Fontainebleau, what a predicament, it certainly a love–hate relationship with you.
I’ve been to Font countless times over the many years i’ve been climbing. Each time I go through the same cycle of emotions! Excited to arrived, ready to climb hard new block’s, keen to see how my strength and technique have changed and hopefully improved, as well as looking forward to the best pastries you could ever taste. Font, however seems to have a different agenda; it seems to be out to show me how bad I really climb: quick to show me my flaws in technique, gaps in my strength, and ready at any moment to spit me off even the easiest of problems, by the end I have always ticked of a few new numbers and beaten down an old nemesis or two. I always leave with a list of improvements to my abilities, and also of things I have learnt.
This year was no exception: my first impression was that I’ve clearly got better in the two years since my last visit, with clear improvements on my foot placements, overall strength and confidents in top outs.
I was able to tick a load of old nemesis’s, the first La Science Friction 6a Apremont, A friction slab fitting of it’s name, went super easy and brilliant ego boost to my footwork. The next was Égoïste 7a (6c+) Apremont, after being completely shutdown by the scary last move to the top jug, last time round, this year, the only hard bit was tonremember the subtle start sequence, once that was down the top happened without even flinching. Then came the classic La Marie-Rose 6a Cuvier. Previously it felt horrible and polished, impossible friction moves on nothing but glass, now the rock felt grippy, and it went – once i found my balance – in 3 goes! Video HERE – apologies for it being in portrait, I sacked the camera man. The final line, a classic must-try, a 6 year long project with an emotional journey, and one I am very happy to finally tick, Beatle Juice 7a+ Cuisinière Crête Sud. What a line. The crux in only 4 moves, and then and endurance v3 of 12-15 moves after to top out, It took this trip, 2 sessions totalling around 30 attempts, a few of which were heartbreakingly close to the top! You can watch that video HERE – after rehiring the camera and a quick lesson in camera work (in Landscape).
Font’s classic shutdown moment of the trip was: La Flipper 6b 91.1 this should have just been another block in a circuit of reds, ended up spending the rest of the afternoon having to work it, and was happy in my tiredness to finally top it.
Fun block of the trip: The Big Cheese a high ball V1 block in elephant, with the most welcomed easy top out. Watch that HERE (now with superb almost a pro level of camera handling skill). L’elephant is a great sector, some great Blue Circuit high-balls, that make you trust your feet, pretty beech-like picnic area right in the middle, and all types of climbing for all grades.
We stayed in the Van in a Bivi site out side of Bourron-Marlotte. It’s basically a free campsite with running water in the summer months, a bivouac toilet, and overnight parking. With access to Carrefour within 20min in any direction, it was easy to keep the 2.5 weeks there cheap, totalling around £50 each, for all the food. The only down side – if you can call it that – is that you are within walking distance of the town, with a suburb bakery, so that always puts a dent in your wallet.