Sunday, March 20, 2011

Home Again

The view of Larchant from a hilltop

I'm back in California now, and aside from visiting some loved ones I haven't done much today. The last week in France was great albeit a bit frustrating on several levels. Of course my shoulder bothered me and there were times when watching everyone climb on things I longed to try was a bit too much to handle. Also, I somehow managed to destroy a bathroom counter top by simply leaning on it and we ended up getting fleeced by the gite owner (who more than covered his expenses with his replacement fee). Of course events in Japan and Libya remind me that these concerns are relatively trivial, although still damn frustrating. I did manage to do a bit of climbing before leaving. Mostly slabs and easy stuff, but it all felt great considering I wasn't sure if I'd be able to climb at all just a week ago.


Scott on 'Irreversible'

Social hour in Bas Cuvier

A few of us wandered into Paris last week as well. Checked out a terrific art museum, had a nice lunch, visited the Eiffel Tower, and walked around a bunch, it was a nice break and I'd like to go back. I think next time I may arrange for a few nights stay in the city and explore a little bit more.

Van Gogh at Musée d'Orsay



The final few days saw the arrival of a few more friends in the forest. Ethan and Matt were supposed to be in Switzerland but the weather was crap so they joined us in Fontainebleau. Paul had already left font for the Swiss gneiss but ended up returning for the same reason.

Paul on 'Big Dragon'

Matt enjoying St. Patrick's day

I'm a bit wiped right now and don't have a lot of energy for reflection at the moment, but perhaps I'll post a wrap up or something in the near future. Maybe when I finish my little video...

Friday, March 11, 2011

One More Week

There is about a week left in my Font trip and I may have climbed my last boulder problem.

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


the road to P'tit Paradis

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.