Friday, December 8, 2017

December 08, 2017 - The next step.

Cuvier is, relative to driving distance from the office and walking distance from the car, the most beneficial area after work on a Friday when the office closes at 16h.
The drive is just under half an hour, leaving me with about half an hour of enough daylight left to climb comfortably this time of the year.
Well, comfortably is a bit of an overstatement considering time pressure to get something done, but it's better than nothing. Even ten minutes of climbing can be satisfying.

Last week when I did "La Bérézina", it had crossed my mind to also try "Bérézina-Carnage", but the boulder's best conditions were over and more people started to arrive, so in the end I didn't.
I did have the feeling however, that now I had done "Le Carnage", "Carnazina" and "La Bérézina", that "Bérézina-Carnage" would be a logical next step.
I knew all the moves, had done them all before in previous lines, so there wouldn't be too much time loss working it out. If only the conditions would be in favour.

My skin needed a few tries to get warmed up, but with each attempt, the friction seemed to become better.
After not climbing for a few days, the skin on my fingers becomes so thick that I can't feel any sensation of the friction, even when the conditions are good. It can be quite annoying sometimes.
Anyway, now it luckily didn't take that long to find the friction and to my big surprise I already topped "Bérézina-Carnage" after not even 20 minutes.
A beautiful line!

Fontainebleau - Cuvier - Bérézina-Carnage 7C+




Oh yeah, I've got a new stick.

Saturday, December 2, 2017

December 02, 2017 - There goes the stick.

After going to the S'cape outdoor shop in Fontainebleau this morning, I met Bram (Honorez), Pieter and Thierry (Hardy) at the hippodrome bivouac.
Everything was wet there and I proposed to go South to Buthiers, hoping for dryer conditions there.
Bram and his girlfriend Ruuth had some shopping to do and hadn't decided yet where to go after.
Thierry, who just woke up five minutes ago, agreed to join Pieter and I in Buthiers after his breakfast.

The boulders did look better in Buthiers, but to determine a plan, we first scouted around looking for the boulders in best condition.
By the time we had gone around, Thierry had arrived too and after a short warmup, we started off in "Contrôle A" in which we got necked by the last really far move.
The conditions were getting worse after each try, to the point where the holds started to look dark from the moisture and we had to move.

We moved to the nearby "Insistance" which I did last Monday already and repeated on my second attempt today.
Pieter had to go deep, but followed soon.
Thierry seemed to have trouble with his skin today, because he kept on slipping off those bad slopers.
I only had time left for one more problem, and proposed to try "Résilience" in Buthiers Tennis.
It was also unfinished business for Thierry, so he was up to it and following our description of the problem, Pieter was motivated for it too.

I had already spent three sessions in "Résilience", but always got stuck at the last move.
I can see the top slopey edge, it looks so nearby, and yet every time so unreachable.
It relieved me a bit to hear that Thierry had the same problem on that problem.
Actually, each time before I started my session on it, I stood before it having the impression that this doesn't look hard at all. But, oh boy, how I got punished with a lesson in humbleness.
Now was no different. Until I slightly changed my beta on Thierry's advice.

The new beta allowed me to be in a more comfortable position for the last move which still turned out to be the crux move.
Still when you think you have the edge it's possible to swing off when making the wrong move, which resulted in me crashing on my telescopic brush stick, breaking it in the process.
But I managed to finish it a short while later after all.
Pieter fell off the last move and Thierry still had too much trouble with skin and kept on slipping off.
For me, "Résilience" is one of the hardest 7A+'s that I have ever done, and might as well be a good 7B in my opinion.
Still, a very nice one!

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


Friday, December 1, 2017

December 01, 2017 - Seek shelter.

Just like in most places of the region, everything was covered under a thin layer of snow. Wet snow, because the temperature was just above 0°C and what was once snow had already started to melt.
I had planned to do some shopping in the Lidl supermarket of Saint-Pierre-Lès-Nemours and decided to stop in Larchant on my way.
Before taking the crashpad with me, I had a look around but found everything soaking wet of course.
Only the overhanging part of "La Barre Fixe" was dry, but its top holds were wet.
I doubted for a few seconds, but knowing that the last holds are quite good ones, I made up my mind and went back to the car to get the crashpad. At least I would be able to play around a little bit.

By the time I arrived at "La Barre Fixe" again, there was a mild drizzle mixed with half molten snow particles that were blown off the trees by the wind. But under that steep overhang it stayed dry, even though I could feel the cold humidity on my face.
I had to think of a video from Bram (Honorez) who did "La Barre Fixe (droite)" in mid-Summer, using a big tarp over the boulder as a shelter for the sun. I could have used it too this morning, but not for the sun.

I didn't let it bother me too much as I had already done "La Barre Fixe" on a crazy moment in 2008 when I had only started climbing in the seventh grade.
It took me about twenty minutes to find out the moving sequence that suited me most, but after that it didn't took long to reach the good jug. Static this time, I remember that in 2008 I did it more with a dyno.
I wasn't bothered by the wet holds on the top, but more worried about safely getting back down from the boulder in this wet and cold state.
Anyway, I climbed on and it turned out fine.

Fontainebleau - Éléphant - La Barre Fixe 7B+


Thursday, November 30, 2017

November 30, 2017 - Bad boy punished!

If I would make a video of all the times that I cruised through "Sale Gosse" but fell on the last move, it would probably fill up my computer's hard drive.
I had been trying it off and on over the last two years, each time comfortably making it up to the last move, the dyno. In last few sessions, my hand even reached over the slopey edge, but never managed to stick.
Believe me, I did try the static version with the slopey pinch right hand quite a few times too, but that method wasn't meant for me. I had to jump like most who have done it, or are trying to.

After what has been a very successful week up to now, I realised this morning that it might be a good time to return to the bad boy, the "Sale Gosse" as the French like to call it.
Like most other evenings this week, it had rained, but I was hoping that the conditions of the boulders would also be like most other days this week.
The ground was still really wet though, and this time I did have a look without the crashpad first to see if "Sale Gosse" would be dry, which it was.

Already from my first attempt, I easily climbed up to the dyno, jumped and slapped half of my hand over the slopey edge, but came off.
Nevertheless, the friction felt great and this first attempt was the best first attempt of any previous session I had on it before.
At that moment, I felt more confident than ever that the send would probably be today.
I didn't even feel the so called 'sending stress'. Most climbers will probably know what I mean with that.
Instead, I remained calm and focussed, gave it all I got with each try and most likely a slight bit more when the actual send came, accompanied by a scream of victory.
The bad boy is punished!

Fontainebleau - Roche au Sabots - Sale Gosse 7C


Wednesday, November 29, 2017

November 29, 2017 - Another classic.

It was still -1°C when I left for Cuvier at 9h in the morning. I had just finished scratching the ice of my windshield and it seemed to take forever for the condensed windows to clear up inside.
I left early, because I wanted to profit from the ice cold morning temperature to try "La Bérézina" (aka "L'Abbé Résina" in some topos).
It's one of the biggest classics of its grade for the area, but I had only spent some real time last Wednesday when the conditions started out good, but worsened quickly.
Even though it had rained last evening and the ground was still wet in most places, the skies had cleared up during the night, and when I came outside it was of those of days where you just feel it in the air that the boulders will be dry and in pristine conditions.
At that moment, I felt like the luckiest man on earth to still be in holiday.
I knew that I had to leave early though, because as soon as the sun would warm up the air, the icy frost would start melting and dripping from the trees, finding its way down on the boulders.

It felt freezing cold, but my fingers warmed up quickly on the slopers of "La Bérézina" that were stickier than I ever felt before.
The melting had begun however, and there was a constant ticking sound of drops falling from the big old oak tree onto the crashpad.
The boulder started dripping water, which was luckily guided by forces of nature, right in between the first two slopers.
Some slopers on the top were wet though, but after carefully marking where the dry spots were, I ended up finishing "La Bérézina" aka "L'Abbé Résina".

Fontainebleau - Cuvier - La Bérézina / L'Abbé Résina 7C


Tuesday, November 28, 2017

November 28, 2017 - Patience was a virtue.

It started raining heavily yesterday evening, and the last drops fell around 7h30 this morning.
Of course, everything was soaking wet, but around 10h the skies cleared up and allowed the sun to shine.
Despite that, our terrace out front (which is made of the same sandstone as the boulders in the forest) seemed be staying wet forever, and as I know by experience, the condition of that terrace is mostly a good indication of how dry the boulders are in some places.

I took a lot of time doing household and finally around 14h in the afternoon, the signs were starting to look in favour.
It's very unusual for me to leave that late, but this time I was extremely patient.
Still, after that long waiting, most of the streets were still wet and when I arrived on the parking of J.A. Martin, I even doubted to go have a look at the boulders without crashpad first.
It still looked wet, but knowing that the sector with "L'Étrave" dries really quick, I took the crashpad anyway to avoid having to come back for it.
In the worst case, the walk would have been only a bit heavier.

The only reason I wanted to try "L'Étrave (assis)", was because that I knew it's in of the quickest drying sectors in the forest, which increased my chances for climbing.
I expected at least the big undercling to be still wet, but I was very pleasantly surprised to see that the boulder was completely dry and felt in very good condition!

I had done the standing start only a few weeks ago, so as I still had that sequence in my head, I immediately started working the moves from the sit to the stand. Which took me only a couple of minutes by the way. The friction was great!
Already after a handful attempts, I fell off the last move and I decided to take a five minute break.

On the first try after my short break, I executed all the moves perfectly and used the friction to take my time for every move.
The sitstart doesn't add very much difficulty to the standstart, but the move to the undercling is much more powerful and requires a lot of body tension.
All in all, a superbe five star problem according to me!

Fontainebleau - J.A. Martin - L'Étrave (assis) 7C




On the way back to the car I kept on thinking that patience really did help this time. It was a virtue.
I also couldn't resist turning around and look back at the beautiful hill with the sector "L'Étrave".

Sector "L'Étrave" (J.A. Martin) on the top of the hill in the middle of the picture.

Monday, November 27, 2017

November 27, 2017 - Conditional luck.

I was away last weekend and I was disappointed to see that everything was wet when I arrived back home late yesterday evening.
With still one week of holiday left, I was hoping for good conditions.
This morning, it looked more or less dry and there was no fog, but a freezing cold mild wind, which was a good sign.
I got the feeling that I might be lucky today, and left to Buthiers Piscine with my mind set on "Dosage".

Upon arrival, I immediately noticed the dry state of the boulders and with a temperature of a mere 4°C, the conditions were close to perfect.
I only needed four attempts to get into the good position for the far move to the pocket that looked way too far. Still, I went for it, stretched out and grabbed it. Now I had to stay calm to finish it off.
I didn't know what to do at first, but remembered a pocket high up right.
It was barely, but I could reach it and climb on to the top.

Fontainebleau - Buthiers Piscine - Dosage 7C




Before meeting up with Stef (Jacobs) again in Franchard, I made a quite quick ascent of the nearby "Insistance", taking the advantage of the good friction on the bad slopers on the top of it.
Even with such good conditions, sometimes extra cleaning is required.

Fontainebleau - Buthiers Piscine - Insistance 7A(7A+)




I could see "Les Monos", in the Buthiers Tennis sector, from where the car was parked, and couldn't resist trying to repeat it for the video.
I needed quite some time for it, when I did it back in 2013, but now it went from my first attempt.

Fontainebleau - Buthiers Tennis - Les Monos 7A




Stef had told me on the phone that he wanted to try "Boule de Nerfs" in Franchard Isatis, which gave me the occasion to finally try "Alta" right next to it.

I arrived at "Alta" before Stef and didn't wait to give it some test tries already.
I used the beta that I remembered seeing on a video on bleau.info and already after my first attempt, I felt that this could be something for me.
When Stef arrived about five minutes later, I wanted to show him the method I was trying and suddenly, beyond all expectations, topped it out after a total of a handful of tries.
The conditions were amazing!

Fontainebleau - Franchard Isatis - Alta 7C




While Stef was preparing to start in "Boule de Nerfs", I used the occasion to quickly repeat it for the video.
It went down on my second attempt, just like the first time when I did it in 2011.

Fontainebleau - Franchard Isatis - Boule de Nerfs 7A+(7A)




Stef came really close to sending "Boule de Nerfs" and even fell off at the last move, but he will have to come back for it as he had to drive back home to Belgium.
He didn't mind though as he did "L'Angle Ben's" the day before.

Thursday, November 23, 2017

November 23, 2017 - Out of energy.

I met up with Stef (Jacobs) and his friend Diet at bivouac of the hippodrome where they had spent the night.
Yesterday, I agreed to join them going to Cassepot where Stef wanted to try "Double Axel" in Roches Grises and "Nicotine" in Roches Oranges.
I didn't mind trying to repeat "Double Axel" again, and I hadn't done "Nicotine" yet, so I was in the game.

I was able to repeat "Double Axel" after a handful of tries and took a short break while Stef slowly but steadily made good progress.
He threw in the towel though, but we knew that we could stop here again on the way back and continued up the hill to "Nicotine".

It's a straight up wall with barely holds on it, opened by crimp master Philippe Le Denmat, with a tiny razor sharp crimp for the right hand.
It almost comes down to how much pain you are willing to endure to make it to the top.
With only seven registered repetitions, including mine, not many have felt like it, if they could reach of course. It is quite morpho.
Painful, but very nice! It was a good thing for my fingers that it only took three tries!

Fontainebleau - Cassepot Roches Oranges - Nicotine 7A+(7A)




While Stef worked a bit longer in "Nicotine", I started trying "Opportunity" on the nearby boulder of "Get On Up".
"Opportunity" starts deep under the roof with the left hand on the pedestal, then you have to make some annoying moves with foot locks for both feet, trying not to touch a small rock underneath your back, all quite morpho too, until you reach the start of "Get On Up" and exit straight above with some bad sloper sidepull's.

I managed to work out the sequence into the start of "Get On Up" quite fast, but it felt like annoying fiddling around.
It was when I started working out the second sequence, from the start of "Get On Up" and the exit above, that I quite liked this shortened version of "Opportunity" and decided to make a video of that sequence only.

That sequence alone took me at least half an hour to work out and is very hard on itself, much harder than the first sequence of the lower start.
I only noticed it at home when I wanted to export the video, that the battery of the camera was completely out of energy.
Luckily it had still captured the most important part. I should have played on the lottery today!

Fontainebleau - Cassepot Roches Oranges - Opportunity (raccourci) 7B(7B+)




Stef had started working in "Spirit of Cadeau" in the meantime, but after many attempts, he also was running out of energy and we made our way back to "Double Axel" down the hill.
The walk down served as a good rest, because while Stef was making very good progress in "Double Axel" again, I was able to do a quick repeat of its sitstart "Triple Axel".
I only needed a handful of tries, but they were enough to leave me out of energy again.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

November 22, 2017 - Immortal.

When you think about it, we are all becoming immortal in some way and all that thanks to the internet.
Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, etc..., even this blog all contribute to our immortal presence throughout the world.
Traces of all of the above will be kept and cached somewhere as long as the internet exists.
But, anyway, I'm only mentioning that because I finally did "L'Immortel" today and thought the subject of immortality would fit with it.

Having a holiday, and as there's no school vacation, I thought it would be a good idea to go to Cuvier today.
The weather was announced to be sunny all day, so already at 9h in the morning, I started my warmup to profit from probably the best conditions of the day. I wanted to try "La Bérézina", so I needed them.

I warmed up having fun with the good old tree in front of "Le Carnage"...


And in "Coton Tige"...

Fontainebleau - Cuvier - Coton Tige 7A(6C+)




I spent over an hour trying "La Bérézina", and even though the conditions were looking good, the friction wasn't that good, it wasn't sticky enough.
I could easily reach the first sloper, but as soon as I applied pressure on it, I started slipping. It was quite frustrating.

Stef (Jacobs) suddenly turned up and I showed him where to find "La Gaule", of which I gave the sitstart some good tries.
I could get passed the start of the standing start, but the shady left side of the boulder didn't stick enough to do some valuable tries.

Looking for better conditions, I walked to Cuvier Ouest on the top of the hill, where the boulders catch more wind.
The conditions were indeed much better there and once again, I definitely wanted to try "L'Immortel".
Probably my tenth session on that very difficult dyno.
Finally, after what might be over 100 tries in total of all sessions spent on it, I was able to finish it off.
This felt really hard for me, despite being it totally my style.
Once opened as a 7A+, upgraded to 7B, to me it felt like a good 7B+!

Fontainebleau - Cuvier Ouest - L'Immortel 7B




Back down in Bas Cuvier, noticed that the starting pocket of "Pain against Gravity" was dry for once and I put on my climbing shoes.
I felt like I still had something in me and those short explosive problems seem to suit me well mostly.
After a couple of tries I realised where the name came from and had to tape in my whole right ring finger to help me withstand the pain when pulling up hard on the small two finger pocket.

What I thought would have been only one extremely hard move, turned out to be two of them in a row.
In a way, I kind of liked this problem, but on the other hand, I can understand that isn't (and never will be) a popular one.
Before my repetition, this had only 3 registered repetitions, out of which the last public one in 2011, and that for a boulder right at the entrance of Cuvier.

Fontainebleau - Cuvier - Pain against Gravity 7B+(7B)




As soon as I will click on "Publish" now, another piece of me will be immortal.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

November 19, 2017 - Puzzled.

When I'm forced to stay at home due to it being wet outside, I can never sit still.
I can't sit or stand and do nothing. I always have to have something to work on, fiddle on, etc... to keep me busy.
What many people probably don't know is that, on dark evenings, I can spend hours of puzzling.
1000, 1500 and up to 2000 pieces. More than that and it wouldn't even fit on the table anymore.
It keeps me busy and at the same time calms me down and brings me into deep relaxation.

Yesterday, I questioned if patience if sometimes worth it.
Today, I must answer 'yes' to that question.
Because of the rain last night and the grey skies in the morning, I had no choice but to wait for it to dry.
To keep busy, I spent a couple of hours cleaning out and tidying up the washing room.
Having done that, it was already 14h30 when I arrived in 95.2.
For once, I didn't care about the crowd (which was definitely present). I just wanted to be sure to be able to climb something without having to look around too much and walked straight to "Captain Hook" on the top of the hill.
It's the most popular and thus most crowded part of 95.2, but I knew that "Captain Hook" isn't a popular problem, so most likely it would be free. And dry!

I had already worked out the sequence of "Captain Hook" before, but had to wait for better conditions to make some real attempts.
Surprisingly, the conditions on the boulder were quite good, much better than one would expect after such a wet morning, and after about fifteen minutes of work it was done.

It's a very short problem on a small boulder, but I can appreciate every move on hold on it.

Fontainebleau - 95.2 - Captain Hook 7B(7B+)




I still made some good attempts in "Futurs Barbares (direct)" and finished off the afternoon with a flash video repeat of "Triplette", which was also in surprisingly good condition.

Fontainebleau - 95.2 - Triplette 7A




Walking back to the car, I wondered what would be the best. Patience or no patience.
Sometimes you can be too early, but also too late.
I was puzzled.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

November 18, 2017 - Patience.

"Il faut être patient!" (you have to be patient).
I will never forget the moment when Jean-Hervé (Baudot) told me that.
It was on a similar grey and humid Autumn day, like today, when I was looking for dry boulders in the morning.
I was patient today and only left around 11h towards the area of Maunoury, hoping to find some dry boulders there.
The dense fog had fallen down during the nigh and had made everything wet, but my plan was to walk all around the Maunoury area and try everything interesting and dry enough.

The first dry boulder on my path was the one with "Movement Activated", which was in surprisingly good condition as opposed the other boulders nearby.
Here, I wanted to try "Movement Activated (droite assis)".
What I thought would be not worth it, the sitstart added some interesting moves to the original standing one.
In my humble opinion, however, it just doesn't add enough difficulty to make it a spot on 7B though.
But then again, it does quite fit my style.

Fontainebleau - Maunoury - Movement Activated (droite assis) 7B




Here too, the high fog started to fall and I had the impression that conditions were starting to get worse.
The only thing that I still managed to finish, was "Jet Set biscuit".
On some previous visits, I could never stick the first move long enough to start the dynamic move.
Today however, for some reason, even though the 'biscuited' jug was wet, it went down on my first attempt.

Fontainebleau - Maunoury - Jet Set biscuit 7A




I still went all around Maunoury but couldn't find anything anymore that was dry enough.

While walking to the car, the sun came out shortly and I decided to stop at Mont Simonet and walk to the Mont Blanc area.
It was almost 14h30 and I hoped that by now the new boulder, opened by Laurent Darlot, would be climbable.
I walked all the way for nothing, because everything was too humid.
Even patience didn't help today.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

November 15, 2017 - United Colors of Bleau.

Last weekend Pieter and Alberto came to the forest, but we never got to put on our climbing shoes.
It rained the whole weekend, so we didn't get further than walking, exploring the forest and locating new and old boulders in remote areas, such as Franchard Sablons Ouest.
The weather turned better on Monday, but I had to wait until today to be able to take a few hours off work for climbing.

I went back to Franchard Sablons Ouest where a couple of new boulders have been opened on the top of the hill by Jason (Kester) and his wife Helen (Dudley). They live in Arbonne-la-Forêt, so basically it's in their backyard.
I enjoyed the fifteen minute walk through the forest and the smell of it gave me energy.
My eyes were treated with the beautiful mix of colours that Autumn and the trees can offer. I loved it!

United Colors of Bleau in Autumn.

I started with "Into the Void", which looks (and is) the most interesting.
The conditions weren't in favour, but still I finished it on my second attempt.
It climbed very nice, but felt quite soft for the grade. Maybe more 7A+?
In any case, a really nice problem!

Fontainebleau - Franchard Sablons Ouest - Into the Void 7B




Up next was "Mr Grumpy Pants" just below "Into the Void".
This one I flashed with ease and felt more like a very soft 7A at most, but maybe I was lucky.

Fontainebleau - Franchard Sablons Ouest - Mr Grumpy Pants 7A+




From the start of "Into the Void", Jason also opened "Metu Oblivionis" which doesn't exit over the prow, but in the wall with crimps.
This one I also flashed quite easily and couldn't understand how this could be 7A+.
After watching Jason's method, I noticed that he did the first couple of moves of "Into the Void" to the right and came back into the wall on the left afterwards.

Anyway, here's what I call "Metu Oblivionis (direct)", for which I think it will be about 6C+(7A).

Fontainebleau - Franchard Sablons Ouest - Metu Oblivionis (direct) 6C+(7A)




Using Jason's method makes it a slight bit harder, but still didn't feel harder than 7A.

Fontainebleau - Franchard Sablons Ouest - Metu Oblivionis 7A+




Even though the grades might be on the soft side, still some nice new openings by Jason and Helen!

As the more interesting and harder problems required better conditions, I walked on the sector where "Matagot" is.
I was hoping that "Pince-Mi et Pince-Moi" would be in good enough conditions to try.

They turned out to be not too bad, but this took me more attempts than all the previous problems together that I did this afternoon.

Fontainebleau - Franchard Sablons Ouest - Pince-Mi et Pince-Moi 7B




There was no time left anymore to still start trying something else, but I felt relieved to have climbed again after a week of not climbing at all.
Those were two hours very well spent!

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

November 08, 2017 - Use the occasion.

Back at work since Monday and with the Winter hour that was set a while ago, it is already too dark by the time get somewhere after work.

This afternoon, however, I was working from home so I could bring Anthony to music school at 17h, which gave me about twenty minutes to go somewhere close and at least touch some rock.
The new boulders opened at Roche aux Sabots Sud, right next to the parking, are ideal for that.
One of those boulders, is the one with "La Libido" in the centre of the small area.

The sitstart has been opened by Tony (Fouchereau) and Thierry (Vasseur) and proposed as 7A+(7A).
They are both tall men and I guess the start must be harder for the tall, because it didn't give me any problems whatsoever and I flashed it with relative ease.

Fontainebleau - Roche aux Sabots Sud - La Libido (assis) 7A+(7A)




The exit to the left, proposed as 7B, looks interesting but the slopey top was too humid and it was already starting to get dark.
Good option for the next occasion.

Friday, November 3, 2017

November 03, 2017 - Going in deep.

Yesterday was dominated by condense in the morning and grizzle and rain in the afternoon.
No climbing possible!
This morning started with a dense fog, but the sun broke through and the fog dissipated quickly.
Everything was still wet when I parked at the buvette of Apremont and the place still looked empty, waiting for the crowd to arrive.
The crowd may come, because I was going in deep, to Apremont Fond des Gorges.
It had been a long time ago since I went there last time, but I remembered that some boulders were drying quickly.

The roof with "Strate Eau Sphère" was indeed lying mostly in the sun and was already as good as dry.
I started with trying "Féérite", but the big hold on the left was still too humid to hold the swing on, so I turned to "Strate Eau Sphère".

First I tried the easier direct version to see if the topout would be even possible i these still quite humid conditions.
That didn't turn out to be a problem, as I flashed it with relative ease.

Fontainebleau - Apremont Fond des Gorges - Strate Eau Sphère (direct) 7A




The longer original version however, required quite some more attempts.
Maybe, or probably, it was due to the unfavourable conditions, but this felt quite hard and closer to 7B+ to me.
I had to go deep for this one, but I say it again, the conditions play a big role.
Nevertheless, a very nice line that I enjoyed climbing!

Fontainebleau - Apremont Fond des Gorges - Strate Eau Sphère 7B(7B+)




I wanted more, but first something easier, which I found in "Chicken Noris (assis)" on the boulder just before the roof of "Strate Eau Sphère".
Even though it felt more like a short traverse, the movements were very nice to do.
Took me only a couple of tries to find a working sequence and top out.
This boulder dries very quickly!

Fontainebleau - Apremont Fond des Gorges - Chicken Noris (assis) 7A




On the way back to the car, I wanted to pass by Apremont Haut des Gorges to try "Aplats en Folie", knowing that it faces South and might be dry by now.

When I arrived, it looked only dry-ish, but the start and the first slopers felt good enough to go for it anyway.
I took my time to work out the start, perfected some movements and installed the camera when I felt that I could be able to reach the top crimpy slopers.
The first time I was able to reach the first crimpy sloper near the top, I could feel that it was wet there though and a couple of times I fell off the last move.
The only way that I was able to top out, was by taking the crimpy sloper only as a crimp, pull on my fingernails and hope that I wouldn't slip off.

It did feel hard and I had to go deep, but not it wasn't as hard as I would expect from a real 7C on slopers, especially in these conditions.

Fontainebleau - Apremont Haut des Gorges - Aplats en Folie 7C(7B+)


Wednesday, November 1, 2017

November 01, 2017 - Forgotten area?

It was sad to take Maarten and Milo to the train station in Maisse this evening, but we all enjoyed the time we spent together and that's what counts.

Maarten felt a bit soar this morning, so we spent the day mainly walking around and exploring the area behind Vallée Ronde near Vallée Chaude.
We did find quite a long cluster of medium sized and some taller boulders at about 500m behind the already known small area of Vallée Ronde.
The strange thing is that most of them have definitely been cleaned in the past, but looked unclimbed for a long time.
I haven't found any information about this small sector, located somewhere in the middle between Gros Sablons and Vallée Ronde, which surprises me a bit, because I did see some beauties that made me want to go back there with my pad and climbing shoes some time soon.

Besides walking and exploring, I was able to pick up two quick ascents of some easier problems.

First one was "L'Abribus", on the more or less only interesting boulder of the classical sector of Vallée Ronde.
Went down on my second attempt.

Fontainebleau - Vallée Ronde - L'Abribus 6C+




The other one was "Le Terrier" in the classical sector of the Bois du Rocher area across the road.
I flashed this with ease and think that 6C at most would fit more here.

Fontainebleau - Bois du Rocher - Le Terrier 7A(6C+)


Tuesday, October 31, 2017

October 31, 2017 - Keeping busy.

Maarten and I wanted to take the teenagers outside to the forest to keep them away from laptops and so on.
We went to 91.1, where they could keep themselves busy climbing for a while, and in the meantime I used to occasion to capture "Le Flipper (assis droite)" on video.
That prow just asks to be climbed.

Fontainebleau - 91.1 - Le Flipper (assis droite) 7A(6C+)




We kept the kids occupied outside for about five hours, after which we dropped them off at home and continued on to Coquibus Longs Vaux where I wanted to spend some time in "Boumfer" again.

"Boumfer" is located in the same small isolated sector where also "Compression" can be found, so calmness is assured.
It looks easy when you stand in front of it, but those crimps are so small and sharp that it requires a lot of motivation to pull on them with full power.
I spent already two short sessions on it, but each time I had to leave empty handed because my fingertips couldn't take the pain anymore.

Finally, today, I was able to ignore the pain just enough to pull on through and make the final move.
Bouldering is masochism sometimes.

Fontainebleau - Coquibus Longs Vaux - Boumfer 7A+


Monday, October 30, 2017

October 30, 2017 - Sticky rock.

Maarten (Robays) and his nephew Milo (Robays) are visiting for a couple of days.
Milo sat in the same elementary classes as my oldest son Anthony, and it was a good occasion for both of them to meet up and share early childhood memories. And of course do what 14 year olds do at that age.

Me and Maarten went climbing and started at Mont Blanc where I wanted to finally finish off "Le Homard / Bouddha Assis" now that the wind and better conditions had returned.
The wind had blown all the holds dry now and the friction felt good.
It's a very nice line of which I'm very glad to tick this off!

Fontainebleau - Mont Blanc - Le Homard / Bouddha Assis 7B




Maarten wanted to climb something easier and making a detour via Mont Simonet, we arrived back at Éléphant where we did some fun and easy climbing in the sun.

On the way back home, I drove to Bois du Rocher to see if "Thunderbolt" would be dry.
Yesterday I had a look too, but it was still too humid to even try.
Luckily, now, it was dry and in surprisingly good condition for a problem facing North.
In fact, the conditions were so good that I came really close to flashing it, but couldn't because of bad beta and a foot slip.
After a short break, it went down, but I was out of breath when I got there.

It felt soft for the grade, but still it is a beautiful line with great moves!

Fontainebleau - Bois du Rocher - Thunderbolt 7C


Saturday, October 28, 2017

October 28, 2017 - No complaints.

It was already sunny in the morning, and after doing some household, I went to Vallée Chaude.
My muscles felt a bit sore from the days before, but I wanted to climb in this nice weather.
I also wanted to avoid the crowd which was definitely going to be present on a sunny Saturday afternoon in Autumn, so Vallée Chaude was an ideal choice.

All the boulders in Vallée Chaude are spread far apart from each other, and the small beautiful roof of "Complainte de Vallée" still seems completely isolated from the other boulders.
I had already noticed the boulder when I was doing a long walk one day before Manuel (Marquès) opened two hard lines on them.
Both start lying down on the small boulder, climb through the roof and exit left for the 7B version or with a dynamic move to a small pocket on the right, which is 7C.
Both are really physical climbing with bad footholds, so require a lot of body tension.

It took a while before I found a good method, but I was able to top out the left exit, "Complainte de Vallée (gauche)". Even though it could be worth 7B+ according to me.
I was able to do all the moves of the right exit, could even do the problem in two overlapping parts, but my body said no.
I'm sure that when I come back fresh and rested, that I will be able to send it completely.

It's a beautiful little roof in total calmness!

Fontainebleau - Vallée Chaude - Complainte de Vallée (gauche) 7B




I then still went to Roche aux Oiseaux to spot Mathias (Eykmans) who wanted to do his second 7A of the year with "Ca Tend à Droite".
I used the occasion to work in "Satan m'Habite", of which I'm now able to quite easily reach to the start of the standing version. This could go down soon.

Mathias was able to finish "Ca Tend à Droite" and even repeated it again for his camera. Even though the second time took more tries than his first repeat.
Would that make it his third 7A? In any case, well done!

Friday, October 27, 2017

October 27, 2017 - From last to first.

The fog was less dense this morning, and by noon, the skies were clearing up above Apremont Désert.
I was looking for the boulder with "La Corne de Rhino", the last boulder of the area when coming from the parking and looking at the topo.
It's a small boulder in a maze of other smaller boulders and even though the high ferns surrounding them were already brown and dry, they still made it very difficult to wade through.
I had trouble finding the boulder, but after about almost an hour walking up and down, finding my way through the ferns and boulders, I finally found it.

I was able to work out the moves and do them all separately, but couldn't find enough energy anymore to link them all together.
At least, now I know where the boulder is, so next time I will have more energy left upon arrival at it.

On my way back to the main area, I stopped at "Burn-Out", which was dry.
It didn't give me much trouble and about fifteen minutes later, I stood on the top.
Nice problem, but felt more like a 7B at most.

Fontainebleau - Apremont Désert - Burn-Out 7B+




I still wanted to try "Dracarys" in the beginning of the area, but as that was wet, I ended up trying "Astérix (droite)" on the first boulder of the area when coming from the parking.
It's a small boulder and the problem looks easy, but in the end, it gave me quite some trouble to start.
All in all, this line on that small boulder felt quite hard for the grade. Or I must have been tired.

Fontainebleau - Apremont Désert - Astérix (droite) 7A


Thursday, October 26, 2017

October 26, 2017 - Another kind of Autumn.

As good as the conditions can be in Autumn, more often they can be just as bad like the past few days.
I have taken some days off work, but climbing was as good as impossible yesterday.
Today didn't start any better than yesterday.
The sky was grey and there was a dense fog that wouldn't dissipate for long, keeping everything wet from the rain the days before.
Air humidity was almost always 100% and there was no wind to dry it out.
Finally, after 13h the sun slowly but steadily worked its way through the clouds and the fog started to disappear.
I drove to Larchant as the sky looked better there.

There are some countries that have school vacation and the area of Éléphant was crowded.
I, however, had to be behind that area, where almost nobody goes. Mont Blanc.
It was so quiet there that the gentle sound of my lone footsteps was enough to spook some small deers nearby.

The conditions of the boulders weren't good, but some things were climbable at least.
Unfortunately, the lower holds of "Le Homard / Bouddha Assis" were humid, but the I was finally able to finish off the standing start, which took me several sessions.
I'm guessing that the standstart is good for a 7A(7A+) and really worth the effort on itself.

Fontainebleau - Mont Blanc - Le Homard (debout) 7A(7A+)




Even though still a bit sandy, also the small prow of "L'Envolée Brésilienne", just recently opened by Tony (Fouchereau), was dry enough to try.
Because of the sandy holds it still required some gentle brushing and cleaning, but still after that, it turned out to be harder than it looks.
A small prow, but quite physical and felt closer to 7B than 7A+. Very nice one!

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




As everything else of interest in Mont Blanc was either wet or already done before, I decided to go for a walk and make a long detour via Mont Simonet.
On my way, I was astonished again by the silent beauty of the area just behind the crowded Éléphant area.

The silent beauty just between Mont Blanc and Élephant, on my way to Mont Simonet.

By the time I arrived in Mont Simonet, the sun was heating up the air so fast and so much, that it started to condense on the colder boulders.
I had to look around for something new to climb that was dry enough and found it the somewhat hidden "L'Aréopage (gauche)". Opened by Theo (Konstantakopoulos) a few weeks ago.
One very hard move to a big jug and then there are two possible exits.
The 7A+ exits with the big pocket for the foot, the 7B without it.

Fontainebleau - Mont Simonet - L'Aréopage (gauche) 7A+




I practiced and could do the direct exit, but redoing the first move gave me a cut in my right hand, which forced me to stop. It was time anyway, but I will be back for the direct version.

Sunday, October 22, 2017

October 22, 2017 - Autumn conditions on a beautiful Sunday!

Last Wednesday evening, I had started trying the ultra classic "L'Étrave", opened by Patrick Edlinger, in J.A. Martin.
The weather was nice, but due to the high humidity, the conditions were terrible.
I could reach the small crimp high left, but as soon as I started pulling harder on the arete right hand, I started slipping.
I knew that when the conditions would be better, the odds would become much different.

Yesterday afternoon, after having driven almost 2000km for work and personal travel, I went back to "L'Étrave".
The sky was grey and some rain had fallen not long ago, but there was a lot of wind and the air felt much dryer than last Wednesday.
Upon arrival, I stumbled into Enzo (Nahumury), his girlfriend Sanne and some other friends whose names I honestly forgot.
Some of them were also trying "L'Étrave" and I asked if I could join them, to which they agreed.

The boulder looked to be in great conditions and already from my first try I easily reached the crimp, but couldn't find the heelhook for the right foot.
It felt like a really good try though and I felt very confident, but unfortunately it started to rain.

The rain only lasted about fifteen minutes, but was heavy at times and even though we had found shelter, the crashpads were getting soaking wet due to the wind blowing the rain on them.
As soon as the rain passed, the sun came out and the wind started drying the boulder that was dripping with rain.
I had already started packing, but stopped when we all noticed how fast the boulder was drying. We literally watched the boulder dry and barely half an hour later, it was ready to go.

The rain had cleaned the boulder and the conditions were even better.
A handful of tries later, I listened to my instinct and used only the tip of my right foot, where most others first lay a heel and switch to the tip later to do the last move.
I made it and it didn't even feel that hard.
When I got back down, I saw that camera was turned off and thought that the battery was out as I hadn't charged it since Wednesday.
It was only when I was back home that I noticed that there was still enough battery, but that it was me who had forgotten to press record.

As "L'Étrave" is such a beautiful classic, I went back to have it on video early this morning.
It had rained during the night, but there was still a lot of wind and the sun was already out from time to time.
The conditions were still great, because I was able to repeat it on my second attempt today.

Fontainebleau - J.A. Martin - L'Étrave 7B+




With these good conditions, I wanted to try "Contact" again, all the way at the other side of J.A. Martin, not far from "Vandale".
I was able to stick the hard dyno to the bad sloper a couple of times, but couldn't finish it off. Or maybe I didn't dare, because of the small boulder above which you have to continue.
It was a muscle in my left shoulder that decided to let go of this one.

A couple of hours later, after doing some cleaning in the house, I went to Bois Rond Auberge to benefit from the good conditions.
I once tried "Les Dents de la Belle-Mer (gauche)" there, but I wasn't able to stick the first move.
I knew that good conditions would help for this one.

It seemed like I was right, because after figuring out the best way to start, I sent it in barely ten minutes.

Fontainebleau - Bois Rond Auberge - Les Dents de la Belle-Mer (gauche) 7B(7B+)




On my way back, I stopped at the "Didgeridoo" boulder to try the line "DJ Ridoo Joue du Didgeridoo" on it.
Sitstart left as for "Didgeridoo" low to the right and exit to the right in "DJ Ridoo".
The line doesn't look really attractive, but it turned out to be quite fun and not an easy one.

Fontainebleau - Bois Rond Auberge - DJ Ridoo Joue du Didgeridoo 7B


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)