Thursday, April 21, 2016

April 21, 2016 - One from Mont Morillon.

Short visit at Rocher du Mont Morillon, a spread out area near Fontainebleau, across the hippodrome of Le Grand Parquet.

I had already seen a small part of it long ago and now I saw the other one.
I feel I'm getting tired, but was able to climb "Liaison Fer-Os" quite quickly.

Fontainebleau - Rocher du Mont Morillon - Liaison Fer-Os 7A(7A+)

Added a lot more projects on my to-do list.
So much to do, so little time.

Also went to Roche au Four where I worked out "Misfits".
I can do all the moves, but lacked on energy to link it all together.
Really nice problem with beautiful moves.
More to come about that soon I guess!

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

April 20, 2016 - La Directe du Dièdre.

Short after diner climb, repeating "La Directe du Dièdre" for the video.

I remember when I did it first time in 2012, even though I flashed it, it did feel like 7A.
Now I agree with 6C+ max.
Crux is the topout with a really sharp crimp to pull you up on.

I also went to 95.2 to check out some new opened problems.
Sure thing, the forest just keeps on giving!

Fontainebleau - J.A. Martin - La Directe du Dièdre 6C(7A)

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

April 19, 2016 - Getting high.

The workload at work has gotten out of hand the last days.
Working my ass off all day long without breaks, not even a lunch break and finding myself with even more work at the end of the day than I started with in the morning.
There are better days than that.

The weather is nice, Spring is bursting and I was desperate to go for a climb after diner.
I needed to disconnect from all the work, and being alone in the forest, using climbing as a meditation is a perfect remedy to get rid of all today's stress.

The boulder with "Le Sacre du Printemps" is located in a remote part of Justice de Chambergeot and going there starts with a really nice idyllic walk through a sandy part into the forest.
It offers 3 problems.
The arete on the left, "Le Sacre du Printemps (sans convention)", a 7B+ that follows the left arete and exits on the prow.
Straight through the middle there is the instant classic 7C+, "Le Sacre du Printemps", starting in the back of the roof and gradually using both aretes to finally exit on the prow. You need an armspan of almost 3 meters for this.
And then there is the easiest one, "Le Sacre du Printemps (droite)" as can be seen in the video.

The "droite" starts off with big easy holds on the right, gradually goes over into not so easy slopers and at the prow comes the hard crux, after which you still have to keep your act together to successfully top it out.
I had to practice the crux quite a lot of times before I had found out the correct movements and still after I knew what to do, it wasn't a give away to link it all together, even with the beginning being easy.

Endorphines and adrenaline were released in my body and when I made the last move to the top jug, I got high. About three and a half meters I think.

I got back home being a different person than an hour before.
I'll go back there soon. There are still 2 other problems to get high on.

Fontainebleau - Justice de Chambergeot - Le Sacre du Printemps (droite) 7A

Saturday, April 16, 2016

April 16, 2016 - Mainbourosky.

This morning I went to check out some of the recently opened boulders in Rocher de la Cathédrale.
I found all of them, but all were too humid to try.
Except for the boulder with "Mainbourosky", it looked wet, but the holds that are used were dry.

It's a small boulder, maybe 2m high and not worth the detour, but as I was there, had my crashpad and for the lack of anything better dry, I gave it an effort.

Opened as a 7A, but I think it's max 6C+.

Fontainebleau - Rocher de la Cathédrale - Mainbourosky 6C+(7A)

Having done that, I thought that doing a different exit to the left was quite fun.
Slightly easier, but worth mentioning.
I think the grade will be something like 6C(6C+).
As far as I know, it's a first ascent.

Fontainebleau - Rocher de la Cathédrale - Mainbourosky (gauche) 6C(6C+) FA

In the afternoon I still went with Bram, Jerry, Johan and Stef to 95.2 and we all, besides Stef and Johan, repeated "Les Sabots d'Hélène".
Stef got close to it though, with longer arms he would have had it already probably!

No new video of this one, but here's one of my ascent back in Octobre 2010, made by our good friend Ivan.

Fontainebleau - 95.2 - Les Sabots d'Hélène 7A(7A+)

Friday, April 15, 2016

April 15, 2016 - Shouting in a tuxedo.

I have been away for work for 2 days, so it meant obligatory rest.
Having done quite some overtime during my travel, I was able to take back some hours today, allowing me to visit Rocher de la Salamandre again.
It has been wet a lot and somehow, that side of the hill always catches a lot of wind so the boulders there dry really quick, especially them being on the south.

"Armani" was the first problem I went for.
I never tried it before because of the strange start and it never got in to me to try it. After all, there were enough other problems to try.
But today, as I already wrote, I used it as a warm up.
The rest must have done me good, because I flashed it with ease. Only the first move was a bit sketchy, but I stayed focused and finished it.
If I remember correctly it was opened and proposed 7B. Now it's at 7A+, but I give it at most 7A.

Fontainebleau - Rocher de la Salamandre Est - Armani 7A+

On the other side of the boulder, I gave "Diesel" a couple of tries, but the conditions on the North side of the boulder were not good enough, far from decent. Some other time.
Also "Tomahawk" received some attention, but I just can't do the start. I should study the beta a bit I think.
I've seen a version where someone starts with the pinch right hand, but all other videos show an extra move to go for the pinch. It's damn hard move!!!

A little higher up the hill is the boulder with "Métal Hurlant". The holds of the start were wet though, but the variation, "Blocage Hurlant" was completely dry.
After working out the first moves, it went down pretty quick too.
A bit scary on the topout with the small boulder right under you.

Fontainebleau - Rocher de la Salamandre Est - Blocage Hurlant 7A+

It was almost time to leave, but there was still time enough to stop at the 'Bio' boulder on the way back.
It's visually one of the nicest boulders of the area and again some new variations had been opened on it.
One of them is "Biodégradable", a 7B variation with the same start as "La Biosarde", but going to the left and then with a small crack in the roof to the crack to exit there.

It consists of three parts.
The first part is the easiest, then comes the move from the small crack in the roof to the edge which is quite hard and after that comes the hardest part where you have to match both hands via the slopers towards the crack and aim for the jug at the top of it.
Hard, but for me it was the nicest variation of the three that I already did on this boulder, also the hardest.

Trust me, I only shout and swear like that when I'm alone.

Fontainebleau - Rocher de la Salamandre Est - Biodégradable 7B

There is still a lot to do in the area, and still so much more potential. 
It's a good thing because I like going there. One of my favourite areas of the forest.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

April 12, 2016 - 2 hard meters, 2 hard moves and 20 hard and painful minutes.

2 hard meters, 2 hard moves and 20 hard and painful minutes.
These were the ingredients for my ascent of "La Fessée" in Roche aux Oiseaux.

It looks quite ugly on the picture on but in reality it's even more ugly.
A small mossy boulder, in between several other small boulders, hard to find and hard to get to. Finding a suitable position for the camera was difficult.

A 7A+ on a 2 meter high (or low) boulder, with 2 moves on it and the description says it's morpho.
It are all indicators that these 2 moves will be really hard, and oh boy, they were hard!

Opened by Tony Fouchereau, so of course the description said 'sitstart without crashpad'.

A lot of swearing on this one.
Well worth the grade even if it's only 2 moves!

Fontainebleau - Roche aux Oiseaux - La Fessée 7A+

Tomorrow I have to go away for work for 2 days. Time to rest.

Monday, April 11, 2016

April 11, 2016 - Something with an eye.

While we were having diner, it rained a bit and the streets were wet.
I had a top stress day today at work and I was desperate to climb to let it all out. If it weren't for that, I probably would have stayed at home after this rain shower.
But I was stubborn and left anyway. 

It was already 20h15 when I left, so I wouldn't have much daylight left.
Something close by was the plan, and Roche aux Oiseau was an option, hoping that the leaves would have sheltered the boulders from the short rain shower.
Moreover, I saw that something new was recently opened on the boulder of "Morphine", so even if it would have been wet, at least I could see the holds and imagine the moves.

It was a bit of a surprise to see that most boulders were indeed still quite dry and from "Oeil à l'Arête", only the starting hold was wet.
I dried it with my towel and after a few tries it was as good as dry.

I worked out the first moves and had to hurry for my real attempts as it was getting dark.
Then, when I didn't expect it, I was past what was, as far as I knew, the crux and I decided at the moment to continue, even though I had no idea if the next holds were going to be good or bad.

You can probably hear it on my breath, but I really had to breath deeply to keep myself calm to not fall out of the problem.
The pressure was high, as there probably was not going to be enough light anymore for another attempt.
I really was scared when I swung my left hand up, hoping that what I was going for was a jug. It was a desperate swing, so it better be a jug.
Luckily it was.

The name has the French word for 'eye' in it and on the way back home, I was thinking of a title for the blogpost. It had to be something with an eye.

Fontainebleau - Roche aux Oiseaux - Oeil à l'Arête 6C+(7A)

Saturday, April 9, 2016

April 09, 2016 - Game. Set. Match.

Apremont Envers is a nice area, but I had never really explored it completely.
That's why I went there before meeting up with Bram and Ruuth.

Most climbers know the part of Apremont Envers where "L'Apparemment" and "Welcome to Tijuana" are, but don't go deeper into the area towards the tavern.
The last year, a lot of new problems have been opened there and I felt like strolling around and discovering new projects.
Especially "Bang Supersonique" was something I wanted to see, so I went straight for that one and would orientate further from there.
Since it is on the same boulder of red n°27, I found it quickly, but I wanted to warm up in something easier.
I left my stuff there, wandered around a little bit and saw that there's indeed a lot to do. The openers did have their work.

"Poseidon" looks really nice and doable so I decided to warm up in that one.
I had seen some videos of it and I remembered the beta pretty good. On top of that, despite the pain on my right shoulder blade, I felt in shape.
Probably that's why I flashed it with ease, except for the mantle on top, that was with less ease ...

Fontainebleau - Apremont Envers - Poseidon 7A(7A+)

Having done that so quickly, I took a minute rest by replacing the camera to have a better view for the sitstart.
Technically I can't call that one a flash as I did the standstart already, but the sitstart went on my first go.
Yeah well, the sitstart honestly doesn't add that much more difficulty. Sit, pull on jugs, grab the next jug and you're there where the standstart begins.

Fontainebleau - Apremont Envers - Poseidon (assis) 7A+

The morale was really high after that but gradually went down again when I noticed the pain in my shoulder blade rising while trying some other problems here and there.
I had to let it rest and went back to the parking to meet Bram and Ruuth who were having breakfast at 13h. Go figure!
They arrived just when I got back on the parking. What a timing.

It was a pleasant surprise to hear from them that Pieter and Alberto were also in Apremont.
They were in Apremont Butte aux Dames and we also went there to meet them before maybe continuing on to the main area of Apremont.
We found them at the boulder of "À Gil", the same boulder where the black circuit starts. They wanted to the complete black circuit. Believe me, that's a real challenge.
There are 40 problems on that black circuit, all around the 5th and the 6th grade.
The moment we arrived, they were busy on black n°6.

Black n°6, "Le Trajet de la Limace" is a 6B that starts off really easy, but has a mantle near the top at considerable height. It's a mental 6B, but a really nice one!
I was the first of us who finished the problem and Bram and Pieter followed right after.
The mental aspect fades a lot once you have seen someone actually doing the problem.

Fontainebleau - Apremont Butte aux Dames - Le Trajet de la Limace 6B (Black n°6)

Being with a small group means more crashpads and also some spotters so I decided to do the sitstart of "À Gil".
When I did the original standstart, I was alone with Anthony, and I was so relieved to have gotten up there without breaking my neck that I didn't even think about doing the sitstart anymore.

I tried the few moves of the sitstart and noticed that they are not that difficult.
As I still had the moves from the standstart in my head, I set off for an attempt.
In the end I did it on my second go because my foot slipped on my first try.
I rode up there ... again ...

I'm truly glad that I never have to do that again, but the morale was high again!!

Fontainebleau - Apremont Butte aux Dames - À Gil (assis) 7B

Fifteen minutes later Bram also did "À Gil (assis)" and I could see on the look of his face that he was really relieved having done it and to be still alive.
This topout has a point of no return, or better said, a point of no safe return.
Bram was still a little shaky when he was back down and said he would never have tried that if it wasn't because of me.

He wanted to try "Game One" now.

If someone would ask me what climbing in Fontainebleau is like, I could show a picture of "Game One" and say, "This is Fontainebleau climbing!".
You know, the one in which I hurt my shoulder blade really bad and I still suffer from it when doing compression moves.
So, at first, I passed on trying it too as I didn't want to make it worse.

I wrote 'at first', because after touching the slopers, I couldn't resist trying, especially when seeing someone else trying it.
Squeezing in compression went surprisingly good and without too much pain, but just the thought of doing the dynamic move right hand to the top sloper already hurt the muscles on my shoulder blade.
The weird thing however, was that with each try the pain slowly went away up to the point of almost non existing.

When I was able to hold the top sloper again and turn my left hand, I knew it was possible and took out the camera.
Two tries later I screamed from excitement standing on top of "Game One"!!
It was a surreal feeling, coming from not wanting or daring to try the problem to standing on top of it, having done it, a mere fifteen minutes later.
This really came unexpected!!

Still now, even though I can still feel that my shoulder blade is not yet healed, the pain is much much less. It's as if I needed to heal my pain with what caused it.

Fontainebleau - Apremont Butte aux Dames - Game One 7B+(7B)

Not even ten minutes later, Pieter had also done it.
In the meantime, Alberto and I also finished off "La Vicieuse (Black n°10)".
Like the name says it, a vicious 6B slab with small and razor sharp crimps.

Tomorrow I will know if Bram was also still able to finish "Game One". He does have some disadvantage there with his height.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

April 07, 2016 - Anar'Chic (direct) 6C(6C+).

Just playing around after diner this evening and did this direct (first?) ascent of "Anar'Chic" in Gorge aux Châts.

Not sure if it was done before, but I have asked Jean-Pierre if he knows.

We'll see.

Fontainebleau - Gorge aux Châts - Anar'Chic (direct) 6C(6C+)

Still got treated with a nice sunset afterwards!!

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

April 06, 2016 - Aiming for the sky.

Expecting rain again soon and while driving home from work, the clouds got more grey.
I wanted to do something real quick and decided to do some quick video repeats.

A short stop at Canche aux Merciers was my plan, to repeat "Spread Your Wings" for the video.
Originally it was opened as a 7A, but got rightfully downgraded to 6C.
The jump itself is easy but the catch is a different story.
Even though I did it many times already, I never got it from the first go because of the swing after the catch.
Nice one to finally have it on video.

Fontainebleau - Canche aux Merciers - Spread Your Wings 6C

Another classic dyno of the area, is of course "Kéo".
It's only a 7A when doing it as a double dyno, meaning doing the catch with both hands at the same time.
It's already easy for 7A, but when you go one handed, it becomes maybe a 6B at most.
Second go this time.

Fontainebleau - Canche aux Merciers - Kéo 7A

The walk from the parking to the area took me almost longer than quickly doing both dyno's.
Just aim for the sky, go and catch. Sometimes it's that simple.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

April 05, 2016 - Methodman.

Sometimes it all stands or falls with the method!

With the hour that has changed to Summertime, there is considerably longer daylight. It even allowed me to go for a short climbing session after diner and come back home while it is still light.

I had prepared myself mentally to finally finish off "Outil de Coupe" in J.A. Martin, a 7A of which I always had the feeling that it was at least 7B.
I can't remember when exactly, but it's a couple of years ago that I tried this for the first time, and I immediately had the feeling that this was really hard.
I had several short sessions spread out over the years, and even when trying it with friends sometimes, I never saw someone actually topping it in real life.
I watched several videos of it, and nearly all used a different beta.
Even though I tried them all, none of them had worked yet, but each time I walked away from it, I thought I had found the correct method and next time it will go down.
I kept on changing methods however and never got close to the top.

I started this evening's session swearing each time I fell out, thinking that again I would have to leave it behind untopped.
I don't know exactly what it was suddenly, but I think it was again the small change of method.
Not a big change, but a minor detail that did the trick.
For a long time I thought it was at least 7B, now I stood on top thinking it was a basic 7A, maybe even to the soft side.
All in all it took me about 10 minutes this evening, but spread over the years it felt like years.

Fontainebleau - J.A. Martin - Outil de Coupe 7A

Now I still had some daylight left and went up the hill to finally try "Aphasie (direct)", opened a couple of months ago.
I never tried it before because it is quite expo with the small boulder underneath and especially with the small tree right behind it.
One would think that a small tree isn't that bad and I would say they are right, but what make it scary are the leftovers of the broken off twigs. These things are pointy and extremely sharp. I'm sure that if you would fall on them with your back that they pierce right through the skin.

I set aside the bit of fear that I had but kept on my T-shirt. You never know what can happen, and all bits can help.
At first the end seemed a bit hard, although I think that the scare factor played here.
After changing my method slightly by getting the left foot real high, it wasn't that difficult anymore.
I would say soft for the grade but sharp for the skin.

Fontainebleau - J.A. Martin - Aphasie (direct) 7A

Oh yeah, beware, the snakes are coming out again. I nearly stepped on one this evening.

Monday, April 4, 2016

April 04, 2016 - Ice cream anyone?

Yesterday I was out of the country so sadly enough I wasn't able to enjoy the nice sunny weather here to go climbing.
When I arrived back home yesterday evening, it even started raining until deep in the night.
Luckily today the sun was out again and temperatures went up to about 18°C.

After work I stopped to climb a couple of problems in Apremont Bizons.
My right shoulder still hurts, so I thought something not too hard to start would be good, something like "Sarkopabo".

I will never forget the first time I climbed it in 2010, on April 4th 2010, so to the day 6 years ago.
It was in Eastern holiday, a couple of days before my oldest son's birthday, Anthony.
I will never forget it, because when we arrived back at the tavern on the parking that day, we of course had a drink, and Anthony was allowed to have an ice cream.
We were sitting there at a table and suddenly the sky became dark with grey, black-ish clouds and it started rumbling.
Seconds later, the clouds opened up and released a short monsoon of rain. We had to run and seek shelter.
I can still see us standing, sheltering under the small entrance of the tavern's terrace, Anthony still happily licking his ice cream.

"Sarkopabo" went down fast, but the idea of warming up into it wasn't that good.
It hurt the muscles on my right shoulder a lot again. It will still take some time to heal completely ...

Fontainebleau - Apremont Bizons - Sarkopabo 6C+(7A)

When I stood on top of the boulder, I suddenly had a song in my head. I can't remember which one, but it was one by Bob Marley and the Whalers.

My shoulder required some rest, so I strolled around a bit and went to check out the boulder with "Scream" in a remote part of the are, on the other side of the path.
In a couple of weeks the ferns will be so high again that they will hardly let you through.

The 7C dyno from "Scream" is way too hard and too far for me, but right next to it, there is also a nameless 7A dyno.
You start with the pocket of "Scream" left hand but then dyno to the right of the pocket and not high to the left.
Fun dyno to do, not the hardest one, but hard enough for the grade for someone of my length.
It was a long time ago that I still did a dyno like that.

In my topo it didn't have no name yet, but in the meantime it received one.
It was a funny surprise to find out that it's called "Ice Scream".

Fontainebleau - Apremont Bizons - Ice Scream 7A

Friday, April 1, 2016

April 01, 2016 - The Big Island (assis) 8C+(9A)

My shoulder still hurts, but after 4 days of no climbing due to bad weather, I was able (read forced) to let it rest.
Finally today the sun was finally out again sometimes and the last drops of rain fell during the night.

On my way back from work, I stopped for a quick climb at Rocher de Corne-Biche.
Well, quick is an understatement because I forgot again how long the walk is up to the small sector with "Eclats". Fifteen minutes of walking, and I walk pretty fast, is a long time in terms of Fontainebleau area approaches.

I immediately started with "Eclats" ... or at least that's what I thought.
It felt a bit too easy for 7A, but maybe I was in a strong shape because of the rest.
It was only at home that I read that even though the start is the same, it climbs to the right into the wall and not to the left as in the video.
I looked up the left variation, but I can't find anything about it on the web, nor in any of the many topos I have at hand at home.
Anyway, I asked Jean-Pierre if he knows about it. We will know soon.

For now I logically called it "Eclats (gauche)" and the grade will be something like 6C(7A)'ish, but more direction 6C.

Fontainebleau - Rocher de Corne-Biche - Eclats 7A

After that I still tried "Le Vin du Dimanche (direct)" and I got really close, I even got my fingers over the edge a couple of times, but no cigar.
It was time to leave, knowing that there was still a fifteen minute walk ahead of me. I left with heavy feet, I was so close ...

Those who were drawn here by the title probably forgot that today is April Fool's Day.
"The Big Island (assis)" is still not climbed by anyone.

UPDATE: the opener of "Eclats", Pascal Etienne, has confirmed that the version of my video does show the method he used to open "Eclats".
Jean-Pierre has updated and created a variation called "Eclats (droite)".
This video of Ivan Moreels shows "Eclats (droite)".