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.