Wednesday, August 31, 2016

August 31, 2016 - Number 403.

On my way home from work, I stopped at Franchard Isatis to look for "Byrjun" in an often forgotten sector on the North face of the hill.
Most of the problems in that sector have been opened by our good friends Ivan Moreels and Steven Demets. This is one from Steven.
The whole North face, however, is covered with ferns, and after 15 minutes of searching, I still hadn't found it.

I didn't feel like having done the walk for nothing, so I contented myself with "Le Toit Ouvrant (direct)" that I had passed a couple of times during my search.
It's a very nice steep overhang with pockets and after looking at the holds and a possible sequence, I flashed it easily.

Fontainebleau - Franchard Isatis - Le Toit Ouvrant (direct) 6C+

Of course, on my way back, I found "Byrjun" almost by accident. It was well hidden by the high ferns.
It turned out that I stood twice on top of the boulder and jumped off it in my search for it.
I think that the 50m from "Le Surplomb Feuilleté", as indicated on the topo, is slightly exaggerated and I was looking too far away from it.
I didn't have the time anymore to try it as I had to go home, but now that I knew where it was, I was determined to come back for it after diner.

As said, after diner I drove back to Isatis and walked straight to it. 10 minutes later it was done.
Only 4 moves, but still a very nice hidden gem!

Fontainebleau - Franchard Isatis - Byrjun 7A+

I noticed yesterday that my video of "L'Epervier (assis)" on Monday, was actually my 400th Youtube video. That makes the one from "Byrjun", number 403.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

August 30, 2016 - Time management.

Many times I stood before and inspected "La Porte du Temps" in Rocher du Potala, but somehow never gave it a try.
For some reason, some time today, I suddenly had to think about it and decided that after diner I would go and spend some time on it.

After a short 10 minute walk, I spread out my crashpad and watched a video for beta so it would save me some time. The sun was already quite low and darkness would fall soon.

The problem looks easy, but I must admit that it was harder than I had expected.
The first move from the crimps to the jugs in the crack is easy, but once you've got the arete left hand it all comes down to technical foot placement, and maybe also long arms.
I slid off the small holds for the right foot a lot, up to the point that it started to frustrate me, but with each try I became more and more acquainted with them.

It must have been after about 15 minutes of trying that I checked the time on my cellphone.
Slowly I was running out of time and I realised that a successful ascent had to follow fast or I would find myself alone there in the dark.
Not that I would be scared, but it would just mean that I would have to let the problem go and try again some other time.

A mere handful of tries later, I managed to do it. I felt good and wondered why never before I gave this beautiful delicate problem a try.

While walking back to the parking, I enjoyed the forest preparing itself for the night. Calmness fell over me.

It was 20h35 when arrived at the car, I had managed my time well.

Fontainebleau - Rocher du Potala - La Porte du Temps 7A+

By the way, my ankle is still swollen from yesterday, but the Arnica cream is doing a great job!

Monday, August 29, 2016

August 29, 2016 - Keep the adrenalin going!

After diner I returned to Roche aux Oiseaux to try one of the other recent openings of Grégoire Thibault.
This time in the back of Roche aux Oiseaux, or in front, depending from where you're coming.

"L'Epervier (assis)" can be found on the top of the hill, to the right of "Migration Lente" and "Le Flop" between the main area and La Ségognole.
It's a typical bleausards style wall with slopey crimps and very bad footholds. Also very exposed with a couple of small boulders underneath it, making it difficult to make a good landing with the crashpad. Even with my big old faithful Black Diamond Mondo.
It's a very technical problem, not quite my style, but in the end I made it my style by doing it with a dynamic move, even though it wasn't always a good idea, and I have felt it.

It took me a while before I had figured out the method that suited me the most, but with dynamic move it was difficult to land correctly when I missed the hold.
At a certain moment, I nearly had the good hold on the right, slipped off, came down on my feet, but the crashpad folded (as expected) and made me sprain my ankle pretty bad.
The pain shot through my whole body and I couldn't hold down a shout.
It hurt a lot but the adrenalin that flew through my body eased the pain and I knew I had to be quick to keep my attempts going.
If would wait too long, the adrenalin would fade away and the pain would really kick in.
I did it on my attempt right after.

I walked back to the car and by the time I was at La Ségognole, I was limping. It's not too bad, but I certainly will feel that tomorrow.
At least it could have been much worse than "just" a sprained ankle.

Fontainebleau - Roche aux Oiseaux - L'Epervier (assis) 7A

Sunday, August 28, 2016

August 28, 2016 - Something in my belly.

This morning it was a bit cloudy and the temperature for the hottest part of the day was predicted to be "only" 28°C.
Still, I left early, parked at 9h am at the Carrefour de Belle Croix and started walking to La Mare à Piat.

The first problem that I tried on the way to the main area was "Rien dans le Ventre", in one of the old quarries close to the parking.
It's a beautiful belly on slopers with perfect compression moves.
I had seen a video from it, but the method with the high heelhook left I had seen didn't work for me, so I had to figure out an alternative.
Luckily I'm not that tall, because the method I used will probably be harder for the tall among us.
Beautiful problem that gets 5 stars from me on!

I hope the ascent is valid, because I did have the muesli that I had for breakfast in my belly, but on the other hand, there is no spleen anymore in it, so maybe that compensates.

Fontainebleau - La Mare à Piat - Rien dans le Ventre 7A+

It came into my mind to try the big dyno to the very high left pocket, but honestly, I chickened out.
It's the kind of dyno that, when you have the jug and slip, will make you helicopter down uncontrollably, not knowing where and how you will fall, so ... nope, not alone by myself.

That said, I walked on towards the classical roof with "Orgasme Cosmique" that I had done more than a year ago.
For some reason, I hadn't tried "Utopium" next to it, and now there even is also "Utopium Cosmique".
These two problems were still on my have-to-do list for today.

I laid out the crashpad and set off.
"Utopium" went down on my flash attempt, but be it with a little hestitation.

Fontainebleau - La Mare à Piat - Utopium 7A

Up next was "Utopium Cosmique", which starts in "Utopium", but at the edge of the roof, traverses to the right to finish in "Orgasme Cosmique".
I flashed it too. Very nice variation with a cool swing and some campus moves!

Fontainebleau - La Mare à Piat - Utopium Cosmique 7A(7A+)

The afternoon was swimming time with the family, and when we were back home, I noticed on that Grégoire Thibault had opened some new boulders in Roche aux Oiseaux and it was just published today.

Roche aux Oiseaux is nearly in our backyard, so after diner it was the place to go.
I definitely wanted to try "L'Architecte Trismégiste (droite)", located right next to "La Révolution du Silence".

The problem is very exposed, so before I gave it a go, I tried the exit first. I didn't want to risk doing the first exposed moves and finding myself in a position where I still had to look for a method to top it out.
It took me a while before I found a method that worked, but in the end I did find it.
I turned on the camera and did the problem on my first attempt from the start.
One can feel that the boulder was just cleaned, because the friction on the slopers was simply perfect.
It scratched a lot skin off my forearms, but the slopers just stuck!

It was very tempting to try the direct up version, which is 7C, but the broken tree just underneath it could kill you when you fall on it from near the top. No joke!

Very nice find of Grégoire, and somehow it's hard to believe that such a masterpiece could be left unnoticed for so long!

Fontainebleau - Roche aux Oiseaux - L'Architecte Trismégiste (droite) 7B

Saturday, August 27, 2016

August 27, 2016 - Trying to keep it cool.

This morning I left early to be sure that I could do some climbing before the arrival of the heat.
They predicted already 31°C at noon, so it had to be before that.
It was about 8h am when I had parked the car and started walking towards Gorges du Houx Petit Paradis. The sun was still low and shining beautifully through the trees, I couldn't resist taking a picture.

Sunrise in Gorges du Houx.

I walked straight towards "La Diagonale du Fou".
Last time I was there, a couple of months ago, the small hold in the crack was humid and it was simply impossible to pull hard enough on it to make the jump.
Now, after so many dry and hot days, it was perfectly dry.

It's a beautiful steep overhanging boulder with a perfect crack going through it.
The first 3 moves are a walk in the park, but the small hold in the crack for the right hand is really small and you need all what you can get to be able to pull and jump.
The jump is scary though, because the landing underneath is quite exposed and sketchy.
To give you an idea, it was opened before the use of crashpads was more or less generalised and back then, it was opened with a toprope.

Even with crack being completely dry, it did take me quite some goes. The dyno is one of the kind that needs to be built up.
Firstly to build up confidence and secondly to find the exact good position to jump from and totally go for it.
It's a great problem, very nice!! Glad to be able to tick this classic off.

Fontainebleau - Gorges du Houx Petit Paradis - La Diagonale du Fou 7A+

While I was there, I looked at "Black or White" in a small cave nearby, but it's not something I felt comfortable enough for to try alone.
So, before leaving, I played around a bit and added a left sitstart to "L'Hypoténuse du Fou" which I conveniently called "L'Hypoténuse du Fou (assis gauche)" and the grade will be something like a soft 7A+(7A).
I'm most probably not the first who did this, but it's not yet registered on I'll ask Jean-Pierre if it's worth it to create an extra page for it or not.
Anyway, it was a fun thing to do.

Fontainebleau - Gorges du Houx Petit Paradis - L'Hypoténuse du Fou (assis gauche) 7A+(7A)

By then it was still only 9h15, and even though the sun was still quite low and behind the trees, there where she peeked through, it was starting to feel hot already.
I packed up, walked back and crossed the Route Ronde at Gorges de Franchard to continue my way to Franchard Ermitage.
There have been some new openings the last days and I wanted to check some of them out.
Most of them are located close the big parking of Gorges de Franchard, so the walk is not as long as going to the main area of Franchard Ermitage.

I tried "Souplesse Arrière", but it seems I don't have enough souplesse.
"Meridien" was completely in the sun, so I didn't even bother.
I had a look at "Titanium", but this is very exposed and I didn't even dare trying it.
Then I tried "Basique", but it's not really clear if both aretes may be used or not. If yes, then it's very morpho and if no, then I have no clue how to do it.

In the end walked further onto the blue path towards "Médiateur".
Funny because last time when I did the long walk in Franchard with Pieter and Kumiko, we passed this boulder, had a look at it, both agreed that it was nice, but probably too far to come back to.
Well, it's not too far when you're parked on the parking of Gorges de Franchard. Maybe 500m or so.

"Médiateur" went down on my second attempt. Opened as 7A(6C), I think 6C+ will do.
I didn't try the left variation because it looked dirty and sandy and I didn't feel like cleaning it in this heat.

Fontainebleau - Franchard Ermitage - Médiateur 7A(6C)

Friday, August 26, 2016

August 26, 2016 - Take it all off.

Jérôme Chaput, one of the openers of "L'Inhomogène" in Rocher du Mauvais Passage had notified me that it was originally opened with a sitstart on the ground and not on a crashpad.
It was a very justified remark, making my ascent not a valid one.

Today, I took a few hours off work and stopped earlier so I could be in Rocher du Mauvais Passage before the real heat.
It didn't really help, because by the time I was there, it was already 36°C in the shade. I'm really missing the fresher days here.
After the small walk up to the boulders, I was already bathing in sweat, but luckily most of the boulder was pretty much in the shade. No wind though ...

I sat down at the problem, took both aretes and couldn't lift my ass off the ground for a milimeter.
It's true that sitting down on the ground puts your butt below your center of gravity so lifting it up from that position was tremendously harder.

A few tries later, I managed to find a beta with which I was able to lift myself from the ground and even start swinging my right hand towards the jug. The impossible started to seem possible.
I was sweating so hard however and getting so overheated that I needed to do all I could to cool my body down, so ... I took off my pants and stood there in my boxers and white legs, looking like a fool with my socks in my climbing shoes. But I couldn't care less, I needed to cool down.

Eventually, I made the first move, took the swing, climbed towards the end, but fell off near the end. Damn that heat and sweaty hands.
I practiced the topout again, slightly changed my beta so I could use less slopers, sat down again and climbed the whole problem from the ground.

It seems that Jérôme had made a bet with Nicolas Gensollen (the other opener) that nobody else would repeat this problem.
Well, I'm really sorry Jérôme, but you lost the bet for real this time.

Fontainebleau - Rocher du Mauvais Passage - L'Inhomogène 7B

I tried some other problems in the area, but it was just too hot to finish something else.
Besides, I was going to meet Sandra and the kids at the river anyway for a nice refreshing swim, which felt heaven by the way!

After Friday evening's pizza time, I went to Rocher du Guetteur to try a dyno that I had tried before, but never succeeded.
"Le Jeté Pignon" can be found on the North face of the huge main boulder of Rocher du Guetteur, so I knew that it probably wouldn't have heated up too much during the day.

I always park on the unofficial parking for the area.
Advantage is that it is a shorter walk, but on the hand, the walk goes over a sandy hors trail that makes the shorter walk a bit more annoying. Can't have it all.

The jump itself is not very high, but getting into the position for the jump is a hard physical part.
Very hard on the fingers, especially the small undercling that you use to start with and use to match with the other hand.
The footholds are almost non existant, so pushing off for the jump becomes very tricky.

All in all, compared to the famous dyno "Vin Rouge" in Franchard Isatis, I personally think that "Le Jeté Pignon" is a tad harder.

Fontainebleau - Rocher du Guetteur - Le Jeté Pignon 7A+(7A)

The sandy horsetrail.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

August 24, 2016 - Not hot enough?

I have been away for work for a couple of days, about 450 km more South, so I hadn't been climbing.
This morning I drove back home and when I was nearly there, it was already 34°C. It was predicted that for at least 3 days, the temperature will be well over 30°C. There is even an "Alerte Orange" for the region.

At a few miles from home I stopped (ironically enough) at Vallée Chaude. As if it wasn't hot enough already.
There was a new boulder published on just after the weekend, and it looked beautiful so I definitely wanted to try it.
There are only a handful of boulders in Vallée Chaude and all of them are widespread around.
I tried to follow the access description as good as I could, but still I ended up leaving my stuff at an isolated to continue my search without being packed. The heat was terrible.

I followed my logical senses and managed to find it in a spot where one wouldn't immediately go look.
I will not disclose the exact location, so people who want to do it, can maybe put their smartphones down and instead of looking for Pokémon, look for the boulder.
When I found the boulder, I didn't see any Pokémon, but I did see that the slopers were bathing in the sun.
After bringing back my stuff, the slopers were still bathing in the sun, and I was bathing in my sweat.

Maybe it was because I hadn't climbed for some days, or something else, but I flashed it as if it was an easy 6A.
It was probably the easiest of the grade that I ever did, but it sure was beautiful. I felt sorry that it was over so fast, so I did again a couple of times, even added a sitstart to it but that didn't add anything to the grade.

Fontainebleau - Vallée Chaude - Ecarte un Maxx 7A(7A+)

In the evening I went to Villetard to try "Le Toit de Nanteau (direct)", but after some tries I had to give up due to the heat.
The heat was coming from everywhere. From the air, from the sand below and from the warmed up sandstone boulders around me. On top of that, the small spot is surrounded by boulders, leaving no room for a refreshing wind to pass and cool me down.
I'll come back when it's much cooler. It was more than hot enough!

Le Toit de Nanteau.

Friday, August 19, 2016

August 19, 2016 - Bad passage, or not ...

The office closed earlier today, so I used the extra time to stop at Rocher du Mauvais Passage.
Somehow, it got into my head to try "Peter Pan" again.
Again, because last year when I tried it, I didn't dare to make the big jump to the left. Afraid of taking a swing, not sticking the hold and twisting my body during my fall, making it uncontrollable.

No real fear this time, but I did feel somewhat nervous. Not only for falling, but mostly because I had a feeling that I would do it today.
Weirdly enough, it wasn't the far jump that gave the most trouble today, but I did have to practice the first dynamic move towards the sloper and stick it.

I don't know how, but somehow, after 14 days in a row of climbing and doing at least one 7th grade problem every day, my skin still can cope with it.

Fontainebleau - Rocher du Mauvais Passage - Peter Pan 7B+(7B)

The feeling I had was intense after doing "Peter Pan" and I was hungry for more.

A little further up the hill there is a new 7B that has been opened begin of August, "L'Inhomogène".
I found it easily and noticed that several more quite recently opened problems are laying around it.
Yet, "L'Inhomogène" was the problem I tried first.

The problem is basically graded on one hard move. The first one.
Getting your butt off the ground and swinging for the good hold is the hardest part, but it didn't give me too much trouble.
What follows is a 6C+ problem. I have my doubts about the grade, but it fits my style. I would call at least a soft 7B.

Fontainebleau - Rocher du Mauvais Passage - L'Inhomogène 7B

At about 10 meters from there, you can find "Hara", a beautiful 7A on compression and with heelhooks.
I gave it a couple of goes, and when I fell off the last move, it started raining, so I packed up and took shelter under the roof of "Hara".
It didn't rain very and not long, and even though I had been thinking to leave and come back another day for "Hara", I checked how wet the holds had become.
To my pleasant surprise, the holds were still dry. The top sloper was wet, but it was only on the surface, so drying it off with my towel was enough to make doable again.

I couldn't resist, unpacked again and went for it.
Again, I fell off the last move.
The problem is quite physical and while I was shaking my arms and fingers, drops started falling out of the sky again.
With the energy I still had left, I went for a last possible go and sent it.
Just in time, because the rain didn't stop anymore and by the time I had packed up again, the boulder had now become too wet to climb.
When I arrived at the car, it was still raining.

Fontainebleau - Rocher du Mauvais Passage - Hara 7A(7A+)

Now it's time for a forced rest because this weekend I will be in Belgium and from Monday until Wednesday I'm travelling for work.
Let the skin grow back!

Thursday, August 18, 2016

August 18, 2016 - A happy forest.

Early this morning, around 4 am, it started raining.
When I left for work, I could smell it, and it smelled fresh, the drought from the last days seemed gone.

It was a grey day and on the way back from work, more rain fell, so no climbing on the way home.
After diner, however, the sky had cleared open and the evening sun was out.
The days are noticeably getting shorter, so I hurried to Drei Zinnen where I was sure to find some dry boulders.

Many years ago, I had tried "Sale Coup" and was never able to make the move towards the big oblique crack high on the right.
Now it didn't give me much trouble and the send went quick.
If I remember correctly, it was opened as a 7A(7A+) but in the meantime it got downgraded to 6C+(7A), which I can understand, but on the other hand, I have done 6C's that were harder and 7A's that were easier than that.
Grades and Bleau, it's a never ending, but ever open discussion.

When I walked back to the car, the forest was still slightly wet, but I could smell that it was happy.

Fontainebleau - Drei Zinnen - Sale Coup 6C+(7A)

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

August 17, 2016 - Even one more.

Short update.

After work I stopped at Rocher du Télégraphe to try "Morse", but it was even one degree warmer in the shade than yesterday.
I can do all the moves, I can reach the flat hold after the little jump, but it was just too hot to hold it and hang on.

I moved my Mondo a little bit more to the right to content myself with climbing "Télégramme" next to it.
The same start as "Morse", but with a direct exit.
It went on my second attempt, and even though it felt easy, I was exhausted from the heat.

Once it cools down a bit, I will come back for "Morse".

Fontainebleau - Rocher du Télégraphe - Télégramme 7A

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

August 16, 2016 - 31°C in the shade.

At work, I spent all day in an air conditioned office, so I wasn't aware of how hot it really was outside.
It was only when I left the office that a heavy bang of heat struck me, and it hit hard.

On my way home I stopped at Apremont Ouest to try the two standstart versions of "Lullaby". One with the right arete, and one without.

The version with the right arete is the easiest and felt quite easy for the grade. Time will tell if the grade will stay.
The hardest part is actually getting both feet off the ground while holding both starting holds in compression.
Physical start, easy topout.

Fontainebleau - Apremont Ouest - Lullaby (debout avec l'arête) 7A

The heat was getting unbearable, but after trying the jump without the first move at the start, I immediately felt that this was possible, so I setup the camera again and started recording.

Many times, at least 10, I had the top hold after the jump, but holding on to it and matching the second hand is harder than it seems.
My skin hurt like hell, but I didn't want to give up as I was so close.
Finally I had the top hold good, matched my second hand perfectly and climbed to the top.
Opened as 7A+(7B), I think it's 7A+ max.

My car was standing completely in the shade, still the thermometer said 31°C.

Fontainebleau - Apremont Ouest - Lullaby (debout) 7A+(7B)

Monday, August 15, 2016

August 15, 2016 - Something deadly.

Pieter and his girlfriend Kumiko (not sure if it's written correctly) were going for a walk in the back of Franchard, behind Cuisinière and Carnage.
I was up for it, but I couldn't resist taking my climbing shoes and chalk bag with me. You never know what you might run in to, and if a nice boulder would not be too high with a safe landing, you might as well have some gear with you and climb it.

We walked behind Cuisinière, passed Carnage, up to parking of Gorges de Franchard and came back via Franchard Raymond and then Franchard Ermitage.
At Franchard Ermitage we had a look at the few boulders near the bottom of the slope and stumbled upon the gem of "Mort à Crédit".
The boulder is not high, the landing is good and the problem looks beautiful, so I couldn't resist.

No crashpad, but with Pieter as good spotter, I put on my climbing shoes and gave it some goes.
It didn't take long, but Pieter touched me maybe too much on a swing when I made it to the top.
To be sure, I did it again, but this time there was no touch.

Fontainebleau - Franchard Ermitage - Mort à Crédit 7A

We ended our walk and separated our ways. 
Pieter still had a long drive ahead and I went for a swim in the river to cool down.

After diner, I went to Canche aux Merciers Anarchodrome.
Mostly traverses there, but "Penchant Mortel" is not one of them.
I had seen 2 videos of it. 
One of someone climbing it while using a jug on the left and one from our good friend Ivan Moreels who did it without the jug on the left.

I easily flashed the version with the jug and immediately thought that is in no way a 7A, but more like a 6B(6C) at most.
I asked Jean-Pierre to create a new page for it on and call it "Penchant Mortel (gauche)" as I think many people will be confused and climb it the wrong way.

Fontainebleau - Canche aux Merciers Anarchodrome - Penchant Mortel (gauche) 6B(6C)

I then started trying the version without the jug on the left and this immediately became a totally different story from the first move on.
Here it really becomes deadly for the fingers and I started to have an idea where the name might have come from.
It took me about 15 minutes before I was able to link it all together. This felt like a real 7A!

Fontainebleau - Canche aux Merciers Anarchodrome - Penchant Mortel 7A

Sunday, August 14, 2016

August 14, 2016 - Quick update.

My plan today was to go to Mont Aigu to check the sector in the back part.
It would have been nice if I would have been able to finish "Cosmos", but the crux move was just a little bit too difficult.
Name the excuse, I've got it.

Anyway, I did do "Supersymétrie" for instance. A very nice fine prow.

Fontainebleau - Mont Aigu - Supersymétrie 7A+

After looking at the online topo of that sector on, I thought I had also done "La Force de la Gravitation", but it was just way too easy for a 7A(7A+).
I had a better look at the topo and it turned out that what I did was "Planck", 6B was more apropriate.
The picture of "Planck" had been mistakenly used to show "La Force de la Gravitation".

Fontainebleau - Mont Aigu - Planck 6B

I did do "La Force de la Gravitation" too, but unfortunately I have no video from it. There was no suitable place to set the camera for a decent recording.
I took a picture of it though, and sent it Jean-Pierre to make the necessary corrections on the site.

"La Force de la Gravitation"

I then went to complete opposite side of Mont Aigu to try a pretty recent dyno, "Bambitch".
Jumping from a big undercling to a slopey jug.

The jump itself was not that difficult, but holding on to the top, however, was.
I was tired and almost overheated, but I kept telling myself that when it was done, I would be rewarded with a swim in the river.

The swim was nice!

Fontainebleau - Mont Aigu - Bambitch 7A+

Saturday, August 13, 2016

August 13, 2016 - Fixing the shadow.

Last week, Pieter told me about a nice nameless 7B with typical Bleau style 'elephant skin' slopers, that made him think it would most likely be my style.
Of course, this drew my attention and I looked it up. It turned out that it's called "L'Hipposarse".

This morning, I tried to be in Cuisinière Carnage before the heat to try "L'Hipposarse".
It's quite a long walk and after a short search, I found it. It did indeed look beautiful and was exactly how he described it.
It had started to get hot already, but luckily it was still in the shade.

The jumpstart to the first sloper turned out to be harder than I thought and I had to hurry because slowly the sun was starting to peek from behind the tree.
From what I could see, once the sun would pass the tree, the slopers would be exposed to full direct sun and heat for at least 2 hours, so waiting for the sun to pass was no option.
Especially with this sandstone that traps the heat for a long time.

After sticking the first sloper, there come even more and worse slopers and I fell off the topout 3 times.
By now, the sun had reached them and I had to figure out a way to keep them in the shade so they wouldn't heat up. As I had seen and done before, I used my minipad and some sticks to create the necessary shade.
The skin on my fingertips was getting thinner and thinner with each try, to the point they started sweating due to the lack of skin.
I had come all this way now and didn't want to let it go so I kept on trying.

My relief was great when I had finally found a way to struggle myself to the top.
I'm certain that fixing the shadow had helped because when I removed the minipad, the slopers were in the full sun.
I'm quite sure that if it would have been colder, it would have gone quicker.

Fontainebleau - Cuisinière Carnage - L'Hipposarse 7B

On the way back, I tried some more problems here and there in Cuisinière, but not for long because each time I had to move and flee from the sun and the heat.
Moreover, I did loose a lot of energy and especially skin on "L'Hipposarse".

The short swim in the river felt like heaven. I think I could hear a hissing sound when I dipped down in the cold water.

After a nice evening BBQ at home, I went to Roche aux Sabots that was still quite crowded and more climbers were still arriving.
I guess they too had fled to cooler grounds in the afternoon and wanted to profit from the slightly cooler evening air to have a last climb before the dark.

It was a very short session in which I climbed "Parmi les Fous j'Erre".
The convention says that you have to start with the right hand on the vague pinch just left of the blue mark, which I did, but as it didn't say anything about the left hand, I took whatever I could reach.
I did send a text message to Bruno Lazzerini, the opener, to confirm the non-convention for the left hand, but didn't receive a reply yet.

Fontainebleau - Roche aux Sabots - Parmi les Fous j'Erre 7A

Friday, August 12, 2016

August 12, 2016 - The goal.

After work I stopped at Bas Cuvier with only one goal in mind: to climb "La Gaule (debout)".

After working my through the tick country, meaning the jungle of the 2m high ferns where ticks like to reside, I found myself standing at the boulder, sweating like crazy.
The heat is back and I feared that with the 28°C at that moment, the slopers would be too greasy for a successful climb.
My first couple of attempts weren't good but I persisted. I knew my method was the right one, it was just a matter of sticking the slopers under tight compression and holding on long enough to reach for the next ones.
My persistance payed off and 20 minutes later I stood on top of the boulder. I had my goal!
With these hot conditions it felt like a hard 7A+ ...

Fontainebleau - Bas Cuvier - La Gaule (debout) 7A(7A+)

On my way back to the car, I stopped to have a look at "Aerosol". 
I had never tried it before, and as the boulder was (for once) free from climbers, I gave it a go.
It turned out to be easier than expected, except the topout.
Twice I fell off the mantle topout. 
It was ok to stop, I have set myself yet another goal.

Beautiful sunset between La Chapelle la Reine and Le Vaudoué.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

August 11, 2016 - Video repeating myself.

I like Isatis, but you will hardly ever find me there over the weekend.
Today, around noon, I was driving home to work from home in the afternoon and stopped at Franchard Isatis for my lunchbreak.

I didn't have much time so walked in a fast pace to "Plastikman" to do a quick repeat for the video.
First time I did it was in 2009, which seems like ages ago, and I didn't have much trouble with it back then.
Quite my style, and because I have gotten stronger and more experienced over the years, I now flashed it with ease.

Fontainebleau - Franchard Isatis - Plastikman 7A

With the time I had left, I set my fingers on "Le Lot de Boudins" and even though I felt that this was possible, I knew I wouldn't have enough time to work in it more, so I went for the in-between, "Donnant-Donnant".
Same start, but exit with small crimps at about 1m to the right of the start.
I can still feel the crimp on my fingertips.

Fontainebleau - Franchard Isatis - Donnant-Donnant 7A(7A+)

After diner, I went for some more video repetitions in Justice de Chambergeot, at barely 5 minutes from home.

Up first was "Perlim" that I was able to flash in 2012.
No flash this time due to slopers covered with needles from the pine trees, but a second attempt after some cleaning.

Fontainebleau - Justice de Chambergeot - Perlim 6C+(7A)

Next to it, on the same boulder lies the über classic of the area, "EOS".
This problem remains one of my all time favourites!
First time was in 2012, of which I already had a video but it was recorded with an old iPhone and was in bad quality.
In the meantime I repeated it a couple of times, but never had the camera with me. Now I had, so why not? It's a problem that I can repeat nearly every time with a beta that hasn't been repeated by some very strong climbers. It simply fits me perfectly.

Too bad that this time, I ripped my Black Diamond pants in the process. Big bummer!! I love that pant!

Fontainebleau - Justice de Chambergeot - EOS 7A+(7B)

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

August 10, 2016 - Heal the world.

Back to Buthiers this evening, only this time I went straight to "La Rampe" in the sector 'Piscine'.
I had tried it many many years ago and thought it was super hard for the grade.
Today however, I fell off the last move on my first try. I was surprised about how subtle the topout is. It ain't over until it's over.
A couple of tries later, while keeping it cool and staying focussed at the end, it was done. This time it felt easy and I wonder what I did or didn't do the first time I tried it.

Very nice problem with really cool moves! I enjoyed this a lot!! The downclimb was subtle too ...

Fontainebleau - Buthiers Piscine - La Rampe 7A

I then briefly tried "La Coccinelle" and my attempts were, how shall I say it ? Not successful ...
After packing up, I stopped at Buthiers Canard and had a short walk around looking for another cool problem to try.
I as quickly reminded, however, about why I don't come here often and why it is not a very popular area among climbers.

The presence of the 'Base de Loisirs' attracts a lot of non-climbers, and unfortunately a lot of the kind that don't take the preservation of nature and their environment very seriously.
It's one of the only areas that has a lot of public trashcans spread out here and there, but then again, it's also one of the most polluted areas. Trash is lying around almost everywhere and most of the trashcans remain nearly empty. Go figure.
It's a shame to see that also some climbers already find it too difficult to take their own trash, but it just makes me sad to see how many families with childern are capable of carrying a shitload of pick-nick stuff into the area, but fail to take a small plastic bag filled with their own trash again outside the area.
They are even spoiled with the fact that they don't even have to take it home, but only to the nearest trashcan which is at most at 100m from them.

I am not a big fan of Michael Jackson, and < tune in the music > I can't heal the world, but I start with myself and always take my trash. If we would all do that, climber or non-climber, we could start making it a better place. < tune out the music >

When driving back home, I was glad to reach the fields between Buthiers and Tousson, where I was treated with a very nice distant sunset. It put a smile on my face.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

August 09, 2016 - Apple, blackberry or orange ?

The after dinner evening session was a short one in Buthiers Tennis.
The goal was to climb "Marmelade" that I tried once in Winter, fell off the last move and packed up because friends had arrived. I'm sure that if I would have done another try, that I would have done it.

When I stood at the boulder, I had forgotten about most of the moves, so it took me a couple of tries before I got the correct sequence again.
I did feel nervous and a bit anxious because of the extremely sandy undercling under the roof.
As usual, I was on my own and I feared slipping off the sandy hold uncontrollably. In fact, it is so sandy that you literally have to close your eyes to avoid getting the falling sand into them when taking the undercling. The hold also moves a bit and feels very fragile, as if it can break any second.

Set the fear aside, do the moves correctly and it climbs as a 7A. Must be one of the easiest for the grade, but then again, it's hard to argue about Bleau and grades. It's a never ending story.

Apple, blackberry or orange ? My favourite marmelade is cherry.

Fontainebleau - Buthiers Tennis - Marmelade 7B(7A+)

I briefly tried "Trojan War", but the crack was moist and I didn't get further than lifting my ass off the ground and being eaten by mosquitos.
Maybe I will go and try "La Coccinelle" one of these days. Siem (Aerts) has drawn my interest towards it. 
Who knows what it will bring ?

Monday, August 8, 2016

August 08, 2016 - Keeping it simple.

Today was my first day of work after 2 weeks of holiday.
I enjoyed the holiday very much, it was nice and too short, but on the other hand, I liked going back to work.
Getting back to the usual structure keeps things plain and simple. You just do what needs to be done and take everything else what comes and goes. Simply going with the flow.

The day started with a nice surprise. On the way to work, I won 2 tickets for 'France Miniature' on the regional radio station "Evasion".
They play stupid main stream music but I get to listen to the news and win something once in a while.
In the past I already won 2 times 2 tickets for 'Asterix' parc and once 50€ worth of fuel. This time, as mentioned before, it were 2 tickets for 'France Miniature'.

Anyway, the day at work passed quickly and on the way home, I stopped at Franchard Isatis.
Not long ago, I saw a video from Jérôme Collet that featured "Les Deux Font la Paire" which drew my attention.
It looked nice on the video, and my main reason for stopping at Isatis was to try that particular problem.

It was a fun short session.
With the small boulder underneath the problem you can reach almost all the holds, so working out the moves separately was easy.
I took my time, worked out every move and only needed a couple of tries before I was able to link it all together.
Every move on it is beautiful! A nice flow where body positioning is the key of success.
Two make a pair, plain and simple!

Fontainebleau - Franchard Isatis - Les Deux Font la Paire 7A+(7B)

With still 15 minutes left, I walked to "Globuli" that I once tried a couple of months ago.
I got close to finishing it, but my skin was wrecked so I had to throw in the towel and come back another day.

It's a small problem with only about 5 moves, and as I still remembered them, I thought it would probably be a quick send.
In the end, it was a quick send, but I did have to change the stance of my right foot to be able to reach and stick the high sloper pocket on the left.
Last time I that too, but always failed matching my right hand near the top because of 'waving the flag' too much. I made it this time, but it was a close call.
Nice little problem on slopers and compression that unfortunately tends to be forgotten by a lot of climbers.
All in all, it does vanish a bit in between all the bigger boulders in the area, but you just have to take the time to try it. It's that simple!

Fontainebleau - Franchard Isatis - Globuli 7A

Sunday, August 7, 2016

August 07, 2016 - Twix and shout.

I was in Belgium for a day and left this morning at 8 am. I wanted to be back home early enough to be able to still climb with Pieter.
We agreed to meet in Franchard Cuisinière and during the almost 4h drive I was thinking about some problems to try there. It was hot, so I didn't set my hopes too high for some hard climbing.

When I arrived in Melun, I had to stop for gas and bought a Twix with a small of bottle of Coke as I hadn't eaten anything yet today and I felt that I needed some sugar to get at least some energy.
The boring drive had made me tired so the boost of sugar would do me good.

In the meantime Pieter sent me a message that he was in Cuisinière Crête Sud, somewhere near "La Mouche".
I had tried "La Mouche" once a couple of years ago, but was never able to make the crux move to the sharp crimp far right. It was still on my to-do list though, so meeting at "La Mouche" was fine for me.
We met at the boulder, which was lying for the most part in the shade and we both wanted to give it some tries.
I didn't expect much as I was still feeling tired and hadn't warmed up yet. Still, after a few sips of the almost warm bottle of Coke, I put on my shoes and tried the first moves. It wasn't bad, but not good either.
Pieter kind of convinced me in working out all the moves separately and to my surprise, all the moves except for the crux went fine.
I told Pieter that if I would be able to make the crux move, that I would set up the camera. I was starting to believe in it.
A couple of tries later, I was able to stick the crux in a controlled way.

I set up the camera and went for my attempt.
The moves all went like a charm and when I also stuck the crux move again, I was tried not to be too surprised and kept my focus on doing the last 2 moves.
I almost couldn't believe it, but I did it! I cruised through the problem as if it was a 6B or less.

Fontainebleau - Cuisinière Crête Sud - La Mouche 7B+

We continued to climb in Cuisinière Crête Sud and on the way back to our cars we stopped at the isolated boulder with "Wu-Tang".
We had a look and luckily it was completely dry.

No working out moves this time, but just looking at the holds, and Ivan's video, and we were set to go.
The first move, getting your butt off the ground and reaching for the better hold in the crack is the hardest.
Pieter nearly had it on his first try, but his heelhook didn't last long enough for the topout and hurt his hand in the process so he stopped his attempts.
I did it on my second try. Slightly soft for the grade I would say.

Fontainebleau - Cuisinière Crête Sud - Wu-Tang 7A+

Now that we were there and that the boulder was dry, I wanted to also try the left variation, "Wu-Tang (gauche)".
We had a small discussion about the description and where to go exactly, and decided that if the version I did was the wrong one, that I would ask Jean-Pierre to create a new page on and call it "Wu-Tang (direct)".
It turned out that the left variation makes a dyno from the big crimp to a hold far left instead of up, so here is the direct version that we conveniently call "Wu-Tang (direct)". I already emailed Jean-Pierre.

Fontainebleau - Cuisinière Crête Sud - Wu-Tang (direct) 7A

I felt tired all along the drive and was in need for sugar, but all in all I climbed good and was able to tick off some nice problems. That was the best Twix ever!!

Friday, August 5, 2016

August 05, 2016 - Full house.

From Monday until yesterday, we had a full house here.
My cousin with his wife and kids, and some friends were staying over and we were with a total of 12 people in the house.
It surely was a full house, but it was cosy with long evenings, fun games and nice talks.
The weather was not as good as one would expect for mid Summer, but we were able to go swimming in the river with a tiny bit of circuit climbing where I unluckily sprained my ankle while trying to repeat "Toubib or not Toubib" in Bois Rond for the video.
The long evenings took me out my usual rhythm and made me tired.
When everyone left yesterday, I went climbing in the evening but I was so tired that I didn't finish anything and went to bed early, I needed a rest.

This morning, after a good night sleep, I finally felt rested again and went to Apremont Desert for some 7A climbing to get back into the flow again, get used to the rock again.
Even though my sprained ankle still hurt a little, the long walk towards the area didn't bother me, I enjoyed it and even was able to spot some wild deers.

I walked straight to the boulder of "L'Harmonie" where I warmed up trying a pretty new variation called "Harmonieuse Longévité".
It starts with the holds of "L'Harmonie", traverses low to the right to the starting holds of "Longévité" and finishes in "Longévité (sans convention)".
The first couple of moves in the low traverse are physically hard and once at the start of "Longévité", you just need to keep calm and finish it off.

Fontainebleau - Apremont Désert - Harmonieuse Longévité 7A(7A+)

Having done that, I set my goal on "L'Harmonie".
My first thought was that it is not my style with the arete on the left side, but after figuring out my sequence, it turned out to be a very nice problem with some cool moves!

Fontainebleau - Apremont Désert - L'Harmonie 7A+

I then got lost a bit in looking for a next cool problem to try, but I moved my stuff to another small sector and found my cup of tea in "Lost in Translation".
It was not difficult to climb the traverse with the jugs and I bagged it in really quick after working out the small crux move on the left.

Fontainebleau - Apremont Désert - Lost in Translation 7A+(7A)

On the same boulder, more to the right, there is the problem "Hypocondriaque" that has a 'prolongé' making it a 7A.
Starting with a low undercling and a big pinch on the right. Once you get the toehook on the big pinch correctly, it's quite an easy problem.
If I would have that "Lost in Translation (prolongé)" existed too, I probably would have done it first try, but it will have to be for my next visit.

Fontainebleau - Apremont Désert - Hypocondriaque (prolongé) 7A

Last but not least, I moved up the hill to try "Les Suricates". I had passed by it on my previous visit, but as I was already leaving, decided to try next time which was now.
The easiest of the day, and I flashed it with a bit of luck.

Five problems, three 7A's and two 7A+'s ... full house ?

Fontainebleau - Apremont Désert - Les Suricates 7A(6C+)