Sunday, February 28, 2016

February 28, 2016 - Bienvenue chez les Ch'tis.

Those who have seen the movie "Bienvenue chez les Ch'tis" probably will remember the scene where the main character is learning to speak the region's dialect.
It's a funny scene, and while climbing "Biloute", for obvious reasons I had to think of the movie.

"Biloute" is one of the problems on the isolated "Abriroc" boulder in Bois des Hauts de Milly.
I had just driven 400 km and needed to be on my own, so the boulder was a perfect choice.

I had tried "Biloute" once before on a hot Summer evening, but I couldn't do it and blamed it on the hot conditions.
Now with only 8 °C and the topo saying it's a 6C, I thought it would have been a quick win.
It turned out to be a hard fight though!

The topo said 6C, says 6C+(7A) and the majority of the repeaters say 7A.
I think it's undoubtedly 7A, and certainly not the easiest for the grade.
Reaching, holding and pulling up on the bidoigt (for me it was more like a mono) was pretty tough and when finally standing securely on both feet, it still wasn't finished with the topout.
When standing, I could reach a pretty high sloper that felt insecure to pull myself up on. Getting my right foot really high up and then pulling on the sloper did the trick, but still it was a sketchy move.
I actually had to catch my breath when standing on top of the boulder!

I still tried some of the other problems on the boulder, but didn't get further than some good tries. Leaving me with enough reasons to go back to it. Back to isolation.
Today, it was just "Biloute", HEIN!

Fontainebleau - Bois des Hauts de Milly - Biloute 7A

Saturday, February 27, 2016

February 27, 2016 - A quick one.

A quick one today, because my time was (and still is) very limited. Despite the beautiful weather.

"La Fissure en Chantier" is slightly more difficult than the direct version, which I did earlier this week, but not enough to make it a 7A+. I would say a hard 7A maximum.

A nice logical line with some sharp edges to the crack.

I have 5 sisters, and if my 2 youngest twin sisters are reading this, HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!

Fontainebleau - Gorge aux Châts Sud - La Fissure en Chantier 7A(7A+)

Friday, February 26, 2016

February 26, 2016 - Honoured be thy Name.

No, I'm not religious.

Friday, so we finish earlier at work. I made a few stops on my way home.
My main goal again was "Double Axel" in Cassepot Roches Grises. Last week, I didn't try it because it was crowded by a group of Swedish youngsters, but today, as one would expect in that area, I was alone!
I knew that I had to take my chance and without warming up I gave all I had.
I tried it once, but it was after a long session in Saint Germain and I found it too difficult because of being too tired.

Now I felt pretty fresh and motivated so it all felt much more possible. The pinch left hand requires good conditions, which it was, so holding on to it was surprisingly easy.
Now the difficulty was to catch and hold the small vertical crimp right hand. It's impossible to get it statically, so I had to aim good and let my body get used to the movement before I was able to grab and hold it.
It still took me three goes after holding the crimp before I was able to make a successful dynamic move to the top.
Really nice boulder, and THE classic of the area!

Fontainebleau - Cassepot Roches Grises - Double Axel 7A+

With my main goal for today done, all the rest would be a bonus.
I didn't want to leave there just yet.
Technically I can't call it a flash, because I had already done the standing start of "Crampe in the Ghetto", but anyway, I still was able to "flash" the sitstart of it.

The standing start got (correctly) downgraded to 6C and the sitstart adds just enough to it to make it a standard 7A. Surely not 7A+!

Fontainebleau - Cassepot Roches Grises - Crampe in the Ghetto (assis) 7A(7A+)

What would have been nice to do today, was "L'Immortel" in Cuvier Ouest. I got pretty close on it last Sunday, after work, but had to give up due to limitation in time.
After one try on it today, I immediately felt that it wasn't going to work today so I decided to look for something else.

"L'Introuvable", a 7B+, should be somewhere in the back of the area, or actually even past it. It looks nice on the picture that I saw and I wanted to give it a try.
It gave me the inspiration for the title of today's post, because I wasn't able to find it. Believe me, I looked!!

It wasn't that bad, because on my way to look for it, I found the big overhang with for instance "Démoniaque" and "Les Cavaliers de l'Apocalypse" on it. Visually a beautiful overhang!
I chose to try the latter because it looked easier and I didn't want to spend too much time anymore out there. I still had something else in mind on my way home.

"Les Cavaliers de l'Apocalypse" climbs really nice, with very nice moves and a quite scary mantle out. Scary, because of the small boulder almost right underneath it.

Fontainebleau - Cuvier Ouest - Les Cavaliers de l'Apocalypse 7A

Last thing I had in mind for today, was closer to home, but with a 15 minute walk to it, so I left the area and drove off.

"Chausse-Trappe" is the easier dyno on the boulder with "Le Cadeau" in Rocher du Télégraphe.
I had tried it before, and even though I could quite easily reach the top, I was never able to stick and hold on to the flat slopey top.
With the nearly perfect conditions of today it was much easier, but still not a give-away.
Even though today it went like a charm, I still feel it deserves to be 7A+. Soft maybe, but harder than 7A. 

Third bonus today.
I was hoping for a fourth bonus and still tried "Abri Bouse" on the small boulder next to it.
I got close, but no cigar. Enough reason to go back for it!

Fontainebleau - Rocher du Télégraphe - Chausse-Trappe 7A(7A+)

Thursday, February 25, 2016

February 25, 2016 - Disconnection.

The office has moved to a different location last weekend, therefore I was working on Sunday and had some really busy days with the aftercare this week.
Things are getting in place now, I'm tired and needed a quick climb to disconnect from work. The working days have been long but today I stopped on time.

There have been quite some new openings in Gorge aux Châts a few months ago, but they were only published yesterday.
I knew about most of them for a while now. One of them was "COP 21" and even though I knew which the others were, I never tried them because I didn't know how they exactly started or finished.
With the publication, there is now a description available.

I was limited in time, but it was OK. If only I could just touch some rock and hopefully top something out.
That's why I went for what seemed for me the easiest one, the quick win. The one that would disconnect me from the week.
As soon as I started, I felt the disconnection coming and all that remained was me, the boulder and the environment. It felt peaceful,  and I felt  as one.

"La Fissure en Chantier (direct)" is opened as a 7A. It felt quite easy, but I think that my drive to climb helped a lot.
When walking back to the car, I was still thinking about work, but I had my disconnection, I felt relieved from it all.

Fontainebleau - Gorge aux Châts Sud - La Fissure en Chantier (direct) 7A

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

February 17, 2016 - Improvisation and projects.

I took half a day off today, because from tomorrow on the weather will be bad again.
My plan was to go first to Cassepot Roches Grises. I needed some peace and quiet and wanted to try "Double Axel". I was determined to finish it today!
I almost can't describe how big my disappointment was when I arrived, seeing a group of 6 Swedish youngsters loudly trying "Double Axel". Can't blame them for being there of course, but I didn't feel like being among other people at that moment, so I said hi and bye and went back to the car.
On my way to the car I had to quickly improvise where to go and what to do now. I know, a luxury problem, but still an annoying situation. There went my plan for the afternoon.

I decided to go to Apremont Butte aux Peintres instead so I could try "Psykokwak", a pretty new 7B+ short overhang with a big dyno on slopers.

First I had to warm up, which I did with "Approche du Loin (assis)", at only 15 meters from "Psykokwak".
Not that difficult problem, but with bad slopers that do require good conditions. For some reason I did feel a bit scared when doing the last move. My weight was tilting to the left and I feared making a quite deep twisting fall. I was glad I bagged it. The toehook with the right foot made all the difference.

Fontainebleau - Apremont Butte aux Peintres - Approche du Loin (assis) 7A

I had some good tries in "Psykokwak", but it wasn't as dry as I expected. Then again the boulders are on the North side of the hill and don't catch too much sun or wind. I had to give up when the slopers starting getting dark humid spots on them. 
Some good tries, but no use to continue trying those slopers in conditions like this. Project!

I had to improvise again and there were many options.
The choice was made to stay in the Apremont areas.
Now I wanted to make sure to be really alone and went to Apremont Vallon de la Solitude. 
Last time I was there, I wanted to try "Albarrableau", a low 7B+ roof that looks really nice, but then it started raining. Now it was for sure going to stay dry the whole day.
It was a long walk though and I started to feel the efforts I made so far. Not to forget the kilometers that I climbed yesterday, making me a fortune in the process.
It was harder than expected and I was getting tired.
With "Onde de Choc" nearby, I went to try that again.
A couple of times I came out while doing the last move.
The problem with "Onde de Choc" for me is that I always try it after having done quite a lot of stuff already, being pretty tired already.
I'm sure that when I try it being still fresh, it will go down fast. Two projects!

I'm always bored when taking a rest, so I take my rests while walking to the next problem.
On my way to the car, I wanted to finally try "Knees". All other times I past by it, there were other people trying it and now on a regular Wednesday afternoon, I took my chance.
I did it quickly. It certainly isn't 7A+, but it did feel like hard 7A, mainly because the moves are pretty physical and I felt tired.
It sucked "dabbing" the crashpad a bit and I tried to do it again a couple of times, but the power was gone. Anyway, I didn't have the impression that the "dab" helped me in any way. It was simply because the roof is low and the crashpad quite thick.
I will go back one day to try the "rallongé" anyway. Project!
It was time to call it a day.

Fontainebleau - Apremont - Knees 7A(7A+)

Some last improvisation came when I was almost the car.
Right next to the parking you can find Apremont Butte aux Dames. 
The 7A there closest to the parking is "Patate d'Enfer" in which I still desperately tried to make the first move, but it's morpho, on slopers, the skin was gone and my body said stop. At least I know now where it is. Another project!

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

February 16, 2016 - Earned some money.

When going home from work, I can take several routes. Whatever route I take, it always takes me along some different climbing areas.
Today I took the route that passes Rocher de la Salamandre Est.
Just recently there have been some variations opened of "La Biosarde". One of them is "Biodiversité".
It starts the same way as "La Biosarde" but takes a slightly easier more direct exit.
Having done "La Biosarde" already a while ago, I only had to work out the last 2 moves, making it a quick stop on the way home.
It didn't take me a lot of time to do it, but I did have to pull hard to reach the pretty far left sloper. On the edge of being morpho, but good footwork does the trick.
Opened as a 7A(7A+), I think 7A will do.

Fontainebleau - Rocher de la Salamandre Est - Biodiversité 7A(7A+)

As it went all so fast, I still had some time left and quickly went over my options.
I could stay in the area, or move to one closer to home.
I decided to go closer home and stopped at Gorge aux Châts. 
For a while now I have been waiting to try "Un Franc du Kilomètre". I wanted to see how my continuity had evolved.
I tried it once a couple of years ago, but I quickly gave up because it's so long, so many moves, and it made me too tired too quick.
As expected, I was able to finish it, but honestly, I was exhausted! It's really easy, has very positive holds, even jugs mostly, but it's so long. It must have been the most desperate, unethical ascent of it ever.
I'm glad to be able to tick this off.
Length climbers probably do this with 2 fingers in their nose. 
"Un Franc du Kilomètre" ... I feel like I have made a fortune today!

Fontainebleau - Gorge aux Châts - Un Franc du Kilomètre 7A

Monday, February 15, 2016

February 15, 2016 - Above sea level.

Today was a nice day, I had to work, but the sun was out most of the time and a little longer.
I went to 91.1 to finish what I started yesterday, but had to give up due to the rain after one try and a lot of swearing.

91.1 is a nice little area right between the more crowded Cul de Chien and Roche aux Sabots areas.
It has a yellow, 2 orange and a red circuit and only a handful 7 degree problems but more has been opened lately.

"Le Sous-Plomb (direct)" is one of them and is a variation of "Le Sous-Plomb", which I already did, but for the "direct" you exit straight up and are not allowed to use the arete.
Yesterday it wasn't possible to hold the big pocket, which is a flat sloper, because of the rain.
Now it stuck!
Most of the time, after a lot of rain, the friction is much better because the rock is washed and clean. I took advantage of it.

Fontainebleau - 91.1 - Le Sous-Plomb (direct) 7A

About the next thing I wanted to try I was doubting a little.
I couldn't figure out the first moves of the newly opened "Le Bowling" and I was glad that I chose to try "Le Flipper (assis)" again instead. Glad, because I was finally able to finish it! Finally, because it did take quite some sessions to complete.
The standing start is a classic 6B on pure compression. I did it in April 2011 and gave it 5 stars. I rest my case because I still believe that the stand is worth those stars. The sitstart "only" got 4 because the extra couple of moves don't really add a lot of beauty, they simply make it a bit more difficult.
Still a must try when you're in the area!!

Fontainebleau - 91.1 - Le Flipper (assis) 7A

Last for today, but certainly not least, was "Le Krill", another recently opened problem.
Yesterday I had a quick look at it but I couldn't figure out how it could start sitting, but then again, it was soaking wet. 
Today, with dry rock and good friction, was a totally different story. I found out the start quickly and did the problem on my third go.
I'm not sure about the grade though, it felt soft for 7A, but I'm sure the good friction has helped.

By the way, for those interested, the name of the area 91.1 comes from the fact that the top of the hill is at 91.1 meters above sea level. Now you immediately know where the names of the areas 95.2 and Le 111 come from.

Fontainebleau - 91.1 - Le Krill 7A

Sunday, February 14, 2016

February 14, 2016 - Rain, rain, rain.

Not much to say about climbing this weekend as it was dominated by rain.
Luckily I left early enough (around 9h30) when it wasn't raining for a change. I opened up the crashpad around 10 am in Apremont Vallon de la Solitude. I wanted to have a look at the area and started with "Deltaroc", the only dry boulder around.
It only took me 15 minutes to finish it, even though it wasn't really my style of climbing.
Another 15 minutes later it started raining again and it more or less rained for the rest of the day.
It didn't stop long enough in between showers for the boulders to dry up again. A weekend that literally fell into the water, climbing-wise of course.

The weather forecast looks better for the upcoming days, but of course then I have to work. Can't have it all ...

Fontainebleau - Apremont Vallon de la Solitude - Deltaroc 7A

Thursday, February 11, 2016

February 11, 2016 - Let the beast go.

It was a hectic day today, moving a live production server from one site to another, trying to keep the downtime within the proposed time limits. Considering there's about 100 km between the 2 sites makes it a stressful operation.
I was glad we were able to finish just on time, leaving me with about 20 minutes of spare time to stop at Franchard Isatis on the way home.

I wasn't angry, but I felt agitated and really needed to unleash the fury. I really had to climb something to let the restless energy out of me, to let go some steam!
Franchard Isatis is one of the busiest areas of the forest, but not on a regular Thursday evening. It was deserted and being out there alone, left me with a great variety of choice about what to climb.
It was difficult to choose and eager as I was, I nervously failed in the first things I tried. I had to calm down if I wanted to succeed.

After taking a couple of deep breaths, I attacked "Furyax". It's a straight up climb using a crack with slopers.
I can't remember when, but I had tried it once many years ago. I remembered not being able to get up from the sitstart.
This time was different. I unleashed the fury, or as a famous Belgian ex-politician would say, I "let the beast go!".
I felt relieved and satisfied standing on top of "Furyax". It looks so easy, but in reality it's harder than it looks!

Fontainebleau - Franchard Isatis - Furyax 7A+

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

February 10, 2016 - 50 cm.

It's amazing how much 50 cm can change the difficulty of a boulder problem!
Some years ago I flashed "Chien Assis" in Gorge aux Châts.

At least, that's what I thought until a couple of days ago, Jean-Pierre told me that I actually topped out too soon, that you normally have to traverse another 50 cm to the right before topping out. The description of the problem says: "Sitstart under the crack in the second face of Chien Errant, traverse 1m50 to the right to a good hold, climb the wall and exit via a mantle on slopers."

I thought I counted right about the 1m50, and even today, when I looked at the problem again, I think it's more like traversing 2m, so 50 cm extra, with a pretty hard mantle on very bad slopers.
Add to that some time pressure and the eagerness to climb something after again 5 non-climbing days, and you have a good mix for something to go wrong.

When working out the mantle move, my head was over the edge and really close to the boulder when my right hand unexpectedly slipped, making the side of my head hit the boulder just above the eye. Ouch! Sandstone is soft rock, but that second it felt pretty hard!
The camera wasn't rolling yet, so no video of it, but you do see the aftermath, when most of the blood was wiped off and the wound dried out a bit already.
Nothing bad at all, but a head can bleed fast and a lot. It gave me a little headache afterwards, but I didn't cry.

Anyway, back on topic. When I was talking about 50 cm, for once I wasn't talking about the size of my penis, because than I would be using meters.

Fontainebleau - Gorge aux Châts - Chien Assis 6C+(7A)

Friday, February 5, 2016

February 05, 2016 - Finally!

It's been a week ago since I climbed last time until today. Finally!

Weather kept me from climbing and the lack of time due to work kept me from being in the forest.

Finally today, I found a little bit of time and was able to climb. It was mostly wet because of rain from the last couple of days and the drizzle this morning. A grey sky made sure that most would stay wet for the whole day.
Luckily there was wind, and I knew exactly where to go. The "Bambou" boulder in a small quick drying sector of J.A. Martin.
A couple of variations of "Coup de Bambou" have been opened there lately, out of which "Le Bout du Bambou". A short, but really physical traverse with a slightly morpho last move.
I had been trying this for a while now, and got pretty close every time, but hadn't made it to the finish yet.
Last week, Jean-Hervé B. gave me some new beta, where I was able to skip one quite physical move, thus giving me that small last bit of power needed to successfully execute the last move.

I felt confident after this hard work week because the motivation was higher than ever after a week without climbing!
I warmed up doing the problem in separate pieces, and knew instantly that with this new beta, I would do it quickly now.
I decided to also use my phone for filming so I could get the problem from 2 angles. Something I will not do anymore because it ate my phone's battery and the editing took me longer than I actually wanted.
Anyway, it gave me the chance to make a different than usual video of it, for once.

After the warmup, it still took me a couple of tries, with some rest in between, to finish the problem as a whole ... finally!
This felt harder than 7A to me. Even when being able to execute all moves without thinking, I really had to dig deep. Nice moves though!

Fontainebleau - J.A. Martin - Le Bout du Bambou 7A