Monday, October 31, 2016

October 31, 2016 - Who's next ?

Steven (Demets) is back in the forest!
After a very long time of no climbing Steven finally decided to come to the forest to enjoy the Autumn colours and some good old bouldering on Bleau's soft sandstone.
Just like me, he prefers the calmer areas, so I decided to show him around in Rocher de la Salamandre Est.

We started with "Diesel (gauche)" that I finally was able to finish after again changing my method.
Steven's length was a bit of a disadvantage for this one, and probably also the fact that he didn't climb for a couple of years.

Fontainebleau - Rocher de la Salamandre Est - Diesel (gauche) 7A




We moved the pads to the other side of the boulder so Steven could try "Armani" which was opened as 7B, was adjusted to 7A+ and which I flashed on my last visit.
He started off promising, but lacked the last bit of power needed to make the hardest move.
I repeated it again on my first try. Even 7A+ is too high graded for this problem according to me.

Next up was something easier, "Da Vinci Code", a nice 6B+ next to "Tomahawk".
Romain, someone I sometimes run into in the forest, was trying "Tomahawk" and despite knowing that I was never able to barely get my ass off the ground, I decided to briefly join him.
To my surprise, I was able to lift myself up and make the first move to the pinch.
Then I even found another method by using a toehook far right to go for next hold.

I knew it was possible, pressed record and sent "Tomahawk" straight away.
Beautiful moves, but oh so hard first one!

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




Immediately after "Tomahawk", I flashed "Da Vinci Code" and watched Steven top it out too. Nice effort!

Before moving to the "Biosarde" boulder, we stopped at the very nice 6C(7A), "Belle Pince" which I was able to repeat much easier than my first time.
Steven gave it some good tries but had to give in.

I offered Steven to stay over at my house so he could sleep in a real bed in a real room, which he probably needed, because he went to bed early.

It was nice to climb with Steven again after such a long time and I hope he will continue to come back to the forest.
He lost some power compared to a couple of years ago, but he still has it in him!
Who's next ? Ivan ?

Friday, October 28, 2016

October 28, 2016 - House on wheels.

We had a lot of rain at the start of the week, and from Wednesday until today, I was traveling for work, so not much climbing.
I did go for a short climb right after I was back home in the late afternoon.
It was a long drive home and I felt tired, so the choice to go to Gorge au Châts seemed obvious. Barely five minutes driving and only a couple of minutes walking.

After finding the slopers of "Neige d'Automne" in very bad conditions (as good as wet), I walked towards the main area up the hill to check out the state of "La Caravane".
On my last couple of visits in the area, I had tried it a few times but was never able to stick the first slopey crimp far right.
The boulder looked moist and the crimp felt slippery, but I still sat down and gave it a few tries.

It all felt possible, but I didn't trust the humid condition of the holds and slopers above.
I was close to giving up, but then Peter (Collins) showed up. It's always nice to see Pete!
When he told me that he did "La Caravane" a couple of hours ago, I felt assured that the holds and slopers will not be in the worst condition.
Pete gave me some beta and a couple of tries later I made it to the top.

It never looked like the most appealing problem to me, but once I climbed it, it did feel totally worth the effort.

Fontainebleau - Gorge aux Châts - La Caravane 7A+


Sunday, October 23, 2016

October 23, 2016 - Mont Blanc.

I left home quite early and the sun was shining, once past Le Vaudoué however, the sky turned grey and it was misty.
It didn't really matter, because I was going to the Mont Blanc area just behind the classical area of Eléphant. It's a small, almost hidden, sector with only a handful of boulders, but mostly in the open and quick drying.
The name comes from a big dune-like hill nearby. Being covered with white sand makes it look like a 'Mont Blanc'.
Definitely worth the detour when you're in the area.

About a year before the sector was published, Neil (Hart) had already showed it to me, so I knew my what to look for.
The boulders were all dry but not in the best conditions, as one would expect after a foggy night.
It was cold so I wanted to start immediately.
I wanted to start with "L'Envolée Tibétaine" to warm up my cold hands and fingers.
A jumpstart to a big crimp, take a tiny crimp right hand, heelhook, take the sidepull and mantle up.
It all connected and the send went on my flash attempt. I did see a video of it earlier this morning.

Fontainebleau - Mont Blanc - L'Envolée Tibétaine 7A+




The crimps and the sidepull were sharp though and the pain in my cold fingertips still lingered on for a few minutes.
You also really have to trust the left foot when getting up after the mantle. Scary topout somehow.

As soon as my hands were getting warmer again, the pain faded and I started trying the sitstart.
The sitstart doesn't add that much difficulty to it, but it does add some very nice moves.
It's much nicer than the jumpstart and actually also more logical.
I really enjoyed climbing this!

Fontainebleau - Mont Blanc - L'Envolée Tibétaine (assis) 7A+(7B)




The central boulder of the sector, is the one with "Le Homard / Bouddha Assis". An obvious prow of which the sitstart is 7B.
I had tried the standstart back in the day with Neil, but couldn't do it. Now I didn't get any further, so I quickly gave up on this one because I wanted to try the 7A+ on the other side of the boulder anyway.
I had looked at it with Neil, but there was nothing published and we couldn't really figure out where to start and where to end. It's also facing North, so probably it was wet.
Here also I had seen a video of it now, but as it's really morpho to go sideways and then up, I had to come up with my own method to be able to reach the right arete.
Second crux is holding on long enough to the very high slopey pocket and reaching for the better sidepull on the right.
In the end the topout requires some commitment.

Scary topout, but everything that comes before it makes it all worth it. I gave this 5 stars on bleau.info.
Felt more like a 7B for me though, probably due to the morpho part to it.

Fontainebleau - Mont Blanc - La Gaie Pierre 7A+




There are still a few problems that I want to try there, but I decided to home and work a bit in the garden and in the house.
On my way back to the car, I had to pass by the Eléphant area and I quickly stopped at "Sein de Glace".
Last week I briefly tried it with Pieter, but it was time to leave and we were all tired.

Only a couple of I tries now before it was done, but I had to be focussed until I had the jug high up.
It ain't over until it's over.

Fontainebleau - Eléphant - Sein de Glace 7A




Something else I quickly wanted to look at, was the recently opened dyno "Goodbye Mary Loup".
It's a high scary backward all-points-off dyno towards the big pocket in the roof of 31 black.
I doubted, but decided to try quickly anyway.

It took me a couple of tries before I dared to really jump and let go of my body, but as soon as I was able to reach the jug, I turned on the camera.
I jumped hard, grabbed the pocket, took a big expected swing, but then I realised that something was not good and had to let go.

video

The big swing had almost ripped my whole arm off!!
No, but it did take a big chunk of my skin though. I could have taped it, but I was on my way back to car anyway, so I went home.

How about a BBQ ?

Saturday, October 22, 2016

October 22, 2016 - 7 x 7 in Rocher Fin.

It was 10 am when I started the long walk towards Rocher Fin. The forest was still covered by a thick fog, I was maybe too early, but I had to go to Paris to pick up my son Anthony in the Gare du Nord late afternoon.
Rocher Fin is not my favourite area. Not only because it's such a long walk, but I also don't like walking around in all that sand in the mean area.
With a thick fog like this, however, Rocher Fin probably was going to be my best chance to find some dry sandstone.

I didn't really have a plan, but I set my priority on trying "Matière et Mémoire", a small roof with a big morpho move. The grade 7B(7A) actually depends on your height.
On my lasts visits I had a look at it, but thought it would be too morpho, but a couple of days ago, I saw on a video that you can use the starting pocket as a footlock.
I wanted to try this beta and see where I would end up.

After a long walk, I was happily surprised that indeed most boulders were dry, despite the fog that still hung low between the trees.
The conditions were not to say good, but it was possible to climb.
I walked straight to "Matière et Mémoire", checked the status of the holds, opened the crashpad, pressed record and sent it on my second attempt.
It's a beautiful move, locking the foot so tight that you can actually let go of both hands, making it just possible to do the morpho move.
Great, fun little problem. Maybe underestimated.

Fontainebleau - Rocher Fin - Matière et Mémoire 7B(7A)




That was done much faster than I expected, and I still had plenty of time left, but no real plan anymore.
Than "Bull Dog" came to my mind.
I had tried this problem on each visit, but as I only come here when the other areas are most likely wet, I had never been able to try it in good conditions, so was never able to finish it.

The slopers on the left arete felt slippery, but I was able to pull it off quite fast. Maybe on my third try for this session.
It's a hard, physical problem and especially the last move involves some hard pulling on the biceps.
I only made it with my fingertips, but was able to hold on just long enough to be able to match my second hand.

Fontainebleau - Rocher Fin - Bull Dog 7A+




I got close to doing the sistart too, but each time lacked the last bit of power to stick the last move again.
I didn't want it to shut me down now already, so I moved over to "Les Serbes".
Pieter told me about it last weekend, and as I was in the area, I might as well give it a try.

Once opened as a 7B, now down to 7A+(7B) but it honestly felt like a (soft) 7A.

Fontainebleau - Rocher Fin - Les Serbes 7A+(7B)




More and more climbers started to arrive in the area, so I looked for some solitude in the North part of the sector where you can find for instance "Siège Ejectable".
Getting my butt off the ground and doing the first move were the hardest ... so they say.
It went down on second attempt.
Soft for the grade and not really worth the detour.

Fontainebleau - Rocher Fin - Siège Ejectable 7A




Another sector of Rocher Fin where it's usually calm, is the one with "L'Auvent Tripotant".
It's more located in the forest and thus doesn't dry as quick, so always found it too wet to climb.
I was astonished and pleased to find it dry enough to go for it this time.

The raccourci is a very nice problem with some very nice moves.
I flashed it, but I wouldn't mind to climb it again.

Fontainebleau - Rocher Fin - L'Auvent Tripotant (raccourci) 7A




The original version, "L'Auvent Tripotant", starts more to the right, traverses to the left and exits the same.
It took me a couple of tries to work out the movements at the start, because not all the holds were dry there.
Once I found my method, it went down like a charm. Some quite physical moves.

Fontainebleau - Rocher Fin - L'Auvent Tripotant 7B




Last, and certainly not least, to wrap up I walked towards the end of the blue circuit.
The last numbers of the blue circuit can be found down the slope in the forest, completely isolated from the main area.
The sitstart of blue number 50 is a 7B called "Parallèle / Fifty", and it is a beauty.
The top was moist and mossy, but after checking where the holds are, I gave it a go anyway.
This too was done on my second attempt.

Fontainebleau - Rocher Fin - Parallèle / Fifty 7B




All in all, despite the fog in the morning and the humid air, I was able to climb some really nice problems, and all of them went down fast.
Were they soft, was I just feeling strong ? It certainly weren't the conditions.

Friday, October 21, 2016

October 21, 2016 - The fourth.

I had another day off today, but unfortunately it was dominated by rain showers.
Quite early this morning I was able to do a few tries in "Compresse Nez (droite)" in Apremont Envers until it started raining lightly.
I wanted to wait it out, but soon the sky became a darker grey and the rain gradually harder so I decided to go back home.
In my village, at barely 20km from there it apparently had rained much less and after doing some cleaning in the house, I went do Diplodocus hoping to find some dry sandstone.

In Diplodocus there are only 3 problems in the seventh grade, out of which a 7C, "Vir Desiderium".
Unfortunately, short light showers had kept everything a bit humid, and there where it looked dry, it was in no good conditions.
The far sloper of "Vir Desiderium" was wet, so I decided to repeat the dyno of "Dynosaure" for the fun of it.
The dyno is not as easy as the grade would want you to believe, but as I did this a couple of times already, it went fast.

Fontainebleau - Diplodocus - Dynosaure 6C




One of the other seventh grade problems, "Parade aux Hydes", also ends in the blue problem, just like "Dynosaure" does, but it sitstarts left under the yellow problem, traverses low to the right and exits in the bleu problem.
I couldn't do it the way Manuel (Marquès) does it in his video on bleau.info, but I did it with a dyno as for "Dynosaure".
Two different methods for actually the same line, but also two different grades according to me.
My method is 7A max and Manuel's method feels like hard 7A+.
I notified Jean-Pierre from bleau.info about this and for the time being I named my method "La Parade du Dynosaure" and graded it 7A, maybe even soft for the grade.

If you would consider the two different methods as a convention, then you can add another seventh grade problem to Diplodocus. The fourth.

Fontainebleau - Diplodocus - La Parade du Dynosaure 7A


Thursday, October 20, 2016

October 20, 2016 - No place like home.

This morning I saw on bleau.info that there were yet again a couple of new 7's published, and "Quintescence" in Canche aux Merciers Anarchodrome was the one that attracted me the most.
After bringing Anthony to his mom for a long weekend, I spent the night in Belgium and still had to drive all the way back.
Canche aux Merciers is not that far from home, so I decided to stop there first on my way.

It was a normal weekday in Belgium and the drive started with traffic jam.
Also around Paris, even though it's a school holiday in our sector, the roads are always crowded. There too I had my fair deal of jams.
I felt tired and stiff from driving, but once I go off the highway in Milly la Forêt, I always open my car windows and get a good nice taste of the fresh air.
It always feels as if the smell of the forest greets me and welcomes me back home.
Smelling and seeing such beauty all around, breathing the clean air filled with oxygen always gives me a boost of energy.
There's no place like home!

Picture from yesterday in Maunoury. If you look closely, you can the village of Larchant in the distance.


It was announced to be dry, but the state of the roads revealed that it had rained a bit anyway.
Most of the boulders in Canche aux Merciers were dry, but in Anarchodrome there is more shade and most of the boulders were quite wet and unclimbable.
The wall of "Quintescence" was dry, not in the best conditions, but possible to climb, but the jug up left was for the most part wet and the topout was very humid to say the least.
For a moment I doubted to give it a try, because on top of that, you have to jump to the left towards the jug, making sure that you will take a big swing, and with the small boulder under it you don't want to slip off uncontrollably.
I decided to try anyway.

It's a hard swing to hold, and as the middle part of the big hold (it's not really a jug) was very wet and slippery, I had to jump even more to the left to grab the part that was dry.
The topout was more than I could see from the ground and I really feared a sudden slip of the hand or the foot while mantling my way up.
I must admit that I was little bit shaky when standing on top and seeing all the wet moss on the downclimb didn't make it any better.
This will probably be more like a hard 7A when the boulder is completely dry and the conditions are good.
I will for sure go back one day to do it again when it's dry. It's a very nice climb!

Fontainebleau - Canche aux Merciers Anarchodrome - Quintescence 7A+


Wednesday, October 19, 2016

October 19, 2016 - The plan.

I had the day off, brought my youngest son, Noah, to school on my way to Maunoury.
My oldest son, Anthony, finished school at 12h30 and I had to pick him up to bring him to Belgium for the holiday (that weirdly starts on a Wednesday).
He goes to college in La Chapelle la Reine, so Maunoury is only 10 minutes from there.

As I have only been to Maunoury 2 or 3 times, there's still plenty to do and try.
My time was limited, but I had a plan.
Warm up in "Soupçon", work my way towards "Baloo" and on the way back to car, maybe stop at "Hibernatus" in Dame Jouanne.

Upon my arrival, the boulders still looked humid and were sometimes even still wet after the two days of rain we had.
It was nice weather though and it would dry probably soon, but I was early.
Jean-Hervé (Baudot) once told me that you have to be patient, and that's not my strongest point when it comes to climbing.

The warmup in "Soupçon" was short, because after inspecting the holds, I was able to flash it.
The conditions were better than I had feared.

Fontainebleau - Maunoury - Soupçon 7A




On my way to "Baloo", I went a bit more up the hill to try "Italian Chicka's".
When I was establishing my plan yesterday evening, I watched a video of it, and it I was curious to ry it.

Soft for the grade, I was able to flash this one too.
Due to the rain, I wasn't able to climb for 2 days, so I was in a good shape.

Fontainebleau - Maunoury - Italian Chicka's 7A




Off to try "Baloo" now.
I stood in front of it a couple of years ago, but I didn't bother trying it, thinking it would be too hard anyway.

It turned out to be quite doable even though the conditions on that boulder were much less good as in the other sector.
It was a nice battle.
If the conditions on the boulder would have been better, I probably would have tried "Bagheera" too, but that will be for another time.

Fontainebleau - Maunoury - Baloo 7B




The time passed by quickly, but I still had just enough to make the small detour via "Hibernatus" when going back to the car.
On my previous visit in Dame Jouanne, I had briefly tried it, but I couldn't even get my second foot off the ground without letting go of the small bidoigt for the right hand.

This went down much quicker than I thought.
Sometimes it all just goes as planned.

Fontainebleau - Dame Jouanne - Hibernatus 7B


Sunday, October 16, 2016

October 16, 2016 - Risks.

It's always a big risk, going to Cuvier on a Sunday, but I left as soon as it was light to be there before the masses would arrive.
After having done the two "Carnazina" versions earlier this week, I wanted to try the sitstart.
Thursday and Friday it rained, so I wasn't able to try it after work.
That's why, today, I stood up early.
I still had the complete sequence from the standstart in my veins, so I didn't want to wait any longer.

When I arrived at the boulder, there were some lone climbers, but nobody on the "Carnage" boulder.
The conditions looked great on the boulder, but I wanted to warm up first, which I did in "Vaudou-Système" right next to it.
It was a short warmup because I did it on my first attempt, no flash as I had done it already in 2011, but it meant that the conditions were good and that I was in shape.

Fontainebleau - Cuvier - Vaudou-Système 7A




As I still had the moves and coordination in my head from the standstart, I only had to figure out the sitstart of "Carnazina (assis)".
I had seen several people using different methods, so it took me a while to find out what was best for me.
Once I had found out, though, it didn't feel hard and I had to impression that it doesn't add that much to the standstart, even though I still needed some tries to link the sitstart up to sticking the dynamic move to the sloper of "La Bérézina".
Then suddenly, the pieces fell together and I finished "Carnazina (assis)" (exit in "Le Carnage").
A short break later, the exit in "La Bérézina" followed too and I even didn't feel really tired.

But now comes the bad part.
I was happy that my main goal for today was achieved, a was a fun, long and fair battle, but I also felt  angry because I had no video from them.
In total, I spent about an hour at the "Carnage" boulder and as time passed, more and more people had gathered on the "Bleau Job Square". Two people were trying "L'Hélicoptère", and another had started trying "Le Carnage".
We all know how busy it can be on a Sunday. This was no exception.
The last drop was when a playing dog ran over the camera that made it fall, so I decided to put it away, I didn't want to risk any damage. Can't blame the dog though!
I will go back one day in the week, after work, when it's calmer. I do have the feeling that as long as the conditions are good, that this a problem that I could repeat quickly.

I very briefly tried "Le Carnage (assis)", but doing the dynamic move when coming from the sitstart feels way harder than "Carnazina (assis)".
Anyway, I needed a break now and I wanted to escape from the crowds.

It is a risk to do the long walk to La Reconnaissance so shortly after a rainy period, but after such a crowd, I needed to be on my own, so it was a risk I was willing to take.
In the worst case, I would have made a nice long walk and, on the other hand, there's still Cuvier Rempart on the way back.

While walking, I decided to try "Wallaby".
It's a problem that I had never taken the time for to look for it, but after having seen a video not long ago, I decided to use the time I had now.

If you end up at the "Reconnaissance" sign from Colinet, you are too far up the hill.

When I looked at the boulders in the area, they all looked humid and I feared that "Wallaby" wouldn't be possible to try.
The risk turned out to be worth having taken, because I found "Wallaby" in a condition that could be much worse.
It felt a bit damp, but not unclimbable.

Sitstart under the roof with two crimps, dyno to slopey hold that you can't see, taking the arete and go for the top.
I could all the separate moves quite quickly, but doing the whole problem with these damp conditions was more difficult than I expected.

Fontainebleau - La Reconnaissance - Wallaby 7B




On the way back, Pieter called me to say that he and Alberto were at Eléphant.
My main goals for today were done, so I was glad to drive over and join them for a while.
Eléphant is also a big risk on a Sunday, but we were going to meet in the back of the area. Besides, I had nothing special that I still wanted to try.
I felt stiff and tired after the short drive, but in the end, Pieter and I still managed to repeat "Envie d'Ange".
Not hard, but scary at the top.

Fontainebleau - Eléphant - Envie d'Ange 7A




Besides the incident with the camera, it was a good day and now I'm really tired!

Saturday, October 15, 2016

October 15, 2016 - Going big.

We had a lot of rain the last couple of days, but today I was going to go big!
So, this morning, I took the kids to "France Miniature", a kind of amusement park where famous places from the whole of France are shown in small scale.
A couple of months ago I won 2 tickets for it with a local radio show, and as the tickets had to be used before November and it was only an hour drive away, it seemed like a good plan.
We were all going big!

After having seen the whole of France in only a few hours, I went to Rocher du Potala, hoping to find some dry boulders.
The forest being wet, the temperature rising, little to no wind, it makes a perfect recipe for condensation.
It turned out to be not too bad, but the boulders (or the sides of them) that didn't catch sun were still wet.
I didn't really have a plan, so it didn't matter.  I just wanted to climb a bit.

I ended up at "Les Doigts dans le Nez" and it looked to be in good condition.
The first time I did it was in 2011 and I remember that it took me a lot of tries.
Last time I was in Rocher du Potala, I wanted to repeat it for the video, but I wasn't able to.
Today it went relatively fast, this side of the boulder had dried up nicely.

7A or 7A+, the conditions decide.

Fontainebleau - Rocher du Potala - Les Doigts dans le Nez 7A(7A+)




On the way back, I stopped and looked at a possibly nice lowball dyno on the boulder of what is now blue 28.
The blue circuit has been repainted and what is now blue 28, used to be blue 20.
I couldn't resist and started trying the dyno.

Sitstart (without crashpad) just left of blue 28, with both hands on a low oblique hold and dyno directly to the jug of 28 blue.

It's a game, a fun jump, hard to give it a grade, but I would guess soft 7A(6C+).

Fontainebleau - Rocher du Potala - Le Jeu du Bleu 7A(6C+)


Tuesday, October 11, 2016

October 11, 2016 - The other exit.

There are two ways to climb "Carnazina" but they exit differently.
There is the exit in "Le Carnage" far left, the one that I did yesterday, and there is the direct exit in "La Bérézina", which I will conveniently call "Carnazina (direct)".

Similar situation today, only now there was nobody climbing on the "Carnage" boulder.
It took me couple of tries before I found the right coordination again to do the first move, but then it went quite fast.
I had the impression that it was slightly more difficult than the other version because of the topout.

Personally, I think that we are not talking anymore about just another exit here, but these are two different lines, even different styles, and they deserve to be mentioned as such.

For me there will always be "Carnazina" and "Carnazina (direct)". Not just 'the other exit'.

Fontainebleau - Cuvier - Carnazina (direct) 7B+


Monday, October 10, 2016

October 10, 2016 - A seven a day keeps the doctor away.

Like many other climbers, I have a scorecard on 8a.nu to keep track of my ascents, and I secretly made it my goal to reach a total of 365 seventh grade ascents over a course of 12 months.
Which would mean that the last 12 months, I averagely climbed one seventh grade problem each day (in a normal year).
I noticed yesterday that I just had reached that goal.

The screen capture below shows my scorecard from yesterday with all my registered ascents over the last 12 months.
I feared longer periods of rain, because with nearly each day not having climbed, the number could (and sometimes was) going down. Especially when exactly a year ago, the conditions were good and I climbed a lot that day.
It was a fun goal to achieve, I'm glad that I made it but also that it's done. No more "pressure" concerning that.
Maybe I will focus on harder problems a bit more now, or go for a total of 1000, or both ... I don't know yet, I'm just going to keep on climbing and see what comes to me.


Today after work, I didn't have that much time, so I stopped at Cuvier and walked straight towards "Carnazina". 
There were a few small groups of climbers around and only climber was trying something on the "Carnage" boulder. He was trying "L'Hélicoptère" to the left of it and he seemed to take a lot of rest in between tries, so I started trying "Carnazina" while he rested.

It took me a couple of tries to stick the first high sloper, the second move is also quite hard and what follows are some really nice moves to the left into the exit of "Le Carnage".
Some people say that it's harder than "Le Carnage", but I didn't have that impression.
The moves are much different, but it didn't feel harder. 

Personally I think that "Carnazina" is a nicer climb than "Le Carnage".

Big UP and congrats by the way to Jan (de Smit) who, with "Apothéose (assis)", has finished the boulder yesterday.
He has now done all problems on all sides of that boulder, and that's a lot of hard stuff!!

Fontainebleau - Cuvier - Carnazina 7B+


Sunday, October 9, 2016

October 09, 2016 - Two generations.

David (Evrard) has opened a new mini area in Rocher des Etroitures near the bivouac of Bourron-Marlotte and my plan was to check it out.
More or less knowing David's grading, it promised to be tight, but I didn't expect it to be this tight!

After walking the wrong direction for a while, due to confusion on the access description, I arrived at the area.
It was a big detour, but the walk was nice.

Going the wrong (but nice) way.


The main boulder of "Prosper" is a big one and has several lines on it.
Opened as a 6C+(7A), "Black Hills" is the easiest, so I set off trying that first, to get into it.
It turned out to become a 22 minutes struggle to the top, with some hard falls and loosing lots of skin.

It was only 13°C but sunny and the slopers were in good condition, but still this felt really hard.
Even after doing it, but just barely, I stand my case that this is much harder than the proposed grade, I would even dare to say hard 7A+!
Hard from start to end.

Fontainebleau - Rocher des Etroitures - Black Hills 6C+(7A)




I briefly tried some of the other lines, but I had lost a lot of skin and energy on "Black Hills", so I started gathering my stuff to move it 20m further, to the small boulder with "Mi-Septembre".
Suddenly I heard a voice saying my name and when I looked up, I saw Jean-Pierre (Roudneff) coming from around the boulder.
He had left his bag and pads at "Mi-Septembre" and had a look around. It was a nice coincidence to meet him there and we both ended up trying "Mi-Août".
It starts and climbs as for "Mi-Septembre", but exits about one meter earlier in the slab.

Jean-Pierre managed to do it quite quickly and with a nice, steady, easy, smooth style so typical for Bleausards from his generation.
It's not my style, but there's just no other way to do it than his.
It took me a lot more tries than him though!

A bit less tight graded, but I think that 7A would be more on the spot.
The first climber in the video is Jean-Pierre.

Fontainebleau - Rocher des Etroitures - Mi-Août 6C+(7A)


Saturday, October 8, 2016

October 08, 2016 - Sloperfest.

After having gone shopping with kids, I went off to Cuisinière.
Igor had sent me a message that they were going to Apremont (Portes de) Désert, but I rather felt like climbing on my own.

The air felt more humid than the previous days and the friction wasn't as perfect, but it was certainly good, so I set my mind on climbing on slopers.
I had  three problems in mind that I definitely wanted to try: "L'Ami Dal" (an old project that I started trying with Pieter), "Pensées Cachées" (tried it a couple of months ago, but it was over 30°C and couldn't hold on to the slopers) and "Mister Dynamite" (a dyno to 2 slopers that need to stick).

I started off with "L'Ami d'Al", the one that I started trying with Pieter a year and a half ago.
We actually had one session in bad conditions and one in quite good conditions. We could do the short traverse to the left up the arete, but never managed to get over it.
Even today with very good conditions, I still got stuck at the same point.

I ended up with doing it's little sister "L'Amie Six" that rocks over the arete directly up without going to the left first.
It is a lot easier, but still felt much harder than the given 6A.

Fontainebleau - Cuisinière - L'Amie Six 6A



To get into the right flow, I decided to repeat "Undertow" for the video.
It was my second 7th grade problem back in 2008.
The conditions were so good that I was able to repeat it on my first attempt.

Fontainebleau - Cuisinière - Undertow 7A(6C)




Also "Right Flow" went down on my first attempt.
It starts and climbs as for "Undertow", but continues going right to exit at the angle.
For me this felt easier than "Undertow", but both feel like 7A, on the soft side.

Fontainebleau - Cuisinière - Right Flow 7A



Now it was time for "Pensées Cachées".
I tried it first in mid August after I had done "L'Hipposarse", but it was so hot that the slopers were impossible to stick anymore.
Today it felt sticky, but still I wasn't able to pull enough with my left hand on the arete to keep me in balance.
It was only after seeing a different beta on some pictures on bleau.info that I changed my method accordingly and sent it straight away.

This is a beautiful climb!!

Fontainebleau - Cuisinière - Pensées Cachées 7B(7A+)




Last, but not least, I managed to pull off the jump of "Mister Dynamite".

When I sat under it the first time, I thought that I never would be able to jump to and hold on to those slopers. With both hand at the same time.
Immediately after my first try, I had to adjust my opinion. I came closer than I expected.
Not many tries later, almost unexpectedly, my hands stuck on the slopers and I mantled up.

Fontainebleau - Cuisinière - Mister Dynamite 7B




I still spent some time in "Le Bleurb", but for that, the conditions don't have to be good, they have to be perfect!

Friday, October 7, 2016

October 07, 2016 - Season change.

I stopped at Bas Cuvier after work today to if "Carnazina" would be free.
On my way I ran into Igor (Depoorter) and as the "Carnage" boulder was crowded, we went to Cuvier Rempart to try "Manolo".
After a short while, Lukas (Geukens) and Tijl (Smitz) had joined too.
Soon Lukas finished it after some good crux changing beta from Igor.
I could still Igor fall off the very last move before I had to leave, but I'm pretty sure he has done it by now.
Me, I can do every separate move, do the problem in 2 parts, but lacked that extra bit of strength that was needed to link it all together. This will be a nice Winter problem.

For the short evening session, I returned to the boulder of "Haute Trahison" at only 50m from the Croix St. Jérôme parking.
Tony (Fouchereau) and Gérald (Coste) have been having some fun and opened yet another couple of variations on the by now completely cleaned boulder.

One of them is "Le Référendum (par le nez)" which is actually more a bit of a short traverse.
The first move was the hardest. Then I kind of had to improvise because it was on my flash attempt and I hadn't taken the time yet to really study all the moves.
Not the the nicest problem on the boulder, but it was fun.

Fontainebleau - Rocher des Souris - Le Référendum (par le nez) 7A


Thursday, October 6, 2016

October 06, 2016 - Travel is good for you.

When I have to travel a few days for work, I can't climb and my body uses the rest day(s) to recover.
After having been gone for 2 nights and a full day of no climbing I felt strong and the conditions were perfect.

I felt tired from driving but that didn't stop me from walking to Rocher de la Cathédrale and flash "Coup de Torchon (assis)".
Probably having repeated "Langouste Royale", a couple of days ago, was an advantage, because apart from the first move, it's in the exact same style, on an arete with bad slopers.
The good conditions surely helped too!

Fontainebleau - Rocher de la Cathédrale - Coup de Torchon (assis) 7A+




"Le Toit Tendu" in Rocher des Souris, has only been published a couple of days ago and as it is close to home, I checked it out.
It will probably never become really popular. I can't say exactly why, but it was my first thought when I found it.

Weird move at the start, but not weird enough to not flash it.
I flashed without even holding my breath. Soft for the grade. Tony must have been tired that day.

Fontainebleau - Rocher des Souris - Le Toit Tendu (assis) 7A




At only 100m from there, in Jean des Vignes, lies a not so old 7A+ dyno opened by Nicolas Gensollen.
I had tried it already a couple of short sessions, came close, but stopped progressing in it.
Now maybe after the travel I could jump harder ?

Immediately after my first attempt of today, I felt that it was possible.
I do have quite new shoes and pushing off on the small foothold went much better.
It still took me quite some tries, had the jump once but didn't expect such a swing and still let go.
Luckily I made the attempt after that.

It's name most certainly comes from the infamous dyno "52 Gérard" in Franchard Ermitage, but besides having the dyno in common, I see no other relationship to it at all.

Fontainebleau - Jean des Vignes - 53 Gertrude 7A+


Tuesday, October 4, 2016

October 04, 2016 - The die is cast.

There are WIFI problems in the hotel and no coverage in my room, even my phone doesn't even capture 3G there.
So I'm sitting in the lobby where I can have WIFI.

I had to travel South today for work, but first I stopped at Roche aux Oiseaux to try "L'Architecte Trismègiste", the recently opened 7C by Grégoire Thibault. (Update - it has just now been adjusted to 7B on bleau.info)
Pictures had revealed that someone cut down the 1m high tree stump right under the line. This makes the problem barely expo anymore.
According to me, it must have played a big role, preventing you doing the moves relaxed.

It will certainly still be downgraded, I flashed it quite easily.
Saying soft 7B is still generous.

Fontainebleau - Roche aux Oiseaux - L'Architecte Trismégiste 7C




That was done quickly, so I still had some time for something else.
"Alea Jacta Est", "The die is cast", was a logical option, even though I hadn't planned on it at all.
The conditions were perfect, 17°C, dry air, cold sandstone, and I felt motivated.

I already spent several short sessions on it, just trying to stick that first superhard move, and the more I tried, the more my back started to hurt.
The very first time that I tried it, a couple of years ago, the first move seemed impossible to make.

Today it was like "veni, vidi, vici".
The first try wasn't too bad and on my second try I felt the crimp. Almost statically.
Now it was just a matter of taking it on my deadpoint and holding on.
I had it quicker than expected.

Very hard first move, afterwards it's a matter of not making a stupid mistake.
Happy about this one!

Fontainebleau - Roche aux Oiseaux - Alea Jacta Est 7C


Monday, October 3, 2016

October 03, 2016 - Seafood anyone ?

I wanted to try "Carnazina", but of course the whole boulder was taken and it seemed crowded in the whole area.
Off to try something on the "Duroxmanie" boulder and there it looked like people were camping, so I turned to "Festin de Pierre".
I had never taken the chance to try it, so why not.
It turned out to be much nicer than I had expected.

As Jacky Godoffe once said: "If you can jump, you jump".

Fontainebleau - Cuvier Est - Festin de Pierre 7A




I went back to take another look at the "Carnage" boulder, but it was still taken by the same group, so on my way to the car I stopped at "Langouste Royale" at 20m from the parking.
When I did it in 2011, it was Winter and the conditions were perfect, but I remember that it felt hard.
It would be a good test piece to check out my improvement.

This time it went much easier and still it felt quite hard on those bad friction dependant slopers.
Makes you fancy seafood.

Fontainebleau - Cuvier - Langouste Royale 7A


Sunday, October 2, 2016

October 02, 2016 - Le Brexit.

"Le Brexit" has only been published just today.
It's a variation on "Haute Trahison", the dug out roof at only 50m from the parking of Rocher des Souris.

The first moves are the same as for "Haute Trahison", but you are not allowed to use the high big jug. Then, using a pinch right hand you have to traverse under the roof and exit at the right side of the prow, with the crack left hand.
I still had the moves of "Haute Trahison" memorised, so I only had to look at how to traverse under the roof.
There seemed to be different possibilities, and they all are not that difficult.
It's all about pulling on good holds with one small crux under the roof into good holds again. You just have to execute them one after the other to not loose time.
I would say the same grade as for "Haute Trahison", but for me that also felt like a 7A+.

Fontainebleau - Rocher des Souris - Le Brexit 7A+


Saturday, October 1, 2016

October 01, 2016 - It was the atmosphere.

Not much time to write, so here's a quick overview from my short visit in Cuvier Est yesterday after work.

"Atmosphère" felt a bit scary, hanging right above that small boulder, but even though it didn't feel easy, it went on my second attempt.

Fontainebleau - Cuvier Est - Atmosphère 7A




"Echoes (debout)" right next to it went down flash and felt soft.
I tried the original sitstart, but the first move is really hard!

Fontainebleau - Cuvier Est - Echoes (debout) 7A




Finally at 20m from there, I did "Le Bivouac (direct" but this took me much longer.
The first too moves felt way harder than I had expected. It was really hard to hold on to the first hold left hand and make the move far right.
Nicer than I expected. The sitstart in the middle of the roof looks really hard.

Fontainebleau - Cuvier Est - Le Bivouac (direct) 7A+




Short update, but not much time.

Did I just hear myself standing in a bivouac ? Nah, it must have been be the atmosphere.