painful undercling crimp and I remember that I once looked at it for the first time years ago, wondering how it was even possible.
It felt like a real victory standing on top of the boulder about half an hour later.

Fontainebleau - Gorge aux Châts - La Tour d'Ivoire 7C

Saturday, January 27, 2018

January 27, 2018 - When will it stop?

When will it stop?
A question that's on many's mind.
Even older Bleausards say that they have never seen such humidity and plain wetness for such a long time before. I can only agree with them.

For today it was finally announced to be quite sunny again, but when looking out of the window early in the morning, all I could see was a dense fog and a dark grey sky.
Another look at my weather app revealed that the predictions had changed into grey clouds all day.
I had planned to go to Apremont Désert to try "La Corne de Rhino", knowing that it dries quickly, but I had to be patient and started cleaning the bathrooms upstairs. Time passes more quickly when you're busy.

I was pleasantly surprised when Pieter wrote that he and Alberto were having a coffee in Milly-la-Forêt, because I didn't expect them to be in the forest this weekend.
The latest weather predictions they saw before leaving were those when it was still supposed to be sunny and they also were disappointed when waking up this morning and seeing all that grey.
They agreed to join me to Apremont Désert and we met on the parking a while later.
There was no need to hurry, because we all knew that almost everything would be wet anyway.

I was already warmed up from the long walk when I arrived at "La Corne de Rhino", it was already 13h and still the fog and grey sky were ever present.
The small boulder was as good as the only dry one in the area and even in remarkably good conditions as opposed to the previous session when I worked in it.
I took my time working out the moves again and in between tries I didn't touch the holds for a few minutes, to avoid them becoming humid, which can happen fast with this humidity in the air.
Almost an hour later, I suddenly linked all the moves and topped out.

A beautiful problem with some really nice moves! Fits quite my style.

Fontainebleau - Apremont Désert - La Corne de Rhino 7B+(7C)

Pieter, who was climbing some circuit routes together with Alberto to warm up, joined me and noticed that there was still a direct line to left of the start "La Corne de Rhino", called "Le Rhino-Féroce".
A 7A+(7A) with slopers that looked in good condition. I mean, it could have been worse.

I only needed two attempts and Pieter followed directly after.
It was a nice problem, but felt like a soft 7A at most.

Fontainebleau - Apremont Désert - Le Rhino-Féroce 7A+(7A)

Alberto, who is normally not good with slopers also made some promising attempts, but he had to let it go for another time.
Back in the main area, we worked a bit in "Jabbawockeez", but time went fast and I had to leave.

More rain announced tonight and grey clouds all day tomorrow.
When will it stop?

Friday, January 19, 2018

January 19, 2018 - Something new.

The first half of the week I was away for work, but it seemed that I didn't miss out on anything.
Yesterday was dominated by rain, as was this morning, but late afternoon, the sun finally came through.
With the daylight slowly getting longer again in the evening, I still had time to look for something new after work.

Tony (Fouchereau), Thierry (Vasseur) and friends have been busy again lately and cleaned a lot of boulders, mainly small ones, between the classical area of Roche aux Sabots and the 91.1 area.
Enough boulders to create a new small sector called Roche aux Sabots Est.
A lot of new boulders to try in the lower grades, but also a couple in the seventh grade.
One of them is "Le Bélier", which attracted me the most and was basically also the only dry one.

Looking at the picture on, I had expected the boulder to be bigger, so it took me while before I found it in the little chaos of small boulders.
"Le Bélier" is a small boulder, but it was new and visually it has something to it.
The typical wave textured slopers make it feel like you're climbing on a turtle's back.

It was quickly done, but I had some fun and at least I was able to climb something new.
Fun little boulder!

Fontainebleau - Roche aux Sabots Est - Le Bélier 7A(7A+)

Sunday, January 14, 2018

January 14, 2018 - Sunshine!

What an unexpectedly beautiful day it was today!

It was still freezing when I arrived at Coquibus Rumont this morning, but the sky was blue and the sun was rising, so it was going to warm up soon.
Pieter joined me and we walked to the far end of the area to try "Freestyle".
By the time we got there, I already felt warmed up from the walk and started trying the separate moves.
I ended up doing all the moves separately, climbed the problem in several overlapping parts, but the conditions didn't stay good for enough to do some real good attempts from the start. The holds started sweating after a while and had to move.
Pieter needed some more time to warm up, but made good progress and came up with some nice solutions that suited his style better as opposed to the regular method used.

We found a perfect spot in the sun at "Petit Crocodile" and started trying it.
Last time we were here, we wanted to try it too, but due to lack of time we finally didn't, but now we went for it.

It didn't take me long to send it.
I wanted to repeat it though, because Pieter had accidentally held my swing while trying to spot me, not knowing if I was going to hold on.
I knew that I would have held on in any case, but wanted to repeat it more cleanly anyway.
A very nice problem!

Fontainebleau - Coquibus Rumont - Petit Crocodile 7B

Pieter came very close and did the standing start, but had to give up on the sitstart in the end.
He didn't want to force him too much on it anymore, but still felt like trying something else before leaving.

We decided to spend the last half an hour we still had on "Ça se Mange sans Faim", a rarely repeated wall just below "Petit Crocodile".
With only three registered repetitions on, by Steven (Demets) and Ivan (Moreels) back in 2010 and someone else in 2015, it was noticeable by the quite dirty wall.

I managed to top it out on my second attempt, but must admit that I had to go deep on that dirty mantle where there are no holds to be found at all.
It was nicer than it looked!

Fontainebleau - Coquibus Rumont - Ça se Mange sans Faim 7A

It felt great to finally have the sun out again and see some blue sky again for longer than ten minutes!
As it looks like now, the rain will return tomorrow and it will last for a whole week again.
It's a good thing we had today!

Saturday, January 13, 2018

January 13, 2018 - Watch your step.

The sky was blue early this morning, but by the time I was able to leave, it was already becoming grey again.
I didn't worry about it too much, because there was no rain predicted and the air felt dry.
The plan was to join Pieter and Bram (Honorez) in Cuvier Sorcières.

Pieter and I arrived first and started warming up in the sector where "Saruman" is.
Last time I was here, the boulders were wet and I could't try anything, but now they were all dry and I warmed up in "Baba Yaga".
An easy sitstart, a little crux move to match both hands on bad slopers, followed by a mantle with only a few tiny crimps that took me while to find them.

Fontainebleau - Cuvier Sorcières - Baba Yaga 7A

Pieter still did the standing start, simply because he forgot to sit down.

Just right of "Baba Yaga", on the same boulder, I wanted to try "Sortilège".
A lot of compression on non existant holds on the top, only very bad slopers. Especially on a day like today when it is dry, but the friction is hardly there.
I can imagine that it would feel easier in good conditions, but now this felt like a good 7B.
Recommended for those who like slopers.
Just watch out when trying to step over some pad there, Pieter proved it can be tricky!

Fontainebleau - Cuvier Sorcières - Sortilège 7A+(7B)