Good day everyone!
Another week has flown by and it's time to find out what this week had in store for us. As you will discover it's been an interesting week. Here is a summary of what you can expect:
The arrival of "The Crew", Greg's parents, Ben "The Legend" Stokes, Eclipse unlocked???, the final destruction of my Nemesis (La Berezina!!!), a NINJA in Font (video) and "The Motivator" claims it's first victim (video)...
Wednesday, 30 March 2011 - Busy day at the campsite
We left Boulancourt late as we had so much video and photo editing to complete...we ended up getting on the road after 16:00! Mental! Note to self - never intentionally skip an Operation Beastmaker post!
We headed straight to Bas Cuvier to get on some problems we had been working. The weather looked menacing but we were sure we would get some climbing done. We warmed up on some easy problems before heading to Biceps Mou as Greg wanted to work this problem. As we put our boulder pads down and placed our shoes on the heavens opened up! We could tell it wasn't going to be a quick shower and the deluge we had envisioned soon consumed all the boulders...time to pack up and run to the cover of the Beastmobile!
Thursday, 31 March 2011 - The Crew Arrive!
Our friends Ash, Tom, Alex and Michael arrived at midday for their maiden voyage to Font! They parked next to us and 4 tired but excited bodies crawled out of the chaos within their car. I couldn't comprehend how they managed to get themselves in...but as every person, who has taken a road trip to Font, knows - where there's a will there's a way! Climbers have an uncanny knack of being able to fit everything in! Haha! The weather forecast did not look very promising but they were going to make the most of it. We decided to head to 95.2 as this area dries quickly and we were bound to get some climbing in. As soon as we arrived at the blue circuit the boulder pads were down, shoes were on and the hunger to climb was all-consuming. The Crew lined up like lemmings and excitedly climbed the wrinkly,kidney-textured sandstone of the most famous boulder forest in the world. We managed to get a full days climbing despite the weather looking ominous all day. Ash took some incredible pictures and has some mad skills with the camera. We all headed back trading stories of how amazing Font is and what a privilege it is to climb here...
Chris - 95.2 - photo by Ashley Griffiths
Friday, 1 April 2011 - Ben and Greg's parents arrive
The Crew arrived after 12:00 and head to Roche Aux Sabots as the rock would be dry enough to climb. I meet up with them, after having lunch and find them on the blue circuit. They were struggling (as you do in Font!) trying to unlock the sequence for one of the problems so I show them how to overcome it by bouncing off a small, polished, smeary foothold and onto the first of the jugs. You need to master your footwork in Font...but sometimes you just need to push! They continued climbing one blue problem after the next, honing their skill and technique. In the distance I noticed a familiar figure walking towards me...it was "The Legend" himself (the reason why he is a Legend is because he and some of his friends uncovered The Cuttings Boulderfield, which is my local crag back home) with his friend Tim and their partners. After dusting the sand off myself (the customary way of greeting Ben is to lie prostrate) we had a quick chat about how things have been going before he began warming up on the blue circuit. I re-joined the crew and continued the crushfest. We ended up trying the problem Smatch (7B dyno - jump - see climbing jargon page). After a few goes Tom landed awkwardly on his ankle...not good. He said he sprained it. I felt terrible as we had so many pads lying around, it could have been avoided. I left The Crew to go to another area (Roche Ouiseaux) but it was wet and headed back to the van. Greg was chilling with his parents under our tarp. After greeting them we started braaing (pronounced bry-ing or bbq'ing by non-South Africans) some steaks they had brought. I had a couple cups of wine and was feeling a little "disorientated"...haha! The Crew joined us for a beer before heading off when our steak was done...(we were fond of The Crew but they weren't getting any of our STEAK!). Ben and Tim stopped off and said goodbye just in case our paths never crossed again.
Saturday, 2 April 2011 - Eclipse unlocked???
Chris on Arabesque - photo by Ashley Griffiths
Greg's parents picked us up and we headed to Font to take a walk around. They were leaving today so we didn't have much time. We headed to the Chateau and took a walk around the beautiful building and into the huge "garden" at the back. We then had a drink in, what I would describe, the "open restaurant" before being dropped back at our Headquarters - Roche Aux Sabots car park. We said our goodbyes and they headed off. I've never seen the carpark so full! The Crew had parked next to our van so we headed off to find them. We found them at Roche Aux Sabots...minus their shirts (it was a seriously warm day). It was great to see so many people climbing and I took video footage of everyone doing so. It wasn't easy climbing that day...let's just say there were alot of good looking "people" ("people" = ladies) around and it was VERY distracting...haha! We headed to the famous Cul De Chien roof and decided to climb this without warming up. Amateur mistake as I'm still suffering from tendons in my right arm, from pulling on the 2 finger pocket...idiot! I hope it doesn't come back to haunt me. We then did a bit more warming up before heading to the other famous roof, home to Arabesque, Eclipse etc...I jumped on Arabesque and Ash setup his flash to take pics. I fell off trying to catch the last hold 3 times! Hectic! He then had a look at Eclipse and said it would be good to get some pics of me on it. I had tried it before but got no where. I decided to try again even if it was just to get some tourist shots and to my surprise I started working it out...albeit slowly. By then end of the day I had completed 90% of it and just need to do the last move and I could potentially cross this off my list. We then headed back to the van, as it was getting late. We decided to go back to the campsite with The Crew to have a meal, drinks and sit around the campfire (The Crew were leaving the following day). After eating our food we sat around the campfire having some drinks, chatting, listening to music and staring at the campfire (my favourite!). The batteries failed on the speakers for the iPOD so the guitars were brought out and continued till late in the evening...we got to bed at 02:30.
Sunday, 3 April 2011 - The Crew Departs
We woke up to a very wet, miserable, Sunday morning. It had rained last night but had stopped. The Crew packed their car, ready to leave at 12:00. Before we said goodbye, we got some footage of them, talking about the dreaded "Motivator". They reluctantly took part but were clearly nervous and visibly shaken...it was not a subject they really wanted to entertain too much. We took some footage of them and then said our goodbyes...we are going to miss the crazy fools! Maybe we will meet them in Majorca for some deep water soloing??? Time will tell...The rest of our day was spent at Roche Aux Sabots car park reading books...exciting times!
Monday, 4 April 2011 - The Fall of La Berezina!!!
Today we went to the Carrefour near Barbizon to do our weekly shop. I spoke to my mom and dad on my mobile whilst people did their shopping around me. It was great chatting to them. After the shop we headed to Bas Cuvier as I wanted to try a few problems. I warmed up in the area mentioned on Wednesday before filming Cortomaltese. I saw some friends of Bruno (a Bleausard I met through Fabrice) trying La Berezina and one of them DE-stroyed it! It re-ignited my burning desire to complete this...my NEMESIS! After giving it a few goes I felt I was getting closer and closer. All of a sudden I completed the move I had been trying for a long time but fell off! It was on! I now KNEW I could do it! I then tried again...I jumped and caught the right hand sloper and flagged my left foot underneath me (to counterbalance my weight) before moving statically onto the left hand hold. I then cautiously grabbed the next right hand sloper then moved onto the next left handhold, grabbed the sidepull with my right hand and pulled myself on top of the boulder! VICTORY!!! The joy of completing this classic line (first 7C established in the forest I believe...) was evident on my face and I descended from the boulder and received handshakes from everyone who witnessed the ascent...the only problem is that I never filmed it. So, I had a rest and tried to get some recording but it never came to fruition...I fell off trying to catch the very hold I held moments before...Unbelievable! I then headed to Biceps Mou to get that filmed - see video footage below. After completing La Berezina and Biceps Mou my confidence was at an all time high and that's when it happened...
...continued above (it deserves it's own short post).
Chris climbing Biceps Mou (7B): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DC-favgDx3w