Wednesday, May 31, 2017

May 31, 2017 - The day before June.

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, May 26, 2017

May 26, 2017 - Big brother.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, May 25, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

May 23, 2017 - Doing it right.

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

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

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

Fontainebleau - Cuvier Bellevue - Anak 7A+

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

Sunday, May 21, 2017

May 21, 2017 - One boulder, four problems.

It was quite warm today, but a bunch of us had found some shade under the roof of "Anak" in Cuvier Bellevue.
With a bunch I mean that it started off with Bram (Honorez), Pieter and me, followed by Thierry (Hardy) and later also joined by Jan (de Smit), Nataleigh and their friend Bastiaan. Tim (Collier) joined too but was later.

There are many lines in the big roof, one harder than the other, but all very nice ones.
We spent the whole afternoon on it.
I already forgot who climbed what and who, so here's a quick sum up.

We started off with "Ulysse", a very nice logical line where the crux is to match both hands on the big sloper to come out of the roof.
As soon as I worked out the crux, the send followed soon after.

Fontainebleau - Cuvier Bellevue - Ulysse 7A(7A+)

"Tiliak" is basically the same as "Anak", but this time with the arete and over the prow, making it substantially easier. But still not a give away though for most.

Fontainebleau - Cuvier Bellevue - Tiliak 6C+(7A)

On the left side of the roof we had some doubts about the start of "Anak" but after reading the description back home, it seemed that we did it correctly.
Small crimps and some hard pulling.

EDIT: it turns out that "Anak" starts almost lying down with a much lower crimp. Seems we were all mixed up there without any description at hand. I therefore removed the video.

Fontainebleau - Cuvier Bellevue - Anak 7A+

Last but certainly not least, most of us ended up doing "Goriak".
For Pieter and I it didn't give much problems. Being tall in this problem definitely is not an advantage.
Beautiful line this one!

Fontainebleau - Cuvier Bellevue - Goriak 7B+(7B)

We still played around in the 7C "Liakyssan" but our fingers felt wrecked.
The lines in the roof are very nice, but very hard on the fingers.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

May 20, 2017 - A good harvest.

Not much climbing earlier this week.
When I was in Givet on a business trip on Monday, I did tiny bit of bouldering in Nismes, just over the border in Belgium.
The rest of the week, when I wasn't trying "Lamia-San", it was raining.
On my last session in "Lamia-San", I was so tired that I couldn't even get to the point where I usually could. It was time to give it a rest for a while and come back later again with renewed energy and motivation.
I know that I will do it one day.

Today, I decided to wander around and climb some lower graded sevens on my way.
I wanted to profit from the cooler morning temperature and already before 10h I parked at the buvette of Apremont in Barbizon.
Besides starting in Apremont Envers, I didn't have a plan in mind.
It had rained hard and a lot yesterday evening, but nearly everything was dry. The wind had done a good job.
There were some grey and even dark grey clouds, but it didn't look alarming.

I warmed up in "Le Soupir du Menuisier (assis)", which I was able to do on my second attempt.
The first move is the crux, but after that you still have to stay calm and very focussed for stepping into the slab.

Fontainebleau - Apremont Envers - Le Soupir du Menuisier (assis) 7A

The direct version, "Le Soupir du Menuisier (direct)" is supposed to be 7A+, but after having done it on my first attempt, I thought it felt easier than the version to the left.
Can't call it a flash, because I had already done the first move, which is basically the crux.

Fontainebleau - Apremont Envers - Le Soupir du Menuisier (direct) 7A+

The warmup was short, but I felt in good shape. Motivated for more.
Just above the boulder of "Le Soupir du Menuisier", lies the one with the small prow of "Compresse Nez".
I had spent already three short sessions in it, but always came too short to catch the slopey edge right hand. It always felt too morpho, but still somehow it had always attracted me.
The big slopey pinch for the left hand is just beautiful and fits perfectly in your hand.
It's the kind of hold that, if I was setting a boulder in the bouldering hall and would discover it in the box of holds, I would take it out, screw it on the wall and build the rest of the problem around it.

This time, instead of trying to immediately reach very far to the small hold on the edge, I decided to use some very bad slopers on the edge as intermediate to work my way to the small hold.
It still took me quite some tries, but in the end it turned to be my method and worked my way to the top.

Fontainebleau - Apremont Envers - Compresse Nez (droite) 7B

I wanted to take a small break, but didn't feel like simply sitting or hanging around, so I decided to walk all the way to Apremont Désert.
There were some new problems published recently and it seemed like to a good opportunity when I was just wandering around anyway.

I found all the boulders fast, but only "Obélix" seemed in good enough condition and wasn't too exposed as opposed to some.
It's a small boulder and it looks easy, but it turned out to be quite a struggle to find a good sequence.
When I ended up at the mantle, I had to think of Jan (Gorrebeeck), who always says to go and check the topout.
Of course, I didn't, and found myself on a much harder than I expected mantle.

Fontainebleau - Apremont Désert - Obélix 7A(7A+)

Closer to main area of Apremont Désert, I still had to finish "Endorphines", a small prow on bad slopers that I never managed to do despite many attempts.
Knowing that my shape was good today, I gave it another go.
I only needed three tries today to finally tick this one off.
Small prow, but great climbing!

Fontainebleau - Apremont Désert - Endorphines 7A+(7A)

What also appeared recently on the topo of Apremont Désert, is the small isolated "Théorie" sector.
I decided to check it out and found myself in a beautiful hidden spot far from the main sector with some great looking boulders, especially the roof with "La Théorie du Complot".

But first I wanted to do "La Théorie de Teddy", an easy looking 7A that did turn out to be very easy, as I flashed it with ease.

Fontainebleau - Apremont Désert - La Théorie de Teddy 7A

Now I could start with "La Théorie du Complot", in a roof that is hard to resist to not climb in it.
The first moves under the roof are a bit exposed with the small boulders under it, but after carefully working out the moves separately, I built up enough confidence and went for some real attempts.

The holds are all quite positive, but the position in which you are to take doesn't always make it easy to use them in the best way, making it quite a physical line.
I enjoyed each of the thirty minutes trying and working out the moves and finally sending it from the start.

Fontainebleau - Apremont Désert - La Théorie du Complot 7B+

It was barely 14h15 after I did "La Théorie du Complot" and I still had enough energy to climb some more, but I still wanted to keep some skin and energy for tomorrow.
Besides, it was still a long walk back to the buvette and I still had to mow the lawn and cut some plants in my garden today.

It was a good harvest.

Friday, May 12, 2017

May 12, 2017 - C'est la vie!

This week I have spent a couple of evening sessions in my project "Lamia-San" and even though I'm getting closer to sending it, still no success.
I'm actually so close that each session I had the feeling it could be the one, but every time I was forced to quit because of lack of skin and thus sweaty fingertips. C'est la vie!
The forced rest yesterday due to the rain came right on time.
Today however, it was good to climb, but instead of going to "Lamia-San" after work, I went back to Apremont Envers instead.

A couple of days ago, yet another line on the boulder of "Le Point G" had been published on and it felt like a good moment to try it.
I had to hurry though, because they predicted rain and thunderstorms in the evening, and the grey seemingly angry sky didn't look promising. It looked like it could start raining any moment.

"Une Vie Âgée" sitstarts completely left with nothing for the feet, a good hold left hand and a bad slopey pinch for the right.
Pull up, place a left heelhook and make a big move to a jug left hand.
From there on it takes some physically hard moves to get into the normal start of "Á la Recherche du Point G" and finish in the latter.

It took me a couple of tries to memorise the best sequence but as soon I got it in my head and my body followed almost blindly, it didn't feel too hard for the grade.

Fontainebleau - Apremont Envers - Une Vie Âgée 7B+

It was still not raining after taking a very short break and as I still had the moves in my head, I decided to quickly try the slightly longer version, "Une Vie à Grimper", which starts the same, but continues to the right to end in "Le Point G".
It's longer, but the topout is easier, so the grade stays the same as "Une Vie Âgée".
"Une Vie à Grimper" felt physically harder though, but probably that was because I did "Une Vie Agée" just before and there was not much time to loose.

Fontainebleau - Apremont Envers - Une Vie à Grimper 7B+

I finished it just on time, because by the time I got to the car, it started with small drops and ended a while later with heavy rain, hail, lightning and thunder.

Now I have to start filling out my tax form. 
C'est la vie!

Monday, May 8, 2017

May 8, 2017 - It's not a myth!

When I was on my way to Barbizon this morning around 10h, it started drizzling and by the time I parked at the buvette, it had turned into light rain.
My idea was to try some problems on the boulder of "Le Point G" in Apremont Envers, at the start of the red circuit.
Luckily I didn't have to wait long for the rain to stop and even though everything looked wet, I set off anyway to take a look. After all, the sky would clear up soon and there was a light breeze.

The boulder looked wet on the topout but the holds of "Á la Recherche du Point G" (looking for the G spot) under and on the side of the roof were dry.
I took my time to clean and dry the top slopers as good as I could with a brush and a towel and waited for the sun and mild breeze to finish the job.
With some more help from my brush and towel every now and then, my patience payed off and I could give it a first try.
I immediately was able to get to the top sloper, but didn't dare to top it out yet. It still felt a bit too slippery.
Another couple of good swipes with towel and brush, and ten minutes later I was good to go again.
This time I made my way to the top, but it felt sketchy though.

Fontainebleau - Apremont Envers - Á la Recherche du Point G 7B

At first I didn't want to try "Le Point G" (the G spot), because it was too exposed with the small boulder right underneath it, but after trying some moves I felt confident and gave it a try.
I made it on my second attempt.

Fontainebleau - Apremont Envers - Le Point G 7B

Basically you could say that I was looking for the G spot when climbing "Á la Recherche du Point G" and found it after doing "Le Point G".

I moved to Apremont Ouest to take a short break and see what I could climb close to the parking to finish with.
Yesterday evening I still tried "Lamia-San" for almost an hour and the skin on my fingertips was close to bleeding.
I ended up at "Épée", a small boulder problem that appeared in a video that I recently saw. It looked like fun, small and explosive.

On my first try I slipped a bit too hard off the first sloper and my fingertips felt as if they were on fire.
A short break later it went down on my second attempt.
That didn't feel too hard.

Fontainebleau - Apremont Ouest - Épée 7B

With "Attaque des Aplats" right next to it, I couldn't resist to repeat it for the video.
I remember that when I did it back in 2011, that I didn't feel that hard.
Same today, as I was able to repeat it on my first attempt.
Fun little boulder.

Fontainebleau - Apremont Ouest - Attaque des Aplats 7A

When driving back home, I realised that I had proven a myth to be true, the G spot exists, I found it!
It wasn't that special though, nothing exciting happened. 
I didn't know what to do with it and I didn't even bother to take a picture of it ... but I can show you where it is, it's in Apremont Envers.

Sunday, May 7, 2017

May 07, 2017 - Election day (short version).

It's presidential election day in France today, but as I don't don't have the french nationality, I don't get to vote, so that's all that I have to say about that.

The few times that I was able to climb since my last post, I spent trying "Lamia-San", a new 7C in La Ségognole, hidden from all the rest, opened by Gregoire (Thibault).
It's a 4m straight up wall on bad slopers and a very hard dyno to very bad sloper as a last move. In a way it reminds of "Sale Gosse" in Roche aux Sabots.
I can do all the moves except the last one, the crux.

Yesterday it was raining nearly all day, but I didn't really mind as I I knew that it would clean the boulders and it gave me some time grow back some skin. Skin that I lost again today while trying "Dracool" in Éléphant Nord.

This morning everything looked still wet, so I took the occasion to look at the new boulders from Manuel (Marquès) in Mont d'Olivet, a small area right outside the centre of Nemours.
I found everything quickly, but nothing attracted me and the graffiti tagged boulders reminded me too much of the city, so I left, thinking to maybe stop at Éléphant Nord on my way back home.
Éléphant Nord would seem like a very bad idea after a day of rain, but I wanted to try "Dracool", and remembering from pictures that I had seen, it was in a quite open spot.

The whole area was wet and humid, but just as I hoped, "Dracool" was dry enough to try.
It turned out to be harder than I expected.
The small pocket right hand is very sandy and it felt like I could slip off any moment.
The high sloper left hand was not too bad, but everything that followed after that was covered with small grainy pollen from the nearby pine trees. It felt as if the top slopers were covered with a small layer of sand. Hard to completely clean off too.

I was stubborn though, I persisted, lost much more skin than I wanted in the process, but made it after all.
The small shout of relief at the top is more a release of fear.
It's not visible on the video, but right behind where you have to dyno there is a small one meter high boulder where you don't want to fall on. I was really close once.

Fontainebleau - Éléphant Nord - Dracool 7B

I still went to check the state of "Lamia-San", and it's already dry.
It will be hard to resist giving it a quick try after dinner this evening. I should grow some skin again first.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

May 02, 2017 - Start little.

I had never expected that I would have been able to climb when I left to work this morning.
It had rained a lot during the night and it was still not finished. The forest looked soaked when I was driving through it.
In a way it was good a thing. The boulders were finally being washed after having been visited by the masses.

When driving back home in the evening, the sun had been able to peak through the clouds here and there and the roads were dry. That usually means that at least some boulders would be too.
I tried my chances and parked at Franchard Isatis that looked deserted besides a handful of cars, which is quite exceptional this time of the year. Even for a regular Tuesday early evening.

Back in July 2012, I had done "Little Karma" and found it very hard for a 6C. That's probably why I had never bothered trying the 7A+ sitstart of it. I couldn't imagine getting my ass off the ground when sitting down.
The fact that that part of Isatis is always so crowded didn't motivate me neither.
For some reason I had to think about it again, but each time I was in the area it was too crowded and I didn't feel like creeping in.
Today however, I was nearly alone and I took the chance.

Even though I was able to repeat the standstart fairly quickly, "Little Karma (assis)" felt hard from start to end!

Fontainebleau - Franchard Isatis - Little Karma (assis) 7A+

Monday, May 1, 2017

May 01, 2017 - A magic number.

I was driving to Belgium when Kristof Van der Perre (Perre) called me on Saturday morning.
He was in the forest with Dave (Olbrechts) and Tim (Collier), all friends from my hometown Grimbergen and they were getting ready to climb.
Obviously I couldn't join them, but as they were staying for the long weekend (the first of May is Labour Day, a public holiday in most European countries), I promised to meet them at the bivouac of the Hippodrome de la Solle on Monday morning. This morning.

As promised, I arrived at about 10h30 and everyone was up, except for Dave.
It was a pleasant surprise to see that Stef (Jacobs) and family were there too.
Luckily it didn't take long before everyone was ready, and we agreed to go to the nearby Rocher Saint-Germain Est. An obvious choice for those who still have to drive back to Belgium.

Last night there was a lot of rain, but there was a lot of wind that thankfully had done a great job drying nearly all of the boulders in the area.
If the air humidity would have been about 10% lower, the conditions could have been great, but they weren't bad at all.

We walked straight to the boulder with "Magic Three", where I still had to finish the sitstart and Stef and Tim could try the standstart.
It didn't take long before Tim finished the standstart and started trying the sitstart with me.
Stef needed and found a different method, couldn't finish it, but there certainly is potential.

The first couple of moves from the sitstart into the standstart are not very hard, but they are quite physical and it's hard to link it all the way to the top. Maybe I should have eaten some breakfast in the morning?
A couple of times I fell off the last move, but after repeating the standstart again to memorise the correct sequence, I was finally able work my way through from the sitstart to the top soon after.
Tim got very close and will definitely do it on one of his next visits.

A very, very nice problem opened by the Belgians Jan (de Smit) and Wolff Braeckman.

Fontainebleau - Rocher Saint-Germain Est - Magic Three 7B+