Thursday, June 30, 2016

June 30, 2016 - To sit or not to sit.

They predicted rain for today but it stayed dry all day long of course until I drove home from work.
It didn't rain but it was more like a sudden 15 minute monsoon, making the everything soaking wet.
Just before diner there was another monsoon, but shorter this time and while eating it started to clear up a bit.
The advantage with such short heavy rains, as opposed to long drizzle, is that the rain doesn't get the chance to be sucked into the rock but being washed off right away. Thus drying very quickly with the slightest amount of sun and wind on it.

I decided to go on higher grounds and went to 95.2 to try "Tentation (assis)" all the way up on the hill and out in the open, exposed to the sun and wind.
It was a good choice because the boulder was dry.
I did "Tentation" (the standstart) long ago in September 2010 and I remembered that it didn't give me too much trouble back then.
So, before trying the sitstart, I wanted to warm up and quickly repeat the standstart for the video and to recall how it went.
I wasn't humble and overestimated the ""quickly", because it turned out to be a 28 minutes long struggle before it was done.
I had no choice to admit that I, and my body, must be tired, so I packed and went home without even trying the sitstart.
Some other time ...

Fontainebleau - 95.2 - Tentation 7A

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

June 29, 2016 - Holey Moley!!

On the way home again, I stopped at Bas Cuvier especially to try "Holey Moley".
It's been on my list from the first time I tried it a couple of years ago.
I hadn't tried it for years until last Winter and had given it a couple of sessions, knowing that my sessions usually last only about half an hour before I go try something else.
In the end I injured the hamstring of my left leg a bit because of the left heelhook, so I didn't try it for a while until today.

The ascent falls or stands with the condition of the two last slopers, so if conditions are not in favour, then it's almost impossible to finish it. In my case at least.
The boulder is of the kind that is difficult to find in good conditions though. Either the slopers are greasy and slippery, either it is crowded with climbers wanting to tick this classic off.

The parking was half full so I expected to find it in either one of both conditions described above.
When I approached the boulder, I tried to listen from far already, but I couldn't distinct any sounds coming from that direction.
My joy was great when I found it deserted and my joy even got holey moley when I noticed that the slopers were in pretty good shape.

The first part of the problem, up to the bad one to last sloper went like a charm from the first try on, but try after try I fell or slipped off of it, even though with every try I had the feeling I got closer inch by inch.
I guess I was right, because eventually I went holey moley when I slapped and stuck the top sloper.
After so long I can finally tick of "Holey Moley"!! Holey moley!!

Maybe it was my method (there are a lot of different methods) but for me this felt hard for the grade, even for 7A+, as I think I did the exit right, the most logical and also nicest line. It never came up in me to even try a direct exit there.

Fontainebleau - Bas Cuvier - Holey Moley 7A+(7A)

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

June 28, 2016 - Gimmie Juice.

When I drove back home from work, I stopped and parked on the Isatis carpark so I could go try "Excalibur" a bit.
I had never tried it before but it looks really nice, so why not ?
I pretty quickly realised that the sloper high on the right was in a too bad condition to keep on trying, so I gave up on it after three tries.

A little bit more than year and a half ago, I was with colleagues in Warrington, UK, for a meeting and our hotel was in Liverpool.
As many may know, Liverpool is where The Beatles started their careers.
The city actually breathes The Beatles and we were staying in the "Hard Days Night" hotel, where the main theme is, yes, The Beatles.
Everywhere in the hotel you could see pictures and artefacts of The Beatles, and songs of The Beatles  were being played all day long, even at the breakfast table.
After those couple of days, I was so fed up with The Beatles, that I had heard and seen enough of them for the rest of my life.
But I didn't count on "Beatle Juice", the classical 7A+ right next to "Excalibur".

I had tried it once shortly a couple of years ago, but always fell on the third move.
It was too hard for me back then.
As "Excalibur" wasn't possible due to conditions, and I was there anyway, I moved the crashpad under "Beatle Juice" even though the lower holds under the overhang were not in really good conditions neither.
I was so surprised with the ease I was able to cruise through the first moves that I got confused and let go.
After inspecting the upper holds and a couple of tries later I stood on top of the boulder wondering if it was me or the a-typical Bleau style that made this problem so easy this time.
Anyway, it didn't take away my joy!

Fontainebleau - Cuisinière Crête Sud - Beatle Juice 7A+

After diner I still went to try "Misfits (direct)" in Roche au Four but had to flee because of the mosquitos. I had to think of my dear dad who warned for them after all the rain we had the last weeks.
I then made my way to "Les Pieds dans la Lune" in 95.2 where I made really good progress, I even held on to the round pocket for a second, but had to give up because I was out of juice.
Compared to "Beatle Juice", this feels much harder!
It will follow soon when I'm a bit more fresh.

Monday, June 27, 2016

June 27, 2016 - Hard to be Zen.

With all the stress and worries at work, it's hard to be Zen the last weeks, maybe even months.
Today was no different.
Monday is mostly the busiest day of the week, but with the bucket more than full, it's hard to keep a positive mindset, turning normal work into hard labour.
While driving home, worries were having the upper hand so then too it was hard to become Zen.
After eating I needed a quick climb to disconnect from it all.

I wanted to have "Jeté Toit Plus" on video.
When I did it in 2012 I didn't have my camera yet. Now that I do, I could make a video of it. All in all, it's a really nice dyno, and certainly not a give away.
One really has to jump to make it to the top.
After practicing the jump on its own, the complete problem followed really soon.
Back in 2012, I gave it 7A, I still rest my case.

Fontainebleau - Roche aux Sabots - Jeté Toit Plus 6C+(7A)

Having done that, I felt better, but I wanted some more. Even if it was just some trying around.

I jumped a couple of times in "Smash" but even though I'm close, I still wasn't getting closer than the other times, even though I did feel improvement.
In "Smash", this white man still can't jump high enough.

Having had some dry days, I went to have a look at "Zen" again, but being on the North face of the hill and in a more dense part of the forest, the starting hold was still wet!!
Now however, the last part of the problem was dry and I tried it a couple of times, but as it felt moist there, the mosquitos and flies were all over me, nearly eating me alive.
I wrapped it up there, because it was too hard to be Zen.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

June 26, 2016 - Just having a look.

This morning I left early.
I was in Belgium and I wanted to arrive on time so I wouldn't have the feeling to have lost most of the day on driving.
The announcement on the radio about an accident on the A6 forced me to drive via Melun, meaning that I would pass near Barbizon on my way.
I took the decision to stop at the parking of Bas Cuvier so I could go and "just have a look" at the boulders of Apremont Portes du Désert. Igor had told me nice things about it so there I went.

There were more people than I had expected, but I was able to climb some nice, not too difficult problems.
Guillaume (Levernier) was there too with some friends and he's always eager to explain the methods of problems in much detail.

The first problem I tried, while I was still alone, was the pretty recent "Solar Sit-Pulse".
Even though the slopers had caught some sun already and were quite warm, I managed to flash it.
The first move is the hardest and then you kind of have to slap your way up the slopers until your feet are on the boulder.

Fontainebleau - Apremont Portes du Désert - Solar Sit-Pulse 7A

"Extra Ball" was something I actually still wanted to give a quick try, but there was a small group already busy on it, so I went on to have a look at the boulder with "Furtif".
It was there that even more people were, but as there some other problems around it, I gave a couple of them a (or some) tries.
The only available problem was "Accrocheur". Visually really nice.
It starts off with good jugs and then requires a big move high up to a sloper on the top.
This went down on my third go, and mainly because the two other tries I slapped next to the better sloper.
After putting a small tick mark, I could actually see now where I had to slap and then it went easily.
Guillaume and his friend Ben did it quickly too, but not as fast as I had expected.
They are taller than me and this gave them more difficulties to put their feet on the same height.

Fontainebleau - Apremont Portes du Désert - Accrocheur 7A

Another problem that was available in the meantime was the small roof with "Dégazage", a 7A+ consisting of 2 jugs as starting holds, a move to the sloper edge of the roof and then comes where it got its grade, a really hard mantle.
After loosing some skin from belly on it, someone told that there is also a small traverse from right to left under the roof, finishing left with an easier mantle.
Since the skin on my belly looked already pretty scratched, I gave up on "Dégazage" and tried the traverse, "Nuage Pyroclastique". I flashed it with quite some ease.

Fontainebleau - Apremont Portes du Désert - Nuage Pyroclastique 7A(6C+)

Right across from "Nuage Pyroclastique" is the beautiful boulder with "Neurotoxine" and "Cardiotoxine".
Someone gave some beta for "Cardiotoxine" and this one too I was able to flash.

Fontainebleau - Apremont Portes du Désert - Cardiotoxine 7A(6C+)

A little bit lower at about 15 meters from there, I had seen "Semeur de Vie", another 7A that I quickly wanted to try.
The description says that it's morpho, and it's actually so morpho that at a certain point my arms were so stretched out that I couldn't move anymore.
Two friends from Guillaume, Ben and someone else had joined me in the meantime and we decided to try the variation more to the right, the anti-morpho variation.
It has the same sitstart as "Semeur de Vie" but then follows the logical more to the right.
This felt hard for me, but I think I was simply out of energy, and as I was the first of us three to do that variation, I lost some time, power and energy looking for some holds near the top.
I couldn't find any reference to this logical line on, but I asked Jean-Pierre to create a new page and maybe name the problem "Semeur de Vie (droite)". The grade we proposed would be a small 7A(6C+).

Fontainebleau - Apremont Portes du Désert - Semeur de Vie (droite) 7A(6C+)

In between these problems, I still had a look at "Furtif" and many other problems but I didn't try because either it was too much with slopers in the sun, or I didn't want to spend too much time on a problem now. I will come back here anyway, but maybe in colder conditions.
By the way, I was only there to just have a look.

Friday, June 24, 2016

June 24, 2016 - Two (not so) quick ones.

After work I quickly went to Franchard Sablons.
One of the problems I wanted to try was "Sale Affaire". I stood once before it, but the conditions were too wet to even try it back then.

After briefly saying hi to Igor, Siem, partners, baby and friends in Isatis, I continued my way to Franchard Sablons.
"Sale Affaire" is harder than it looks but still it went quick. It took me 10 minutes and maybe 5 tries.
Just in time, because it started to be completely in the sun.

Fontainebleau - Franchard Sablons - Sale Affaire 7A(7A+)

I made my way up to the top of the hill while trying some other problems here and there, but most of them were in the sun now and the heat in the direct was starting to become unbearable.
All the way on top of the hill, however, I knew that something would be in the shade, "Jette à la Rue", a dyno in a small alley between boulders.
I had tried it once but the conditions were against me that time. It's almost constantly in the shade, so slow drying.
Now, on the third consecutive day of sun and heat, it was all dry.
I thought that it would have been a quick one as it's a dyno that was orginally opened as a 6C+(7A).
It gave me a lesson in humbleness. Almost half an hour of non stop trying and jumping. I can feel it in my legs now.

At first I had to get used to the position from where I had to set off the dyno. More or less sideways jump to the left while holding the arete with the right hand. It's really an unnatural move and it hurt my back time after time.
Many, many times I was able to reach with my fingers around the good edge, but it was also hard to actually stick it.
Some will probably flash this with ease and find it really easy, I found this really hard and was glad to get it over with! Hard 7A dyno if you ask me.

Fontainebleau - Franchard Sablons - Jette à la Rue 7A

Thursday, June 23, 2016

June 23, 2016 - Woosh!

I was gone for work since yesterday, I had to be in Oyonnax, about 440 km more South from here. A 4 hour drive.
I don't like air-conditioning in the car, not even in this extreme heat.
When I got into the car, the thermometer displayed 42°C, but I was standing in the sun. Nevertheless, it was hot as hell, so I immediately opened the driver's window and the window at passenger's side. Letting the breeze from driving cool the inside of the car down as best as it could.
As soon as I got onto the highway however, the breeze turned into a constant "woosh". A noise that can get annoying after a while, but it was so hot that the windows stayed down until I was home 4 hours later.
It took some time before that woosh got out of my head, but at diner it was as good as gone.
After diner I left for a short climbing session in the heat and I drove and wooshed with open windows to the parking of Isatis.
I thought that trying a version of "Le Surplomb de la Coquille" would be a good idea as I knew it starts in a kind of a pit and that maybe it would be a bit cooler there.
It seemed not to have been the greatest idea, because closed in between boulders, there was not the slightest breeze of wind, and the mosquitos like that too.
I didn't let that get the best out of me and started giving the standstart direct version some tries.

It took me about 20 minutes to complete, but I had to take longer than usual breaks in between to dry myself off. I was sweating like a horse, and being stained by mosquitos like a horse too.
With each jump I got closer to the edge and every time I could hear a woosh while flying upward.

For me this is one of the nicer dynos in the forest. It's a dyno that goes in a flow, using the swing of the right arm to add jumping strength. Beautiful move!

When done, I drove home again, sweating like crazy. All windows of the car were open. Woosh!

Fontainebleau - Franchard Hautes Plaines - Le Surplomb de la Coquille (direct) 7A(7A+)

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

June 21, 2016 - The good choice.

Monday feels like a couple of days ago due to circumstances at work, yet it was only yesterday.
Anyway, yesterday, my oldest son had an orientation run with his class near Mont Simonet, not far from his school.
It seems like a total luxury problem, but the amount of climbing areas is so huge that sometimes I'm stuck thinking about where to go.
With the many showers of drizzle we had today though, the choices were limited, and even more limited knowing that due to the air warming up, the air was humid and caused condensation nearly everywhere. I could feel it on the hot humid air.

It was actually thanks to my son's orientation run having been near Mont Simonet, that the area came into my mind. It has some factors in my favour for the condensation to be less up there. A sandy ground sucking in most of the rain and a high hill catching quite some wind, if any. Especially the boulder with "Pitt Boule" came in mind, knowing it was all the way on top of the hill.

Even while eating it still drizzled a bit, but the small lighter grey spots in the sky gave me hope for dryer weather coming soon.
After diner, the drizzle had stopped in the meantime, and knowing that tomorrow and Thursday I will be away for work, made me get into my car and go for it. I was going to take my chances.

To be short, I can sum it up as follows:

- 15 minutes of driving.
- 7 minutes of walking, and in the meantime 1 second of spotting a deer running away.
- 1 minute of checking the holds of "Pitt Boule" and discovering that they are dry enough.
- 10 minutes of looking for more dry boulders in the area, realising that "Pitt Boule" was the only dry       enough boulder.
- 5 minutes of preparing the pad and camera and putting on my shoes
- 4 minutes of actual climbing and doing "Pitt Boule" on my second attempt.
- 10 minutes of brushing off the holds and the tick marks and packing up.
- 5 minutes of walking (it was downhill this time), 2 seconds of spotting another (or was it the same?)   deer running away.
- 15 minutes of driving back home.

Some people would find it crazy to go through all this just for climbing a soft 7A, but for me it was totally worth it!!! I had made a good choice!

Fontainebleau - Mont Simonet - Pitt Boule 7A

Sunday, June 19, 2016

June 19, 2016 - Get lost!

The weekend was one with many showers, but in between it dried up pretty quickly and here and there it was possible to climb.

Yesterday, Saturday, I started at 8h to do some climbing before the rain.
The newly opened problems "Nuit Debout (gauche)" and "Nuit Debout (direct)" got some tries, but these are morpho, and not a little bit!
At 9h it started raining, so I took a break and took the kids with me shopping.

It had dried up again by noon and I set off to Coquibus Arcades where I wanted to try "Sinus-X".
I had seen it last year while scouting around and for some reason I had to think of it again.
Visually it's a beautiful boulder, asking to be climbed.


The holds on it were dry, but the right sloper (not visible on the picture) was not in a good condition. It wasn't wet, but it just didn't stick.
Luckily it got better after 15 minutes and about 10 tries later, but I was loosing the skin on my fingertips fast.
Now that it finally started to hold, I could see the grey clouds coming closer, knowing that it will rain soon again.
My last 2 tries were when it started dripping already, and just on those 2 tries I fell off the last move after changing my method slightly.
The rain had won this time. I had to pack and leave. At least I had the complete sequence in my head and I was determined to come back tomorrow.
In a way I wasn't angry that the rain set in because I had already lost so much skin and power that it probably wouldn't have been possible anyway, but at least now I had an excuse. Yeah yeah, climbers and their excuses!

Today, Sunday, I left later, because it had rained a lot yesterday evening. I wanted to give it the time to dry.
I think it was about noon when I arrived at "Sinus-X". I had stopped to have a look at some other boulders on the way, and they were all wet.
It was a pleasant surprise to find "Sinus-X" dry and even the bad sloper right hand seemed to stick from the first try, on which I also fell off the last move again.
It's an exhausting problem, and even though I could do the sequence until last move every time now, it took some time to find the good method to stick the top sloper.
The problem is that it's the kind of problem where there is no easy way to get up to be able to try just the last move, forcing me to do the whole sequence over and over and each time trying to think of a better way to reach the top.
For me, the solution was to switch from a heel to a toehook at the end and then do the last move.
Big, big relief when I stood on top. It was totally worth the fight.
Really hard for the grade, and on I could see that most repeaters agree with me. Maybe it should be upgraded to 7A+?
The sitstart will have to wait for my next passage in the area.

Fontainebleau - Coquibus Arcades - Sinus-X 7A

My main goal for today was done, and I didn't immediately know what to do next, knowing that a lot of boulders will probably still be wet, so I went for a stroll.

I looked for "Yahtzee" but couldn't immediately find it. I had an idea where to look, but the whole area is covered in ferns and low bushes and I wanted to try to avoid getting a tick again. Little did I know where I would still end up that day ...
I walked my way through Montrouget and Montrouget Est and up to Côtes de Courances, wandering through the dense forest and catching countless cobwebs with my face on the way, and who knows how many ticks.
I tried many problems but most of them were either in bad conditions or hurt my fingers too much. I could feel that I had given a lot of my skin and energy to "Sinus-X".
"Grottesque", "Le Sale Bouleau (assis)", "La Raie Formée" and "Figure de Style" all passed the revue. I still looked for "Ras les Pâquerettes" but I couldn't find that one from where I was, so I decided to walk around Côtes de Courances to get to my way back to the car.

I had walked around in circles so many times and due to the sun being hidden by the clouds most of the time, I did get lost. I wasn't scared nor did I panic, I knew I simply had to walk in a straight line until I found a path, which I knew couldn't be that far away.
Soon, I found a path, but being unable to orientate by the sun due to the clouds, I started walking in one direction, hoping that I would reach a crossing quickly so I could find that crossing in the topo to determine where I was.
About 10 minutes of walking later, I reach the crossing of the Chemin de la Roche qui Tourne with the Chemin du Polissoir, meaning that I had been walking in the wrong direction.
I had to go back from where I came, but at least I knew now where I was.
It was no problem because those who know the Coquibus will probably confirm that it's a beautiful and huge part of the forest.

Knowing where I was, I saw that I was going to pass near the boulder of "Djoumba" and I read on that "Ras les Pâquerettes" was at 100m to the West from there, also on my way back. The search wasn't over yet.

After a long walk again, thanks to my, if I may say so, already well trained eye for spotting boulders, I could make out a brushed tip of a boulder between the dense trees. Looking at the topo it looked like it must be the one of "Djoumba" and I left the path again, making my way through the ferns to find "Djoumba". I opened my compass app on my phone and followed West. Luckily I had 4G connection so after looking at a picture, I finally had found "Ras les Pâquerettes", but now I still had to climb it.

The skin on my fingers was burning with pain, but I didn't want to give up after all that searching.
It was a hard fight, but in the end I was able to struggle my way up.
I was exhausted!!

Fontainebleau - Côtes de Courances - Ras les Pâquerettes 7A+

Note to those with a Black Bible, "Ras les Pâquerettes" is written in the area of Montrouget Est, but it actually fits more to Côtes de Courances and it is easier to find when start walking about 100m to the West from "Djoumba", and still then it is not easy to spot. Check for more info.
Bart Van Raaij will soon release a new version of the "7+8" topo, I suggest you buy that too, about 1000 problems will be added compared to his previous version.

I still had a long walk to go but made my way back to car without problems and enjoyed the beauty of the Coquibus once more!

The big path towards the small parking.

On the other hand I was glad to get out of dense forest and out in the open again, but there also I was again treated with a wonderful view!

Coming out of the forest into the open again.

Friday, June 17, 2016

June 17, 2016 - The Coup.

There was a huge rain shower while driving home from work this afternoon, it rained so hard that the cars had put on their fog lights to be seen. Luckily it was short and immediately after the sun came through.
I stopped at Rocher de la Salamandre Est on my way, knowing that the first boulder, close to the road will be in the sun and exposed to the wind.
It was still wet when I arrived, but the sun, wind and my towel did their work. After about ten minutes waiting, it was dry enough to be climbed.
"Métamorpho" is, as the name reveals, very morpho!
Bart Van Raaij is a tall guy and on his video, I saw that he was able to reach the top just barely when keeping his left hand low on the sloper.
This was out of the question for me so I was forced to the small extra move left hand to the crimp about 20 cm higher, and even then it was still only with the tip of my fingers that I could reach the edge on the top.
Don't go too fast after you have the edge, because you can still fall off ...

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

Tomorrow they announced bad weather and even after today's rain, the evening promised to be difficult to find some dry boulders nearby.
As I was lucky the last couple of times on the boulder of "Coup de Force", I decided to take my chances again and head for the same boulder. After all, there are still quite some harder problems to do on it.
I did "Conduite Forcée", "Guichot Business" and "Achoppement Libre" very recently so the moves for those problems were still fresh in my head.
As I was in a playful mood, I opened three new variations. Each with the same start as "Coup de Force" and finishing in the above mentioned problems respectively, adding half a grade to each of the original ones.

"Coup de Conduite" starts, as I mentioned, in "Coup de Force", uses the big slopey undercling in the back of the roof to traverse to the right to take the hold in the crack and finishes in "Conduite Forcée".

Fontainebleau - Rocher Guichot - Coup de Conduite 7A FA

"Coup d'Achoppement" starts also in "Coup de Force", same traverse and exit in "Achoppement Libre".
As I did "Achoppement Libre" only a couple of days ago, it was still so fresh in my head and I still had the moves that good in my body, that I was able to do this on my first try. The topout went much smoother than last time!

Fontainebleau - Rocher Guichot - Coup d'Achoppement 7B+ FA

Same start for "Coup de Guichot", with again the same traverse, but finishing in "Guichot Business".

Fontainebleau - Rocher Guichot - Coup de Guichot 7A+ FA

The variations simply add an extension to the originals, but the moves are hard enough to add at least half a grade to them.
Not exactly completely new problems but fun enough to do.

Still three more problems to do on this boulder, "Coup Fourré", "Coup de Faiblesse" and "Coup de Force". Hopefully this year ... that would be nice!!

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

June 14, 2016 - A new Cold War.

At work I'm involved in a kind of Cold War with an indirect colleague.
It's been going on for a while now and I'm not the only one who has trouble with him. He's getting on my and most of my direct colleagues' nerves. Quite an achievement considering there is at least a 1000 miles between us.
It's amazing how one person can ruin your day, especially at the end of the day when you find yourself with even more work than you started with in the morning.
It's difficult for me to let go then at that moment and keeping a good work-life balance is not an easy task in such a mood.
I really needed to climb this day off of me and after diner I went straight for "Achoppement Libre" in Rocher Guichot.

Last time I was there for "Guichot Business" and had a quick look at "Achoppement Libre".
I had checked out the line but didn't try it because the holds and mainly the slopers were too humid. It was in no condition to be tried.
This evening however, it was dry and I took my time to work out the moves, hurting my back on a small boulder when falling on it.

About twenty minutes later I had found the complete sequence, and cruised in a steady flow through the problem, but still fell off the last move.
I had worked out all the moves up to a jug near the top, thinking that it would have been over there.
I was wrong though and found myself in a situation where I didn't have a clue anymore what to do next, losing all the power that remained while desperately looking for the next reachable hold.
There was a small boulder right below me and I didn't want to fall on it in an uncontrolled fashion.
When I let go at that last move, I cursed because I had lost so much power that I thought my tries were over.
In a stubborn mood I did give it another go but to no avail.

It was hard to admit, but I had to let this one go, the energy was gone after all those tries, one after the other.
I turned off the camera, packed my stuff and just as I wanted to take the camera away, I had to think of "Pispot". The nickname I had given my indirect colleague with whom I'm in a new Cold War.
I could feel the anger again, which gave me the required power and energy back.
I unpacked again, determined to face my frustration and deal with it, finish it off! I needed this!!

Two tries later, I had the jug again and gave all I had left to do the last move. I nearly fell off again, but the "Pispot" thought helped me up.
I did it!!

I went home feeling like a winner, calm and relieved, thought of "Pispot" and told to him in my mind: "PONG !!".

Fontainebleau - Rocher Guichot - Achoppement Libre 7B

Monday, June 13, 2016

June 13, 2016 - Quick one before the game.

I'm not quite a soccer fan, but when it comes to Belgium playing in a big tournament, I mostly like to watch.

That's why really quick, after diner and just before the game, I did a video repeat of "Ric-Rac".
7A when topping out after the arete.
Soft when the conditions are in favour, and they were today.

Fontainebleau - Gorge aux Châts - Ric-Rac 7A(6C+)

Sunday, June 12, 2016

June 12, 2016 - 300!

I made my 300th video today!!

When I woke up around 6h30, I immediately noticed that it had stopped raining, and even though it was still dull and grey, the street looked dry.
When the streets are dry, it's usually a good indication that the boulders in most areas will be dry too.
I wrote Jean-Pierre about these conditions and he answered that he will give it a chance.

I got out of bed, took a quick breakfast and left before anyone else at home was awake. Rain was announced for 11h so I wanted to make sure to climb something before it started.
Even though some drops fell while I was driving towards Gorges du Houx Petit Paradis, it were just some drops and the boulders were dry at the sector of "La Diagonale du Fou".

I checked the time and it was only 8h15 when I started to warm up with the dyno of "L'Hypoténuse du Fou" which I did on my second try. My style!

Fontainebleau - Gorges du Houx Petit Paradis - L'Hypoténuse du Fou 7A

Two meters to the left of it, is the problem "La Diagonale du Fou", one of the two problems that I really wanted to try.
Unfortunately, I didn't get further than two tries because even the crux holds were dry, the starting jug was humid and made my fingertips slippery. Something one really doesn't want when the you need all the friction to be able to pull hard on the tiny crack above to make the dyno.

The other problem that I really wanted to try was "Tribune" at 50m from there.
A beautiful short compression problem but with a bad landing with that big boulder in the back.
I had to work out the moves separately and give it a couple of tries before I dared to commit myself completely.
My left elbow had suffered a bit from working out the moves and I knew I had to it soon before it would become to weak to try again.
I screamed on purpose to give me that extra adrenalin against the pain and for extra power. Even though I didn't really like that screaming, it did help because I was able to finish it, albeit with a lot of pain in my left elbow.
It was worth it, a beautiful problem, and special in that way that it was for my 300th video!!

Fontainebleau - Gorges du Houx Petit Paradis - Tribune 7B

By then, I had texted a bit back and forth with Jean-Pierre and he was in Coquibus Grandes Vallées.
When he wrote that he had topped "Perle de Crête 1" and still wanted to do the variation "Grimpe Etait Toit", I decided to go meet him up there as it was on the way home anyway.
The plan was to go up the hill to spot Jean-Pierre and I doubted, but took my stuff with me anyway.
After arriving on top of the hill, I greeted JP and saw him climb and top out "Grimpe Etait Toit" with ease. That looks like a lot of moves for a pure boulderer like me.

I remember standing in front of it a couple of months ago and with the small boulder right above the topout of "Perle de Crête 1", I decided not to do it then but wait for another time when the occasion would be that I was there with some extra pads and a spotter. I did give it a quick try then though but I chickened out. Any other day.
Today was any other day.
JP convinced me and I topped out the problem on my first attempt of the day, the second attempt all in all, even though I could have flashed it last time if I would have been more confident that day.

Fontainebleau - Coquibus Grandes Vallées - Perle de Crête 1 7A

After a short 5 minute break, JP didn't need much convincing for me to try "Grimpe Etait Toit" too.
It is the same problem but the topout is about 2m more to the left than "Perle de Crête 1".
It went down on my first attempt, but took the last energy of me.
It was time to call it a day and it was only 11h.
I thanked Jean-Pierre for the motivation and the spotting and went to the bakery in Milly to get some bread and pastries for a late brunch with the family at home.

Fontainebleau - Coquibus Grandes Vallées - Grimpe Etait Toit 7A

Saturday, June 11, 2016

June 11, 2016 - Minding my own business.

When I went to sleep yesterday evening I could hear the rain. It was predicted so I didn't give it much frustration.
When I woke up, it was still grey and wet but the rain had stopped, during breakfast there even was another shower.
After that shower, I decided to have a look at the small roof of "Coup de Force" at Rocher Guichot, hoping that it would be dry under it.

When I arrived at the roof, my pants were wet because of walking through the wet vegetation, but to my pleasant surprise, the roof and most of the boulder were dry.
There were some wet spots but they were not in the line of "Guichot Business".

I had tried "Guichot Business" a couple of years ago, but I hadn't finished it.
I remember that there were quite some people around the isolated boulder, so maybe that's a reason why I didn't completely go for it. Anyway, climbers' excuses ...

I brushed the holds and a couple of tries later, I found myself on top of the boulder.

Fontainebleau - Rocher Guichot - Guichot Business 7A(6C+)

One day someone asked me if I ever get reactions for making all these videos, and I replied that if and when I get reactions, it's mostly to complain about having done something wrong, or not entirely correct.
I'm aware that some people will probably say that I did "Conduite Forcée" there, and that's why immediately after "Guichot Business" I did "Conduite Forcée" which finishes more to the right and is indeed slightly easier.
Notice the significant difference ...

Fontainebleau - Rocher Guichot - Conduite Forcée 6C+

I had to quickly pack up and leave, because it had started raining again in the meantime ...

Friday, June 10, 2016

June 10, 2016 - Zip it.

Two times I already stood before "Compression Ministérielle" but I never tried it.
One time because I was too tired after what I had already done that day and another time when the conditions were not in favour for such a sloper compression problem.

This afternoon after work however, I stopped there especially for this problem. I was finally going to try it.
It proved to be hard struggle and a big fight.
Maybe it was because of what I did yesterday already, or maybe due to the lack of skin, but I found those first moves pretty hard.

I really had to squeeze all the power out of me to stick it. Literally.

I did it more with a crouching start, just to be able to reach the same holds that I saw the taller people use to start with on other videos.

Fontainebleau - Coquibus Auvergne - Compression Ministérielle 7A+

Thursday, June 9, 2016

June 09, 2016 - "Insert title here".

The weather announced really good for today. It was predicted to be the best day of the week, and it was.
Tomorrow the sun will slowly disappear behind grey clouds again and from Saturday on the rain returns until at least next Friday. That's what is predicted up to now at least.
I had taken the day off today so I could profit from the last bits of good conditions before the return of the rain.

My first stop was at Cassepot Roches Oranges where I did my first try in "Plein Ciel (assis)" at 8h45.
The sky was still grey, but the temperature was an enjoyable 17°C.
When looking at the problem, it looked easy, something I would do in at most three tries. I quickly got punished for not being humble as my first try was a disaster.
I fell off quite fast and sprained my ankle a bit when coming down. On top of that I got a cramp in my right leg. The muscles in my leg still hurt from it at this very moment.
It took me quite some tries before I figured out the first moves and when I finally got to the big undercling and slapped for the slopers on the top, I still fell off because of being too eager, too confident about the finish.
After a short pause it went down, but the topout was scary as hell being all alone out there at considerable height, with sketchy holds and a big boulder in the back on the ground.
I'm glad I never have to do that again! This is a hard 7A!

Fontainebleau - Cassepot Roches Oranges - Plein Ciel (assis) 7A

Right next to "Plein Ciel" is a small problem called "Le Logis Ciel".
It was a relief to do something more technical, because I forced my left elbow a bit at the topout of the problem before. Not because I had to pull hard, but because it was scary and I pulled much harder than I actually had to.
Not many moves, but nice ones. No hard pulling, but keeping the balance, while doing each move. Subtle, but still straight forward.

Fontainebleau - Cassepot Roches Oranges - Le Logis Ciel 7A

Then it was time to have a look at "Snake Totem" a little higher up the hill.
The first moves from the sitstart up to the two crimps went fine, but then I was stuck.
Even when I tried it starting from the two crimps I couldn't move at all and on top of that, the next hold seemed like miles away.
For me this feels at least 7B as far as I can tell, because I didn't do the problem.
It has only three registered repetitions. Enzo Nahumury, Bart Van Raaij and Jan De Smit. All three tall and very strong guys.

In the meantime Jean-Pierre (Roudneff) had sent me a message to let me know that he was in Cuvier Nord.
My plan was to Cuvier Nord anyway, so I packed up and joined him at "Makhno".
Nearly every day I email with him for my videos and even though we had met already a couple of times in the forest, we had never climbed together.
He was going to do another try in "Makhno (intégral)" a long 7B traverse, an extension of the shorter 7A version.
Tony (Fouchereau) arrived too and we joined him at the boulder of "Tortue Ninja" and "Sentinelle".
While Tony opened yet another really hard problem, I managed to do "Sentinelle" on my second attempt. Mainly because I was receiving plenty of information about where the holds are and what to do with the feet.
Jean-Pierre tried it too, but being shorter, he had to find a different beta.
In the meantime, Tony topped out his project after removing the strap from his fingers and I did a couple of tries in "Tortue Ninja" which I let go because I was loosing too much skin on the very hard slopey mantle.

Fontainebleau - Cuvier Nord - Sentinelle 7A

Next on my list was "Au Royaume des Elfes" and I had to try it today if I wanted to have it dry. It is located more on the North face and also facing North, making it difficult to dry, but on the other hand, it's cooler when it's warm.
Jean-Pierre knows my style by now and he said that I probably would do it quickly. I was even more eager now to try, so I said goodbye and left.
It turned out it was only 50m away ...

It felt good being there in the shade and it was significantly cooler on the North face.
I welcomed the cooler temperature because by now, the sun had come out and started heating everything up. It was indeed a good day!

"Au Royaume des Elfes" can be found on a big impressive boulder and it is the only problem on it that is more or less not expo.
Jean-Pierre was correct. I did it on my second attempt, even though I could have flashed it but I didn't because of bad foot placement.
This felt soft for the grade, but then again, it was indeed completely my style.
Still gotta keep the head cool when doing the topout.

Fontainebleau - Cuvier Nord - Au Royaume des Elfes 7A+

By now, it was really getting hot and I was getting tired, but I went on to the boulder of "Asphyxie" just a little bit further.
After having seen pictures of it, I wanted to try at least one of the problems on it.
I flashed "Asphyxié" although not without a fight and tried "Asphyxie" a couple of times. The only difference in the name is in the 'e' and the 'é' in the end. Two different problems though.
"Asphyxié" goes as you can see in the video, standing start and without the arete, "Asphyxie" starts with a sitstart low left, and follows the arete to the top on the right. Nearly the same name, but they only share the topout.

Fontainebleau - Cuvier Nord - Asphyxié 7A

Now I was really tired and despite that I continued further up the hill to find and briefly try "Vipère Pousette", but I had to give in.
The heat and the climbing earlier today had taken its toll so I packed and left for the car.

Oh yeah, on my way back to the car, I had to pass through Bas Cuvier and couldn't resist trying "La Conque à Doigt".
I had seen a small video of it by coincidence yesterday and I was surprised that I never noticed it before. Especially being right next to "Pif Paf".
It looks really nice, a typical Font style sloper problem.
Maybe it was the heat and the warm slopers, but I still had to give it quite some tries before standing on the top.

I was down and out and needed a short rest before I packed up, so I opened up my green Jupiler (alcohol free beer) and drank it all in one sip.

Fontainebleau - Bas Cuvier - La Conque à Doigt 7A(6C+)

I couldn't come up with a title for today's post so you go ahead, think of something and <Insert title here>.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

June 08, 2016 - Getting sticky.

The conditions are coming back!
At least on the one boulder I touched this afternoon after work.
I only had 20 minutes time, but it was just enough to do a quick ascent of "Patate d'Enfer (assis)".
It was the only boulder I touched, but it was in great conditions.
The slopers on the top of the boulder are bad, but they were sticky. The only thing I had to do was to get just high enough.

I did the stand start a couple of months ago, in March.
The sitstart only adds two little moves, but makes this far dynamic move, which is slightly morpho, still harder.
Soft 7A+ even though, the stand start felt like hard 7A, but I think that the conditions were in favour today.

Fontainebleau - Apremont Butte aux Dames - Patate d'Enfer (assis) 7A+

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

June 07, 2016 - Ethics flooded.

Sunday it finally stopped raining.
The villages along the river "Loing" are almost all flooded. Moret-sur-Loing, Montigny-sur-Loing, Nemours, ... They still can't lick their wounds yet because the water still hasn't retracted completely.
For those whose houses have been flooded, the worst probably still has to come when they will return to their homes.

I arrived back home from Belgium around 21h30 and couldn't resist to go to the forest for a couple of minutes.
On my way to Rocher Guichot, the upcoming evening fog above the fields revealed some potential bad news ... Condensation, and a lot of it!!
No way that climbing was possible with these conditions as the boulders were literally soaking wet!
Tried again yesterday evening (Monday), and even though it was getting slightly better, the condensation was still there.

That's what happens after many days of rain, and sun and heat after.
The rain that went into the ground comes up again, vaporises because of the sun, the vapour hits the boulders that are significantly colder, it condenses and creates drops of water on the surface of the rock.
Nothing you can do but wait until it gets better.
Condensation sometimes is even worse han the rain, because even the underside of roofs and overhangs is soaking wet.

Today, after work, I had to pick up my son at a friend in Le Vaudoué and as I was about half an hour early, I went to Rocher Guichot again to "kill time".
The boulders were getting dry now apart from some areas that were not being dried by the sun and the tiny bit of wind.

Anyway, even though the starting hold of "Gorétatov (debout)" was still moist, I gave it some tries.
I had tried it a couple of times yesterday, but even the top part of the boulder was still wet, making the mantle up there on those slopers nearly impossible.
Today, after wiping of the sand particles that had formed, it felt quite sticky.
I think the ethics must have been taken by the flood, because they were nowhere to be seen when I made it to the top. I had to use every inch of naked skin to find the required grip and not fall off.
Easy start, really hard mantle!
I still tried the sitstart and easily made my way up to the slopers but couldn't finish it off anymore. Next time for sure when the holds at the bottom are completely dry.

Fontainebleau - Rocher Guichot - Gorétatov (debout) 7A+

After diner I still went to Franchard Isatis but couldn't finish anything anymore.
The boulders are drying, but the good conditions haven't returned yet.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

June 01, 2016 - Cold turkey in the ghetto.

Last time I climbed was a week ago.
Seven days of no climbing, mainly due to the rain was taking it's toll on me, and on my family.
After so long without climbing, it's like I get 'cold turkey' and I need my dose. I become grumpy.
That, a tremendous workload at work, not having the possibility to use climbing to channel away the stress and disconnect from work, is a bad combination.

On the news on the radio, mostly they talk about red alert in the region, red alert for floods. A lot of rivers went over their banks due to the constant rain.
Until today. This morning, the rain turned into a light drizzle and around noon it had stopped completely and the roads started to dry slowly. The sky was still grey but at least it was getting better.

I stopped half an hour early at work, planned to stop at Bas Cuvier, hoping to find a boulder dry enough to climb on.
There was a light drizzle while I was driving, but luckily it didn't last long.
In Bas Cuvier, that I sometimes jokingly call "the ghetto among the climbing areas", the boulders under the trees were of course still soaking wet, but I had set myself a target, "Banlieu Nord (direct)".
Being in an open spot, I hoped that at least that would be dry and to my pleasant surprise, it was dry enough to climb. I only had to dry the starting holds a bit with my towel.

While I was trying, the legendary Philippe Le Denmat passed by and gave me a small hint.
Philippe Le Denmat is a famous Bleausard and responsible for opening countless superhard slabs and crimpsy walls, out of which "Duel" is probably the most known and Enigma, with 8B, the hardest.
That man can probably climb up a marble wall if he wanted to.
The tip he gave me was to find a small crimp (of course) on the right sloper. It helped.

Fontainebleau - Bas Cuvier - Banlieu Nord (direct) 7A

It felt good to climb again but I had to go home.
I still didn't have enough though and when after diner, it still hadn't rained again, I went to 95.2.

On the parking I bumped into Jean-Jacques Naëls (aka Pepito), the well known topo maker and we briefly had a chat about his topos and about the 'Black Bible'. He has a copy and he likes it a lot.
It was nice to talk to him but sad to hear that he's done making topos.

"Indestructible" is a lowball boulder in a mostly populated part of 95.2. Mostly except for today.
I took my chance, sat down and did it first go. It went surprisingly easy, despite the couple of 'end-of-the-day' sessions I had in it.
After checking a video of it, I noticed that it starts with the right hand lower than I had done, so I had to do it again, but correctly now.
It does add this extra power move to it, but a couple of tries later it was done.

Short problem, a few power compression moves and a slopey topout. Just the way I like it.

Fontainebleau - 95.2 - Indestructible 7A+(7A)

When I arrived at the car, the drops on it revealed that it had started raining again.