This post was originally written on Tuesday 18th March, in La Taverne in Fontainebleau. Unfortunately, they decided to seat us upstairs, and the wifi didn’t work, which was kinda the whole bloody point of going! It also meant we ended up with pizza we didn’t really want and REALLY poor tea. Anyway, i thought i’d post it anyway.
I’m back in Font and in the 15 months since I was here last, some things have changed and some things have not: the town is still the same, the morning weather is often not great then the afternoon brightens up, the rocks and crags are still stunning in their plenty. At the same time, writing this in my favourite Fontainebleau haunt of La Taverne, I seem to have forgotten quite a few things about the culture: for some reason, I find myself writing this post upstairs in the cafe, in their restaurant with no wifi and now having to get a pizza I can not really afford and didn’t really want. Oh well.
The other major change to my usual Font trips is the company. While all of my previous trips have been with one or two friends, this time i’m surrounded by people, with no less than 8 friends, some old and some new. The difference in their climbing levels is also quite vast, ranging from “Sunday League Climbers” Mark and my cousin Rich, through mid-grade lads like Ryan and Tom, to a couple of lads right on my heels, like Dan, John and Ben. We all convened yesterday morning, with the others coming in two separate cars over the course of the weekend and me having the easiest journey to date: effortless through Paris by memory. Needless to say, I was a touch worse for wear on my three-hours of broken sleep in the front of the car, but unrelenting enthusiasm from the collective won over within too long and we set off.
With no food between us, I was forced to show everyone the large and oft visited Carrefour near Melun as a first stop – possibly not the most exciting introduction but useful nonetheless and supplemented with more holiday-spending in Decathlon (much to the delight of those who found it a bit cold the day before!). That said, as I repeatedly pointed out to people, there really is no rush to get out with six days still lying ahead, and four hours a day probably being optimum for not destroying your body.
So back to the site, for lunch and chill out. Eventually I could hold them back no more and took everyone to Rocher aux Sabots. Described today by Tom as “suitable” and by Dan as “good”, it went down as a good spot and now that i’ve started this debate, am getting plenty of other words being thrown at me, although Dan kinda gets the point across quite nicely.
Rich got a 5 like a pro, Dan got Oblique 7a, Ben barely touched the floor and everyone seemed to get some good ticks, including myself, ticking Ongle Jo 7b in a session, making it one of my hardest ascents to date. The scream of delight said it all once I hit the top, more from surprise than anything else, though my achievments were no more or less than anyone else’s, such was the success for the day. Even Tess had a whale of a time!
So again, a relaxed beginning to today (save the stress of not getting tea…) and now off to Curvier. Yesterday’s success has spurred on my hopes for today and Curvier’s obvious objective for me. A certain amount of nerves are kicking in but que sera sera, let’s go see what happens. When they eventually bring us the bill, that is…