So after four or five weeks of abstinence from Font', I went back all psyched up.
16-05: First destination: Éléphant. The project of the day was La Barre Fixe (7B+), a classic. It took us a few tries to send the standing version (a blue one!) and then started working on the sitstart. I quickly found a nice beta (I dynoed to a left shoulder sidepull very far) but could not find the appropriate footwork. So there's only half a move to find for the next time. All in all, a great problem.
Envie d'Ange (7A) is a rather high problem. The crux consists in locking the left arm with a rather decent crimp and go for a jug. Given the overhang, the move is somewhat scary. It took me three tries. There is a crimpy 7C on the left but the others wanted to move on. It seemed within my style.
The Gruyère boulder is a big classic: eight meters high with huge jugs. We sent the right-to-left traverse, La Traversée du Gruyère (7A), which demands for beautiful crossing and arm locking.
30-05: Roche aux Sabots. I had been there once back in January and had only tried out Graviton (7A) and L'Oblique (7A), which, according to The Weekly TickList #10, are two of the three most climbed problems with 651 and 502 ascents respectively.
Graviton... don't you just love mantles? Unfortunately, some people don't understand how cameras work so you can't see the first part of the problem (yes, I am talking about you, Momo...).
L'Oblique is a roof with a dyno at the end. The dyno is morpho inasmuch as I would have to let go of my left hand during the dyno, which is out of the question. I was given another beta so I got a three-finger pinch which I then used as an undercling (the switch is not that easy).
We finished the day in the Roche aux Sabots Sud sector. There is a boulder presenting various problems, sometimes not very distinguishable. I did a sitstart on the right which was supposed to be a 7A but after sending it within 2-3 minutes, I thought it was too easy. Later that day I found out it was actually Rien Zen (6B+).
Zen (7a) is a nice roof as well with a beautiful top-out.
06-06: The beginning of a beautiful weekend. We visited Apremont Ouest for one problem: Crazy Horse (7B). I had tried this one two years earlier and had almost sent it within an hour. We then had to move to the following project so I had never gotten the chance to link it since. This time, I got all the moves (except for the first one) instantly so I knew I was in good shape. After 4-5 attempts on the start, I realised that I was not pushing my body enough; I was at around 30% of my power. I find myself doing that very often and I have yet to understand the reason behind this laziness. Sadly, when I sent it, I made a mistake during the top out and it turned out ugly.
After that, I tried the longer version, Crazy Horse rallongé (7b+). Two years ago, we could not even do the sitstart. It seems ridiculously easy since you only need to move on the ledge 40-50 centimeters to the left but the start is tricky. The convention is that you need to start with your feet under the roof which means going at it no-foot is not allowed. And the moment you try to make a move, the swing makes you fall. After a few tries, I found a beta and was able to link up until the first move of the 7B version.
Before leaving, I was given 15 minutes to try Sitting Bull (7C). Even with a very bad beta, I was almost able to get all the moves. What is weird, however, is the fact that everyone is trying the 7B version (top out on the right). I am very curious to try the 7C version next time.
07-06: Gorge aux Châts. I started with Opéra Tchétchène raccourci (7A). We had doubts over the eliminants. I tried a version which felt like a 7A but after a friend skipped the crux and dynoed to the jug, I knew this was not the correct version. Got to do it again :-(
Un Franc du Kilomètre (7A) is a long rtl traverse. The first two meters are quite ugly to be honest, the second part is all jugs and the top out is a bit tricky. All three of us fell on the last or second-to-last move. What a disappointment.
Le Pare Dessus (7A+) looks easy: during the first 5-6 moves, you have huge jugs and then you have got a hard top out. We flashed the first part but did not understand the top out. We kept reaching for a high crimp which you are not supposed to take and we could not move after that.
Chien Assis (6C+/ 7A) was rather easy for me. A two-meter traverse to the right, you get an decent right-hand undercling, you lock your arm and give it a go. I love locking, it feels so powerful.
I also checked out La Tour d'Ivoire (7C), the sitstart version of Maudite Arête (6B). I gave the crux three of four tries and got very close. Another project to finish.
And of course, when you visit Gorge aux Châts, you do not have the right to leave without testing Rubis sur l'Ongle (7B+), one of the most well-known problems of the forest. We tried it for about 15 minutes (I should have insisted more but I wanted to do a few 7A's...). I got through the first half very easily and almost got the crux. After that, it is quite easy. I am going back soon for these two projects.
20-06: Back to the Apremont area with three friends. I had planned a heavy program so I was hoping the others would keep up with my rhythm.
First project: Mandela (7A). As I was saying in the previous post, we had made a mistake with the beta and had done a new problem one or two meters to the right. This time, it took me four tries to get the correct beta with the undercling. That move destroys your wrist but it is so fun that you keep trying.
I then tried the sitstart version. With this obvious beta, I could do the first move and get the right shoulder diagonal crimp but being stretched to the max, I could not move afterwards. I then tried to dyno to another crimp. I got the move once but then could not find the footholds I had used. Probably a 7B.
Update: while writing this post, I contacted bleau.info to suggest our two "false ascents" of Mandela as new problems: Madila and Madila assis. The idea for the name is simple: I combined Madiba and Mandela, the names of the two neighbouring problems :-) After exchanging with the administrator, I found out that the standing version was already considered as a variant of Mandela but the sitstart should be a new problem.
So here's the standing version...
and the sitstart version...
And then... trumpets screaming and pumping... Féérite (7C). It is the reverse problem of Électrochoc par le bas - (7C+) about which I wrote last time. In the former, you get out of the roof whilst in the latter, you get the heel hook first then reach for a left-hand crimp very far. I was having doubts over which project I should try but Féérite won. And then... the big surprise! After having watched a friend trying for 2 hours and not getting the move, I had considered the crux extreme. This time, I summoned some courage and got the hard sequence within five minutes and without even pushing. I was honestly surprised. I linked on my second try :-)
12-07: My first visit at Petit Bois. The texture of the rock was quite greasy so I was not expecting much. And that's exactly what I got.
I started with Les Vacances à Bombay (6C+/7a), a basic mantle problem. The top out holds are very far and you cannot even see them so it took me quite a few tries. After a while, my friend climbed on a rock and showed me the part of the sloper for which I was supposed to aim. After that, it was a matter of time.
Big Jim (6C/+) is a very famous problem. Five meters high and the crux is at the top. I gave it around seven tries but the last move was risky and scared me a bit. I missed the hold by two centimeters but did not want to try again. Every time I would fall, it would feel like a year was passing by. I have fallen from a high boulder but this one felt weird.
La Baleine (7A/+) is also high and a big classic. I gave it around ten tries to find the right beta but we used the wrong foot (right instead of left) and could not do the dyno. And the height did not help.
25-07: Apremont once again! After trying Sitting Bull and failing because of the post-rain glueiness, we moved to Égoïste (7A) and Égoïste assis (7A+). After a few tries, we fond the perfect beta and sent it.
After an extra two attemps, I sent the sitstart version as well.
01-08: Trois Pignons! We spent the first half of the day at J.A. Martin. The sector is very scattered and the topo did not help a lot so we could not find anything interesting. We ended up working on La Voie de Kim assis (7A).
We moved to a more interesting sector, Roche aux Sabots. Le Jeu du Toit (7A) is a seducing little roof/prow that sucks you in. All three sent it rather fast. The best beta in the video is the one used by Guy. I came up with the beta myself but could not apply it since I did not have the reach. That pissed me off because I found it very cool. Oh well, at least someone used it and now we can all enjoy it :-)
02-08: We started at 95.2. After failing at Coince et Danse (7A), I decided to retry Le Smarty in order to film it.
In the afternoon, we went to Rocher des Souris. I thought the guys would enjoy Extraction Terrestre (7A+) and I had been wanting to go back and film it. It only took us three tries tops I think.
16-08: My first time at the Coquibus area. Coquibus Auvergne is famous for two boulders, each offering various distinct problems.
We spent our warm-up on Boîte à Lettres (6A+) and Tétutéton (6B) and failed at both. The key hold of the former was too moist and the latter was morpho. I gor very close but could not link. Maybe it was a matter of motivation since they were not my main goals. I visited that boulder mostly to check out Libertaire (8A) and Révolution (8A). They seemed within my reach.
And off to the Crotale and Cobra problems! I started with Little Crotale (7A+) and Little Cobra (7A+) which I flashed since the crux (the top out) was very easy for me (long live heel hooks!).
The other two problems were somewhat hard because the top out is morpho. I knew the final move would cause me some grief so I worked on it directly. I got it right after seven attempts and then sent Little King Combi (7A+) and Crotale (7B/A+) on my first attempt.
I then tried King Cobra (7B+) and sent the crux within 2 minutes but my partner needed to leave so I did not have the opportunity to link. I also gave King Crotale (7C) a try; I think it will fall next time.
18-08: A long but very, very exciting and pleasant day. After warm-up, we joined some friends that came from Pau so there were six of us in the group; can one ask for more?
After a loooong warm-up, we visited Bleau's Art (7b). I had tried it last year with the same partner but could not get the top out. By the time we got to the boulder, the sun started hitting the key sloper. We instantly got frustrated and pessimistic. I started with the second part and after two attempts at trying to get the right heel hook right, I locked it on the hold, got the slper with my right hand and topped out very easily. I was very surprised. I linked after about five tries.
After that, I repeated Festin de Pierre (7A) and finally sent Roxane, one of the most difficult 6B's I have ever seen. It took me five tries. Unfortunately, I was too stupid and pessimistic so I did not film it. now I have to go back and tear my skin on that nasty first crimp all over again...
We finished the day on Duroxmanie (6C), a classic I sent two years ago. For two years, I had considered it to be very hard so never tried it again. This mental blocage kept me from flashing it. A second try and a fear-free mind was all it took.
I then tried the sitstart version (7B/+). I got the first moves instantly and worked my way through the crux. I almost got it so next time, I will try it during my warm-up.
19-08: My first visit at Les Béorlots marked my reunion with my Antrebloc climbing buddies. As always, the rhythm was fast and we kept hitting one problem after another.
After failing at two problems during warm up (both were morpho yet feasible but I got irritated very quickly and did not want to spoil my session), I moved to the main meal, the Yalla boulder, which offers two problems in the 6th degree and four in the 7th degree.We decided to work on the left-to-right traverses. The first one, Yalla retour raccourci (7B+), tops out in a 6C called Cavaporcis. I sent the latter on my first try.
I then moved to Cavaporcis droite (6C+), the top out of Yalla retour (7B+/7C). This problem is a bit tricky and I spent around twenty minutes trying to find the perfect beta. I needed something economical or else linking the traverse would have been a problem.
As soon as both top outs fell, we started working on the traverses. The crux is not that difficult and we knew it was within our reach. After 15-20 minutes, I found a great beta and then sent Yalla retour raccourci on my first attempt.
Same thing happened with Yalla retour!
74% de Cacao (6C+/7A) was quite easy but since I was trying it on my own, I had to work on the moves one by one. After four tries, I tried to link and made it. Falling would have hurt a lot.
After getting an extra two pads and a spotter, I tried Purée de Noisettes (7B+). After a few tries, I almost got all the moves. Every single move was reachy and I had to stretch my arm to the max but strangely, it did not feel unnatural (which always happens to me with similar problems). An overall very enjoyable problem.
21-08: I had been wanting to go back to Marion des Roches for two years to send two specific problems.
Pierrot (7B) is a great roof with a reachy move that I could not figure out or avoid last time. So now I knew that I had to find a new beta. I started warming up and coming up with ideas. Being alone, I had to work one move at a time and move the pad because of the tree roots and the rocks on the ground. After about an hour, I came up with a genious beta but that meant I would have to risk falling on a root. I tried it once and while trying to hold the momentum, I slipped and fell on a root. The fall was quite painful and lasted for a few minutes. After that, I dissipated and I was able to climb but it insisted for another two days during which I was having difficulties walking. So I had to change my beta. It took me another hour or so to link the project. As you can see in the video, my choreography is a bit odd.
The second item on my menu: Bi-Steack (7A). I had the moves from last time. I started with the last part and got it within 10 minutes. And then I started working on the dyno. I got it within five-six tries and thought the project would fall. After an hour of dyno-ing and missing the jug and getting my fingers slashed by the sharp edges of the rock, I got VERY pissed and started yelling. Since noone was around, I let everything out. But it did not work so I tried to calm down. Lately, whenever I get angry with myself or a project, I move away and try something else. So I tried the 7B version, Franck (7B). I started with the crux and linked up to the end on my first try! After another three tries, I linked the entire thing.
I went back to Bi-Steack but during a failed dyno, my fingers got damaged (there were only a few nanometers of skin left) and I decided to stop climbing. Plus, I had to save some skin for the next day.
22-08: Back to Les Béorlots for the Yalla (right-to-left) traverses. We spent about thirty minutes looking for a good beta for the crux. One single move was left: the top out. You get a bad sloper (or tiny crimp) with your left hand, you jam your right heel and toes in a ledge and start pulling and pushing to get a very, very bad crimp and then reach for another crimp with the same (right) hand. After working at it for more than an hour and failing at it, we gave it a rest and took a break.
That break was Fat Cat (7B). Two friends had tried it three days earlier and it had seemed very reachy, possibly impossible. But whenever the word "impossible" is thrown around, I get curious. Within minutes, I found the right beta for the crux so the only move left was the dyno at the end. Most (if not all) people will dyno to a pinch with the left hand then go for a jug with the same hand. For me that was impossible so I thought I could keep the pinch and then get my right foot up and go for the jug with my right hand. For this beta you need seriously strong shoulders. The problem was that the pinch was painful; it would sink into my skin. I thought getting it with my left shoulder (therefore only the right side of the pinch) would be better but the rocks on the ground and behind me scared me a lot but I decided to trust my shoulder and my spotter. It finally fell and it only took me 30 minutes tops.
We went back to work on the top out of Yalla but nothing...
After 10 minutes of walking, we arrived at the Kaiju (8A) boulder. We started with the two 7A's. Unfortunately, the first one involves a big dyno so I deleted it from my memory immediately. The second one, Cherno Alpha (7A/+), is a right-to-left traverse with big jugs and two huge moves. The top out took me more than thirty tries. You get a huge ledge and then go for a distant hold. I tried a heel hook, a Yaniro, a no-foot beta but nothing. Then I used a toe hook which I placed next to my hands and got it. The second crux... ouch! You get a painful three-finger pocket and reach for a good hold. I got the move only once in twenty tries and I tried to link twice but failed. I need to work on my dynamic moves at the gym.
We finished the session with Égérie sans Vergogne (7B/+). It took us twenty minutes to get to the boulder; the sector is huge and scattered. My friend was tired so I tried it alone. It seemed very difficult and yet too seductive to pass on. I got all the moves within fifteen minutes but could not link since the hlds in the cracks were wet. I need to get back for this one.