Back In The Swing of Things

This post is from Thursday afternoon. By now it is Monday but i thought it would be a waste not to post. Read it quick, boys and girls, a new post will be up tomorrow

It is always worth remembering, when visiting Font, that this forest gives nothing away easy. In some ways, the harder climbs relent a little easier, as the expectation is for it to be a battle, climber laying siege to his target for many hours at a time and this can often not quite be the case. In my experience, it’s the lower grades that fight the most: the 5s and 6s that, at first glance seem flashable but require extensive effort to achieve success.

The Black flies seemed to love my t-shirt - the joys of being there at the beginning of summer
The Black flies seemed to love my t-shirt – the joys of being there at the beginning of summer

It doesn’t help when you’re here in June, and the summer heat is well on it’s way to reaching it’s pomp. I’d known this would happen – after all, i’ve been here in June plenty and always managed to get something done! Evening sessions would be key, so there was no rush, and the majority of Tuesday was spent on the site, bumming around and wasting the day away. Eventually, fuelled and fired up, i headed out to Isatis. In March, the problem Divine Decadence 7b almost relented very quickly, with only the first move to the assis to go. Once we returned, video beta apparently unlocked the move and i was keen to get back on it.

What i hadn’t anticipated was the effect of the heat. Merely standing around was enough to wipe the chalk from my hands and “easy” warm ups refused to give out. Granted, i didn’t try anywhere near enough of them and instead waited for the temperature to drop slightly before trying my project.

I returned to the tent without a single problem done, and having made less progress than on Divine Decadence than in March. Feeling mildly dejected and a bit lonely, i can’t say it was the best start to the trip.

Wednesday though started better. Rise, shower, head to Font for supplies and souvenirs. I found my car sticker, got a new bracelet for the dwindling collection on my wrist, bought food and had lunch at my favourite cafe. My French was beginning to come back, my confidence rising at being here again and so i returned to the tent to grab the pads and hit the crag.

Our carriage for the trek across Europe....
Our carriage for the trek across Europe….

Last time out, i had set myself the target of 30-40 problems, with around a dozen 7s. With a little less than half that time available, i had set myself the revised target of around half of that: 15-20 quality problems with “some” 7s. I’m a huge fan of ticking guidebooks so for this case, a “quality” problem is one that appears in Bart van Raaij’s now comprehensive anthology of all (straight up) problems from 5 to 8c+ in the forest. The latest part came out a week after my return and with my copy stashed in my pad, i was very keen to get some marks in it.

I have so far failed to have a bad session at Rocher aux Sabots. It is the venue of my first Font 7 (Jet Set 7a, climbed in June 2009 but after this week, i’m astounded i managed it!), has more 7 ticks than anywhere else and always seems to give me a good time. So it continued yesterday, with no less than 10 problems done and only darkness chasing me away from success on Achille Talon 7a – a problem i had first tried three years ago, thinking it something else.

The only downside to a hugely successful day was a dsitinct lack of decent dinner… As aluded to above, the sun had set by the time i left the car park, the time now past 10:30pm and irritatingly, the pizzeria in Milly (that i had very quickly set my heart on) was closed. Gone 11 by the time i got back to the tent, i opted to go to bed hungry and compensate the next day.

So, today and while the temperature has dropped considerably, it has brought overcast skies, fair winds and some drizzle. I must admit it’s significantly nicer to climb like this but the enthusiasm is slightly higher when the weather is a touch more pleasant. Today’s plan is to head to 91.1 and finish off a prow that Simon and myself were on last time. Then maybe back to 95.2 for the evening for some more ticking action. That’s if the rain holds off.

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