Friday, October 13, 2017

October 13, 2017 - Quick jump style.

I didn't have a lot of time after work, but I stopped at Franchard Isatis to try "Kangaroo City".
One huge dyno, so no losing time working out many moves. Just one big one.
I had never tried it before, because it simply looked too hard.
After watching some videos, I noticed the high foot placement and it suddenly looked possible.

It was crowded for a Friday evening at Isatis, which didn't make me feel completely at ease, but after a few tries, I started to get focussed.
Soon after, barely ten minutes later, I got the edge, took the swing and topped out.

Huge dyno with a big swing, very nice, but not as hard as I thought it would be.

Fontainebleau - Franchard Isatis - Kangaroo City 7B+(7B)




Having done "Kangaroo City" much faster than I expected and as I seemingly was in a good shape for dyno's, I walked on to use the remaining time trying "Une Explosion de Bonheur".
Also a big dyno, but this time from an undercling that is mostly humid.
Only once before I had been able to grab the edge, but fell off the swing. But that was long ago.

Now, the undercling was quite dry, it took me only a handful of tries to finish it off.

Fontainebleau - Franchard Isatis - Une Explosion de Bonheur 7B


Wednesday, October 11, 2017

October 11, 2017 - Got the treasure!

On Wednesdays, my oldest son, Anthony, has music class in Milly-la-Forêt from 17h until 19h15, and as I eat later with him on these days, I have some time for climbing before it gets dark. Even though that will not be possible anymore soon when the days are shortest.

As I had already mentioned before a couple of times, I had spent some short half hour sessions in "Rubis sur l'Ongle" and now that I had some more time, I wanted to take an easier and slower approach and rest in between tries.

It seemed that the approach had helped or I must have been in good shape, because merely twenty minutes later I was able to top it out.
My knees were a bit shaky, but hey, I made it.

Very glad to finally tick this beautiful classic off!

Fontainebleau - Gorge aux Châts - Rubis sur l'Ongle 7B+


Sunday, October 8, 2017

October 08, 2017 - A good choice.

It rained quite a lot during the night and in the morning everything was still soaking wet.
The sky looked grey and there wasn't much wind, so the expectations of drying quickly were very low.
I used the time to clean the house and by the time I was done, Pieter sent me a message that he was awake.
We met at the Hippodrome de la Solle, where he spent the night, and took some time to decide where to go given that everything still looked wet.
One of the quickest drying areas that I know is Coquibus Grandes Vallées, which I suggested to Pieter who liked the idea.

It turned out that we weren't the only ones that came up with that idea, because we ended up with a small crowd that consisted of me, Pieter, our good Suisse friend Markus (Neher) and his wife Kathy (sorry if I misspelled it), the owner of the well known gite "The House" in Tousson (I know how to pronounce his name, but have no idea how to write it, sorry) and later another friend whose name I didn't get joined too.
That quickly makes a crowd in the small area on top of the hill, but it was a nice bunch and we had some fun.

Pieter and I warmed up in "Moonira", which I did pretty fast.
Pieter did it too, but needed some more time.

Fontainebleau - Coquibus Grandes Vallées - Moonira 7A




Now, there seems to be some confusion around "Moonira" and "Terrain Miné", so we did what seemed most logical for all of us.
It all felt correct for the grade in any case.

Fontainebleau - Coquibus Grandes Vallées - Terrain Miné 7A




Markus still finished "L'Étroit Mousse, plus Bas que Terre", followed by me immediately after.
Just before I had also repeated "En Dessous de Tout" in which Pieter hurt his finger pretty bad.

We said goodbye to the nice bunch and lowered 10m down the hill to the boulder of "Le Boy Cote des Nains".
A lot of nice lines on that boulder, but most of them are too exposed to safely try alone, so it was nice that Pieter was there.

We started with "Jeu de Mot Laid".
It took us a while to find a good method, but the mantle into the wall felt so scary that I wanted to give up after a couple of times jumping off because of fear of falling on that small square boulder almost directly below me. (Go look at it, you will understand what I mean)
After a small break, I gathered my courage and gave it an ultimate try.
I pulled through, being scared as hell, I got the humid edge just when my left hand slipped off the small crimp.
It was one of the scariest things that I ever did in the forest. Especially the top part of the boulder being covered with green, humid, slippery moss.

Fontainebleau - Coquibus Grandes Vallées - Jeu de Mot Laid 7B




After some thinking and trying, I also found the method for "Le Boy Cote des Nains", that stays left of the arete.
Some very nice climbing with again a scary moment standing up on the slopey ledge, pulling only on a bad slopey arete, trying to reach for the edge high up. Again directly above that small square boulder.
Pieter tried a lot in both, found his method too, but the energy was gone.

Fontainebleau - Coquibus Grandes Vallées - Le Boy Cote des Nains 7A+




It was a good weekend and we made the good choice going to Coquibus Grandes Vallées.
When we arrived at the car, a climber asked if it was dry where we came from, because apparently, even in Gorge aux Châts it was still mostly wet and not possible to climb.
Thanks again to Pieter for the good spotting!

Saturday, October 7, 2017

October 07, 2017 - Loosening up.

After all that stress from work lately, I was really glad to finally have a complete day available for climbing again and on top that, the weather was going to be beautiful!
I knew that Pieter was around and just when I arrived at the isolated boulder of "Mickey Mousse" in Les Béorlots he sent me a message that he just woke up and would join me there soon.

While waiting, I took my time as I was on a perfect isolated spot in a beautiful part of the forest, and was able to do "Jour de Pluie", which felt more like 7B to me.
I had tried it on previous visits, but never found enough courage to really go for it as the landing is quite scary and the boulder is relatively high.
Somehow, now I felt more confident and worked my way through.

Fontainebleau - Les Béorlots - Jour de Pluie 7A+(7B)




Pieter arrived too and together we started trying "Mickey Mousse" of which the first moves are easy, but as soon a you need to pass over the big bowl it becomes really hard until the end.
It took us a while before we figured out a working method, but even when I was able to top it out, it had felt like I could have fallen off with each move.
Really glad having done "Mickey Mousse", which took me several sessions and feels really hard for the grade.

Fontainebleau - Les Béorlots - Mickey Mousse 7B




It didn't really work out well for Pieter, who hurt his foot with a bad fall while warming in "Don't take the Bonsaï", but before moving on to another boulder, we still tried "Little People" next to "Jour de Pluie".
It was a hard struggle, but in the end I made it to the top. Not an easy one!

Fontainebleau - Les Béorlots - Little People 7A+




Arriving in the main area, I wanted to try "Dunk!" while Pieter took a small break and ate some bread with ham.
"Dunk!" doesn't look that hard and the dynamic move is not very far, but the compressing position just before makes it a sketchy hard move.
I was glad to finish it on time, because that compression took a lot of energy.

Fontainebleau - Les Béorlots - Dunk! 7B




We still had some desperate tries in the 7B "Dérivation (assis)", afterwards Pieter beautifully flashed "74% de Cacao", which I was also able to repeat on my first attempt, and we ended with having some fun in "Purée de Noisettes" which I was almost able to repeat again, but had to give up due to lack of energy.
I was down and out, but felt all loosened up and there was no stress anymore.
Exactly what I needed!

Friday, October 6, 2017

October 16, 2017 - Terror alert!

Almost two weeks have gone by since my last post. Not that I didn't climb at all, but due to travel, a hectic and very stressful period at work, less and less daylight, I had only been able to climb a few quick but good sessions in mainly "Rubis sur l'Ongle" in Gorge aux Châts and one short session in "Global Terrorist" last Friday.
Also the weather hasn't always been very cooperative the last weeks which made the chances of climbing even more scarce.

I felt exhausted and a bit shaky due to stress when I parked at Cuvier after work today, but as soon as I started walking with crashpad on my back, smelling the forest in the last hours of sunlight, I started to disconnect from work and began to relax slowly.

It's a bit strange to see that "Global Terrorist" only has 13 registered ascents on bleau.info, given that it's located in the heart of Cuvier on the very popular boulder with "Le Biceps Mou".
It is on a very shady part of the boulder though and the line dries slowly, so that's probably one of the reasons.

It took me two short sessions to finish it even though today it didn't feel that hard. It must have been the stress that got canalised to find it's way out.
Only 15 minutes of climbing today, but I felt relaxed again.

Fontainebleau - Cuvier - Global Terrorist 7B


Sunday, September 24, 2017

September 24, 2017 - Lady of the Lake.

I had planned to do some work at home, but also to profit from the cooler temperature in the morning to try "Lady of the Lake" in Cuisinière Crête Sud again.
It was the last problem that I had tried yesterday afternoon, but the big undercling to start with under the roof was very humid and each time I arrived right hand on a very bad sloper with humid fingertips, making it greasy after some time until it became impossible to pull on it for the far move left hand.

This morning, the boulder still felt cold from the night before and the friction on the key sloper was nearly perfect.
I had been able to do all the moves yesterday, and being fresh and ready for it, I felt confident.
Besides, as the undercling under the roof was big enough, I decided to use my towel between my hands and the still wet hold. Bummer that I didn't think of that yesterday.
At least now I could arrive with dry fingers on the crux sloper.
My only concern was camera placement.

En route to Cuisinière in the morning.


Due to the still quite low sun and the tight spot, I couldn't find a decent place to put the camera where it could capture the whole boulder without being blinded by the low sunlight.
I don't like to use my phone as a second camera, because it's always a fuss getting it onto my computer and the quality is different, but here I had no other option.
It's not the kind of problem that I would be able to do twice in a row. It felt too physical for that.
But hey, that was a problem for later, which is now actually already done, and it wasn't that bad after all.

"Lady of the Lake" was originally opened as a 7C, but has been downgraded to 7B in the meantime.
I do agree that it's not 7C, but it definitely felt like 7B+.
I'm surprised though that it only has 10 registered repeats, including mine.
It lies at only 3m from the oh so popular "Excalibur" and "Beatle Juice", that have 203 and 309 repeats respectively.
Maybe it's because of the starting hold being mostly wet? I don't know.
It definitely deserves more than the mere two stars it received on bleau.info. I really liked doing "Lady of the Lake"!

Fontainebleau - Cuisinière Crête Sud - Lady of the Lake 7B


Saturday, September 23, 2017

September 23, 2017 - Out of focus.

I felt a little tired after yesterday and I didn't feel like trying a particular project, so I went for a stroll in Cuisinière Crête Sud.
There was no pressure, but I definitely wanted to see "Hale Bopp".
When I was still living in Belgium, a big poster of someone doing "Hale Bopp", hung in the entrance of my regular bouldering gym 'Bleau' in Gent.
Every time that I looked at it, I just stood in awe.
What was once such a mythical dyno has now almost been forgotten, being in the shadow of the more popular and not so far away "Rainbow Rocket".

I was too tired to jump too much, so quickly I turned my attention to "Orion", on the arete just right of "Hale Bopp".
It barely seemed possible at first, but soon I figured it out and sent it.
Always nice to climb such an unknown barely repeated beauty!

Fontainebleau - Cuisinière Crête Sud - Orion 7B




On my way to "Lady of the Lake", I still was able to send "La Récréation" and "La Débonnaire" on my second and first attempt respectively.
I have no idea what happened with the focus, but for some reason, the camera decided to go out of it.

Fontainebleau - Cuisinière Crête Sud - La Récréation 7A




No 'out of focus' when flashing "La Débonnaire".

Fontainebleau - Cuisinière Crête Sud - La Débonnaire 7A(7A+)




I still had some really good attempts in "Lady of the Lake", next to "Excalibur" at the start of the area, but the sweating fingertips said 'no'.
I will go back for that one soon!

Friday, September 22, 2017

September 22, 2017 - Who's dick ?

It was around the start of Spring this year that I wanted to try "Moby Dick" for the first time, but besides doing the first move, I couldn't do anything because it was too wet.
I was, however, able to take a good look at it and I definitely wanted to come back for it one day.
Finally, today when driving home from work, I stopped at Cuvier Bellevue to try "Moby Dick" for real.

Apart from the starting hold that felt damp, the boulder was completely dry.
Somehow, I felt quite confident, but got stuck at the far move to the left. As long as my right foot was stuck in the starting pocket, I just couldn't reach that far big crimp.
The only option was to let go of my right foothook while doing the dynamic move to the left.

I only had to stick the dynamic move once to be able to finish it off. Barely twenty minutes after my first try.
"Moby Dick" felt quite soft for the grade, but on the other hand, it fits quite my style.
Beautiful line!

Fontainebleau - Cuvier Bellevue - Moby Dick 7C(7B+)


Wednesday, September 20, 2017

September 20, 2017 - In between.

Yesterday and the day before, I spent some good short evening sessions trying "Rubis sur l'Ongle" in Gorge aux Châts, but a couple of times I fell off the last move.
The many tries had made my arms and fingers tired, but I had some time for climbing this evening and went to Franchard Isatis to stroll around and try something easier in between.

I spent most of the time trying "Panzer", which I can do now in two overlapping parts, but the power lacked to do it completely from the start.
It feels really hard for its grade since a hold broke off one day.

My attention turned to "L'Entre-Toit (direct)" on the backside of the boulder of "El Poussah".
It wasn't until recently that I learned about it, even though having passed that boulder so many times already.
The slow drying roof looked and felt a bit damp, but dry enough and "L'Entre-Toit (direct)" looked so nice and tempting that I couldn't resist.
Not that, but a very nice climb! Quite special.

Fontainebleau - Franchard Isatis - L'Entre-Toit (direct) 7A


Friday, September 15, 2017

September 15, 2017 - Join the Dark Side.

It was together with Igor (Depoorter) and Klaas (Willems) back in April 2013 that I tried "Dark Side" for the first time.
Back then, the boulder was surrounded by trees and dense vegetation that did make it a darker spot of J.A. Martin.
It was the kind of boulder that dried very slowly due to its surroundings and orientation, and maybe that's why up to yesterday, it only had eleven registered ascents on bleau.info, out of which only three publicly and the last one being Ivan (Moreels) way back in 2009.

Ever since the big fire in the Summer of 2013, the boulder now lies mostly in the open on the of the hill, catching a lot of wind and thus drying quickly.
Despite that, it still barely had any known repetitions, most likely for it being so unknown.
But I'm guessing that that is about to change, because I'm quite sure that with a new video of "Dark Side" being published, it will draw some attention to it.

I can only recommend "Dark Side".
It does have a bad landing and I must admit that I was a little bit shaky when doing the last move, but it's simply a beautiful line. One waiting to be climbed.
Everybody come to the Dark Side!

Fontainebleau - J.A. Martin - Dark Side 7B(7A+)


Tuesday, September 12, 2017

September 12, 2017 - Proof of concept.

I had a short but nice evening session in Apremont Ouest.
The temperature's dropping, the wind made the air dry and I was all alone in the area.
It was a good moment to try "Sitting Bull". The one other time that I wanted to try it, I couldn't even get my ass off the ground.

Somehow, this time I didn't have much problems with it, but I soon realised that the actual crux for the original direct exit, is the mantle up.
I had seen more videos, however, of climbers topping out more to the right, and apparently on bleau.info the description mentions that the topout on the right is 7B, so I decided to go for that one instead. I didn't want to loose too much time figuring out the direct mantle up.

I haven't registered my ascent on bleau.info yet, but I have asked to create a separate page for the right exit version.
Registering my ascent on the original page and grading it 7B would do injustice to the direct 7C(7B+) version and grading it 7B+(7C) would do injustice to myself, so I think a separate page would be more logical.
Anyway, the exit on the right feels more like a 7B to me.

Fontainebleau - Apremont Ouest - Sitting Bull 7C(7B+)




With the time I had left, I wanted to try "Concept" again lower down the hill.
I had tried "Concept" quite a few times already, but always gave up fast because I couldn't find a way to move in it.
Also this time I really had some trouble finding the good body position and only made it just barely at the end.

The video can be played by the way. Youtube did something wrong when processing the thumbnail selection.

Fontainebleau - Apremont Ouest - Concept 7A


Sunday, September 10, 2017

September 10, 2017 - An unexpected finish.

Due to other priorities in the morning, it was already 13h when I parked at Franchard Isatis, and the conditions still looked pretty bad.
The weather wasn't as good as predicted and the skies stayed grey almost all day long, with some occasional drops of rain here and there.
Despite that, it was quite crowded, so I walked straight to the back of the area where I was all alone.

I tried some problems here and there, mostly had to give up due to too awful conditions, but ended up flashing "La Grisaille (direct)", which I can't give more than 6C(6C+). It went way too easy for 7A in my opionion.

Fontainebleau - Franchard Isatis - La Grisaille (direct) 7A




Being fed up with the bad conditions up there, I decided to make my way back to Franchard Hautes Plaines to check out the state of "Jambe de Bois", in which I have already spent at least three good sessions.
On my way, a Belgian from Liège who lives in Paris, asked me the way to "Cannonball".
As I was going to pass by that boulder anyway, I offered to bring him there.
Zachariah (I hope I spell this correctly) is his name, but "Zac" is easier.

We both started trying the original version, "Cannonball", at first, but when I noticed that I wasn't coming close enough, I switched to its easier version "Cannonball (droite)".
I had done it already several times, but this is just a fun dyno and always nice to try.
Still, it took me quite some tries before an attempt was successful again.
I still watched Zac for a while, saw him coming really close to sticking the dyno, but greeted him friendly again and continued my way to "Jambe de Bois".

Fontainebleau - Franchard Isatis - Cannonball (droite) 7A+(7A) (repeat)




To my pleasant surprise, the conditions on "Jambe de Bois" were not bad at all and when I gave it a first try, the surprise was even more pleasant when I noticed that the far dynamic move to the right was going much better than ever, and I started to hope for success.
From all the sessions that I already worked in it, I had never been able to stick that move yet and I knew that if I would do that one, my chances were high for finishing it.

After a few tries, I suddenly stuck the move and I got nervous.
I tried to focus, but when I was preparing for the last move, I had to think of a video from Ivan (Moreels), in which he fell off the last move and I hoped it wasn't going to happen to me.
My focus was so far gone though, that it did.

Luckily, after a short break, I was able to do the move again and work my way to the top, even though just barely.

Fontainebleau - Franchard Hautes Plaines - Jambe de Bois 7B+(7B)




On my way back I passed by "Cannonball" again, but Zac had already left.
I truly hope that he was able to finish it!

Saturday, September 9, 2017

September 09, 2017 - Weird grading.

Very unstable weather today.
My day was fully planned and I was glad that one of the things I had to do was cancelled.
At least it gave me a chance to profit from a dry period early afternoon to go for a vey quick climb in Gorge aux Châts.
I chose that area, because with the chance of rain any moment, I didn't want to go far.
In the area itself I didn't even bother going up the hill, but stayed at the bottom of it for a quick win and walked straight to number 9 of the blue circuit. I had read that the sitstart of it was graded 6C+(7A) and it had drawn my curiosity.

I wonder where they get the grade from, because this felt at most like a 6C(6C+).
Went down easily on my second attempt.

Fontainebleau - Gorge aux Châts - n°9 bleu (assis) 6C+(7A)




Right next to it, in the same nice overhang is red n°7, named "Multichnopps", and the sitstart of that one was supposed to be 6C+(6C). Even though the only registered repeater gave it 7A+.
It does indeed look much harder than the official proposed grade and I definitely wanted to try it.

This only took me three tries, but it felt much harder than the previous one and comes, to my opinion, closer to 7A.
Very cool problem despite its apparent unpopularity.
Deserves an upgrade to 7A, and if it does, it will get more attention for sure.

***EDIT*** In the meantime, "Multichopps (assis) has been correctly upgraded to 6C+(7A) ***EDIT***

Fontainebleau - Gorge aux Châts - Multichopps (assis) 6C+(7A)


Friday, September 8, 2017

September 08, 2017 - Horse on speed.

I had to be home at 18h this evening after work and as they announce rain for this evening and tomorrow, I definitely wanted to climb something on the way and thought of something that was on my trajectory. Close to the parking and most likely doable in a short amount of time.

Even though I had done "Crazy Horse" in Apremont Ouest already in 2011, it was one of the first boulders that came into my mind that fulfilled the above listed criteria and I didn't have it on video yet.
I felt quite convinced that I would be able to repeat it relatively fast, as long as it didn't start to rain.
The sky looked grey and I had seen some wet streets here and there on my way.
Luckily there was quite some wind too.

Like a horse on speed, I walked as fast as I could up the hill, didn't take the time to catch my breath and immediately started trying "Crazy Horse".
I didn't take any breaks in between the few tries I needed to repeat the problem, which is not one of the harder 7B's in the forest.
Straight away, I packed and again like a horse on speed I walked as fast as I could back to the car.
All in all, I had spent exactly nine minutes at the boulder.
If someone would have been watching me that whole time, he or she must have thought that I'm crazy.
But after all, a horse on speed must be a crazy horse!

Fontainebleau - Apremont Ouest - Crazy Horse 7B


Thursday, September 7, 2017

September 07, 2017 - The last line.

This evening I decided to try the last line that I still had to do on the boulder of "Misfits" in Roche au Four.
I had deliberately only tried one line per visit at the boulder so I would have plenty of reasons to come back to it.
After all, it's a beautiful and perfectly isolated boulder in a not much frequented part of Les Trois Pignons and at barely ten minutes walking from the parking of Le Croix Saint Jérôme.

The last line left for me to do was "Pleine Mesure". I wrote 'was', because it didn't take me very long to finish. Half an hour at most.
Not that it's soft or anything, but "Pleine Mesure" is basically a combination of "Misfits (direct)" and "Demi-Mesure", which I had already done in the past. The first one even very recently, so I still had the moves in me.
It was eventually the move into the slab of "Demi-Mesure" that took the most of the time, but not that it worried me.
I wouldn't have mind to come back for it on this beautiful spot.

A very nice (last) line!

Fontainebleau - Roche au Four - Pleine Mesure 7A+(7B)


Wednesday, September 6, 2017

September 06, 2017 - B-movie.

My oldest son Anthony was hit by a car when driving his bike in Le Vaudoué yesterday evening.
He apparently flew over the hood onto the ground, but luckily, besides some bruises and scratches and a hurting knee, he was fine.
Of course, he and his friend Sascha who was driving behind him, were shocked at first and despite the lady driver offering all kinds of help and giving our home phone number to her, he didn't note down the license plate, nor the contact details from the driver who promised to call the number he gave her later in the evening.
As nobody called yet by this morning, we had to go the Gendarmerie to file a complaint.
As it turned out at the Gendarmerie, the lady driver had reported to them already about what happened, because due to a miscommunication, she hadn't been able to reach me and had done everything possible to try to get news about Anthony.
I had a long and nice phone call with her and all things are settled out.
Of course, the most important thing is that everybody is alright. Anthony is walking around almost as normal.

Luckily I did find some little time for a quick climb, which I did in Franchard Hautes Plaines.
"Les Araignées de Mars" (The Spiders from Mars) sounds like it could be the title of some old Science Fiction Horror B-movie, but it's a much nicer line than I expected.
I wonder why I never tried it before.

Fontainebleau - Franchard Hautes Plaines - Les Araignées de Mars 7A+


Monday, September 4, 2017

September 04, 2017 - A round of applause.

Due to having to spend the weekend in Belgium, I wasn't able to climb, but it was a good opportunity to let my back recover a bit.

One of my sisters, Manon, and her boyfriend, Elias, are visiting on their way back from vacation, and I took them to "Bloc.fr" after dinner.
I had tried "Bloc.fr" once about a year and a half ago, but couldn't even do the first move on it and had somewhat forgotten about it.
Recently though, I saw a video of Thierry (Hardy) climbing it and it had drawn my interest again.

Manon and Elias don't climb (yet), but they wanted to see me climbing.
I warned them that probably I won't even top out anything during this mere half an hour of climbing and that chances even are that I won't even be able to do the first move.
Big was my surprise though when I suddenly stood on top of the boulder on my third or fourth try.

Great line! Quite physical moves at the start.

Fontainebleau - Franchard Hautes Plaines - Bloc.fr 7B


Thursday, August 31, 2017

August 31, 2017 - Testing, one, two.

Exactly two weeks ago today, I hurt my back really bad when doing the first move of "Misfits (direct)" in Roche au Four.
Even though I had done the first moves quite a few times already and even fell off the last move, it hadn't given me any real issues with my back until that time.
It hurt so bad that I had trouble walking back to the car and it took me at least ten minutes before I was able to sit down in it.

With the constant positive progress of the state of my back for some days in a row now, I couldn't resist and go back to try "Misfits (direct)" and put it to the test.
I knew it was risky, but I was confident that I wouldn't take it too far.

My first try was a careful one just to test how far I would be able to reach with my right hand.
It did still hurt too much, as did the far move to the bad sloper on the right near the top, but after testing some other methods, I found the one that hurt the least.
With each try, my back hurt less and less and when I topped out, I barely could feel a thing besides happiness thanks to standing there without pain.
Test passed if you ask me!

Fontainebleau - Roche au Four - Misfits (direct) 7A+(7B)


Tuesday, August 29, 2017

August 29, 2017 - Hidden in plain sight.

I must have walked next to that boulder maybe hundred times, but never noticed it.
I never expected such a relatively big nice boulder to be hidden behind all the smaller ones in that small area where the red "25 Bosses" path runs through.

Beautiful sunset at the "Canicula" boulder.


It was only when I was actually searching for it with Pieter last Saturday that I noticed it and did "Canicula (assis)" on it.
The plan back then, was to climb "Kinépaulée" too, but I had to give up fast because it was too much in the direct sun and the heelhooks were still hurting my back too much.
I still went back that evening to try it in the shade, but I couldn't do any move of it. My back was killing me and I was simply out of juice.

This evening it was still 29°C in the shade at 20h, but knowing that the boulder was in the shade and not far to walk to, motivated me.
The fact that they are predicting rain tomorrow and that my back is much better, helped too of course.
The boulder still felt warm because of sitting in the sun all day, but I had a feeling that it could go.

I needed some time to work out the moves up to the last one, but still then it was definitely not a give away.
Maybe it was because of the heat, but this felt hard for the grade and closer to 7A+.
It doesn't look that hard when looking at it, but it's not to be underestimated.
Beautiful line for sure in a beautiful, quiet evening setting!

Fontainebleau - Rocher de la Cathédrale - Étreinte (assis) / Kinépaulée 7A


Sunday, August 27, 2017

August 27, 2017 - Four in a row.

Yesterday evening, my back hurt a lot because of all the climbing earlier that day.
Sometimes I even had such short flashes of stunning pain that I feared the worst.
My wife however, who is a skilled and certified masseuse, massaged the stuck muscles in my back loose again and this morning when I woke I felt like a different person.
My back almost felt like normal again and there was nothing left from the pain I had yesterday evening.

I met Pieter again early afternoon on the parking of Rocher de la Reine.
We both had soar skin and muscles from the day before, but we were motivated. Especially me, without noteworthy back pain.
A big thunderstorm with a lot of rain early in the morning at around 7h, had made everything wet and the burning sun was making the air humid in the forest, so we walked all the way uphill to climb on some boulders that are more out in open, where the humid in the air dissipates faster.
Our reasoning seemed to be correct, because four of the five problems we had in mind were dry.

Pieter wanted to warm up in some blue ones, and me, motivated as I was, immediately turned my attention to "Le Dragon du Komodo".
After working out the moves on the prow, I pressed record and sent "Le Dragon du Komodo" on my first attempt from the start.

Fontainebleau - Rocher de la Reine - Le Dragon du Komodo (droite) 7A+




This had boosted my motivation even more, and after consuming the necessary amount of water in this heat, I sat down in "Boby (assis)", but couldn't reach the starting hold when sitting on the mini pad alone, hence the crashpad.
It went down on my second attempt, even though I hadn't noticed the good holds on the top that was covered with pine needles.

Fontainebleau - Rocher de la Reine - Boby (assis) 7A+




While I was taking a short break, Pieter had rejoined me and had started trying some of the lines on this nice piece of rock.
Unfortunately, Pieter was having a real "off-weekend" and wasn't able to finish anything despite some good attempts.
I, on the other hand, still managed to squeeze out and finish "Le Dragon du Komodo", which I definitely found harder than it's exit on the right. I didn't expect to still top this one out today.

Fontainebleau - Rocher de la Reine - Le Dragon du Komodo 7A+




Pieter called it a day after some more good attempts in "Le Dragon du Komodo" and with the half hour we still had left I was hoping to make it "four in a row" and attempted "La Porte du Temps" right next to it.
Easy start, but a damn hard and especially scary mantle!

Fontainebleau - Rocher de la Reine - La Porte du Temps 7A




When we were walking back to the parking, I still didn't have any pain and felt truly relieved.
I still can't climb to my full potential yet, because some movements still hurt a bit, but there is huge improvement to say the least. 

Saturday, August 26, 2017

August 26, 2017 - Summer 2.0.

My weather app and the French radio had announced a hot weekend and they were right.
When Pieter joined me to Rocher de la Cathédrale early afternoon, it was almost 30°C and standing in the sun for longer than a few seconds was almost unbearable.

Thanks to the precise directions I received from Bart (Van Raaij), we didn't have to look for the isolated boulder with "Kinépaulée", aka "Étreinte (assis)", but walked straight to it.
The boulder is at only 15m from the red "25 Bosses" trail, and much frequented by hikers and walkers, but it's a really nice spot with a great looking boulder that has a few lines on it.

Pieter started warming up in "Canicula" while I was trying "Kinépaulée" next to it.
I had to give up after about five minutes though, the line was directly in the sun, and climbing such a problem on warm rock made it nearly impossible.
I decided to join Pieter in the shade with "Canicula (assis)".

It took a while before finding a good method, but even with this method, it still felt the most like a 7A.

Fontainebleau - Rocher de la Cathédrale - Canicula (assis) 6C(7A)




After having spent almost an hour on that spot with little shade, we fled further into the Rocher de la Cathédrale area and ended up in the shade, trying "Love les Tartes".
We couldn't find out how to start besides with a crouching start, but still it felt like we trying at least a hard 7B.
Pieter couldn't move good in it today and I gave it many good tries until I was properly pumped and out of energy.

From there we went deeper into the shade to try "Bafana Bafana" up on the neighbouring hill.
The line goes through the roof of an old bivouac shelter and is a nice cool spot on hot Summer days like today.
We gave it many good tries too and both even fell on the last move to the lip.
We will come back for this one!

Friday, August 25, 2017

August 25, 2017 - Please be gentle.

Still recovering, but yesterday I felt that the bit of climbing I did the day before, actually had done good to my back. I could move better without pain, but I decided to give it another rest yesterday, just to be sure.
Today, I really wanted to climb. I needed it to channel away the stress from the past week at work.

Without wanting to force anything, I went to try "Le Mandarin (droite)" in Roche aux Oiseaux.
I remember that when I repeated "Le Mandarin (sans convention)" a couple of weeks ago, the first move to the sloper on the right, really hurt my back a lot, and now I wanted to try it's easier version to see how that move would feel now.
I wasn't going to overdo it, I was going to be gentle.

On my first try already, I could feel that there was still some pain, but not the same kind of pain and much less.
The more I gently practiced the move, the better it felt, even though there felt something ever present.
The crux is the same as for "Le Mandarin (sans convention)", letting go of the left foot without swinging too far.
The other moves felt like usual, but unwillingly I'm being much more careful.
Gentle  is the key.

Fontainebleau - Roche aux Oiseaux - Le Mandarin (droite) 7A+


Wednesday, August 23, 2017

August 23, 2017 - L5.

I have been out for almost a week due to bad back pain that was haunting me already for a few weeks from time to time.
Lately it had gotten worse however, and on some days I wasn't able to sit or lay down for a while.
Something felt completely stuck and started giving a severe cramp in my lower back.

After having had another pain attack last Sunday, I went to an emergency osteopath who did some tests and noticed that my "L5" was stuck and didn't move.
At first I was really surprised, because I didn't even know that I had an "L5", I didn't know what it looked like, let alone knew how it got stuck.
On the other hand, I felt somehow relieved, because if he knew what was wrong, he could probably fix it too.
I don't know how he did it, but he got my "L5" moving again somehow.
Instantly I was able to move better, but still had to watch out with certain movements for a couple of days.

Today, even though some specific movements still didn't feel completely right yet, I did go to Gorge aux Châts.
I didn't want to try anything too hard today already, but still I walked straight to "La Selle Orientale", a relatively new 7A on the boulder with "Un Franc du Kilomètre".
Carefully I tried the moves separately to make sure not to do an unexpected wrong move and hurt my back too much in the process.
Some of the most logical moves were too painful at first, but after a while, without forcing anything, my back got used to them more and more.
I still couldn't climb how I would have really wanted to, it felt a little bit sore, but at least I was climbing again.
I'm (more or less) back! (pun intended)

Fontainebleau - Gorge aux Châts - La Selle Orientale 7A


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.