More Torment

I’m not very good at life. You know, the normal things in life, just organising myself, sorting myself out, showering, eating, that sort of thing. So when Thursday arrived and i received a message from Simon saying to meet him at La Taverne at midday, i was still late.

Eventually i rocked up, Simon and Kim sat outside enjoying the sunshine, two pads propped up against the wall from the day before. They’d had a pleasant evening and now we ate and passed the time putting the world to rights and talking about climate change and all the associated contributing factors.

Time cracked on and we left the cafe, dropping Kim back at the station to get back to Paris. After she’d left, i enquired with Simon as to whether he’d had chance to try Biceps Mou 7b+ – the reason we went to Cuvier – the day before and he said he hadn’t. With Carnage assis 7c now on my immediate radar too, we headed back.

It was hot that day. Later in the afternoon, after it had cooled slightly, i checked the temperature on my watch: 25 degrees C. Not exactly good sending conditions! But the block with Biceps Mou is tucked away a little, shaded from the beating sun, an ideal spot to have a play.

This was Simon’s objective and he worked it valiantly, sticking the first move quickly despite a very painful left starting hold, then shuffled limbs and the like to try and get through the next two difficult moves. Some other climbers came and joined us, also trying the neighbouring Pince Mi, Pince Moi 7b+ and Holey Moley 7a. Personally i had a quick go but wasn’t sold, and this wasn’t my thing – i wanted Carnage and trying this as well would just sap my energy levels.

So i sat and offered support, faffed on my phone and took photos while Simon gave it his best shot. He was doing well, to be fair, on a tough 7b+ but alas, after a couple of hours, he decided to sack it off and we moved on.

So here i was again: the Place du Cuvier, where i have spent more time over the last six years than probably any other crag in Europe (not including North Wales). Tuesday’s exploits had filled me with hope and now it was just a case of finishing it off.

However long later, i was explaining to Si how it’s so hard to stop and walk away. After one more failed attempt, as i stepped off the pads, he hurriedly pulled them from the base of the boulder and started packing up, exactly as i’d asked him to do. It hadn’t gone, had thwarted me yet again, six long years from that first effort where it had done exactly the same. I was going through that heartache yet again.

Welsh Simon had arrived by this point, thankfully without any further mechanical problems. He was passing, saw my very distinctive Land Rover and called by. He could empathise well, having been through this himself more than a few times. Then, as we packed up and walked out, through the trees i spotted an old line from 2011 that i’d not come across again, which was weird given how prominent it is! It’s a one move wonder dyno somewhere in the mid 6s that took us longer to find in the guide than for Canadian Simon to complete! But he did agree that it was a very worthwhile line and one that was definitely worth stopping for.

We did have a habit of being a little lazy on this trip, in terms of food and i’d like to just tell you a little about our pizzeria of choice – because it was fucking amazing. Not just amazing but fucking amazing. And here’s why:

Firstly, it’s a lone place in the hamlet of Arbonne la Foret. There’s not much else there, other than a sign offering potatoes for sale and an estate agent (god only knows why!) but it is in a fantastic spot: on the road between Milly la Foret and Fontainebleau. There’s a small roundabout in the village with Bois Rond and Drei Zinnen a short distance down one road, the Franchard crags and Trois Pignons crags on another and the third heading back towards the crags near Font itself. If you’re anything like me, you’ve passed it a hundred times and occasionally glanced thinking, “Hmm, that place looks interesting…” But never stopped.

It was mentioned to go there either last year or the year before but it was sadly closed – something i’m a bit gutted about looking back now! I think that’s what prompted us to go there. Although the fact we kept going back was something else.

Now the locals around the forest, as you would expect, are pretty clued in to what most people go there for and the business proprietors are no exception. You can buy chalk, brushes and other bits like that almost anywhere. This one was only an exception in that his stock was a lot more extensive than most places.

I got the impression that the proprietor here isn’t a climber but he’s certainly interested in it. He is incredibly friendly, spoke a little English and often came to chat to us while we ordered or waited for our food. And the pizza is good too, and reasonably priced, with menus in French and English to suit those of you who struggle with the language.

Granted the tables and chairs are a little bit garden-furniture like but after you’ve been living on the floor in the dirt, they’re plenty functional enough. More crucially, he has free WiFi (pronounced wee-fee in France by the way) and, continuing with his pleasant demeanour, even left it on for us after he had locked up for the night, allowing us to stay a little longer, finish our beer and upload some pictures. Trust me that this is not easy to find around the forest and having somewhere as nice and pleasant as this to go makes it all the better.

The name of the place: Pizzeria Croq Foret. Their website is here and we were told of a cheap bunkhouse style accomodation that was incredibly appealing! It’s now going on the Fontainebleau page in the Destinations tab above so if you ever need the info again, that’s where to find it. Or just get in touch with me. I’m not gonna forget that one in a hurry!

 

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