Arctic temperatures in northwest Europe, most of the Dutch had ice skating favor but I had only one destination in mind...Font! My last visit to Font was more than a year ago so and that was too long go for me so we went for the weekend (3 day weekend). With temperatures between -5C and -12C I knew that it was going to be cold, but the friction was well worth the suffering.
Freezy Font - Michiel Nieuwenhuijsen
On the top of the to do list stood Satan I Helvete (8b), a 5 star Graham test piece. But unfortunately the Satan block is one of the coldest places in Font, which meant that I was changeless in holding those edge (damn those painful fingers). We escaped to Rocher du Boulingy where I wanted try Amok (8a), I hoped that it was a little more bearable there because Amok is facing the sun. Well it was pretty nice in the sun, too nice to be honest. Within a half an hour the key sloper of Amok (which is in the sun all day) was getting too greasy, a climber always has his excuse ready...the weather. After the failed attempts in Amok we went to Gecko (8a+), it was getting cold again but I felt good enough to give it some good shots. I never tried Gecko before but wanted to do so for a long time, what a perfect line! I couldn't send the problem but made some good progress in it, next time (and that will be soon) I definitely going back to the Geck.
The next day Curvier Rempart was on the planning. As a 'warm up' I did some nice problems in Apremont Envers (Clandestino 7b and Welcome to Tijuana 7c) and I tried L'apparemment (8a), in which I was changeless. All warmed up I wanted to do Gourmandise raccourci (8a+), an untypically Font boulder trough a roof. It reminded me off the Swiss boulder style and because of that suits me well, within an hour I did all the moves. But doing the separate moves and sending the problem are two totally different things . The boulder starts on two underclings in the roof, from there you do two throws with the right hand (the right hand is over the lip than), followed by two undercling catches (in the roof) with the left hand before I can get my heel over the lip. If the heel is over the lip I can get all the body weight on it and the boulder is in the pocket for me, but it was hard to keep my feet in the roof. That day I had some good go's and almost got that heel over the lip a few times, close but not in the bag yet. The next day I wanted to finish Gourmandise raccourci, I was sore and my biceps where painful from the previous session (and the cold weather) but I was motivated. The first hours I couldn't link more than two moves, that was pretty demotivating. My mate Tim Reuser (http://timreuser.blogspot.com/) did way better that day, the previous day he struggled hard with the crux move (the right hand throw over the lip) but today he looked promising in the problem. Thanks to Tim I got motivated again and wanted to give it all I had left, it is nice to project together. Tim did the problem rather fast (his first 8a+ boulder! well done mate) and after some close tries I did it as well, my first 8a+ in Font. I was skinless but happy with the send, maybe next time the lower start (Gourmandise, 8b)? With a bit of luck (no rain?) I'll go back next weekend and from 5 till 9 march I'll have a training stage with the Dutch team in Font (oww yeah, it is on!).
Photo: Gourmandise raccourci 8a+ by Mathieu Ceron