28 days seem to be a reasonable amount of time for a climbing trip. But I knew we would need some rest days, we would have to wait for the rain to stop from time to time and we would spend some hours behind the camera as well. So from day one on I wanted to climb one boulder, a problem I briefly tried some years ago and had no chance of ticking back then.
Giving our bodies the chance to get used to the special climbing style of the forest, Bas Cuvier with many easy lines was our choice for the first day. Excitedly we ran around, touched perfect rock and started to try some moderate problems. I guess I couldn’t hide my elation and although I didn’t see it myself, I am pretty sure I was grinning from ear to ear while observing the problems. Nothing better than a mix of motivation and anticipation.
After warming up I surprised myself by quickly doing Hypothese 7C+. By many described as a campus problem, I needed my feet to find the right body positions to hold onto the slopers, yet still it felt like raw power climbing. I didn’t climb a lot beforehand due to an inflammation in my middle finger but I sure did some core training. Sitting on top of the boulder I already had the feeling it payed off. Could it be that climbing in Fontainebleau is as much about strength as it is anywhere else after all?
Les Beaux Quartiers is located at Rocher de Bouligny (thank god I am writing this and don’t have to pronounce it). Not only is the boulder aesthetically appealing but it also sits on a picturesque hill literally shouting out loud: Climb me! That’s exactly what I tried in 2012 but couldn’t accomplish. I wanted to give it another shot this time.
‚Conditions’ is the word most stressed when I tell someone about the problem. On the first day we had clear skies but I was too tired for an ascent after checking the beta. I came back in the night a few days later but found the boulder wet from top to bottom. Next session, after warming up and getting ready, the rain shut me down again. Getting a bit restless I decided to try it one more time in the evening hoping for cooler conditions. We already did some climbing in the morning that day which felt great, so the psych (and caffein level) was high when I arrived at the boulder.
It turned out that ‚cooler‘ meant 13 °C and a relative humidity around 98 %. Brushing aside my doubts was the only promising approach and I pulled off the ground with the top hold in mind. The first three moves went well whereas at the following section I felt I was reaching my limit. After a seemingly endless struggle I found myself sitting on top of the boulder. Heavily panting and looking at my sweaty fingertips I knew I couldn’t have climbed any harder that day. Les Beaux Quartiers 8a/+: chapter closed (see the GIF below).
Over the next weeks we visited sector after sector, strolled from boulder to boulder, tried crux move after crux move, pushed the record button more than once and enjoyed ourselves amidst this impressive scenery. Climbing the Big Four in Cuvier Rempart was another highlight, although what counted the most was the overall experience. Bouldering in the forest is just great and yes, climbing in Fontainebleau is as much about strength like anywhere else. But keeping the cliches alive is part of the game we all love to play, so let’s pretend you need good footwork to climb well in Fontainebleau 😉
Santiago waiting for the rain to stop. Rest day in Paris.
David in Irreversible 7c.
Sea of Moon. Santiago going for the top in Irreversible.
Thomas vs. Rainbow Rocket.
There’s beauty in a rainstorm.
Nothin’ but sunshine. Sometimes.
Three in one. Santiago, Thomas and Johannes posing for the camera.
No better way to hold a crimp.
Lost in the forest.
Haven for sloper-lovers.
It’s all about friction. Or was it strength?
Waiting for the next go.
Johannes putting his heart into Coeur 7a
Les Beaux Quartiers