31 is the third Mersenne prime! RAD!

Late lastnight Fontainebleau felt a small tremble when the Italian Stallion, Lorenzo, rolled into town. After a whirlwind tour of Britain he was ready for some sandstone action. His first nights decent sleep saw him awake and ready to crush, but the forecast was iffy. It had rained a little during the night but the wind had arrive in the morning to solve all our problems. We drove to Cuvier (surprise, surprise) cause Lore was psyched for La Balance and I thought that Rempart would be a sure fire bet for dry rock. We started the warm up circuit which now involves Coup de Bambou, 6C+. I love slab climbing, not more than I love overhanging subtle power problems, but I love them none the less. The weather didn’t look too good, but before the boulders were actually soaked, we’d keep going! We moved over to Bicep Mou, 7B, I was psyched because I couldn’t remember ever having tried it, and it’s a real thing tick! I think I just want to tick everything in that film, which is sad but probably true. I had a couple of goes to figure out what to do, and then Lore came over to test himself against Jo Montchausse (he did the FA). Once I’d established where the finishing jug was I did it next go and even paid a little homage to Ben and Jerry (wait for the video). Lorenzo struggled with the first move citing lack of height, but I’d put it down to still being a bit tired from the travelling. Soon thereafter the rain began, first the persistent spitting and then the dreaded downpour. That settled that, and we headed home.

After a bite to eat the weather turned, the rain had stopped and wind was blowing like George Michael. Charged up we headed out to try L’Homme Fossile. I knew everything in the roof would be dry and the final move to the jug would be drying quickly, so I was hopeful. Upon arrival it was clear that it was climbable, and it was drying at a ridiculously fast rate. It didn’t matter even if the final jug was wet since the moves at that point looked so easy. I pulled on to do the 7A+ to the left called Feel du Logis, but after doing the first move I felt something moving in my right hand. I let go and sure enough, the entire starting jug was peeling away. All the holds in this roof have been glued, which was completely necessary to preserve the holds, but the glue was become unbonded. It was bonded to the hold, but not to the roof. It was quite a large chunk of rock, so neither of us pulled on that hold again. We climbed it from the next move in, and did it in the original eliminate way which is really fun moves. Then on to the main meat. The crux move was obvious, and took a whole heap of power and a bit of thinking, but it was solved. The rest was steady, powerfulish undercut moves leading to the lip. I did all the moves quickly and was psyched to have a go when Lorenzo realised something rather alarming. Whilst brushing one of the holds he noticed a bit of movement… uh oh… And upon closer inspection, and a bit of pulling to test it out, we realised that a crucial hold in the middle of the roof was very loose. Not only that, but the crack along which this chunk of rock was planning to detach was about 45cm long. A few taps revealed just how hollow it was, and there was no doubt that if I pulled hard on this hold it would break, and being an undercut, it would break right into my face/chest. I didn’t fancy a 40kg piece of rock landing on me so I quickly quit. The moves were so good though so I was doing the rest of it when we realised that all the holds, bar the first and the last were loose. They were all flexing like Daniel Smith! The death zone suddenly came over us, and we both stopped. They were getting worse and worse, with a potentially serious injury if one of them did break. It’s a real shame because it’s a cool problem, but I don’t know how you’d solidify these holds, other than drilling a huge steak into them and affixing them deep into the rock. The bottom line is, don’t climb there!

There was still daylight left, and we were psyched, so we drove to Buthiers. I wanted to finish of La Coccinelle, and Lore wanted to humble magic bus. La Coccinelle was completely dry, bar one finger on one hold. Unfortunately, it was a crucial finger on a crucial hold! Magic Bus was dry though, and after a bit of fannying about figuring out just how he wanted to crush it, Lore despatched in fine style.

It was a day of rain, wind, and power, but it goes to show that if you persevere a bit you can always find some good rock that will be dry. It’s all about the knowledge, knowing where to go in what conditions and I think I am starting to learn these mysteries of the forest.