Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Trip Report: Fountainebleau Part One

Got back from Font a couple days ago. In a word, the trip was awesome. Last night I made Matt sit through all 581 photos and I am going to try and post the best photos here for people to see. If you have never been to Font, without a doubt you should make it you next destination for climbing. It is a place of epic proportions and could take a lifetime to explore. Anyways...here is the spray down.

Arriving at the Fontainbleau-Avon train station, I was greeted by a downpour of rain and four guys crammed into a small van that smelt like french cheese and peanuts. I had been traveling for for almost 14 hours and was feeling pretty tired but couldn't shake that 'first day of the trip' anxiousness to get on the rock. I piled my stuff into the van with TD, Brent, and Dan (from New Brunswick) to go to visit Merrick who had rented a hotel room. I guess he had been hit with the flu and everyone thought it a good idea to hang out with him in a windowless room and all drink from the same cup and share spoons together. Man down! And more to come!

Waking up the second day, I was psyched to get on the rock but it had been raining all night and I was starting to worry that we would never get to climb. Gord joined us after hanging out in Paris for a couple days and we were off to Cul de Chien , a small but quick drying area in the Trois Pignons. When we got there, the sun had already come out and everything was drying quickly. Cul de Chien is basically a huge sandbox in the middle of the forest with a couple of stand out problems that beg to be climbed. Needless to say I was relieved to finally feel some of that Font sloper magic.

Dan giving it a college try on Le Toit de Cul de Chien.

Your man trying to figure out the toe hooks on Eclipse.

Gord in the ejector seat on Le Toit de Cul de Chien.

Third day the rain began pouring down in my tent early in the morning. Everyone piled into the van around 1030 am to go and hang out at the Carrefour. For those of you have never experienced the 'Carrefour magic', it is basically the french answer to Walmart except that it is bigger and has all the french food one could handle. The boys had discovered Streetfighter 5 the previous day and had organized an all day tournement to keep us busy while it poured outside. Picture 7 grown men wearing dirty clothes buying nothing while huddled around a demo machine playing video games while the staff watch from a distance for any unussual behaviour.

Brent playing the parking lot blues at the Carrefour.

At this point in the week, I was worried that I would never see dry rock again and had vowed that every day the sun returned I would be climbing. At this point in the trip, we were joined by Neil (from Whales) and his band of friends along with Peter Michaux from Victoria. We spent the next two days visiting two classic areas: Bas Cuvier and Roche aux Sabots. Bas Cuvier is the birthplace of bouldering and is probably twice the size of the grand wall boulders in Squamish. It is home to a condensed area of classic problems and the options feel endless. It is also home to some of the most polished footholds in Font. To top it off, if you stay past dark you better keep your wits about you because it is the the biggest 'gay man' meeting place on the A6 highway to Paris. A little piece of advice, be careful when walking around the parking lot or you might step on the unthinkable.
Dan losing some serious skin on Areodynamique.

TD trying to find balance on an unknown arete problem next to Duroxamanie.
Niel putting the power on Big Boss.

Roche aux Sabot is another area in the Trois Pignon and is home to what I would describe as the best blue and red circuit in Font. All of the problems are super fun and you can fit in 30 to 40 problems in one day with each problem feeling better than the next. To top it off, this area is filled with a few highballs and a dyno in the middle that looks very promising. This is one area that you don't want to miss if you ever find yourself in Font. It is also a good day 2 area because of all the top quality easy to mid range problems.

Gord getting Jersey on Smash.
I finished off the last day of the week with a trip to the Franchard Isatis area. This is one of my favorite areas in Font because it is set in a beautiful forest with little sand and is home to a number of three star problems. The photos here come from a rest day I took when other people were climbing. This is a rad problem in the back of Isatis called El Poussay. So much for perfect friction. Out of all the talented individuals who were trying it here, I think only Peter came away with a send. These slopers are slopey!

Merrick fighting back for friction.

Someone has got a bad case of sloper heaven on El Poussay.

Peter putting that sunshine to good work on El Poussay.
Well that is it for part one. Stay tuned for part two. More photos to come!!!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Happy Birthday Matt!!

Yesterday marked the 32nd birthday of our dear friend and squamish legend Matt Lucas. Festivities began with the drinking of beer followed by the eating of a mountain cake, ending quickly with the young cries of a baby. Happy Birthday big guy! Welcome to growing up!

On a quick side note, this will be my last posting before I leave for Fontainebleau, France to meet up with TD, Brent, Gord, and Peter. I will try to keep up my posts while I am there if those damn q keyboards don't piss me off. Until next time...

Does this guy look happy or what? Mountain Cake anyone?

Matt Lucas...a magnet for asian babies.

Introducing legend in the making Cameron Chung.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

The Battle of the Berrics Final

For those of you who have been following the Battle of the Berrics, the final matches have been or will soon be posted on the berrics website. This is a must see!! Some of the tricks in these final matches are absolutely sick!

Photo Post

Here is quick photo post of yesterday.  Weather was dry, temps were cold, and the wind was out. Highlights of the day include a send train on The Mantra, Matt and I sending Mosquito Masterbater Slab, and Gary Foster bring everyone beers.  

A band of unsightly characters in the cold. You stare at the boulder, I'll stare at you, and he'll stare at the camera.

Jamie Chong wrestling with Pool. What kind of elastic is in that toque!?
Sean McColl working Velcro Low with the watchful eye of the worlds best spotter.

The Perfect Weapon

Brass knuckles, butterfly knives, and nun chucks are all great weapons of choice for the amateur weapon collector. The problem with these weapons is that they are always lying around waiting to be found in an unsightly investigation that turns your life upside down.  What one needs is a weapon that leaves no trace, a weapon so stealth it is the 'ninja' of all weapons, a weapon that brings more chaos than conclusion, a weapon that just...disappears.  Through years of fieldwork, Matt and I have found such a weapon and therefore I present to you The Squamish Icicle. 

The sighting of such a weapon first occurred on the east side of the Cacodeman boulder, where years ago a small drain pipe was placed on the top of this grand boulder to create a winter weapon so secret and powerful, it could shatter a man's skull in a single blow.   Through a series of experiments, it became obvious that this weapon was oblivious to both rocks and sticks of various sizes and could withstand the sheer pressure of multiple attempts to loosen its grip throughout an entire winter.  

In an uncanny turn of events, conditions for creating the perfect weapon reached an all-time high yesterday, when cold temperatures from the north created a series of these perfect weapons on the face of The Stawamus Chief.  The deafening sound  of such a weapon was heard through the forest canopy, stopping people of all shapes and sizes in their tracks, fearing for their own lives.   Thus far the weapon has not made a serious impact on the surrounding community but locals are advised to keep an eye out when traveling in the area.  

Squamish News Update

In an unprecedented turn of events, the weather stayed dry over the weekend and a few projects went down in perfect conditions. With a good group in the forest, Derrick Kyle finalized his ascent of The Mantra (V8) in a few tries, Sean McColl completed the second ascent of Unlucky (V12) on his first redpoint burn of the day, and, rumour has it Fraser Charles did The Backseat (V10) at the ungodly hour of approximately 10:30 am.  Good work fellas!