Wednesday, 30 March 2011
I bid farewell...
It's 00:15 and I'm sitting in the table tennis room at Ile De Boulancourt campsite. Greg has gone to sleep but due to my commitment and passion I've decided to stay up and give the people what they want...another Operation Beastmaker update!
The amount of e-mails I've received from people saying that their life has been a wreck since we never posted last week has been staggering...I'm truly sorry and I hope we never pay so little disregard to the quality of your life again...you know who you are.
Right, I'll continue from where Greg left off last time.
So, we were camped up at Les Prez and had an amazing campfire going. Three men sitting around a campfire, drinking beers and eating biscuits.
There is something about fire that really awakens the primeval side. I noticed the same sense in Greg and Martyn. We stared at the flames, watching them dance around the wood (that Martyn had gathered) gingerly...slowly drawing the essence from it and leaving the charred remains in the afterglow. Not much was said but we listened to the fire and it seemed to read and answer your thoughts.
It was a perfectly clear night and we could see the various constellations in the heavens...a unanimous decision was made. We decided we would sleep around the fire like they did at the dawn of civilization...hopefully no burning embers would fall onto us while we slept...it's not easy getting out of a sleeping bag under the easiest of circumstances.
I awoke the next morning covered in frost...after the fire had died out the moisture condensed then froze on top of the sleeping bag. There was an eerie thick fog hanging over the open field where we had camped...but the sun was out and the frost had no choice but to retreat. That was probably the best nights sleep I had in years!
We eventually left the campsite then headed to Bas Cuvier.
After warming up I headed to Biceps Mou (7B) a classic boulder problem and after meeting and chatting to Oli (who gave me some beta - see climbing jargon page for definition) from Finland I found myself climbing over the top. Sweet!
I heard a beast scream echo through the forest and after a few minutes Martyn came over and said he had done L'Helicoptere, his first Font 7A! Excellent news as L'Helicoptere is probably the most classic 7A of the forest (it's my personal favourite). It's a pity we never got any footage.
I then headed over to La Balance (7C) and got very close to completing this. I then tried La Berezina (another problem I want to cross off my list) but got spanked. I then headed to Aerodynamite (7B+) and found myself falling from the 2nd to last hold several times Argh! We then called it a day as darkness was closing in and the car park "activity" would soon begin...it's best not to be around when it does.
The next day (Thursday 24/03/2011) Martyn and I head to Cul De Chien to get footage of him climbing the roof. It was a boiling hot day and we didn't have much battery. After warming up we headed over to the famous roof and I set the camera up. Martyn botches the first attempt...we have a minute remaining! Lucky he gets it second go. Just in time! See the video footage below:
We then head to another problem I'm trying which was first climbed by the legendary Fred Nicole. It's 7C+ and is situated in the same roof as Arabesque and Eclipse. In true Fred Nicole fashion it has a truly massive, dynamic move to the lip of the boulder which takes almost my full span to reach. I link all the moves quickly to the crux, which is the dyno. It's just so far and with my tips being destroyed from the previous days session it looks too much. I decide to move on but I know I acquiesced to defeat before I even tried...idiot! I will have to go back.
The following day we headed to L'Elephant for Martyns last day of climbing before he left the following day. It was a rest day for Greg and I so we were just boulder caddies for the day. Martyn climbed the classic Elephant before heading further down the beach. We met Edward from Italy who joined the posse heading towards the giant "potato boulder". Edward is in his final year of Uni studying towards being a doctor (good luck with your final exams bro!).
Martyn climbed this problem cautiously but it was never really going to give him any trouble as there were big jugs going up the centre of the boulder.
We encouraged Edward to jump on. He was clearly nervous as the boulder is intimidating (It is about 9m high) but he overcame his fear and topped it out in decent style. It brought back fond memories of when Greg and I had first climbed it a couple of years back...we were just as scared and climbed up and down it many times, slowly inching our way up. Good times!
The rest of the day was spent doing what adults do...trying to catch lizzards (or sandwalkers as they were dubbed)! The beach is full of them and they all sit on the rocks absorbing the suns rays...not today! Today they scatter for their lives! Initially we weren't very good at catching them but as we embraced our hunter / gatherer instinct we started catching the little critters. In the end we managed to catch 6 of them and after taking some pictures we put them back on the rocks we found them on. The people who saw us running around chasing lizzards must have thought we were insane...and they wouldn't have been wrong.
That night we decided to have a bbq and we made some delicious hamburgers! They went down a treat! We just sat about chatting and drinking before calling it a night.
The next day we had to wake up early to drive Martyn to the airport. The time had gone so fast...we just picked him up the other day. We said our goodbyes to the man and headed back to the Roche car park...it was so quiet without him. No more crazy scenarios or pleasant "surprises" to behold...haha!
We rested on Sunday but encountered the usual "phenomena" of the "Extreme Walkers". Extreme Walkers are the vigilantes of the walking world (coined by Greg)...they are incredible to watch. The traits associated with Extreme Walkers are:
standing in the middle of the road in the car park, not moving out of the way of traffic (cars have to go around them and it seems they don't say anything because EW's are very intimidating), staring at Greg and I (with their Cosanostra eyes...we're convinced they have ties to the Mafia...), wearing lycra, brandish ski poles, disapprove of other EW's (gang warfare???) and most disturbing they try and push trees and boulders over! I'm not lying! They all pick trees or boulders and try their best to push them over (other people say they are stretching but they don't know anything...I've studied these people for weeks now), the forest is littered with fallen trees...the evidence speaks for itself.
We pretty much lazed about in the sun, playing guitar and reading (which we do quite regularly as the temperatures have been so hot we cannot climb. We normally head off in the late afternoon).
This is pretty much what we've been up to this week.
With the temperatures soaring and friction disappearing it seems that hard bouldering is becoming a lot more difficult. Our fingertips are in the worse shape they've ever been because of this and we are having to change our approach to climbing entirely...as our current regime is not working.
We will give you a further update on this next week...
It's 01:30 and I have double vision from fatigue so I'm going to sleep.
Here is a video we edited of me climbing my hardest Font problem yet. I hope you enjoy it as it took us a while to edit as our software kept playing tricks on us.
Probably worth watching for the comedic moments in the end! Haha!
Until next time!
P.S When Martyn says cakes all round he means you have to buy your own cake...unbelievable! Who is this kid?