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Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Font 2010: "strike, what French strike?" edition

All the important essentials for a fun trip - copious amounts of breakfast material and a bouldering guidebook to Fontainebleau :)


I thought I'd start off the post with a photo climbing related, but not climbing related. It also signifies part of the fun of the climbing scene - food with a community. Each morning and evening is spent hanging out with a bunch of amazing friends chatting about life, food, fun, climbing (duh!) and everything else in between. What more could you ask for in life?!

As always, Font was the excellent, challenging and fun location it always is. What I especially love about the place is the focus, or lack of focus on grades that seems to (personally for me at least) suit the place. I just couldn't care less about what I'm trying here. Don't get me wrong, I'll jump on most levels I think I'm capable of, but I'll also spend even more time just running around ticking off problems of all shapes and sizes. Trish alludes to it in her blog post about the trip but I just love how much experience and knowledge in movement skills can be picked up here - Font is definitely a place where raw strength cannot hide gaps in your technique or movement.

Honestly, it's always cool climbing with other people on this sort of trip - you get to feed off each other's different skills and energy levels (depending on who's getting frustrated or motivated with the respective problem!). Everyone was going well - even if some people are beating themselves up they weren't (see above)! 

For me, this year's trip became the Year of the Aretes. All levels, all heights, all angles. I gave it my all on them all and by the end of the week, much knowledge was gained. Who'd have thought that sometimes you have to put your feet beside your hands and balance (somehow) in perfect movement? I know I didn't, but I now know it's possible! That also led to a headtorch ascent of one of the classic 7a's of the forest, Excalibur. Thanks to Al (STILL the Energizer Bunny he always is - at least 2 7a's a day without rest for a week) for the beta and knowledge on this one! A positive sign that something has been gained is when, by the end the week, a quick ascent of another 7a arete can be had.

Other than that, probably the best problems of the week were a 6b in one of the Franchard sectors, and some more beautiful 6's that the gang ticked together on a very soggy day at an area near 95.2 sector. Awesome - beautiful movement and one of the many reasons why I climb.

Of course, I mentioned that it's not always about ticking slightly easier than max level problems. Pierre also mentioned this in his recent post with the fact that while many people say they don't care about grades, pretty much everyone really does in some way, they just don't apply themselves always in the right way. So, on the last day, I had a play on Carnage, one of the classic problems of the forest, climbed way back in 1977 (I think). 2 hours later, I had the ascent with only 15-20 goes on the problem. If it wasn't for the Fontainebleau trickery that I was missing, I'd have probably done it in 10 minutes so I'm happy out with that. Maybe it's time to spend a season bouldering.....

Finally, I mentioned Al was on the trip. Well, I'd driven him to Font and back, and since neither of us were working on the Sunday and we'd gotten home late on the Saturday night, where else were we expected to go except onto the grit :) A fun day out in zero visibility at Stanage led to a quick tick of a 7a and b so a great way to finish off the trip.




Naomi using the expression we all had at various times of the week - deep concentration while moving between lots of non-holds. These holds are vertical, photo is tilted. Random 7a in Franchard.....
Al going for it on day one. we never did get the problem, but I'm guessing it would have gone by the end of the trip with Font experience behind us.


Theo going for it in Bas Cuvier. Love this picture for some reason!

Trish cruising up a problem at Bas Cuvier. the open-handed queen of climbing!


going for it on the first move of Carnage. Awesome movement, pure bouldering at it's best