Monday, 7 September 2009

Both Keith and I have been friends with Neil from Maisonbleau for a long time, and so the day after my epic ride at the Nordpark, we hopped in the car for 9 glorious hours and drove to Font for his wedding party the following weekend. This allowed us a little time for climbing in the magical forest which I was looking forward to for a number of reasons. Not only is the bouldering in Font some of the best in the world and always a great pleasure to climb on, but it would also give me a bit of an idea about how I am fairing in terms of bouldering strength after more than a year away.

The obvious floor in this plan which you may have spotted is it is the middle of summer, and 30 degree temps are not normally associated with slopey fonty slopers. However, Neil and Keith both assured me that it was possible to climb in the heat as long as you choose your problems wisely and are smart with your skin. Stick to the shady crags, try dynos, roofs or traverses, and avoid anything small, slopey or sharp.

Armed with all the above info I set of on my quest, and to cut a long story short, I would have to say it was a general success. I climbed a whole host of new (for me) problems from 7a to 7c+ mostly at areas I had never visited before, and also tried a couple of cool problems that were a little too tough on the day, but will be waiting for future trips. Highlights included Ligne Blanche (, an amazing 7b arĂȘte at Buthiers Tennis, and Pierre, Feuille, Cizeaux ( a rather highball 7b+ prow at Puiselet Sablibum which is well worth seeking out for all of you who like a little bit spice with your slopey overhung arĂȘtes.

On the morning of the big day, Neil was his normal chilled self and even found time to nip out for couple of hours on the rocks. We headed to Roche aux Sabots with a few friends, to join the other hordes of sweaty brits making use of the bank holiday weekend. The boulders were busy, but thankfully I managed to find a little P&Q over near Sale Gosse which is surprisingly a problem I have never tried, despite numerous visits to the area over the last several years. After warming my fingers on the upper moves, and convincing myself that the left hand mono would not do me any harm, I had a few burns from a sitter and topped out on my third try.

Content with climbing a classic Moony problem, and completing my silly little goal of an 8a in the forest before going back to IBK, I moved on to my next focus for the day – simply to eat as much tasty food as my little belly can take.

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