In the autumn vacation (week 42) a group of Danish junior climber from all over the country, drove in four minibuses to the amazing boulder spot, approximately 60 kilometers south of Orly airport in Paris, the forest Fontainebleau.
I had been in Fontainebleau as one of my first trips almost just after I started climbing. It´s about four years ago now, and then I had no rock climbing experiences, and no idea of what this area involved. The forest has an area at 25.000 ha. This implies bouldering enough to fill in much more than a lifetime of climbing. The quality of the rock and of the climbing is so high, that you can climb there a whole life, on new lines every day and only try those with high quality.
We arrived Sunday morning and had to put up our tent at the camp. We were all tired after the travel, but at the same time, our finger tips were ready to feel some rock. The problem was only, that it rained cats and dogs. And it just kept on raining for hours. So when we finally had made a camp, and were sure that all of our bags were wet :-S we just laid in our tents, hearing music, looking guidebooks and prepared to give 100 % the next day.
The first climbing day was all about getting used to the rock, instead of the indoor climbing we all were used to. We walked around in groups and just climbed what we wanted. Nothing really hard was done by any of us, I think the hardest I did was a 7a+ flash.
But we met some other really cool climbers from Scotland. There were a lot of junior climbers, also some who are at the Scottish junior national team. Some of us who have been to some international junior competitions had already met those from the Scottish team, at competitions in Edinburgh’s impressive indoor climbing gym.
A few of us from Denmark, and some of those from Scotland climbed most of the day together, especially at a 7b which most important hold had broken off, and the crux had therefor become MUCH harder. None of us did it, but we had fun, and we found an alternative line which was really nice.
Calum at our alternative line
Already after this first day, I could feel that my skin definitely wasn’t used to climb at rocks. It was already thin. I was a little nervous about how much my skin would allow me to climb. But since we only had 4-5 days to climb I was keen to climb as much as possible.
The next days we climbed different places every day. I tried to climb as much lines, with as many nice people as possible. It was not because I didn’t wanted to project at one certain hard line, I was just that I could not find the right line, and at the same time this was my first really boulder trip, so I wanted to get a lot experience about a lot of different styles of bouldering.
So I did A LOT of 6’Th and start 7’Th grade flash. Which I am satisfied with, but still I hadn’t tried any hard climb jet. Of cause what I had already done was hard for me, but I hadn’t jet tried anything harder than 7a+.
At our rest day we drove to Paris, and walked around in the city. We went to the big outdoor shop chain, Au Vieux Campeur, where I bought a new crash pad, and a new pair of 5.10 shoes. I’ve never climbed with five ten before, but it shows up, that 5.10’s black wings, is one of the best climbing shoes I’ve ever tried.
The small, handy and light Evolv iceman crash pad was not that expensive, it is thick but not heavy and then it is very easy to transport because of its size.
48 Rue des Écoles, 75005 Paris
The last two climbing days it rained at night and in the morning, which did that some of the rocks were a little wet, sometimes too wet to even try to climb.
We went to a place called Rocher Fin, that is not as popular as a lot of the places in Fontainebleau, why it is not so popular remain a riddle for me. Every single line I tried, just had so high quality, and it was so fun. A France climber, who has developed a lot of the lines in some areas in Fontainebleau, was a friend of some of our trainers, and he came and climbed with us. It was funny to see his view to bouldering compared to ours. He walked around in his climbing shoes all the time, used only a little chalk and had no crash pad but a small mat that he could rub off his shoes at. And then he used something that was totally strange for me. A puf. A puf is a kind of a sock with a chalk/resin ball inside which they hit the rock with, so that the holds get chalk/resin at it, and it can therefore be easier to hold. I don’t really know whether I think it is bad karma, or if I think it is cool enough. It’s not just the same as using chalk, but still it sort of is. If everyone uses it, then it’s fair for everyone, but still. Resin is bad for the rock since it is not washed away when it rains, in the same way as chalk is, resin is also bad for the shoes. I guess that’s why puf’s is not allowed in some countries.
But anyway… We also met the Scottish young guns again, and we climbed and talked a lot with them, and actually I initiated a good relationship with some of them, I write with them on facebook sometimes, and met some of them at severely international competitions afterwards.
I did a some of 7a and 7a+ flash’s that day, I did a 7b+ and tried a 7c which I was pretty close to do. So all in all, that was a great day.
Scott at Bull dog in Rocher fin
Magnus, Theis and I are hearing music on our way through the forest after a long climbing day in Rocher Fin
Our last climbing day took place in Cuvier. There are like two levels of the Cuvier climbing area. An upper and a lower part (Bas Cuvier).
We started out in the ¨morning, by climbing at the upper part, where there were a lot of fine lines, but some of them, really hard, even though the grades wasn’t near any difficult. But I did a 7a+ flash, a really sketchy 7b and I almost linked a 7c+, but well, I didn’t do it so…
We went to the lower part and ate lunch, and just when we were about to go climb again, it started raining. Some drove home, but even though my skin was very thin and it rained, I decided to stay and try to find something dry, it was the last climbing day after all. So we were a few who stayed, and we found a group of people who climbed at an overhanging boulder with a tree’s leafs as a cover above. It wasn’t completely dry, but drier than anything else we could find. So we joined the group and experienced, that some of them were our Scottish friends. Unfortunately we only just said hallo to them before they took home. I tried a really cool 7b, and did it within a couple of minutes. There was a sit start, as was 7c, so I tried that. It was hard, but actually it was the last move (which was also the top of the 7b) that caused me the biggest trouble, when I tried to link the 7c sit start with the 7b stand start.
It began raining cats and dogs, and everything became wet and humid.
The other strong Danish juniors worked at a 7a next to me line (which was soaked with water), and some tried the 7b. Those on the 7b used another beta than I did, and a France climber came over and tried the same beta as the other Danish guys. But since it didn’t worked for any of them, and I was so close to do the problem every time I tried, I obstinately stayed to my beta.
Me at Carnage in Bas Cuvier
I was bleeding from three of my fingertips, and there pure blood signs at the holds. I knew this was the last day I had to climb at rocks for several months, so I kept pushing on, and got even more frustrated for every try I felt in the very top move, which wasn’t the crux by the way.
But finally it sticked the last move, and even though 7c bloc is not that hard, I got really satisfied. The moves were defiantly the best I’ve ever tried on a boulder problem, I really gave me for doing it, and the conditions sucked!
It took about 5 weeks before my skin was anything near normal again, so overall, a fantastic trip! Fontainebleau, I will return
Group picture at Cul de Chien
The best lines I tried:
- Désordre 6c
- Bull dog 7b+
- Mrs du Plus 7a+
- Coeur Aride 6b
- Vers Glas Fréquent 7c
Cul de Chien:
- Aire de Repos 6a
- Idées Noires 6c+
- La Toi de Cul de Chien 7a
- Retour de la Chenille 7a+
- Grande Saussice 7a+
- Duel dans de Lune 6c
- Looney Tunes 6c
- Le Pieds dans la Lune 7a+
- Retour aux Sources 7a
- Message in a Bottle 6b
- Carnage 7b