Tuesday, August 15, 2017

August 15, 2017 - Two.

Two days in post and not much to mention.

Yesterday it was hot and I wanted to take a rest day to grow some skin back.
I was meeting a colleague from work at Canche aux Merciers in the morning and being early, I worked a bit in "Atome Crochu" and made a quick ascent of "Parabellum".

Fontainebleau - Canche aux Merciers - Parabellum 7A(6C+)




Late afternoon, my cousin, his wife and two kids arrived again, but this time they were spending the night on their way back home from Spain.
We had a nice BBQ and my cousin and I stayed up talking until (according to my standards) extremely late.
It was only half past midnight when I was in bed, but being very sensitive to going off my own rhythm, I felt tired all day today.

My cousin and family left at about eleven o'clock this morning and ten minutes later, when I was on my way to try "Taillé à Son Insu" on the boulder of "Le Cadeau" in Rocher du Télégraphe, it started raining.
I continued on for a while, but when the rain didn't stop and became harder, I had to return back home to wait it out.

By the time that I had cleaned the house an hour and a half later, it had dried up again and I took another chance and set off to Rocher du Télégraphe again.
This time I was more lucky and the skies even cleared up for a while.
The dyno of "Taillé à Son Insu" looks like miles away and somehow I never really wanted to try it until recently when I saw another video of it while browsing bleau.info.

I felt really tired and was exhausted from the walk that had felt as if it took ages.
Before setting up the camera, I first wanted to try a test jump to see if it would be possible or not.
To my big surprise, my fingers reached over the edge and I decided to give it some real attempts.
I cleaned off the top for the mantle after the dyno, set up the camera, started rolling and only needed two attempts to stick and hold the dyno and mantle up.

Even though it felt easy, it's one of the nicer dyno's in its kind.

Fontainebleau - Rocher du Télégraphe - Taillé à Son Insu 7B




I had barely finished cleaning up when I felt some drops again.
By the time I was driving again, it was raining cats and dogs, which it did for the rest of the afternoon.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

August 13, 2017 - Where? Oh there!

It was about 10h15 when I was walking in the Coquibus towards Montrouget Ouest.
After having had so many visitors at the same time, I needed some time completely alone, and with the long weekend for some neighbouring countries, the Coquibus is the place to be.

The forest was wet from the rain last night, but I had done my homework and had a lot of boulders on my mind that I wanted see, hopefully climb and ideally top out.
"Là-Bas", "Eldorado", "Colorado", "Coup de Pompe" and also "Yahtzee" and "Sinus-X (assis)" in the nearby Coquibus Arcades area, were all on the list.
More than enough for a late morning as I still had to some gardening in the afternoon.

The first problem that I passed on my way was "Là-Bas", a backwards dyno to a sharp medium hold that you can't see when doing the jump.
The jump on itself wasn't hard to do, but it took a while before I had the coordination just right and catch the hold good enough. It had to be precise.

Fontainebleau - Montrouget Ouest - Là-Bas 7B




The roof with "Eldorado" and "Colorado" was my next stop, but I couldn't try neither of them because the holds in the roof that barely sees the sun, were wet.
I didn't mind that much, because "Douceurs", on the boulder right next to it, was dry.
It wasn't on my list, but it could make up for the others that I couldn't try.
Slipped off the second hold on my flash attempt, but made it on my second.

Fontainebleau - Montrouget Ouest - Douceurs 7A(6C+)




"Coup de Pompe" was at only 20m from there and it was completely dry but felt sandy.
The first sloper on the left that you have to go to first is of the kind that you can't get clean. The kind that constantly feels sandy.
That didn't stop me, however, from flashing it. I'm quite sure though, that my long arms helped a lot in this problem.

Fontainebleau - Montrouget Ouest - Coup de Pompe 7B




So far for the problems on my list in Montrouget Ouest, so I walked to the nearby Coquibus Arcades area.
"Yahtzee" is somewhat isolated, hidden in a small valley, surrounded by dense vegetation.
I gave it a couple of tries, but the first big sloper was too humid and impossible to stick.
Anyway, I know where it is now.

Last on the list was "Sinus-X (assis)", in another isolated part of Coquibus Arcades.
I had done the standing start last year and had left the sitstart for a future visit. Like today.
Visually one of the nicest boulders in the forest and the standing start on itself is a four star problem.
With the sitstart it's a sloper feast from start to top, a beautiful problem!

Fontainebleau - Coquibus Arcades - Sinus-X (assis) 7B(7A+)




It was 12h45 when I was back at the car. Right on time to go home and work in the garden.


Saturday, August 12, 2017

August 12, 2017 - Lalaland.

A couple of days ago some new boulders, opened by David Evrard, had been published on bleau.info, all located in a new sector in the Eastern part of Coquibus Grandes Vallées.
Of course, I was eager to go and have a look and when the last of all family members left early afternoon, I set off for what I expected to be a long hike trying to find the boulders.
The small published topo didn't give away that much to go by, and knowing those hills out there, the boulders would probably be hard to see from a distance. Hidden in between small valleys and dense vegetation.

The topo with the location of the new spread out boulders.

I did find all the boulders, even though for some, especially "Lalaland", I had to search for quite some time.
I tried "Culbuto" briefly, but the mantle felt too exposed without a spotter.
"Shikantaza" looked really nice, but I didn't try it, because there was a small bat tucked away sleeping in a small pocket right in the middle of the problem and I didn't want to disturb it too much.

When I finally found the boulder with "Lalaland" and "Yin Yang", I immediately excluded the latter for being way too exposed.
"Lalaland" doesn't offer a very good landing neither, and even though I doubted for a moment, I decided to go for it anyway.
The boulder looked to nice to just skip it without even trying.

According to David's grading standards, I expected it to be too hard for the grade, but this time, it felt rather on the soft side.
But then again, being exposed to a bad landing in a sketchy position, mostly gives that extra boost that makes you hang on for dear life.
All in all, a great problem on a very nice boulder in a beautiful setting!
Remember that, if you go there, to be discreet and keep it peaceful as there are some dwellings nearby.

Fontainebleau - Coquibus Grandes Vallées - Lalaland 7A+


Friday, August 11, 2017

August 11, 2017 - Quick update, quick repeat.

I have some family staying over at my house and at the moment we are with eleven people all together!
A very cosy bunch, a lot of fun, but less time to for some harder climbing.

This evening however, I went with m sister Zoë and her boyfriend Wouter to Roche aux Oiseaux and while they were reading a book, I was able to repeat "Le Mandarin (sans convention)".
Did it differently than when I did it the first time back in 2012, but hey, it's unconventional after all.
Nice classic of the area!

Fontainebleau - Roche aux Oiseaux - Le Mandarin (sans convention) 7B





Sunday, August 6, 2017

August 06, 2017 - Full force!

I had to be in Belgium on Saturday afternoon to pick my oldest son, Anthony. He had spent a few weeks at his mom during the vacation and was finally coming back home.
We were able to leave early, around 7h45 in the morning so we would home around noon, allowing us to still enjoy the rest of the day there.
During the long drive I had enough time to think about where or what to climb and doubted between options. "Le Sacre du Printemps" in Justice de Chambergeot or "Abri Bouse" in Rocher du Télégraphe.
It became the latter.

"Abri Bouse" is a small roof right next to the boulder with "Le Cadeau" in a remote sector of Rocher du Télégraphe". It's actually so remote that it's at a couple of hundred meters to the West of the main area. It might as well be called "Rocher du Télégraphe Ouest", it would be more obvious.
Anyway, "Abri Bouse" is all about compression with full force.
I had tried a few times already, could do all the moves separately, but lacked the power or force to link them all together.

My previous visit was already quite some time ago and I started my warmup with practicing the moves separately again.
Soon after, I could link some of them and decided to give it some real goes from the start.
Luckily I made it on my second attempt from the start today, because I don't think I would have been able to give it another go.
Especially because when I wanted to mantle out, I realised that I had never done the mantle before and had to improvise the topout, which is not an easy one.
I made it just barely, but I did it and felt happy about it.
One of my top favourite climbs of the forest! Simply beautiful and loved every move of it!

Fontainebleau - Rocher du Télégraphe - Abri Bouse 7B+




I still found "Turbo" at about 100m from there, touched it briefly, but I had to give in.
The long drive and the compression at full force had taken the best of me today.

Friday, August 4, 2017

August 04, 2017 - Quick boom!

On my way back home after my last business trip, I was thinking of going back to Bois du Rocher soon to try "Bastata", which I couldn't really try on my previous visit due to humid conditions.
It was a funny coincidence when I saw that the Duval twins had done it earlier this week and had posted a video of it on their Youtube channel.
Not that I needed the beta, because it's basically one huge move to a bad sloper. If you stick that one, you have to match it with the other hand and keep calm for the mantle above.

So, this afternoon, after work, I stopped at Bois de Rocher and headed to "Bastata".
It only took me four attempts, but then again it is completely my style.

Fontainebleau - Bois du Rocher - Bastata 7C




I still had quite some time left after having done "Bastata" so fast, so I moved the crashpad and the camera to the nearby boulder with "Azurite".
It starts the same as the 7A, "Bord de Fuite", but exits more to the left on slopers and without using the arete.

I could say that I had a good day, but here, according to me, the proposed grade of 7B+(7C) could be easily adjusted to 7B and still be soft for the grade.
Made it on my second attempt, but I had done the start already when I did "Bord de Fuite" about a year ago.
Nevertheless, a very nice piece of climbing with some cool moves!

Fontainebleau - Bois du Rocher - Azurite 7B+(7C)


Thursday, August 3, 2017

August 03, 2017 - Lost footage.

I had been away traveling for work since Tuesday, but arrived back home shortly after noon.
Besides making a coffee, I had no time for a break as I had to continue working from home the rest of the day.
With the long drive in the morning and with some colleagues being on well deserved vacations it had felt like a stressy day and I was exhausted in the evening.
Yet, after diner, I went to the nearby Roche aux Oiseaux for a relaxing climb. No hard climbing, just channelizing away the stress of the day.

"Pigeon Voyageur" can be found on the same boulder as the classic "Action Directe (assis)" and has a couple variations, the hardest one being "Pigeon Voyageur assis sous les Toits", which starts almost lying under the roof with a flat hold for the left hand and a bidoigt for the right.
Even though the standing start is graded 6A, I had never managed to do it. The far move near the end felt too morpho.

I knew that I could get from the lying start under the roof into the standing start without real problems, so I first focussed on trying the move to the shallow bidoigt pocket far right.
Somehow, even though just barely, I could make the move this time and hang on without swinging out.
As soon as I knew that move was possible, I tried it from the start and made it on my third attempt.

Fontainebleau - Roche aux Oiseaux - Pigeon Voyageur assis sous les Toits 7A




Not really having a project in mind for the remainder of my time, I moved to "Satan m'Habite (raccourci)".
When I was helping out Neil (Hart) with his Bleau climbing movie "Out of Sight", we were filming Jacky (Godoffe) doing "Satan m'Habite (raccourci)" feet first to the jug.
Neil also filmed me doing it the same way Jacky did, but that footage is probably lost by now.

So, as it's such a beautiful boulder and a nice problem, I repeated it for the video.
I didn't try it feet first without a spotter, but made it on my first attempt using the most common method.
Visually, I think it's one of the most beautiful boulders in the forest.

Fontainebleau - Roche aux Oiseaux - Satan m'Habite (raccourci) 7A


Sunday, July 30, 2017

July 30, 2017 - And it turns turns turns ...

I met Pieter and C this morning at about 10h on the parking of Coquibus Longs Vaux.
We had agreed to go to Roche qui Tourne.
I knew where it was and I already walked by the area a couple of times when doing a walk, but I had never really seen the boulders themselves, so I was eager to go.
It's a little bit of a hike, but we found the main sector very quickly and scouted around at first to locate the different problems that we might want to try.
Unlike most parts of the Coquibus, in Roche qui Tourne, the boulders are located close to each other, the landings are good and there are problems in all grades.
All that of course with the beautiful surroundings of the Coquibus!

C needed a warmup, while Pieter and I started with "La Chenille" in the back of the area.
It needed some cleaning to make it climbable again, but soon we had figured out the moves.
Linking them all together didn't take me much time, but Pieter had to let it go. He had an off day.

Fontainebleau - Roche qui Tourne - La Chenille 7A




On the other side of the roof is the nice 6C "Dos Cille", that Pieter wanted to try and I could try it's lower start, "Dos Fin".
"Dos Cille" starts underneath the arete with the left hand on an undercling in the roof and the right hand (most logically) on the arete.
Then you kind of mantle up, take a small crimp in the wall, pull up and reach for a high sloper left hand to then go for the edge.
All this has to done very delicately, because it's kind of a balance test piece.
"Dos Fin" starts deeper in the pit to the left, sitting on the ground next to a rock step and both hands in a jug.
From there you traverse to the right on big dusty holds and with some annoying moves close to the ground, you get into the start of "Dos Cille" and finish in that one.

Fontainebleau - Roche qui Tourne - Dos Fin 7A




Pieter and C got really close in doing "Dos Cille", but after a while they turned their attention to "Ventre Bleu", a 6C on a nice belly and bad slopers right next to "Dos Cille".
They seemed to have some trouble and I had to admit that it felt very hard when I tried for the first time too.
I was the only one who ended up finishing it, but not without a fight. It gave me more trouble than the other two that I already did.
It could perfectly be a soft 7A in my opinion. Or maybe it was because of the moss on the top.

Fontainebleau - Roche qui Tourne - Ventre Bleu 6C




The others wanted to take a break, so we moved to "Claquettes" so I could try that while they rested.
It was the first boulder that we saw when walking into the area and I knew that I had to come back today to try it.
It just sits there, waiting to be climbed.
Working out the moves and finishing it didn't even take ten minutes.
It was a short break for C and Pieter, but the climb was beautiful.

Fontainebleau - Roche qui Tourne - Claquettes 7A+




C finished the day with working hard in the very beautiful 6B, "Belle de Jour" and finishing it, well deserved.
Pieter was finally able to finish his newspaper.

Saturday, July 29, 2017

July 29, 2017 - Making it cosy.

It was already very warm when my cousin and his family continued their journey towards Spain.
After they left, I went straight to Coquibus Rumont.
I was reminded by someone about "Ironman", in a roof on the North side of the hill. But I had to walk over it first.
I had been looking for it on a previous visit, but must have walked right over it without noticing.
This time I more or less walked straight to it, but I arrived sweating like a horse.
The moist from the rain of this week was vaporising by the heat and without wind, the air was very humid and made you sweat with every move. It felt really damp.

Luckily the roof is facing North so it stayed nice and cool under it.
I took a break to stop sweating, made it cosy and checked out the holds and imagined the moves.
At first sight, it all looked hard and far, but when I tried some moves, I had to change my mind.
Some of them were a bit far to reach, but they didn't give me any problem.
Working out the karate kick move to place my foot over the edge required some tries, but as soon as I had it once, my body had calibrated the coordination and I could do it nearly every time.
A great line with some superbe moves!

Fontainebleau - Coquibus Rumont - Ironman 7A+(7B)




When I checked my phone, I saw that Pieter had written me that he was on the way and due to arrive soon.
It reminded me that also Cedric "C" Desmet was in the forest and I wrote him asking to join us.
I met C on the Chemin de Rumont at the bottom of the hill and started trying "Les Barbelés" while we waited for Pieter.
Well, it was more like that I was trying it. C was having a rest day and was there for the cosiness.
While C was doing great in being cosy, I only made little progress in "Les Barbelés" and had to admit that it looks much easier than it is.

The start was already hard, but the mantle into the slab took most of our time to figure out.
A very nice line with no room for error.

Fontainebleau - Coquibus Rumont - Les Barbelés 7A+




Pieter got really close, but his knee didn't want to work with him, so he had to let it go.
C was still being cosy.

We decided to move to the sector with "Le Royaume des Saucisses". I remembered that it's a cosy spot, so C would like it.
Unfortunately it was full in the sun, but we started trying "Le Royaume des Saucisses" anyway.

We quickly realised that it was very hard and couldn't figure out a way to reach the edge.
"Let There be Rock" on the other hand was a different story.
It starts the same as "Le Royaume des Saucisses", but instead of finishing direct, you are allowed to use the arete on the left.
It went down fast, but I must admit that I didn't do the last easy 3m above the edge. It's only an easy 4 or 5 maybe, but the rock was covered in moss and the holds felt sandy.

Fontainebleau - Coquibus Rumont - Let There be Rock 7A+(7B)




I had to leave soon after, but we agreed to climb together again tomorrow. 
Wherever it will be, it will be cosy, because C will be there too.

Friday, July 28, 2017

July 28, 2017 - Fly baby, fly.

After a week with plenty of rain, the sun was mostly out today and I used the occasion to stop at Gorge aux Châts after work.
My cousin is visiting this evening, but I still had some time so I took the chance.

There is not much that I haven't tried at Gorge aux Châts, but I never touched "Châts Man (assis)" before.
It is somewhat hidden behind the popular "Plats de Saison" and "Sa Pelle au Logis" and it doesn't look attractive at all.
I went for it anyway.

It is seldom that I rate a problem less than three stars on bleau.info, but this only got one.
I didn't even enjoy trying it, so ugly I found it.
One move, the first one, is really hard and annoying, trying not to touch the surrounding boulders.
That's all that I have to say about this one.

Fontainebleau - Gorge aux Châts - Châts Man (assis) 7B(7A+)




The conditions on the slopers weren't what I expected, but for "Le Double Jeu-té" you don't need good conditions.
One huge dyno from good ledge to good ledge.
It sounds so simple and easy, still, this took me many sessions to finally make it.
Strangely enough, today I did it on my second attempt and it didn't even feel hard.
I must admit though, that I lost some weight since last time I tried it.

Fontainebleau - Gorge aux Châts - Le Double Jeu-té 7A(7A+)


Sunday, July 23, 2017

July 23, 2017 - Hard to find.

I met Pieter on the parking of Coquibus Longs Vaux this morning, but first we walked to the opposite direction towards Gorge à Véron.
He had a look for it yesterday evening, but he couldn't find the boulders.
I showed Pieter around and he was able to make quick ascents of "Zig-Zag Napalm" and "Coup de Foudre". Good job!

From there we walked all the way to the far end of Coquibus Longs Vaux to have a look at the boulders there, with "Bombe du Genre pas Mal" in particular.
The boulders at that far end are spread out below the ridge on the other side of the hill, but they are so hard to see that you could stand on them without knowing it.

"Bombe du Genre pas Mal" is really well hidden, but luckily we didn't have to look longer than half an hour.
It was originally given 7B, but on bleau.info we saw that it was 7A(7A+).
No matter what the grade was, the line looked really nice, quite exposed, but nothing what two crashpads and the thought of having a good spotter in the back, couldn't solve.

We worked out the moves in the roof a bit and all in all I made it on my second attempt from the start.
I hadn't worked out the last part though, so I had to improvise and desperately use two sharp tiny crimps to hang on for dear life and move on.

Fontainebleau - Coquibus Longs Vaux - Bombe du Genre pas Mal 7A(7A+)




Pieter didn't feel like wrecking his fingers so he decided to let it go.

On the way back we had some good tries in the first moves of "La Nuit" and "Tonnerre de Brest", but were chased away by the rain.
It was time to go home anyway and Pieter still had a long drive ahead.

All the boulders are so well hidden in Coquibus Longs Vaux, that if someone would ask me where I was today, I would answer: "Hard to find".

Saturday, July 22, 2017

July 22, 2017 - The deer fight.

It was already almost 11 o'clock when I parked at Coquibus Longs Vaux this morning.
I had to wait for the pass earlier today and I wasn't even sure that it was going to possible to climb already, but Jean-Pierre (Roudneff) had written me about a 7A+ problem called "Boumfer", on a boulder at 20m from "Compression", that should stay dry long.
I was surprised to see that the problem was indeed dry except for the top, but it was mossy and needed to be cleaned to make it climbable again.

As I had time enough and the problem looked very nice, I spent about half an hour brushing it.
I was alone and as usual very silent, listening to the surroundings while brushing.
At a certain moment I could hear something moving nearby that sounded heavier than a bird looking for food.
I stopped brushing and looked around, expecting to see some wildlife as the sound got closer quite fast.
Suddenly at about 2m from me, a small deer came running at high speed from around the corner of the boulder.
We were both so spooked that we both acted liked pussies and shouted out loud.
The deer was probably even more spooked than I was, turned around in no time and ran off while "barking", never to be seen again.
From all the deer that I have ever seen in the forest, most of them were in the Coquibus areas.

I couldn't finish "Boumfer".
There is a small section where I couldn't find the method to pass.
I will go back for it soon.

While it was still dry, I walked to the boulder of "Le Diktat du Hamac", where I wanted to try the left exit, "Jour de Mouillard".
It didn't take me many tries to finish it, and I found it not harder than the right exit, "Le Diktat du Hamac".
Very nice line though, on a very nice boulder!

Fontainebleau - Coquibus Longs Vaux - Jour de Mouillard 7B




When walking back to the car, Pieter texted me asking where I was climbing.
After I told him where I was, I waited for him at the parking.
We checked out some possibilities and decided to start with the high classic "Tonnerre de Brest".
Unfortunately, by the time we unpacked and were ready to go for it, it started raining and didn't stop for at least an hour.

I showed Pieter some of the other boulders and we agreed to meet again there tomorrow morning.
Hopefully do some good climbing.

Below picture is one that I took from our attic where my desk is.
That's the view I have when I'm working from home. Just wanted to share that beautiful view.

The view I have when working from home. It was cloudy.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

July 20, 2017 - Back to work.

My holiday is over and since Monday I'm back at work.
The first two days were extremely hot and yesterday, when it finally started to cool down, it was raining.
But today, it was clouded but dry, there was a lot of wind and the temperature barely reached 25°C.
It was a good day for climbing and as it happens that I'm home alone for a few days, I didn't have to home for anyone, so I decided to stop at Rocher de la Salamandre Est after work.
I wanted to go back to work in "Chaos Data" and take my time for it.

Each session that I worked in it, I could do all the separate moves, but never managed to make it all the way from start to end.
Some of the moves are so powerful that each time I was out of energy and strength after only working out the moves.

I did feel strong today and with the sequence that I remembered, I was able to work it out quite quickly again.
I took some minutes of rest in between tries and then suddenly with ninja style moves, I managed to hang on and find that extra bit of power needed to make it to the top.
I was exhausted!

Very hard for the grade, could easily be 7B+ if you ask me.

Fontainebleau - Rocher de la Salamandre Est - Chaos Data 7B


Sunday, July 16, 2017

July 16, 2017 - A perfect spot.

I had to spend last night in Belgium, but I left early this morning to avoid the big traffic.
Each Summer vacation the French roads are overtaken by tourists with big campers, caravans and dangerously overloaded cars.
After a four hour drive on crowded roads, I had seen enough of mankind for the day and I wanted to climb something without anyone around to decompress.

It's a good thing that I explore a lot on rainy days, because that's how I got to know about "Compression" in Coquibus Longs Vaux.
It's actually on an isolated, hard to find, boulder somewhere between the areas Coquibus Longs Vaux, Gorge à Véron and La Roche qui Tourne.
It's also a slow drying boulder so an ideal Summer problem, especially on a hot day like this with 31°C.

With the Summer vegetation, the boulder can only be seen when standing only a couple of meters from it, but my memory of where it was didn't let me down and I more or less walked straight to it.
The problem itself was dry and completely in the shade except for the last slopers and the jug at the top, but that wasn't the crux.
The crux is to hold the big pinch right hand good enough to be able to get into compression and do the far move to a sloper right hand.

It took me a while before I figured out how to move, but it didn't matter, I wanted to take my time, took some minutes of rest in between tries and listened to the forest.
There were only me, the boulder, the forest and the animals. It was hot in the sun, but I was nicely in the shade and felt at peace. It was a perfect spot.

Fontainebleau - Coquibus Longs Vaux - Compression 7B+(7B)




I still sat there for about half an hour, listened, watched and enjoyed.

Friday, July 14, 2017

July 14, 2017 - Terminated.

I went back to Éléphant early this morning as the weather was looking good and I wanted to climb before the crowds would arrive. After all, the 14th of July is Bastille Day, a public holiday in France.

Somehow I couldn't find the motivation to really try hard in "Le Lépreux (direct assis)", so I gave up after a few tries.
I was more interested in the nearby "Terminator" upon which my eye fell on when I was waiting in vain for the drizzle to stop yesterday morning.
It's a very nice prow with crimps and slopers and I find it hard to believe why it receives such a low star rating of 2.8 on bleau.info.

It is quite my style and it didn't take me a lot of tries, but the end was a bit sketchy because of having the sun full in my eyes and I had to slap blindly to the next holds.
I got there, but it did take me more energy than expected.

Fontainebleau - Éléphant - Terminator 7A+




In the afternoon I still made some really good attempts in "Alea Jacta Est (assis)" in Roche aux Oiseaux.
I can quite easily get into the standing start and even reached the crimp of the crux a couple of times.
It's only a matter of trying it from time to time now until when suddenly it all works out just as when I did the standstart a while ago.
It is a very powerful problem though and it felt like I had been terminated when I arrived back home.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

July 13, 2017 - Go with a bang!

It wasn't raining anymore when I woke up this morning, but the predictions weren't good, so I hurried and was already very early in Éléphant.
I wanted to try "Le Lepreux (direct assis)", but first I needed a quick warmup.
The dyno, "Bangster", a little bit hidden away high behind "Figure de Proue", seemed like a good option.

It was a sketchy climb to reach the problem, especially packed with a big Mondo pad, but it didn't start raining yet, and I was glad I could start.
"Bangster" is a pure straight forward one move dyno, but the position from which you have to jump doesn't make it an easy one. It requires quite a bizarre move to start the push for the jump.
This felt like one of the nicer dyno's in that grade that I have done in the forest, but definitely not the easiest!

Fontainebleau - Éléphant - Bangster 7A




By the time I arrived at the boulder of "Le Lépreux", it had started to drizzle.
I tried to wait it out, but when the drizzle turned into real rain after 15 minutes, I left.

Hours later it cleared up again and late in the afternoon I hoped to find some dry boulders in Roche aux Oiseaux.
Some options that I had in mind were climbable, but "Le Perroquet Vert" was in surprisingly good condition.

I had tried "Le Perroquet Vert" a couple of times before, but always found it too hard. I knew that the method I used was wrong, but I never could figure out something else.
Today I started with the same wrong method, hoping to be able to find the solution when analysing what exactly was going wrong.
It seemed to have helped because after about an hour I had found my method. Someone taller will probably do it differently.

Despite that it only received an average of 2.3 stars by the six registered repeaters, I had quite some fun in "Le Perroquet Vert". Frustration too, but mostly fun.
Short problem, but very powerful moves. Nicer than it looks.

Fontainebleau - Roche aux Oiseaux - Le Perroquet Vert 7B+


Wednesday, July 12, 2017

July 12, 2017 - Between the showers.

Everything was wet this morning and there a light drizzle, but there was also a lot of wind.
Because climbing wasn't possible, I set off to Moulin de Roisneau to have a look around.
By the time I got there, the drizzle had turned into light short showers and I could see that the wind was able to dry most boulders that were exposed to it.

I decided to go to nearby Buthiers and more precisely the sector with "Le Dernier Problème" in Buthiers Piscine.
It took me a while to find "Le Dernier Problème", all the time trying to avoid getting shot by kids playing some kind of laser shooting game.
The right exit version of "Le Dernier Problème" is supposed to be a 7A, but it certainly doesn't look like it.
It definitely didn't feel like it either, as I was able to top it easily on my second attempt.

Fontainebleau - Buthiers Piscine - Le Dernier Problème (droite) 7A




With the rain showers coming and going, the conditions were terrible, so I walked on to the boulder of "Atomic Playboy". Not that I wanted to try it, but I just wanted to finally see it in real life.
Besides, according to the topo I had with me, there was still a 6C+(7A), "Fantasia", on it which might be worth the try if it's dry.

"Fantasia" was indeed dry enough, but after flashing it with ease, I found it hard to believe that the grade was correct.
Indeed, when I checked bleau.info, it had been downgraded to a more correct 6C(6C+) in the meantime.
Still a very nice short climb though.

Fontainebleau - Buthiers Piscine - Fantasia 6C(6C+)




I still strolled around a bit, but with the showers becoming longer and heavier, I was forced to leave.
The weather stayed unstable for the rest of the day and I constantly had to interrupt my work in the garden to seek shelter.
Normally tomorrow should be more stable.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

July 11, 2017 - War and peace.

After a lot of rain yesterday and last night, I decided to go to Rocher Fin.
It's not my favourite area because of the sand and the long walk, but it was one of my best chances to find dry boulders and I only had time in the morning.
Besides, there is always still something left to do.

I have been trying "Le Nain Vert Sait" on my nearly every visit to Rocher Fin, but somehow never found the correct balance to make the final move.
Now it was no different until I decided to change my method by matching both hands on the bad sloper and placing the right foot really high.
From there it was just a matter of pulling myself over my tipping point and catching the top sloper before losing balance again.
It sounds simple, but believe me, it didn't feel like it.

Fontainebleau - Rocher Fin - Le Nain Vert Sait 7A+(7A)




Ever since the time I arrived in the area this morning, it hadn't stopped raining. Well, not really raining, but all the time, drops of rain were dripping with an occasional break of a couple of minutes in between.
I even had to find shelter at a certain point. Not for long, but long enough for the boulders to be in even worse conditions than before.
There went my chances for trying "Bull Dog (assis)". I tried it briefly, could easily get passed the standing start, but the slopey arete was way too slippery.

At least I knew that the well known "Guerre et Paix" boulder in the centre of the area would be dry.
I tried it only once, many years ago upon my first visit of Rocher Fin, but fell off the mantle.
Most of the other times I was here, the popular problem was either already taken, or I had different priorities.
Having not many other options and not seen another single person since I left the parking, I went for it.

My first try was miserable.
I had made the same mistake by immediately starting, cruising my way through the problem, but not checking my options for the difficult topout.
After carefully looking for another method, I found one, but still it wasn't easy.
Glad to tick this classic off.

Fontainebleau - Rocher Fin - Guerre et Paix 7A




The holds under the roof of "Chevalier Errant" were dry, but the rest of it felt damp.
As I didn't feel like looking for another problem, not knowing in what condition it would be, I gave it a try anyway.
Also here the crux is at the end and I came out of it way too many times.
It was taking chunks out of my energy reserves, but I persisted until I finally made it. Not an attempt too soon, I felt exhausted.

"Chevalier Errant" is a great line with a very tricky crux at the end.
My favourite line in that small roof!

Fontainebleau - Rocher Fin - Chevalier Errant 7B




I have been working a lot in the garden since I'm back from Biarritz.
My body can feel it and is exhausted. 
Every problem today felt like I was at war, but each time I found peace in the end.

Sunday, July 9, 2017

July 09, 2017 - Surfin' in the forest.

It wasn't as hot as yesterday, but with the mostly cloudy weather, the air felt hot and damp. Every move would make you sweat.
With the surfing holiday still in me, I deliberately chose to try "Le Surfin'" in Apremont Haut des Gorges.
A nearby very loud garden party had kept me awake until 2 o'clock, so I woke up later than expected and it was already hot when I arrived at the small roof.

I had tried "Le Surfin'" on the one time that I visited the area shortly after it was made public in 2015, but with all the new problems out there, I didn't spend much time on it as it felt hard.
It still felt hard, but I was able to work out all the separate moves and even though linking it all together felt hard, I did manage to do so after a while.
I must admit that it was the name of it that kept pushing me.

Fontainebleau - Apremont Haut des Gorges - Le Surfin' 7A+




I tried some other harder problems here and there, couldn't finish them, but I was able to grasp an ascent of "Phase Lunaire" on the other side of the area when going back to the car.
A 7B that consists of a mantle on non existing holds, but where it's all about balance and finding the friction.
It proved that my mantle skills are quite good on this one, as I was able to make it on my second attempt.
Nice typical Bleau style problem!

Fontainebleau - Apremont Haut des Gorges - Phase Lunaire 7B


Saturday, July 8, 2017

July 08, 2017 - From the beach to the forest.

As some may know, I have spent the past week surfing in Biarritz with my oldest son Anthony.
It was our first time ever that we were going to surf and as eager as we were, we arrived in a storm that lasted two days and surfing was impossible.
On the third day it finally cleared up and we were able to go into the ocean with our own surfboard that we had bought in the meantime.
It was impossible to get behind the higher waves. They were simply too brutal and the fact that no other surfers were out there made us realise that the ocean was maybe still too rough after the storm and we kept our hopes of riding a wave alive.
It was only the day after that we heard from another surfer that the waves appeared to be up to 4m(!) high. That explained why we were so impressed.
The following days, however, the ocean calmed down and we were able to surf down many 1m-1,5m high waves after little practice.
On the last day we went to a nearby lake where we went down some mega waterslides before being catapulted meters into the air and into the lake.
Even though it was a lot of fun, I did overstretch a muscle or tendon near my left "musculus deltoideus" (the muscle between the upper arm and the shoulder) when coming down into the water.

We arrived back home yesterday late afternoon in an intense heat, I was too tired to climb already and my arm still hurt too much, but I was so glad to be back in the forest again!
So, this morning, I left early to the shady area of Rocher Canon, trying to avoid the extreme heat later today.

I tried quite some problems, but either the sun was too disturbing, the rock already too warm or there were moves that hurt my muscle injury too much. Until I passed by "Le Chaînon Manquant".
The problem was nicely in the shade from morning to evening, so the it didn't feel warm and, to say the least, for once it was completely dry.
Besides the weird crossover move at the start, it didn't seem to hurt to my arm, so I started with some real attempts.
It didn't take long until I was able to grab the last hold, but didn't know what to do in the end, so topped out with the tree at first to have a look on the top.
It was a good idea, because it did require some cleaning to make some slopers useable for the topout.
It went down on my next attempt.
Beautiful problem, but probably morpho for the shorter climbers.

Fontainebleau - Rocher Canon - Le Chaînon Manquant (avec l'arête) 7B




It started to really heat up now and on my way back to the car, I knew that I would find "Jour de Pluie" in the shade.
I tried it once with Neil (Hart) a couple of years ago, but failed to top out.
Now, I could have flashed it but failed again on the topout. I had lost too much time figuring out what to do.
I made it on my second attempt but still not without a fight.
Very nice problem with an easy start and a nasty topout!

Fontainebleau - Rocher Canon - Jour de Pluie (raccourci) 7A




It was almost noon when I arrived at the car, and it was already 31°C in the shade.
Too hot for climbing and besides that, I had planned to work a lot in the garden anyway during my vacation.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

June 29, 2017 - One last before we go.

I had to prepare for the trip to Biaritz tomorrow, but the weather in the morning looked quite good and despite that everything outside was wet, I set off for a last short climbing session.
With everything being still wet, I know it's a big risk to go to Franchard Sablons, but I took it and it turned out to be not as bad as one would expect.
"Jokary" for example, looked wet, but the undercling was dry and good hold on the left was good enough. The slab near the top was very humid, but I knew that I could skip all the holds in it and reach directly to the top.

I had tried "Jokary" already a few times when I was around, but somehow was never able to finish it.
Now, for some reason, it didn't feel difficult at all and went down on my second attempt.

Fontainebleau - Franchard Sablons - Jokari 7A+(7A)




At about 10m from "Jokary", I had a look at the overhang with "Le Journal du Hard" and was pleasantly surprised that the boulder was dry where it was needed.
I remember that I tried it once and couldn't even do the first move, but it was some time ago and I felt ready for it. The fact that I didn't have the time to look for other dry boulders around probably played a role too.

Anyway, already with my first try I felt that it was going much better and I started trying harder until I topped out ten minutes later.
Great problem!

Fontainebleau - Franchard Sablons - Le Journal du Hard 7A+




And now ... Surf's up!

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

June 28, 2017 - Holiday starts!

I wasn't able to climb over the weekend, Monday was too hot and yesterday the weather had started to become very unstable and of course, today is the first day of my two weeks and a half holiday.
It had rained a lot yesterday evening and even though there was a nice breeze and quite some sun in the morning, the boulders in J.A. Martin were in far from ideal conditions. In other words, there was no friction at all.

On Friday day morning I'm leaving towards Biarritz with my oldest son to try some surfing for our very first time.
That left me with only today for climbing, as tomorrow I will be busy with preparing for the trip.
On top of that, I only had a mere two hours of possible climbing before the chance of rain was at 70%.

The boulder of "Dark Side" was dry, but I didn't even think of trying it in these conditions when the grip on the holds is very uncertain.
I was going to try "Gravity" to the right of it to get the feel again after almost a week of no climbing.

I must admit that it felt more like a 7A at the moment that I climbed it, but most likely this was due to the bad friction and I didn't feel at ease.

Fontainebleau - J.A. Martin - Gravity 6C+(7A)




With the boulders lower down the hill being in even worse conditions, I decided to stay near the top and started walking to the East until I reached "La Voie de Kim", which was luckily dry enough.
I quickly watched a video to be sure to not make any mistake about the start and finish, looked at the line, improvised my movement and flashed it with ease.

Not worth 7A in my opinion, but well worth the time. Very nice climb!

Fontainebleau - J.A. Martin - La Voie de Kim (assis) 7A(6C+)




Afterwards I still had some time to make some progress in "Contact" lower down the hill.
I was finally able to stick the first move, the dyno to a bad sloper, but failed to finish.

Just before 11h I arrived back at the car, just in time as the first of many showers had started.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

June 22, 2017 - Unlocked.

Today was the last day of the heat wave and with still 34°C in the evening it was still extremely hot.
Tomorrow it will be "only" 27°C, but I couldn't wait and decided to face the heat again anyway.

When I was thinking of cooler climber areas nearby, "Le Diktat du Hamac" came into my mind.
It's on the first boulder of Coquibus Longs Vaux when coming from the parking. I knew that the boulder would be mostly exposed to the sun at this time of the day, but not the small roof and the topout of "Le Diktat du Hamac". At least, as far as I could remember from trying it once a couple of years ago.
I did go back once, but as the holds under the roof dry slowly, I didn't have the chance to try it again.
I remembered from last time that the moves were quite hard and I wasn't able to do all of them.
When looking at Ivan's (Moreels) face in the video of his ascent, it looked like it was hard for him too. Especially the last moves.

As I expected, the boulder was lying mostly in the sun, but not the parts that had to be climbed.
It was hot, but there on top of the hill, was a breeze that made it all just bearable.
To my big surprise, the moves didn't feel as hard as I remembered and I could easily cruise my way up to the slopers near the top.
I knew that I only had to work out the last part now, but that didn't go as smooth. At least not when trying the method Ivan used.
I gave it a try with a left heelhook instead of doing something on the right and unlocked the sequence that fit me most.

All in all a very nice problem with some very nice moves and a crux at the end.
Kind of strange that it only has ten registered repeats for such a nice boulder so close to the parking.

Fontainebleau - Coquibus Longs Vaux - Le Diktat du Hamac 7A+


Wednesday, June 21, 2017

June 21, 2017 - Roasted chicken.

It has been extremely hot the last couple of days and we are suffering from a true heat wave in the country.
I tried not to climb in this heat, but even though the thermometer read 48°C in the sun when I stepped into car after work, I decided to have a short climbing session after diner anyway.

I parked at J.A. Martin around 19h30, it was still 39°C and I had to wanted to walk all the way over the hill to the North face of it to try "Dark Side".
I tried briefly with Igor (Depoorter) and Klaas (Willems) almost 5 years ago and I remembered that it was indeed a dark and shady corner.
Nobody topped it back then, but some time has gone by and given the heat it seemed like a good spot to refuge to.

I forgot about the forest fire from a couple of years ago and the trees were all gone, offering no shade at all.
On top of that, even though the boulder is located on the North face, the problem is exposed to the West and in the plain sun this time of the day.
The heat in the sun was unbearable and I didn't even unpack.

Instead, I walked back down halfway the hill to find "La Méthode Gé" on my path.
The rock felt warm because of catching the sun all day long, but now with the sun being lower it was partly in the shade.

I worked out the separate moves quite quickly, took a short break to stop sweating like crazy and sent the problem on my second attempt afterwards.
I was glad to have done it that fast because being surrounded by warmed up sandstone heat radiating boulders out of the wind, made me feel like a roasted chicken.

Fontainebleau - J.A. Martin - La Méthode Gé 7A+(7A)




When I arrived back at the car, it was 20h10 and still 36°C ... in the shade!

Sunday, June 18, 2017

June 18, 2017 - And it burns burns burns ...

It was way too hot for climbing but I couldn't resist and left early the relatively unknown area of Apremont Brûlis.
Manuel (Marquès) opened some new boulders in a new small sector and some looked nice enough for me to hike all the way up to there.

It was good that I called Jean-Pierre (Roudneff) during the hike for some more detailed directions, because without them I wouldn't have known that I had to go uphill any moment from where I was.
In the distance I could make out some clusters of boulders right under the crest of the hill.
I waded my way through a dense field of high ferns and arrived exhausted by the heat on the top of the hill where I luckily immediately found the roof of "Tout à Fait", one of the new boulders opened by Manuel.

The sun was burning and standing directly in it was unbearable already while it was only 10h in the morning.
The roof, however, was nicely in the shade and so was the mantle from the topout of "Tout à Fait" for the time being.
When I read the description, it said that it starts all the way left as for "Tête Basse" (video below), but the line on the picture showed different.
To be sure, I looked at the video of Manuel, who opened it, and he started where I ended up starting.
So what is correct? The description or the video of the opener doing the problem?
I chose the latter, which seemed the most obvious.

Fontainebleau - Apremont Brûlis - Tout à Fait 7A




Directly after, I flashed the very nice and logical but easy traverse "Tête Basse".
Unusual for problems opened by Manuel that they feel easy for the grade, like this one.

Fontainebleau - Apremont Brûlis - Tête Basse 7A




On a boulder at 20m from "Tout à Fait", he opened some more problems, out of which "Danser Forêt".
Opened as a 7A, but I would have believed it completely if the published grade would have been 7A+.
Hard mantle with a good, but marbled and slippery crimp that requires a lot of trust.
Very nice problem that looks much easier than it is.

Fontainebleau - Apremont Brûlis - Danser Forêt 7A




By now it was almost 11h30 and I still wanted to try "Saï (debout)" in the main sector before noon, so I hiked back in the direction of the car.
The boulder of "Saï" is the first one that you pass when walking to the main sector.
The sitstart looks crazy hard, but then again it is 7C+(8A), but luckily, the standstart is a doable 7B.

Completely my kind of thing, slopers and compression.
It didn't give me much trouble and I finished it on my third attempt.
Really nice problem this one!

Fontainebleau - Apremont Brûlis - Saï (debout) 7B




The afternoon heat was tackled with river swimming and garden water fun.
Now I'm off to the shower to rinse away the afterburn.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

June 17, 2017 - What's up with the falling?!

It was announced to be very hot today, so I left early to the very shady, slow drying area of Boissy Le Plaid.
The sector was kept secret for a long time, but about half a year ago, it was published together with some new problems. Some more were even opened about two weeks ago.
Apart from the newest ones, I had already seen all the problems on a wet day and it was "L'Éprouvantable" that received most of my interest for coming back on a day in or near Summer when there was enough time to dry.

It already started to get very warm by the time I started warming up trying some of the newest problems, but topping none.
With this heat I wanted to save my skin for my main goal, "L'Éprouvantable".
The problem was dry but the conditions felt miserable on my first attempts and I slipped unexpectedly from the last difficult move, fell elbow first half on the crashpad and half on some big stones (small boulders let's say).
It was a nasty fall, but again I was quite lucky. Besides a big scratch on my elbow I was intact.

The start with the both hands on the pedestal is somewhat silly, but as soon you are hanging in compression it's a first class problem until the end.
The last difficult move, where I slipped before is quite a tricky one.

Fontainebleau - Boissy Le Plaid - L'Éprouvantable 7A(7A+)




Just like all other problems that I have tried in the area, I found this also hard for the grade.
It can be also due to the slightly different texture of the sandstone in the area. 
As it stays wet for long, the holds all look like they could break easily, which kind of holds me back in the force I want to apply to them.
Nevertheless, I can truly recommend "L'Éprouvantable" and the area in general, especially on hot Summer days.

Friday, June 16, 2017

June 16, 2017 - Priapisme.

It has been opened in 2013 or even earlier, but for me it had always gone unnoticed.
I'm talking about the boulder of "Priapisme" in Apremont Buvette.
At 120m from the buvette and at only 40m from "La Route de Barbizon", it's clearly visible from the path and it made me wonder why I had never noticed it before. I guess I just had to look for it.
It's a small beautiful prow that stands somewhat lonely, but waiting for it to be climbed.

I could have flashed "Priapisme (debout)" if only I had gone to the top from the other side to check out where the best slopers were, but I didn't.
It made me think of Jan (Gorrebeeck), who always says to have a look on the top before trying.
I did it on my second attempt, even though the mantle on bad, warmed up slopers from the sun, did give me some trouble.

Fontainebleau - Apremont Buvette - Priapisme (debout) 7A(7A+)




I tried the sitstart a couple of times, found out where the crux is, but with this heat it felt impossible with even worse slopers than on the top.
I would like to come back and try it again in Winter time, but as it faces North, it will be hard to find it dry.
To be continued one day.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

June 15, 2017 - Go try it.

I'm not sure if it was because of the fall out of "Coin de Paradis" on Monday or because of the heat, but I didn't feel well yesterday and barely was able to eat.

Today was like nothing had happened, even though I still felt weak.
It was really hot today, but at last, when the sun lowered around 19h, the temperature got down to a mere 28°C. Still hot, but the lower sun offered more shade in the forest now.
I didn't feel like trying anything too hard, knowing that the heat was against my odds, so to stay busy I wandered around in Roche aux Sabots until my eye fell on "Danger Moyeu".

It has been opened only about a year ago or slightly longer, but given the popularity of the area, I was surprised to see that it still had only two registered repeats.
As soon as I started trying, I knew why.
It took me quite some time to figure out the beta and at least as long to be able to execute all the moves from the start.

The description "Sitstart in red n°10 and exit in red n°11." indeed doesn't sound very attractive as many might believe that it concerns a traverse, when it definitely isn't.
Instead, you are treated with some beautiful a-typical, physically hard moves!

Maybe with the video being online now it will receive some of the attention that it deserves.
Go try it. It's hard for the grade in my opinion, but totally worth the effort!

Fontainebleau - Roche aux Sabots - Danger Moyeu 7A+


Tuesday, June 13, 2017

June 13, 2017 - It's complicated.

Not sure if I climbed "Bloc Os" in Roche aux Sabots correctly here.
The description "In the middle of the face between red n°26 and Le Faux Bidoigt / Les Yeux. Start with the pocket right hand and exit to the left of the bidoigts." isn't really clear when you stand in front of it.
There are two obvious pockets, out of which one is a bidoigt. Now which one should I take? Is there another bidoigt somewhere that I have to stay left of? Are the pockets also the bidoigts, out of which one isn't?

The more I thought of it, the more I complicated the situation, so I climbed the most logical line I could think of according to the description.
It felt soft for the grade, but quite close maybe.

*** EDIT *** it turns out not to be "Bloc Os", but some variation on "Bloc Housse". The drawn lines on the picture on bleau.info make it all clear now *** EDIT ***

Fontainebleau - Roche aux Sabots - NOT "Bloc Os"!


Monday, June 12, 2017

June 12, 2017 - Beginners fault.

It was hot today, but I hadn't climbed in the weekend, so after diner when the temperature cooled down, I headed to Rocher Guichot.
Besides the lonely unrepeated wall up all the way up on the hill, there's only one 7A left that I hadn't done yet in the small area.

It was "Coin de Paradis", a small roof with a crack and a big move in the end (at least for the method that I know now).
It's a not so common style of climb for the area and even though I first started trying it five years ago, when we first moved here, I had never found my way up.
Somehow I had never felt really comfortable in it and I always ended up stuck at the edge of the roof, not knowing what to do next. No matter what I tried, the holds were always too far away.
Until I saw a video of Cyrille (Duval) climbing it with a big dyno to a small jug in the upper edge of the roof.

Even with the beta in my head, it took me a while to feel enough at ease in the roof to try the jump.
Slowly I started to feel more comfortable and with every try I got closer to the final jug... and then I made a beginners fault.
I made it to the jug but with my fingers just barely over the edge of it I should have let go. Instead, I held on, started swinging, lost grip on the jug and fell backwards down to the ground.
Luckily it was on the crashpad, but it was a high fall for the body to take.

I didn't cry though, but picked myself up, tried again and topped it out.
It's not because of the fall, but this felt hard for the grade.
A great and special problem though!

Fontainebleau - Rocher Guichot - Coin de Paradis 7A


Wednesday, June 7, 2017

June 07, 2017 - The concert.

In October 2016, I allowed my oldest son, Anthony, to buy a ticket a ticket for the concert of Ariana Grande in Paris on the 7th of June 2017. Today.
The plan was that he would go with a friend and his parents so transport and everything was arranged.
Last week however, his friend had to cancel due to circumstances and the girl who was going to buy his ticket wasn't allowed anymore following the recent attacks in London.
This left Anthony the day before yesterday with a ticket but nobody to go with.
I knew that was looking forward to that concert for such a long time and I was able to take a holiday for today on very late notice.
Of course he was excited that he could go to the concert now but I don't know who will be more annoyed. Me being surrounded by screaming teenagers on a concert of Ariana Grande, or Anthony being there with his dad.

Anyway, I could have taken only half a day off, but I took the morning too so I could mentally prepare in the form of some climbing.
I did so in Roche aux Sabots, close to home.

I started with some very good attempts in "Sale Gosse". A few times I had my hand full on the top sloper, but wasn't able to stick it yet.
Getting close though.

To let my skin rest, I repeated "Smash", but this time without touching the tree.

Fontainebleau - Roche aux Sabots - Smash 7B




I then moved to "Autochtone", a 7A that I wasn't able to do yet, despite trying it a few times.
Getting into a stable position for the dyno is the hard part.
Once stable, it's only a small jump.
Don't know why it didn't give me any problems this time.

Fontainebleau - Roche aux Sabots - Autochtone 7A




The crowd was starting to arrive and I called it a day. I had to prepare to go to Paris anyway.

Monday, June 5, 2017

June 05, 2017 - Surf's up!

I have been only a few times in Apremont Bizons and had not yet seen the few spread out boulders that were opened in 2013.
One of these boulders is the one with "Le Surfeur d'Argent", a beautiful looking half hanging boulder at about 150m from blue n°12 according to the published mini topo.
The ferns were already over 2m high there and what started with carefully trying to slalom in between them to avoid touching them too much, became a not giving a fuck anymore straight forward march, trying to find the boulder, thinking that the amount of ticks I will probably cary with me is a problem for later.
It was hard to see through them and the boulder could be at any time at only 5m away, but I wouldn't even be able to see it anyway.

After a long search, I gave up and tried to find out what the shortest way to the main area would be.
I saw a small sector of low boulders and decided to have one last look in the descent behind them.
The boulder was right there! I could finally start climbing.

I started with working out "Silver Héraut", which turns out to have a very hard shoulder move to a far bidoigt left hand.
Even after fixing the bidoigt, you still need to move very subtle to not loose the balance.
A great line!

Fontainebleau - Apremont Bizons - Silver Héraut 7B




"Le Surfeur d'Argent" starts the same, but instead of going for the bidoigt on the left, you have to match both hands on the slopey rail and slap to a bad sloper far right.
It's hard on compression at the end of this version, but it fits more my style.
I didn't find this harder than "Silver Héraut", but this probably depends on your height.
Another great line and definitely worth the search.

Fontainebleau - Apremont Bizons - Le Surfeur d'Argent 7B+




I didn't discover any tick so far!

Sunday, June 4, 2017

June 04, 2017 - Not mainly about bad luck.

My colleague and good friend Harco (De Man) was here this weekend, for the third time being here mainly for climbing again.
He arrived Friday in the afternoon and his bad luck started with showers of rain, limiting the possibilities for some climbing.

We started at Éléphant where we were able to do the 6A "Les Bossettes du Lépreux". A good one mover to test your mantle skills.
After being chased away by the rain, we fled to the big roof of "Splatch" in Éléphant Ouest to keep on climbing at least something.
There, Harco showed his gym climbing skills by perfectly climbing the 7A+ "Équivogue" up to the lip of the roof where it was soaking wet.
I'm sure that if it would have been dry, he would have topped it!

Saturday, we were lucky to have dry weather in the morning and after having seen Harco's gym climbing skills, I took him to try "Vis-à-Vis" in Rocher des Souris. Another problem that is well appreciated by most gym climbers.
Also there he was able to climb the problem in two parts, but linking both with the crux will need another session.

After trying some more harder problems for Harco, he needed a break and we ended up at number 36 of the white circuit to do something easier.
On his first go, he missed a hold, jumped off and badly sprained his ankle when coming down on the crashpad.
When we arrived home, his ankle was heavily swollen and we both knew that his climbing was over for the weekend.
On top of that, he dropped his smartphone, upon which the screen became a disco light, making the device useless.

In the evening, while Harco stayed immobilised on my couch, I took Anthony (my oldest son) and a friend of him to the festival Retour aux Sources on the hippodrome of Le Grand Parquet in Fontainebleau.
We wanted to the see the finals of the Rock Tour bouldering competition and the concert of local reggae band "Fundé" afterwards, but upon arrival, we found out that the concert had been cancelled and the finals delayed until noon the day after due to the rain. Bummer!

This morning the weather looked great, but Harco, barely being able to walk, left back home.
Me, before going back to the Retour aux Sources festival to see a part of the finals, I stopped at Apremont Ouest to try "L'Arcadia (assis)" in the same small sector of "Albator".

"L'Arcadia" is a wall with only slopers and the standstart alone is good for 6C+(7A).
The sitstart adds a couple of hard and explosive moves to make it a 7B(7A+), even though for me it felt more like a 7A+.
I could have done it from second attempt if only I would have gone and have a look where the upper holds are.

Fontainebleau - Apremont Ouest - L'Arcadia (assis) 7B(7A+)




The finals were nice to watch, but after seeing the first two problems, I felt more like climbing myself instead of watching others doing it.
With the long weekend and the first day of dry weather, most areas were crowded, but I didn't feel like walking too far and stopped at Rocher de la Reine.
I wanted to repeat "Plumes au Vent (assis)" for the video. Back in 2009 it was one of my first twenty 7A's and I thought it would be a quick job.

I needed over half an hour and many many tries before I was able to find my method again.
It felt very hard in 2009 and it still did now.
For me this one is well worth 7A+, but then again, the start is quite my anti-style.
Still a nice problem though, a classic of the area!

Fontainebleau - Rocher de la Reine - Plumes au Vent (assis) 7A(7A+)


Thursday, June 1, 2017

June 01, 2017 - Expose yourself.

With still 29°C at 19h this evening, it was way too hot to try "Lamia-San", even though I wanted to, because I had liked to test my new shoes on it.
I did have a look at it though, when I walked by it to have another look at "Tao Pai Pai" on a big boulder 30m further.
"Tao Pai Pai" is also opened by Grégoire (Thibault), and just like when he opened "L'Architecte Trismégiste", there stands a meter high leftover of what once a tree. One on which you don't want to fall on or it might penetrate you from below and come out through your mouth again.
That's why I only had a look at it a few times, but never had the guts to start trying it.

This evening was different.
I definitely wanted to climb in the shade and didn't want to drive longer than five minutes, so it probably helped as a motivation to try "Tao Pai Pai" as it fulfilled my requirements.
At first I had no idea how to climb it and thought that the pockets had to be avoided, but as soon I started trying, I figured out that the difficulty was in the first moves.
It's an arete, but actually, you climb it like a prow with hard compression on very bad slopers.
Once you are able to reach the first pocket, you will be glad to get a hold of it.

A great line, very exposed, but once you get used to it, it's not that bad after all.
It will probably never become a popular boulder though.

Fontainebleau - La Ségognole - Tao Pai Pai 7B


Wednesday, May 31, 2017

May 31, 2017 - The day before June.

Yesterday evening I updated my beta in "Lamia-San" by adding another small foot movement that makes my preparation for the final move to the top slightly better.
My body comes into a better position to hold on to a bad undercling and making the final move.
A couple of times my hand was full on the top sloper, even too far up.
It has become a matter of deadpointing the dyno onto the first 10 cm of the top sloper. Further away it just gets worse and nearly impossible to hold after such a violent move.
I'm getting really close to sending it now.

I have already noticed that after a good session in "Lamia-San", that it's better to do something different the day after.
My choice for today was "Albator" in Apremont Ouest.
At the start of the area and at the bottom of the hill, it's located in a small chaos of boulders, unpopular because of being overshadowed by the main area at barely 50m.
Agreed, it dries slowly there, but it's a quite shady sector, so recommended on warm sunny days like today.

All in all it took me about twenty minutes to complete, but I probably would have done it quicker if the temperature was ten degrees lower.
It all comes down to sticking the very bad sloper right hand in the middle of the overhang, which is not that convenient with this heat and sweaty hands.
Probably more like 7A+, but definitely a fun relatively unknown problem to do. Hidden in plain sight.

Fontainebleau - Apremont Ouest - Albator 7B(7A+)




By the way, there's nothing special about the day before June. It's just what today happened to be.

Friday, May 26, 2017

May 26, 2017 - Big brother.

After I did "Abriroc (gauche)" yesterday evening, I had worked out some of the moves of its big brother "Abriroc" but didn't do an attempt because of my fingers being too wrecked.
After doing some household jobs in the morning, I decided to go back Bois des Hauts de Milly before the real heat would start.
It was already 11h30 when I arrived at the boulder but being in the shade the heat was still bearable and I started repeating the crux moves to see if they would still go.
They weren't a problem separately, but to link them all up, I had to slightly change my method.

I was glad that I was able to more or less cruise my way to the top from my first real attempt, because there are a lot of physical moves with still a small crux at the top.
This really is a beautiful line with great moves!

When I looked at the video later, I was amazed by the perfect blue sky above me.

Fontainebleau - Bois des Hauts de Milly - Abriroc 7B(7B+)




The rest of the day was spent under this blue sky, playing water games with the kids.
At least I made them think that washing my car was a special water game.
We had fun, all got wet and this time we went for a real swim in the river that already felt warmer than yesterday. Or maybe that was because of the bunch of kids who were playing in the water a bit upstream?

Forecast has slightly changed. Now they're announcing up to 37°C on Sunday!

Thursday, May 25, 2017

May 25, 2017 - Hot time, Summer in the forest!

It's going to be hot at least until Sunday. Hot in the form of up to 33°C on Sunday.
Today I saw the temperature reach 28°C and even this morning around 10h it was even starting to get hot in Éléphant Nord.
I couldn't top anything but worked out the first moves of "Fat Teddy's Drop".

In the afternoon it was way too hot to climb, so I met up with Bram (Honorez), his girlfriend Ruuth, Jan (de Smit), his girlfriend Nataleigh, and Thierry (Hardy) for a short swim in the river in Grez-sur-Loing.
The river is still very cold this time of the year and we didn't do very much swimming, but most of us did get wet. My hair was even wet.
The others decided to go to the shady area Mare aux Corneilles and I went home to light up the BBQ and eat with the family.

It was still hot when we were finished eating, but I had a boulder in mind that was definitely going to well in the shade. "Abriroc" in Bois des Hauts de Milly.

I had tried "Abriroc (gauche)" already a couple of times, but never could get past the first two moves.
It seemed that I had always trying it with wrong beta, because after I changed it a bit, I was able to struggle my way to the top.
I found this quite hard for the grade. It felt more like a solid 7A+, or maybe it was because of the heat?

Fontainebleau - Bois des Hauts de Milly - Abriroc (gauche) 7A


Tuesday, May 23, 2017

May 23, 2017 - Doing it right.

As some of you might have read, I had updated Sunday's post with the notion that we indeed started incorrectly in "Anak".
Maybe it was because of our soar from climbing fingers hurt so much that day, but I remember that Bram, Pieter and me found the lower start way too hard for the proposed grade.
Or maybe we didn't try hard enough?
This evening on my way home, I decided to stop at Cuvier Bellevue again to try to figure out what it was that we overlooked.

It was even warmer than Sunday and even though the boulder was mostly in the shade, the top slopers had been in the sun for a long time and felt warm, meaning much less friction.
Despite that, it only took me a handful of tries before I was able to topout from the correct conventional start.
For me it only made the first move a bit annoying because of not being able to see the next hold while sitting down.

It didn't feel more difficult, but that can also be thanks to the rest day yesterday.

Fontainebleau - Cuvier Bellevue - Anak 7A+




After diner I went back to "Lamia-San".
On my last session I got a bit demotivated because I wasn't able to get to the point anymore from where the last move starts.
Now my first tries were the same, but before I became demotivated again, I decided to have a closer look ... again ... and just slightly changed my method.
The new method adds a small extra move for the feet, but it seemed to work and I found myself on the same point again as in my best attempt but slightly more relaxed.
After also slightly my body position while preparing for the last dynamic move to the top, I was finally able to reach over it, slapped the top sloper with my full hand, hung on for a second, but slid off.
Some other attempts after that were more or less the same, but there is progress again.
No send yet, but totally motivated again!