Monday 23 April 2012

Font Overview

I was going to attempt to write at least one post a month, and I'm not sure whether I am actually achieving this at the moment because I cant even remember the last time I made a new post.

As usual, lots of things have happened between this post and the last so I will try to keep it quite short in comparison to the last uberpost.

I think the happening most worthy of note since last time you joined me for a reading, has been my double trip to font this Easter.

A last gasp effort to get out of the country this Easter left me piggybacking on another trip from some old Bristolian friends. Jim and Lorrainne were well known to me already, but the other 6 members of the team were less so. While they might not have been trying the same problems as myself and Jim, they provided good company, food and comedy while out on the rocks. I did not spend long without laughing at one or other of Rowan's ridiculous accents throughout the week.

However, while it is nice to socialise when you aren't climbing, I traveled to the forest for a reason and that reason was CLIMBING!
I knew I was fairly strong before the trip, but I have definitely felt stronger in terms of straight up finger strength in the past. The major difference with this trip is that I managed to get to the week before the trip without somehow causing myself some tendon or pulley grief.
I say the week before because I didnt actually manage to get out there injury free. We left of Saturday morning, but the previous week had contained 2 climbing tough climbing trips to Craggy Island. The first on Monday and the second on Tuesday.
The monday session was good, but the nail on my right forefinger bit down into my finger and cut in a bit.
I rather foolishly failed to wash my hands that night, leaving a bit of chalk in the cut overnight and by the next day it was a bit sore. Naturally the response with only a week to go to Font was to squeeze in one more climbing session.

By Wednesday morning my finger was starting to throb and swell up.

By Thursday I wasn't typing with it or clicking my mouse because it stung so much.

Naturally, I was less than impressed with this turn of events and resorted to bothering my mother for some hardcore cures. I dosed up 3 times a day with antibiotics, cut the nail back and put some silver nitrate on it.

Apparently Silver Nitrate inhibits 'Over-Granulation' which is bad for healing.
However, it also dyes your skin black and makes your wimpy injury look far more awesome than it really is.

Of course, using this finger wasn't really possible for the first half of the holiday, but after that it felt pretty
normal and I just got on with Project 'Crush'!

I went with the vague hope of climbing a 7C, specifically having a decent attempt on Noir Desir.
I'm sad to say that I failed in this aim during the first trip, and then failed to even have an attempt in the second trip.

However, I would say that overall, this is definitely my most successful font trip to date, and I cant claim to be unhappy with anything I failed to climb.

L'Ange Naif Droite   7a+
Jete Mitraud           7a+
Jeu Au Jambes            6b
Grande Marche   7a+
Gros Doigt           7a
Narine Droite           7a
La Baleine           7a+
La Joker                   7A
Carnage                   7B+
Jeu Du Toit           7A
La Raie du Q           6B+
Toit de Cul de Chein   7a

Naturally, the ascent of Carnage is very welcome as being the first 7B+ that I have done that I dont think is about to be downgraded any time soon.

Deliverance and Doctor Med were hardly anywhere near as hard as Carnage was, either due to morphology or grade typos and La Pioche in Cresciano apparently starts from one move lower down.
¯\_(ツ)_/¯ go figure...

Carnage 7B+ Bas Cuvier from Archie CB on Vimeo.

The end of the first trip was sadly filled with failure for me as I couldn't managed to claw my way to the top of Arabesque. I had all the beta, I had all the moves dialed but, by the end of the trip, I didn't enough juice left to get to the top.

I went home slightly disappointed and vowed to return and demolish the beastie.

I didnt really have a second trip set up, but I was feeling super determined to go back and do arabesque and I wanted to make it happen. I phoned round a bit for partners and eventually managed to find a really lanky b*stard called Anthony Moore, as well as a really short stumpy chap called Rob.

After we had set up camp and spent a night shivering in the cold we got up and left for Cuisiniere and some attempts on Beetlejuice. Rob showed why he was a top three finisher in SIBL this year with a cool flash of the problem as his first climb of the day, while it took me a good few attempts - with repeated heartbreak on the last tough move.

Straight after this we moved on down to try out La Mouche, which I had seen in videos and looked to be a winner as a potential 7B+. We worked out some good beta, and got into sending mode.
Rob once again got it fairly quickly after he worked out the middle, but the penultimate move was the tricky one for me - requiring a high reach off of a left heel in a sharp pocket.
I did it a couple of times to practice, then went for a proper go, confident that I would be able to do it if I could link the bottom well.

Unfortunately I came a cropper and ripped a muscle up in the back of my leg. Upon my return this developed into a rather nice bruise.

Sadly this ended my hopes of any serious climbing for the rest of the trip.

Nevertheless I tried it out a bit later in the day to work out my limitations and scrambled my way up Bizarre Bazaar (assis) which went at a cool 7A+. Sadly I think this probably did more harm than good and I then spent the following days freezing my balls off and watching Robthony climb.
I think that if you were to question him, Anthony would have nothing but positive things to say about my cheery outlook on life at the crag.

In an unusual twist, I decided that on the last day, I would like to at least have a look at Arabesque. My left leg might not be working too well, but the rest of me was in pretty good shape and with some different beta I thought it might be possible. I convinced Rob to follow me out there for the last day and once everything was clean and padded out, we gave it our best shots.

Rob once again sent quickly after stealing my beta for the end, despite previously complaining about the longest siege of a problem he had ever had to undertake. All that was left for me to do was get from the start holds to the top.

In payment for my bulge beta, Rob came up with a new method of doing the top that didnt require a high left foot, and the send was on!

Arabesque 7B+ Cul de Chein from Archie CB on Vimeo.

I must thank Anthony for his support during this climb, I'm not sure I could have gotten through it without him.

The next day we had a quick poke around Cuvier Rempart, and quickly found out that Tristesse is fecking hard, as is Noir Desir and Formis Rouges.

Maybe next time!

There is more photo and video evidence of the trip, but it is over in Bristol with Jim at the moment. And until my leg is a bit better, I dont think I will be heading out there any time in the near future. Instead I will be staying around the South East and putting some time doing some real training on a fingerboard.

Good luck to all!