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.
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.
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.
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!
Someone has got a bad case of sloper heaven on El Poussay.
Well that is it for part one. Stay tuned for part two. More photos to come!!!