Tuesday, 29 September 2015

One week in Fontainebleau - bouldering at its finest

Fontainebleau Climbs

Fontainebleau is a playground for people like me. It's hard not to run around and try to climb everything you come across. Walking through famous areas like Bas Cuvier and Isatis, the boulders just scream out to be climbed.

As with every trip, I go with a list of problems I intend to try, but the list rarely lasts. I come across something that sucks me in. Or a former adversarial climb I remember struggling so hard on - wanting to try again for old times sake; see how it feels now I'm stronger. 

Fontainebleau Forest

Skin starts to wane. Energy gets sapped. The weather changes. Oooo... another boulder. Look over there, another! Like a kid in a candy store, I can't get my fill. The rock is perfect, no exaggeration. It's bullet hard, textured just enough and so widely featured as to give you endless options. Want to climb a roof? An arete? A slab? A wall? Crimps? Slopers? Pockets... I could go on.

A week is never enough. Certainly not long enough to spend several days trying a single, solitary climb, so I tend to give things an hour or two. If progress isn't forthcoming - onwards! If progress is coming slowly, it might warrant a second day of an hour or so's effort. If a climb feels too much like a potential project - onwards!

Leigh-Anne climbing Le Toit Ouvrant at Isatis

It seems each year I'm able to go back and climb something a little bit harder in this fashion. There are harder climbs that I've touched up for a little bit, but if they feel like they'll take too much effort, they get put on next year's list. One day they'll go... if I keep getting stronger. It's great for motivation. When's the next Fontainebleau trip? Train hard, climb hard!

What happened on this most recent trip? Here's a little video, which has a bunch of the climbs both myself and Leigh-Anne did. There's some corkers in there - well worth seeking out.

In case you're still reading, I'll list a few highlights:
  • Symbiose (7C) - I tried this on the last Font trip, came pretty close but left empty handed. Great to go back for unfinished business. Also my hardest climb in Fontainebleau, according to the guidebook.
  • Flashing 2 7As in a day - Not a giant achievement by many standards, but a personal highlight. They were Prise De Comprime at Mont Simonet and Narine à Voile at Rocher Fin.
  • Discovering Mont Simonet - An area I've never been to before, but it has some fantastic climbs in the low-7s. It's just down the road from the ever-busy L'elephant and sees no where near as much traffic. A highlight climb I didn't get on film: Pitt Boule - a corker at 7A.
Pitt Boule - amazing boulder problem at Mont Simonet

  • Duroxmanie Assis (7B) - A highlight if only for the personal history. The 6C was hard when I did it a few years ago. Could never touch the Direct (7A+) until this trip and then I did the Direct Assis (7B) on the last day.
Duroxmanie at Cuvier Rempart

  • Seeing my first Font snake - I've always known they were there but never have I seen one in person, until this trip!
Font snake

Once again, thanks to the lovely people at Camping Lès Pres in Grez Sur Loing. Who needs a gite when camping facilities are this good AND there's a Pizza van onsite on Saturdays?!?