My trip to France began nervously, as six weeks earlier I got a stress fracture on the growth plate of my left middle finger. The physio had said to me I would be OK but just to proceed with caution, but we have all heard the horror stories of those dreaded yearlong breaks from climbing altogether… Myself and a few others headed to the south of France for the first week, Buoux, Loumarin and St. Leger to be more specific, and Fonatainebleau for the second…
When I left I said to myself that instead of pushing for the first week I would gain lots of mileage which turned out to be hugely successful (in between working projects). But the only problem is that on my first day another one of the Irish team was trying Fissure Serge and had been for the past few trips and just watching him inspired me to want a go, I came back a few days later (my fingers felt week but up to it) and hopped on… first few goes felt hard as the first crux is super powerful and I had yet to discover a completely unique sequence that allowed me to use small intermediates instead of doing three huge scary moves :/ As the week progressed I worked it a little more but unfortunately after that long of climbing my body only allowed me to break through the first crux and make it to the last hard move on the route (it’s a bit of a dyno to be honest)…
|The first crux on Fissure Serge.|
After one last go on the last day in Buoux we drove up to Fontainebleau for my best week of bouldering in a long time!
|Big Jim 6c/6c+|
The second week of my trip nine of the younger youth contingent here in Ireland came over. I was super excited to see them try many of the boulders that I had struggled on when I was their age! It turns out they owned it… Other than that, my plan for the week was to tick off some classics that I had not tried. Also I wanted to attempt some of the harder classic blocs, mainly Coccinelle (8a).
Coccinelle is one of the oddest 8a’s I have ever tried; the apparent crux for most people is a move into a slopey pocket off a high toe hook. This move felt trivial when I pulled on but after you get established in the pocket you have to jump around a bulge and grab a pinch, this move felt very inconsistent to me and straight after you hold the swing you have to do a dead-point to another pocket… after the first day I had all the moves wired so when I returned after some practice I was able to break through. As I was climbing the last few moves (on precarious slopers) I didnt feel completely aware and this momentary lapse in concentration caused my foot to slip as I reached for the last hold… I could have cried. After that my luck started to run out, the next day on it was wet and on the final day of the trip every single hold hurt to hold and pull on :(
Throughout the week I tried a few other mega classics of Fontainebleau. First was Partage (8a+), I was able to pull on which I was told was one of the hardest bits but my squeeze strength is not up to par so I said I would return when I was better at squeezing fridges... :)
Next was Big Dragon (8a) which I discovered that a huge span helps a lot… this didn’t stop me from making some progress which included over have the moves and noticing that with a bit more strength the rest would go.
Finally I gave Mandarin (8a) a go on my last day, as it turns out I could do every move bar one and even I think with the correct beta it would easily be done soon.
I’m unsure how to end so an amazing problem will do it for me. La Baleine 7a (7a+).
|3rd go :)|