Three 8's in a day in the forest of Fontainebleau.
After 2 weeks in Fontainebleau some good weather finally decided to arrive! Having had two rest days enforced by thin skin and rain I was itching to go, probably a little to itching (I now have no skin again)!!
First stop was l’apparemment, a brilliant 8a at Apremont that requires a whole lot of squeeze and some ninja skills with the feet. I tried this in February but couldn’t fathom a sequence that would get me to the top and with low levels of motivation I quickly gave up trying. Today was different though, I was actually excited; the first cold day in a Fontainebleau trip is very special!
I decided to try the standard beta today (for some reason I didn’t really try it that way in February). The first few goes I greased off the crux move but once the holds got a bit of chalk on them it felt much better. This climb is really about finding the right body position, once this is achieved, like everything in Fontainebleau, it feels quite easy. The first time I stuck the crux I carried on to the top. I was really pleased and a little relieved: the first tick under my belt and one that I thought would be difficult for me.
Next stop was Cuvier Rempart to meet Ned. Verdict (8a) is a small egg shaped boulder with positive crimps that lends itself to very basic climbing, a rarity in Fontainebleau. The first move is the crux but for me the difficulty lies in the use of a sharp, tiny graton on the top out. I got up here on my second go but couldn’t bring myself to pull on the ‘thing’. I remembered why I had never tried this before! However, I knew I could do it and some skin had already been invested. I spent the next 20 minutes firing off various moves which resulted in numerous bloody knuckles and a little cursing! However, I managed to get back up to the knife blade edge and top out; I felt relief (and pain) more than anything! My skin was looking bad and I hadn’t even got on the one problem I wanted to try today.
Off to try Ubik an 8a with a few different methods, the one I was keen for was a basic campus move, surely this would suit?! How wrong I was, after an hour my attempts were no better than my flash go! Ubik is three moves; a simple set up to a left hand pinch, off this you jump to a sloping edge and then campus again to a good sloper and you’re done! As the temperature dropped the pinch started to feel better, I had been hitting the slopey edge all day but failing to hold the swing. My skin was pretty thin and I wouldn’t be able to have too many more goes. Pulling on I got the pinch well and flicked through to the sloper, surprised when I remained on the rock, an easy campus move and it was in the bag! Very satisfying, what was annoying though; I realised I had been over throwing to the slopey hold by a good few inches, the key was to hit it right on the edge. Ubik ended up with five ascents that day, all with half an hour!!
Wrecked skin meant I would have to rest tomorrow!! The weather is supposed to be good as well!