Friday, March 31, 2017

March 31, 2017 - Unnoticed.

Recently one of the Duval twins posted a video of "L'Envie des Bêtes (assis)", a 7A in the (mostly crowded) first part of Isatis.
It looked really nice and when I saw that the first registered repeat was from April 2002, I wondered why that it had always gone unnoticed.

Even though I still felt tired from the trip to Germany, I stopped at Isatis on my way home and walked straigh to "L'Envie des Bêtes (assis)", the sitstart of 19 white.

It turned out to be not an easy one, but the tries felt like a lot of fun.
The sitstart actually adds some very nice moves into the stand which is 6C.
The attempt in which I finally sent the problem, still was a battle from beginning to end. With every move, it felt like I could come off any moment.
Very cool unnoticed climb!

Fontainebleau - Franchard Isatis - L'Envie des Bêtes (assis) 7A

Thursday, March 30, 2017

March 29, 2017 - Disconnected!

Yesterday I arrived in Kerpen, near Cologne in Germany, to work on a small project with my colleague and friend Harco (De Man).
The last two days here have been very busy and this evening, when it finally time to call it a day, instead of hanging around in the hotel, restaurant and bar, we decided to do something else.
Harco is a boulderer too, so we went bouldering in the Eifel and profited as much as we could from the last available daylight.
Thanks to the time change last weekend and the days that are getting longer each day, we were able to climb enough to disconnect from the hard working day.
Okay, it's wasn't Bleau, but being in a forest and hearing the sounds of animals and birds felt great.

I don't know much about the Eifel, but there is an area that I visited with my wife Sandra over five years ago.
It was near the village of Burgbrohl, next to Glees, in a small sector called Kruzifix. Marked by a white cross on one of the bigger boulders.
As it turned out to be only a half an hour drive from the office in Kerpen, we decided to go for it.

The GPS took us straight to the parking of where we had to be.
I remembered more or less where we had to be, but needed a bit more time to find the Kruzifix than the five minutes as described in one of the topos we found on the internet.

We warmed up with a nice small problem to get used the rock, which feels way different than in Bleau, and I noticed that I didn't feel as comfortable on the rock than I am at home.
Still, the 6B(6C) "Scheinheiligen" next to classic "Eisheiligen" went down on my second attempt, and for Harco too.

Immediately after, I wanted to try the beautiful classic of the area, "Esiheiligen".
After a short try to "get the feel", I went for it and easily sent it on my second attempt. Albeit with shaky knees.
I still had to get used to the different rock.
Harco made some really nice attempts and got to one move from the end, but had to let it go.

Eifel - Kruzifix - Eisheiligen 6C+

We then moved to one of the few 7's in the area, one that I did on my first visit here long ago and I wanted to have a video of it.
"Schattenkabinett" would probably be graded about 6C in Bleau. I topped it with much ease on my second attempt.
Harco did the 5C "Crunchy Nuts" next to it a couple of times. One that I can recommend as it does have some nice in for such a small boulder.

Eifel - Kruzifix - Schattenkabinett 7A+

I had read in the topo about a nice little dyno and it turned out to be right behind us.
"Kleene Bombe" was the only boulder (dyno) that came close the grade as compared to Bleau.
The jump is not high, but hanging on to the sharp edge definitely makes it worth the grade.
Fun little dyno!

Eifel - Kruzifix - Kleene Bombe 6A

We still played around a bit on that small boulder, both did the 5C "Clever und Smart", that has a beautiful shoulder move in it.
Harco even did a possible first ascent of a variation on it.

There is much more to do in the area, and you can spend half a day of climbing there, but we didn't have that much time.
The few boulders that we climbed were nice, the area was nice and at least we felt relieved and completely disconnected from work when we walked back to the car and drove to the hotel.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

March 26, 2017 - Shooting with stars.

I had agreed with Jan (Gorrebeeck) and Gina to back to Rocher de Milly today to avoid the big crowds.
Looking at the number of cars already present on the various parkings that I passed on my way, they surely were present.
Jan and I wanted to try "Le Dolmen du Divin", but we kept on walking further to the end of Rocher de Milly Est to warm up in some easier boulders.

It's at least a half an hour walk on a long flat straight path that doesn't seem to end.
The nice views and the beauty of the area, however, all make it totally worth it. Especially the very nice boulders that we found in the end.
After walking for such a long time and crawling over and between boulders, trees and bushes, we finally found a nice a spot to lay our crashpads down.

The small roof of "Et Talon Nez" has positive holds and seemed liked an ideal warmup.
Jan almost sent it on his flash attempt, but just fell of the last move due to bad foot placement.
He did on his second attempt after a short rest.
The many moves did turn out to be quite physical after all.
I needed some more attempts to link all the moves together but found my way up after all.

This beautiful small roof with a nearly perfect line received five stars from me on

EDIT - apparently it was "Et Talon Nez (gauche)" that we did. I stand by the stars given and also the grade, because this felt like a good 7A to me!

Fontainebleau - Rocher de Milly Est - Et Talon Nez (gauche) 6C+

Before we found "Et Talon Nez", we had passed by the prow of "Geka", which looked beautiful too, but too hard to warm up with.
Now that our fingers, skin and mind were ready, it was a good moment to move our gear 30m further to "Geka".

After closer inspection, and some curious tries, we had to conclude that it was at least as hard as we had expected, maybe even harder.
Every move is a hard compression move and really physical!
Jan has a thing with brushing and keeping holds in good condition though, and after a while some of the moves that were deemed too hard at first, started to work out.
This got us motivated but in the end it must have taken us at least two hours figuring out the best method until I was able to top out.

Jan had some trouble with the far toehook on the right, but when using my right shoe it started to work out too.
We were running out of time and Jan started to feel worn out, but encouraged by Gina and I, he also topped out on his promised last attempt of the day.

"Geka" felt like a masterpiece and also received the full five stars from me on

Fontainebleau - Rocher de Milly Est - Geka 7B(7A+)

Then came the long walk back to the car again ...

Saturday, March 25, 2017

March 25, 2017 - It's about time.

Jan (Gorrebeeck) and his wife Gina were here for a BBQ last week and we decided to do some together this weekend.
They are the owners of the well known Belgian bouldering "City Lizard" and took some weeks off from their busy jobs, managing a bouldering hall.
What better place is there to spend those weeks off work in bouldering mecca Fontainebleau!?

After a couple of rainy days during the week, we were treated with beautiful weather so far this weekend.
It felt like Summer.
That reminds me of it, this night we're switching back to Summer time.
From one day to the other we will suddenly be spoiled with an extra hour of daylight in the evening.
It's about time!

Of course, a beautiful Spring weekend means many, many climbers, hikers, bikers, horseback riders, etc ...
It was a good idea from Jan to meet at the parking of Rocher de Milly as there was no one around.
On our way to Rocher de Milly, we stopped at Rocher de Corne-Biche to warm up a bit in the sector with "Éclats".

Jan climbed "Pavlova de Pont Loup" with a totally different method than I used some time ago, but had to admit that it felt hard for 7A and probably was more like 7A+.
I remember that I needed a second session for that boulder back then.
Gina felt ok working in some blue problems while Jan and I checked out "L'Os à Moelle" on the boulder just behind "Éclats".
It looked nice and after cleaning the top from all the needles from the pine trees that had gathered on the boulder, we gave it a go.

There are two possible exits for "L'Os à Moelle".
One on the prow to the right of the tree, which went down on my second attempt.
Jan needed some more tries but after using a different method, also made it to the top.

Fontainebleau - Rocher de Corne-Biche - L'Os à Moelle 7B(7B+)

The other exit of "L'Os à Moelle" is with slopers on the left of the tree and is my eyes a completely different line, apart from the first two moves.
We both did it straight away, but not without a struggle on the sketchy green topout.

Fontainebleau - Rocher de Corne-Biche - L'Os à Moelle (gauche) 7B(7B+)

After Gina finished another scary blue problem, we continued the long walk to Rocher de Milly to try "Le Kraken (droite)".
But first I wanted to warm up my skin again in "Léviathan", a 7A on the left side of the "Kraken" roof.
On my second attempt I was too excited and fell off the last move to match the jug.
The attempt after that, I heard Ivan (Moreels) in my head telling me to keep calm and Jan reminding me of where to put my heel, and topped out.
Very nice problem!

Fontainebleau - Rocher de Milly - Léviathan 7A

We still spent some good efforts and made some nice attempts in "Le Kraken (droite)" but had to let it go for now.
I was out of time.

Monday, March 20, 2017

March 20, 2017 - No doubt.

It was grey and it looked like it could rain any minute, but I stopped at Cuvier Sorcières on my way home from work.
I wanted to try "Le Gymnécologue (debout)". If it was dry.
On my previous visits I was never able to try it, because every time it was too humid. Those bad slopers at the start require good conditions.

After having done "Le Gymnécologue (debout)", I was checking out the sitstart, but the pockets in the overhang felt  too damp and there was no way to climb on to the end with damp hands.
While re-reading the description of the standstart, I had my doubts about where I started, so I did the problem again, this time starting more to the right.

Fontainebleau - Cuvier Sorcières - Le Gymnécologue (debout) 7A

When I was thinking about both versions, I came to conclusion that for myself liked the direct start more than the original.
I doubted at first, but decided to publish the video anyway and named it "Le Gymnécologue (debout direct)" for now.

Basically it starts with the arete right hand and a mono for the left. Exit is the same as the original.
This felt slightly more difficult though.

Fontainebleau - Cuvier Sorcières - Le Gymnécologue (debout direct) 7A

If you're ever in the area, try both versions and decide for yourself which one you like most.

Friday, March 17, 2017

March 17, 2017 - Two for the road.

I had to leave to Belgium this afternoon, but before that I took a moment to climb a couple of boulders for the road.

I had been only a few times in Franchard Sablons and even though I had always been attracted by "Brulaap", due to its strange name, but never got to look for it.
After all, it is located in a very small remote sector of the area, and with the high ferns in Summer it's not easy to locate it.
This time I took my chance while the ferns are still dead and walked straight to it.

Only two problems in the seventh grade there, out of which "Brulaap", but I started with the slightly easier "Infinite Down" right across of it.
Some not to too difficult climbing with a very slopey edge on top.

Fontainebleau - Franchard Sablons - Infinite Down 7A

Next up was "Brulaap", which turned out to be smaller than I had imagined.
Also needed only a couple of tries here. Thanks to my big reach, I was able to skip at least one move.

Fontainebleau - Franchard Sablons - Brulaap 7A+

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

March 15, 2017 - Give me ten.

The forest smells marvellous these days.
The scent of Spring is in the air and when the weather is nice like today, it's almost impossible not to visit the forest, even if it was only for ten minutes.
Well, ten minutes is all I needed to park the car and repeat two small problems in Rocher Guichot after work.

"La Rombière (assis)" is the sitstart of red n°6 and is supposed to be 6C+.
Getting your butt from off the ground requires a hard pull on a mediocre undercling, but after that it's easy.
I can barely make a soft 6C out of it, I flashed it with ease.
Besides that, it's a nice warmup and it was fun to move in it.

Fontainebleau - Rocher Guichot - La Rombière (assis) 6C+

On the boulder right next to "La Rombière" is the quite classic 7A, "Jour de Rêve".
I remember that when I did it in 2012, that it was hard.
Now I only needed three tries to repeat it for the video.

Fontainebleau - Rocher Guichot - Jour de Rêve 7A

Parking the car, climbing two nice problems and packing up again. 
All that in a matter of minutes, and I enjoyed all ten of them!

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

March 14, 2017 - Just to be sure.

I only had about 20 minutes to do some climbing after work today, so I stopped at Apremont Butte aux Dames to try "Les Ailes du Plaisir (raccourci)".
It's at only 100m from the parking, so I would be able to benefit the most from the small amount of time I had.

Apparently those 20 minutes were more than enough, because I flashed it easily. I wasn't even warmed up yet.
This felt really soft for the grade.

Fontainebleau - Apremont Butte aux Dames - Les Ailes du Plaisir (raccourci) 7A(6C+) (right)

I had already packed up, when Marcus, a climber from Switzerland (if I remember correctly) that I once met on a short late evening session, passed by by coincidence.
While we were talking, I noticed that there seemed to be another possible exit more to the left over the belly of "Les Ailes du Plaisir (raccourci)".

To counter all the critics, I quickly climbed it again and exited on the left. Just to be sure.
The left exit felt even slightly easier than the other.
Fun little thing either way.

Fontainebleau - Apremont Butte aux Dames - Les Ailes du Plaisir (raccourci) 7A(6C+) (left)

Sunday, March 12, 2017

March 12, 2017 - The big reach.

It was about 11h30 when I parked at La Feuillardière.
I wanted to check the conditions of "Télex" and "Télex (gauche)". The boulder takes a lot of shade, so my chances were low.

While I was inspecting the boulder, I noticed two climbers trying "Coup de Tonnerre" a bit higher up the hill.
The amount of hair they carried and their accent quickly revealed that it were Adriaan (Gabriels) and Joris (Robyn).
"Télex" was in a too bad condition anyway, so I hung around with them and watched Adriaan finish "Coup de Tonnerre", soon followed by Joris with "Coup de Tonnerre (assis)".

I didn't have any further plan concerning where to go and what to try, so I decided to go with them to "Maunoury". They were there yesterday and were forced by the upcoming dark to leave "Pars Pro Toto (gauche)" unfinished.
I had never noticed that problem before and it looked quite nice, so I was up for it.

Joris explained me the beta, but there was one small pinch that I couldn't hold on to long enough to move.
Thanks to my long arms I have a big reach and I was able to reach for a sloper higher up which suited me better.
As soon as I had that move figured out, I was able to send "Pars Pro Toto (gauche)", on my second attempt coming from the start.
Joris needed some more tries and ended up finishing it using his original beta.

Fontainebleau - Maunoury - Pars Pro Toto (gauche) 7B

While Adriaan continued working in "Pars Pro Toto (gauche)", Joris showed me "Waimea (droite)" nearby.
A very high arete with some beautiful moves when starting in the center of the boulder.
Again, Joris gave me some beta, I ended up using my own, and sent it on my second attempt.
Thanks to my big reach I didn't have any problem reaching the left arete.
Top class problem that I would have never tried without a spotter. The holds up there are jugs, but still ... Thanks for the spot, Joris!

Fontainebleau - Maunoury - Waimea (droite) 7A

We watched Adriaan do some really good attempts in "Pars Pro Toto (gauche)", almost every time falling from the last move.
His skin couldn't take of it anymore and had to let it go for today. He will most likely do it upon his next visit in the area.

Another problem that I had never noticed before, was "Le Pétard du Diable", a little bit hidden between some boulders right above "Soupçon".
It looked wet and dirty at first, but the spots (not really holds) that had to be used were in good enough conditions for some tries.

We all had a long struggle with it and I turned out to be the only one finishing it thanks to my big reach.
This problem is very morpho, but it was fun trying it and ending up with a send after all.
"Le Pétard du Diable" felt hard for the grade and I already mentioned to Joris and Adriaan that it felt more like 7A+ after I did it.
Funny thing is that I noticed on that the opener, Théo Konstantakopoulos, gave it 7A+ on his scorecard there.

Fontainebleau - Maunoury - Le Pétard du Diable 7A

Not having such a big reach like mine, Adriaan and Joris had to let go of "Le Pétard du Diable" and I called it a day while they were deciding where to go next.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

March 11, 2017 - Hibernation is over!

It was announced to be a beautiful and warm day and it was!
After doing some household in the morning, I left for the forest around noon.

The number of cars that were already parked at Gorge aux Châts proved that it was going to be a busy day in the forest.
But I had a plan to avoid the crowds. I was heading for Mare aux Corneilles, a small redeveloped area  not far from Rocher de la Salamandre.
My chances to have some peace and quiet there were high.

It turned out to be not the best idea, because most of the boulders there are in the shade and were still humid or simply wet.
The most interesting problems were either too wet or too exposed to try alone, but I was able to finish two problems that I wanted to try too.
The conditions were far from in favour, but good enough for both.

The first one was "Angleterre à Terre". A nice warmup with a sketchy start because of the flake for the right hand moves a bit.
It almost feels like you will rip out of the rock as soon as you apply pressure to lift your but from off the ground.

Fontainebleau - Mare aux Corneilles - Angleterre à Terre 7A(6C+)

Right behind "Angleterre à Terre", the boulder of "Jet Stream" looked wet, but the holds felt okay. Not good, but just okay.
Apart from the first two moves, not too hard for the grade, but a fun thing to do.
Too bad for the dab in the swing, but I didn't even notice it at that moment.

Fontainebleau - Mare aux Corneilles - Jet Stream 7A

So far for the climbable problems in that sector, so I had to move.
I didn't feel like much driving anymore so I decided to go to Rocher de la Salamandre nearby.
The boulders are all spread out and unfortunately most of them, being on the North side of the hill, were too wet.
Even "Besoin d'Elle" which is directed South was in a state of no-go. Except of "Nouvelle Vague" right next to it.
I had done it quite quickly in the Summer of 2015 and remembered that it was quite a fun dyno.
Even though I already had a video of it, I recorded it again, but this time from a different angle.
Went on my second attempt this time.

Fontainebleau - Rocher de la Salamandre - Nouvelle Vague 7B(7B+) (repeat)

The small sector of "Menumental" was also too humid so I ended the long walk with doing only one problem.
It wasn't too bad, because I enjoyed the long walk in that beautiful part of the forest.
The air smelled like Spring and I could feel and hear the forest waking up from it's hibernation.
The animals feel it too, out of which also the spiders, the bugs, the ticks, the flies, the mosquitos, the snakes, ... Yes, I do love the forest!

On my way to the car, when I left the shady North side and entered the sunny areas again, the difference in temperature felt huge.
The sun was really warming up the forest and the smell even changed to Summer at some points.
It gave me energy again before I went home, I decided to park at the big parking of Gorges de Franchard on the way.

It was quite crowded there of course, but I didn't care at that moment. I expected that, but I wanted to climb a bit in the sun.
I remembered a quite new small steep overhanging prow in Franchard Ermitage and knew that it would be in the sun now.

There are two lines on the small boulder.
Both start with the big pocket, but the 6C, "Barre à Bâbord" follows the left arete and the 7A, "Basique" follows the right one.

I came to try "Basique" once briefly, days after it was published, but I couldn't figure out what to do.
I didn't even bother trying "Barre à Babord" back then.
Now I did and flashed it quite easily, thanks to my long arms I guess.

Fontainebleau - Franchard Ermitage - Barre à Bâbord 6C

This time I spent some more effort in "Basique", finally found the method and sent it quicker than I had expected.
The problem looks stupid at first, but in the end it's a fun thing to do. Not to be underestimated.

Fontainebleau - Franchard Ermitage - Basique 7A

Friday, March 10, 2017

March 10, 2017 - Cocktail anyone ?

Bad weather and work related travel have kept me from climbing the last week, but today, when work was over, there was a small window.
The day started grey, misty and wet, but in the afternoon the sun broke through, cleared the sky made the temperature rise.
It was the kind of weather that would make you want to sit on a beach while drinking a cocktail.
Anyway, that's not really my thing, so I stopped at Cuvier Bellevue to enjoy a quick climb instead.

I wanted to try some moves of "Moby Dick", but it didn't catch enough sun yet for the holds to dry enough. They felt greasy and slippery, making it too difficult to determine if my methods were good or not.

I still had 20 minutes of time left and turned my attention to the nearby "Gin Te Nique", which I did rather quick.
There are a few lines on that boulder and I found it quite difficult to see what was going where and how. Looking at very low number of registered repeats, I'm guessing that I'm not the only one who was confused.
In the end I followed the most logical line that suited the grade the most in my eyes.

I had my cocktail, but in the forest. It was a "Gin Te Nique".

Fontainebleau - Cuvier Bellevue - Gin Te Nique 7A

Friday, March 3, 2017

March 03, 2017 - Hit and run.

It was a long time ago since I last climbed in Roche aux Sabots but this evening after work I was drawn to it. In particular by "Sale Gosse", that I hadn't tried for a long time.
Unfortunately a group of American climbers had felt the same and occupied the boulder.
Surprisingly though, the boulder with "Smash" was untaken and I decided to try some jumps in it again.

It must have been at least 100 jumps that I tried in it spread over the last few years, but I never really got my fingers over the edge.
I never made a project out of it, but it was a nice thing to try in between climbs or when out of inspiration now and then. Just like today.

From my first try I felt that my fingertips were over the edge and I knew already at that moment that it probably would be done this time.
Two tries later, half my hand was over the edge and stuck it. It even felt like I could have jumped higher if I wanted to.
Nice to finally tick this classic jump off.

Fontainebleau - Roche aux Sabots - Smash 7B

It was only when I was back home and watched the video, that I realised that my left hand touched the tree.
I remember feeling that my hand scraped the tree but it was a reflex out of fear to hit it.
Anyway, I think I'm experienced enough and honest enough to myself to determine if a dab helped or not.
But that of course is whole discussion on itself.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

March 02, 2017 - A quick one.

It's a very busy week at work and due to bad weather I wasn't able to channel the stress into climbing.
But finally today, a lightly clouded sky and a comfortable temperature.
Thanks to the days getting longer, I had half an hour to stop at Cuvier and be in the forest on my way home from work.

The small sector of "Moby Dick" has become an area on and quite a few new problems have been added by mainly Tony (Fouchereau), Marc (Lehner) and Jean-Claude (Valluet).
I parked on the nearest parking, from where it's barely a five minute walk to Cuvier Bellevue. An Obvious name, as the boulders are located just left of La Route de Bellevue.
I wouldn't be surprised that the sector of "Duroxmanie" would be added to it one day.

I found as good as all the boulders very quickly and stood still for a while when standing in front of "Moby Dick". That boulder looks beautiful.
Due to the lack of time, I had to limit myself to the small compression prow "Patatovska", opened by Marc. Many could have guessed that just by looking at the name of the problem.

"Patatovska" looks ugly at first, but turned out to be a fun little problem.
Some nice compression pulling. Maybe a little bit on the soft side for the grade.

Fontainebleau - Cuvier Bellevue - Patatovska 7A+