Monday, February 28, 2011

Topping Out

Kevin on de la Terra a la Lune

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,

A revoir!


Becky said...

Whatever, I'm a REALLY good topper outer and I've never been to Fontainebleau. Fontainebleau blows... I'm not bitter.

Justin said...

Honey, you're the best topper-outer there ever was.

Susy said...

@Becky: aren't we having waaaay more fun here in Norcal? Yeah sure; of course we are. But good for you Mr. Topper outer Alarcon...

Robyn said...

What Becky said!