Sunday, July 30, 2017

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

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

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

Fontainebleau - Roche qui Tourne - La Chenille 7A

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

Fontainebleau - Roche qui Tourne - Dos Fin 7A

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

Fontainebleau - Roche qui Tourne - Ventre Bleu 6C

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

Fontainebleau - Roche qui Tourne - Claquettes 7A+

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

Saturday, July 29, 2017

July 29, 2017 - Making it cosy.

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

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

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

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

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

Fontainebleau - Coquibus Rumont - Les Barbelés 7A+

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, July 28, 2017

July 28, 2017 - Fly baby, fly.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday, July 23, 2017

July 23, 2017 - Hard to find.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Saturday, July 22, 2017

July 22, 2017 - The deer fight.

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

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

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

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

Fontainebleau - Coquibus Longs Vaux - Jour de Mouillard 7B

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

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

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

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

Thursday, July 20, 2017

July 20, 2017 - Back to work.

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday, July 16, 2017

July 16, 2017 - A perfect spot.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, July 14, 2017

July 14, 2017 - Terminated.

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

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

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

Fontainebleau - Éléphant - Terminator 7A+

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

Thursday, July 13, 2017

July 13, 2017 - Go with a bang!

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

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

Fontainebleau - Éléphant - Bangster 7A

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

July 12, 2017 - Between the showers.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

July 11, 2017 - War and peace.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fontainebleau - Rocher Fin - Guerre et Paix 7A

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

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

Fontainebleau - Rocher Fin - Chevalier Errant 7B

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

Sunday, July 9, 2017

July 09, 2017 - Surfin' in the forest.

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

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

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

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

Fontainebleau - Apremont Haut des Gorges - Phase Lunaire 7B

Saturday, July 8, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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