Wednesday, November 30, 2011
Wednesday, October 26, 2011
Thursday, August 25, 2011
Monday, June 27, 2011
Friday, June 17, 2011
Wednesday, May 4, 2011
Sunday, April 24, 2011
Tuesday, April 19, 2011
Sunday, March 20, 2011
Friday, March 11, 2011
Yesterday began with a lot of optimism. I had just rested for two agonizing days with the hope that my skin condition would improve to the point of allowing me to climb some difficult boulders. Our warm up at Elephant went well enough, the weather even seemed a little better than the forecast predicted. We then headed over to Rocher Greau so that Nora could try Conquistador and I might try Megalithe or possibly Tiger et Dragon. Nora's efforts on Conquistador were inspiring as she quickly made progress and reached her new high point three or four times. My efforts on Megalithe left me with two freshly split finger tips and no ascent to ease the pain.
Next we moved over to Roche aux Oiseaux were things brightened up a bit for me. There is an old classic problem at Oiseaux that was once featured in the French bouldering film Bleau, the problem is called Le Mandarin and is notable for it's unique movement and interesting holds. For once this trip, despite the tape on my fingertips, I managed to do a somewhat difficult problem relatively quickly. I felt relieved, in a way, and rejuvenated. I wanted to move on to the next objective, Magneton. Magneton was the first hard problem I tried on the trip and I wanted a second go in better conditions. Ingar offered to spot so we headed over for quick session in the last light of the day.
Initially I could tell the problem felt much better in dry conditions and so after briefly warming up on a few moves I started trying from the beginning. After two attempts falling at the crux I knew I'd have to dig down a little harder to hang on to the terrible left hand sloper, the tape on my left index finger was definitely hindering my ability to hang onto the crux hold. On my last attempt I stuck the crux but my foot popped off it's foothold and I shock loaded my shoulder. I managed to hang on for another move fell off right after. Right away I knew something was wrong as my rotator cuff started to seize up and I started feeling some pain as I dug around in my climbing bag.
After talking with the on-call doctors of the trip, Noah and Siemay, I'm pretty sure I have torn or sprained one of my rotator cuff muscles and I probably have a small labarum tear as well. This effectively ends climbing for me on this trip and maybe for some time after. As Noah said, there is a chance it all feel much better by next week and I may be able to do a few easy classics or some slabs, but this is not all that comforting to hear.
If I were traveling alone I'd probably leave Font and just go see some more of France but that not really an option, nor financially responsible for me to do. So that's it, it was a good trip and I'm sure I'll still enjoy myself but I'd be lying if I said I'm not a bit devastated by this injury, especially following so closely on the heels of my finger injury.
At least Nora and Ingar made me dinner last night. It was delicious!
Friday, March 4, 2011
Inspired. That about sums it up right now.
The past few days have been simply blissful. I've climbed in the company of good friends, I've climbed alone, I've climbed amazing classics, I've climbed little known obscurities, and I've also just sat around and let my friends' climbing inspire me.
The weather here has officially improved as well! They've been the kind of cool crisp breezy conditions climbers dream of.
There is really nothing more to say....
....oh, I did loose my American Express somehow over that few days. I guess that little hiccup just goes to prove that I'm not dreaming and all this goodness is real.
Monday, February 28, 2011
The beginning of week two...
Our routine is becoming much more comfortable. Everyone seems to be sleeping well, and everyone has become accustomed to imperfect weather. We have also continued the trend of visiting new areas just about every day. At 95.2 several of us enjoyed ascents of the classic l'Ange Naif utilizing various methods, while others played on Retour aux Sources. Gorge aux Chats provided the perfect location to wrap up one afternoon. There, several people tried the beautiful face of Rubis sur l'Ongle, many of our crew scampered around on named and unnamed moderates, all the while Ingar, Randy and I tried the powerful compression problem Magneton.
Scott on l'Ange Naif
Nora on Retour aux Sources
Yesterday we all started out at a leisurely pace in a quiet sector called Canche aux Merciers. There are two standout characteristics of this place, in my opinion, that make this sector one worth visiting. First, the outstanding circuits provide something for everyone. For the uninitiated, these circuits are a series of numbered climbs that are intended to be climbed in ascending order beginning with the first. These circuits are color coded and these colors refer to their relative difficulty. Orange, I believe, is the easy mountaineers circuit for example. Canche aux Merciers has an orange, red, and blue circuit of high quality. The second stand-out attraction is a very unique tunnel right through the heart of one of the boulders. Long story short, Noah, Monica and I tried to make it through but ultimately I was the only one to fit through the tight squeeze. I'd give it a 7C+ tunneling grade. Hopefully Randy will provide some photos or video so that it can be fully appreciated because words simply will not do it justice.
Yesterday afternoon we headed back to Cuvier Rempart. The highlight of my session there was managing to maneuver my way up the classic top-out problem Baisers Voles. The top out problem is something to behold. Whereas when a climber describes a mantle problem, pocket problem, sloper problem, roof climb, or slab it is fairly easy for most experience climbers to understand or even imagine the type of climbing involved on said climb. I would venture to guess that most climbers would not be able to fully grasp the nuances and unique qualities that define 'top-out' problems unless those climbers had every visited Fontainebleau. Yes, this type of problem occurs elsewhere but with nowhere near the regularity or quality of here in Font. Now that I'm aware of this type, I know that is a style I would love to master because at the moment it feels soooo desperate!
Today was a rest day for myself, but Monica, Scott, and Randy all headed out to the rocks. I tagged along and can report the Monica is progressing on her project at Apremont, Scott made a fast ascent of de la Terre a la Lune at Gorge du Houx, and Randy made some progress on his project Tajine, also at Gorge du Houx. At the end of the day Randy joined the local boys Gregoire, Kevin, and Moon whilst they through themselves at the stunning highball Londinium. It was difficult to keep my shoes in my pack today I can tell you that, but I'm optimistic that the rest will pay off for me tomorrow.
Until the next report,
Thursday, February 24, 2011
Sitting here in the gite waiting for rocks to dry. Scott and I have already been out once to get pastries and we may go again soon.
The last two days have been a mix of climbing and resting. We went into the town of Fontainebleau proper and had a walk around the Chateau's gardens. Afterward we headed over to Franchard Cuisinaire where the rest of the team was climbing. My head spun at all the rock.
Fontain at the chateau
Yesterday we had a nice afternoon at Petite Bois. I managed a few classics and everyone seemed to enjoy the nice conditions before the rain came at 4:30.
More to come.
Edit: Evening update. Today became a rest day. Below is a picture of the highlight of my day.
Monday, February 21, 2011
I awoke on Friday morning at 6:40AM after Becky's alarm went off. I of course did not wake up to my own alarm, which I set for 6:30....PM We'll call that the first bullet dodged.
Our flight was delayed about 40 minutes because of poor visibility, our layover in Charlotte was only an hour...they held our flight because 22 other passengers were trying to make the same connection.
As we were boarding in San Francisco Monica noticed Scott's crash pad on the tarmac after they had finished loading all of the other luggage...I finally convinced a US Airways employee that the bag DID indeed belong to us and we would like it on the plane.
Aside from these near misses our travel was pretty seamless. Scott, Monica and I arrived in Paris to grey skies and a bit of rain about 30 minutes ahead of schedule at 9:45am Saturday morning. We quickly gathered our bags and claimed our rental car (a brand new Picasso) and headed south to Larchant. Our quaint little gite is just a stones throw away from the beautiful ruins of the town's Basilica and it will be a perfect little home form our month long stay. After dropping off our belongings we wasted no time walking around the corner to the nearest boulangerie where we indulged our starved stomachs in pan au chocolate and a fresh bagette.
We would have loved to climb this day but the weather forced us to remain patient. We took the opportunity to walk around a couple of the local boulders though, and I wasn't disappointed. At Petit Bois we had a look at Big Jim, Big Dragon, L'Oeuf and La Baleine among a very nice circuit of moderates. All of these looked incredible. Just down the road from there is a small mound called Rocher Greau. Rocher Greau is perhaps a little less dense with
problems but it holds a few stunning gems. Both Megalithe and Tigre et Dragon were high on my "to do" list before I'd arrived and seeing them in person only reinforced that desire. Actually, upon viewing Tigre et Dragon I sorta lost my shit, here is one of the problems I'd daydreamed about for the better part of about two years and it looked even better than I'd imagined. This boulder which I'd used as a motivational tool to get me through countless training sessions and even more monotonous days behind the desk and here is sits in front of me begging to be climbed...except it was wet. Oh well, after not sleeping for 26 hours I probably wouldn't have faired too well anyway.
Tiger et Dragon
On Sunday I awoke at about 5am with bright eyes and hungry for boulders. I knew I had to be patient though because the sky was still overcast and it had rained the day before. Eventually though, we ventured out to Apremont where Scott thought we'd have a good chance at finding dry rock. Upon our arrival I doubted our chances. Every boulder felt damp if not soaked but we kept walking and eventually found some a small cluster of less wet boulders. At first I just planned on climbing a beautiful low angle slab 'just to get it out of my system' but that led to another slab, which led to a little overhang, which soon enough led me into a pretty decent warm up. At this time we were joined for the first time by Beth and Randy and shortly after by Gregoire and Kevin, two locals that Randy has know for many years. Lastly we were joined by a very slight breeze which started to blow though making more climbs increasingly possible.
By the end of the afternoon we'd all managed to get our fix. The highlights included several ascents of Motus Vivaldi and the classic Onde de Choc as well as both Beth and Monica topping out a beautiful highball called Anglomaniaque.
Nightfall could not subdue my enthusiasm and so I followed Randy out to the Cul de Chien for a headlamp session on the amazing roof of that area. I was able to do all of the moves on the classic Eclipse but was ultimately thwarted by fatigue and wet holds, Randy however was able to hang on for a quick repeat despite the dampness.
After a less than ideal night of sleep (I woke up at 3AM) I'm now eager anticipating today's action. I think we may go to Cuvier but really it doesn't matter. The feeling in the forest is magical, the vibe around the gite peaceful, and I am extremely content.