Day 1: The Drive
After two days of route setting in Stuttgart & Heilbronn we arrived back in Freiburg at 4am on Sunday morning. SLEEP! And by 1pm we were on the road again, this time headin’ west to La Fôret de Fontainebleau.
Sunset just before arriving…
We made the drive in 5 hrs and timed it perfectly to meet a good friend from South Africa: John “Ginger” Wessels as we pulled into the camping at Grez sur Loing. Followed by Christi an hour later who had arrived a day earlier… the Black Diamond tent setup processed including some South African ‘rainproofing’ and after some La Goudale beer & burritos. SLEEP!
Day 2: Bas Cuvier and Paris
It was fantastic to wake up refreshed with the sun on our faces, and it was easy to get up with the prospect of climbing in FONT! We headed for Bas Cuvier as we wanted to go there one time before the crowds descended for the Easter weekend. We warmed up on Doctor Jones, a great feature with slopers and tricky feet and Dix tractions a brick hard problem on the White Circuit. We met up with Nico Favrese, Stéphane Hanssens and Jean Luc (the Belgium bigwall crew) who’s new Jungle Jammin’ movie was to be featured that night at the La Nuit de la Montagne in Paris. They were all trying the classic sloper problem La Clé 7a so we all repeated it too – funny how everyone seems to have different beta on this one? After that we moved over to Big Grotte 7a/+ which Christi crushed with his crazy finger power… i had to search a lot longer for a more subtle way.
La Nuit de la Montagne
By then the day was over and we headed up North for a…
PARTY in PARIS!
The Real Thing movie
Day 3: Cuisiniere
Kaddi had tried Rencard on our previous trip but failed to stick one of the moves on the link. As usual the conventional beta used by most is impossible for her due to the low feet so she had to come up with new feet and 2 new hand holds, which are more like foot holds, to make it work.
Kaddi setting up for “her” crux on Rencard.
But one of these moves, or more the position you move from, just wasn’t working? Again we left without solving the puzzle but she was now convinced it will go somehow…
Day 4: Éléphant
Kaddi helped Christi with some preparations for the Chasin’ the Rubbish 2.0 event that Black Diamond was hosting, so I thought I’d show Johny Le Grand Toit, my favorite roof in Font. First we warmed up on a couple of Black boulders: La Dalle Fléaux which was a desperate flash and Le Reptile which took a couple of tries but so worth the effort, superb move and a cool mantle ending. Sadly when we got to the roof, again the crux crimp on the lip of Splatch, the king line of the cave, was wet… so we ended up just playing on some of the moves in this amazing roof… so psyched to get back to it when it’s dry!
Day 5: Franchard Ermitage
Once again we found ourselves parking at Isatis and heading towards Cuisiniere. Kaddi still had eyes for Rencard and I was keen to go try a roof called Le Toit 7a+. We met up with Nalle (BD athlete) and Clement (film maker) who were both in Font for the Chasin’ the Rubbish 2.0 event. From looking I knew the boulder was my ‘cup of tea’, a near vertical roof with incut crimps. I quickly figured out my beta and between bouts of rain I managed to find my way up this killer line! PSYCHED!
Day 6: Isatis
As for last year, the 1st day of the Chasin’ the Rubbish 2.0 event we again chose Isatis as it’s one of the largest parkings and one we felt we can reach some of the 1.2 million yearly visitors, some of which are climbers on their first visit to the forest. Our message is simple: RESPECT THE FOREST by using a few simple points. 1. Clean your shoes before you climb as the sand etc. acts like sandpaper on the holds and polishes the rock; 2. brush off your tick marks, and the excessive chalk after your session; 3. stay on the trails as erosion in a lot of the areas is becoming a larger problem ; 4. pack out what you brought in (and any rubbish you find lying around); 5. if you need the toilet walk far way from the area dig a hole and bury your business. Simple I know, but you’ll be surprised at how many people are blind to their impact.
Fred Nicole helping to clean Fontainebleau 🙂
Fred Nicole had also came to Font to support the good course and it was nice to chat to him again after such a long time. I followed Nalle and him around Cuisiniere and shot some photos for the article soon to be on the BD website. Will keep you posted….
Day 7: Rocher Guichot
Like last year our original plan was to clean up Bas Cuvier on the 2nd day of the event some of the locals asked us not to as they had plans to clean this area two weeks later. We politely changed plans as we didn’t want to clean up all their rubbish 😉 The day started early and we arrived on an empty cold car park. After many games of hacky sack the climbers finally started to arrive just as the sun peaked through the clouds. After the morning rush of climbers entering it went rather quiet so I joined Johny for a little bouldering.
Nico Favresse stringing some cool tunes during the event.
I had never climbed in Rocher Guichot so I started with some Oranges then Blues and then jumped on some of the Reds. Memorable sends were flashes of La Maîtresse, La Vielle Fille, La Duégne and a 2nd go of Vent d’ouest. John also showed me a small roof crack which looked right up my alley. I gave it a long look and tried hard managing to flash Coin de Paradis 7a.
Day 8: Roche aux Sabots
Another early morning got us a good parking spot at Trois Pignons and as last year it soon became a mass of moving people. Climbers, hikers, trail runners, mountain bikers, Paris folk in high heels, Police on horseback, even a guy on a freaking Segway, what the…? At one point Christi counted the cars on the parking and as far as I remember it was over 500. The two previous days we were chatting mainly to climbers who understood what we were trying to communicate …and we were glad to have some French speaking people on the team!
Christi & John
After getting the photos I needed, I ventured into Roche aux Sabots to get some climbing ‘shots’ and scramble up some lines myself. I started with some Blues, here they are not as simple and can give even the seasoned Font climbers trouble. Reds require focus and a lot of tension as the footholds are extremely polished. Soon I was ready for something harder and joined Fred and friends trying a 7a called Le Jeu du Toit. On my first few goes I couldn’t figure out the beta but after I got told the trick I sent. Good rest day I thought and joined the others for sundowners (drinks) and pizza.
Day 9: Éléphant
The final day of the Chasin’ the Rubbish 2.0 event was a team clean up day where we all went and cleaned the forest. As usual the area was PACKED, below every boulder there was a crashpad and finding rubbish was no problem. After 2 hrs we had cleaned the whole area and it was time for us to climb 🙂
Kaddi done her part to keep Fontainebleau beautiful
Fred had not yet been to the Le Grand Toit so we all went over hoping it was dry. It was drier than the other day but not dry… but Christi somehow still managed to get up it ? 🙂
Christi in crush mode on Splatch
I didn’t even bother and tried Le Grand Toit, a 7a to the right. Sadly the crux pocket on this one was also wet so we soon packed up and moved to Envie d’Ailes. Christi, John and Kaddi threw themselves at the crimpy wall but it didn’t let its guard down.
After a delicious meal in Fontainebleau we popped into Jetlag for a cocktail. Oh, what a night…
After 4 days of Chasin’ the Rubbish it was time for a party.
Dream Team: Christi, Nico, Nalle, Ginger, Kaddi, Julie and Clement.
Day 10: Grez sur Loing Camping
Lying in the sun with only a pair of shorts had never felt that good. The sun was out and there was no wind, glorious! But after many games of Sudoko and too many coffees it was time to do something. We drove into Font to check out the new climbing store S’Cape and after stopped off to buy some goodies for a braai (barbeque). By the time the others arrived back from climbing Christi and I had a fire going and were 4 beers ahead 🙂
Rest days are the best days
Kaddi had gone to Hautes Plaines and managed to do Mur du Lombard 7a+ and for her it was on of the best lines she did on this trip. Nice one Du!!
Day 11: Buthiers
After the rest day Christi and I were feeling good and decided we both need to stop procrastanating and finally go try Partage, in my opinion, the best line in Fontainebleau. I started with a flash of Le Sphinx, the Depart Red thinking it would be relatively easy, turns out it’s the hardest boulder on the circuit at 6b and it felt like I was gonna brake my fingers. We also did a really tall Blue boulder that was very polished with a dicey mantle at the end. A flash of La Dynamostatique was next, a perfect arête on the Black Circuit behind Lady Big Claque. Clement wanted to try Insisitance, a slopey looking 7a so we gathered the pads and after some tries we all got on the send train. We were all nice and warm and looking for a challenge… it was staring us down 20m away. Masters Edge 7b! This line is as intimidating as it is beautiful. The base is a mixture of rocks and roots and we needed two pads just to fill the gaps. Christi and I spend 5mins trying to figure out how to get off the ground and then over the next 1 hr gradually inched our way higher and higher until we both managed to send this king line – so stoked!
Christi sending La Rampe
After that ordeal I needed some rest and a beer! I had sent the stunning line, La Rampe last year and suggested the others to give it a go… Christi sent in style! The day was not done, we still had to try our luck on Partage. Damn that first foot move is hard! Got my ass handed to me but at least I know what I’m dealing with…
I’ll be back!
Day 12: Petit Bois & Boissy aux Cailles
After the crimpy day at Buthiers I thought it would be good to mix it up a bit and show John the best mantles in Bleau. One of the only moderate Black boulders that I hadn’t done before was Voyage a Bombay, so I threw myself at this one and after a few tries managed to get myself to the top. My real motivation for coming here was just around the corner and soon I found myself standing blow Paddy 7c+. There was a Bleausard trying it so for the first 15min I just stood there watching. He was struggling with the move before the mantle so I never got to see the crux beta but at least knew exactly how the first sequence went. My first try was great and got to the Bleausards high point. 5 or 6 tries later I stuck the move but the beta master was gone and I was on my own, tried a foot – fell. Next try… try a hand fell… try a different foot – fell… and so on… eventually it was dark and I was exhausted…
Kaddi wasn’t exhausted ..and after a 10min drive and a 5min walk we were at the Water Roof. It was a great atmosphere in the forest, cool night session with friends who shared a common passion. After figuring out which line goes where Kaddi & John both sent Bégnots Story 7a+ the most natural line out of the cave. Even though I was absolutely trashed I thought I might as well try as I’ll probably not be back any time soon. Knowing the beta well from watching I gave it all I had and managed to flash it. What a great night!
Day 13: Cuisiniere
The sun was shining and I was very tired from the day before… perfect! John and Clement went to climb at Haute Plaines so we headed over to the parking at Isatis as Kaddi was keen to walk around and check out some of the lines she hadn’t seen before. I stayed at the car and layed in the sun solving Sudoko puzzles. In the afternoon we showed John La Mouche, a 7b+ Kaddi & I had done the year before. After 30min Kaddi stood up and said, I’m gonna go try Rencard… game on! We walked over as it got dark and 30min later when John et al. arrived Kaddi had figured out ‘her’ trick and sent with us all cheering her on!
Kaddi sending Rencard at night.
It’s always so much more rewarding to go through the process of impossible to possible 🙂
Day 14: Petit Bois
After my rest day I was ready to give Paddy another go. Martin had come close to Mur du Son, a 7c around the corner so we headed over for a quality session. It was really cool as the two boulders are really close and we could take turns supporting each other. After about 3x 3omins session each I remember saying to Martin, “Ok, now you send and then I’ll send and then we go have some beer”. Funnily enough that’s exactly what happened 🙂 Thx Martin for an awesome day!
Day 15: Apremont
I woke up feeling broken… even though I knew we were leaving that afternoon it was a rest day for me… no power, no energy. Last year we had visited Apremont a few times and I had done most of the cool things there. This was a good opportunity for Kaddi to try Crazy Horse again. The 1st move had given her trouble last year so we hoped this time she would have a little more strength. After doing the stand start and a few spread out attempts she managed to span the first burly move and topped it out. Really cool to see her progress from last year 🙂
Kaddi sticks the final sloper on Crazy Horse
Normally I try ending on a positive note but I was disappointed when we arrived at the Crazy Horse bloc to see so much rubbish, especially after we put so much effort into the Chasin’ the Rubbish 2.0 event.
We gathered all this just from the base of Crazy Horse 😦
Please, when you go out climbing, keep your eyes open and help to keep our climbing areas clean and undamaged. Just remember we all have an impact!
And thx again to Black Diamond for organizing such an important event!