Dry rock makes for dry smiles. I waited around until 3pm today hoping that the wind would keep blowing and drying all that wonderful sandstone. I drove out to Cuvier because I figured Rempart would be dry and there is so much quality up there that I couldn’t go wrong. I arrived at the car park to find that Bas Cuvier was quite populated with climbers which meant dry rock! WOO HOO! I headed straight for the Carnage area and did some 6′s to warm up, which included that 6C slab to the right of Cortomaltese. It took me about 6 goes but I was happy to get up it without pulling too hard… warming up the toes is nearly as important as warming the fingers up! I won’t charge you for that secret knowledge… use it wisely. Then I moved over to Carnage where there were some people in-situ trying la berezina. I did Carnage and actually did it quite a fun eliminate way (does this make me a bleausard?). You get the crimp right hand, then up with left hand to the good hold but then instead of matching with your right hand on the sloper/crimp you just jump straight through to the boss. It’s fun and serves as a good warm up. Then I did La Berezina after 3 goes, but with a twist. The first time I did it I used the toehook out right (where some heelhook) but this time I did without the shenanigans. I pulled on and just jumped up with the right hand then whilst hanging put my right foot on. It felt like a more powerful sequence and a bit cooler in my opinion. Worth noting that I did not jump off the ground! Maybe THEN I would be a real bleausard. I was pretty warmed up now, and decided to try Apotheose. Conditions weren’t great, and things were feeling a little greasy but I was just so happy to be climbing on (near enough) dry rock that I forged ahead. Apotheose is hard in my opinion. Considering it’s on the same block as a few other 7C+/8A problems it barely gets any ascents. A quick browse of bleau.info and 8a.nu will confirm this. I had 3 tries and on the third my left hand was only 1cm away from the hold. It might be failure, but I was so psyched to be that close. Anyway, I didn’t want to waste any more skin so I prepared to leave. However, I was feeling alright and there was one problem I’d never tried on that block, Berezina-Carnage, 7C+ (soft) so I thought I’d have a burn. 1st go I failed on the very first move of Berezina, then 2nd go I was at the top. It’s pretty cool climbing. I realise I’ve said that about all these problems but it’s because it’s true! I think that these problems are not just popular because they are in an area that has a 30 second walk in, or because they’re at the most famous crag in font. I think it’s because they are genuinely great problems. They’re not aesthetically perfect, but they climb really well. Anyway, next time, Apotheose, and you’ll be shocked when you see the video.

After this I walked up to Rempart to get on Kheops. Unfortunately the right hand hold on the stand up was just too greasy (or rather, I’m not good enough to do it with a black hold!) but I persevered and ended up doing the moves on the assis (bar the first) because those holds were drier. The moves are amazing, so f-ing excellent. I’m really psyched for Kheops because the move up the sloper with the right hand intrigues me so much. I want to do that move because I just can’t imagine the balance point at the moment, but I want to find it. I’ll go back as soon as I can and hopefully make some progress.

Since rain is forecast for tomorrow I figured I should get a load in today and went up to Atresie/Big Golden. I got on well with both of them, doing the cut loose move on Big Golden, and falling off going up with the right hand. I ripped off on my next go and rapped my knuckles quite hard so I didn’t have another go. I guess, it was just that little bit of dampness that caused it. I then jumped on Atresie. I think I tried it once about 4/5 years ago, but I can’t remember. Some Spaniards showed me their idea of a sequence, but when I pulled on it just flowed. I was reaching up for the right hand crimp when my slight kneescum slipped off but I was really happy with the progress. I’m absolutely sure I can do it. I had another couple of goes but I was starting to get tired and my body was sagging so I couldn’t get the kneescum to work properly. Another one to go back to. I love Rempart. There are so many amazing, classic, and hard problems up there.

I really felt like I was climbing well today. I felt like my movement on the rock was good and my awareness of body positions was just flowing really well. I wish I knew why so I could make sure it happened every session. I felt like sequences were unfurling in front of me as I was climbing. It’s hard to describe, but imagine a red carpet beneath your feet that is only ever 1 metre ahead of you whilst you run at top speed… kind of like that. It felt nice, really nice actually. The weather looks bad for tomorrow so perhaps it will be another day of studying/building/tea drinking with perhaps a short fingerboard session (if I get them mounted and up!). We’ve started work on Stage 3 of the climbing wall… It’s huge! Pics to come once it’s finished.

BOOST People!