Monday, 21 February 2011

Some Highballs...

We have been in Fontainebleau for another month since I last wrote. It has been a slightly mixed bag in terms of weather but has definitely been fun. There is a line in Fontainebleau that I have always wanted to climb: Misericorde. It is a stunning, high arete at Cuisiniere that I have always stopped and looked at in awe on previous trips; it is, for me, quite an intimidating line. I had played on the start a year or two ago with a friend but this trip I was determined to make a real effort to climb it. It is very high and, despite the good landing, I was nervous having recently hurt my ankle quite badly. I decided to go down it on a rope to give the holds a clean and some chalk and to try out the top moves. This really helped me confidence wise as I didn't find the top too hard and knew that if I could keep it together mentally, I could do it. The crux for me was a move about half way up where you go for a good crimp with your left hand (before setting up for the high rock up) and I knew in my mind that if I held this move then I could finish it if I kept my cool. After this session we had a bout of rain but next time it was dry I headed back over to try it. It took a good few attempts for me to warm into my sequence for the first couple of moves and then a few more to hold that left hold half way up. When I got that hold I switched my brain off and just climbed! For those of you that have done it you will know that the top hold is a massive jug and it is a great feeling getting that.... even better feeling when you are safe on top though!

Another line I have been keen to do is a 7C called Appartenance at Buthiers. Is is a beautiful arete with very technical climbing and a high finish. I don't know why but I seem to be attracted to highballs at the moment – I think because in Fontainebleau the are just so stunning! I tried Appartenance once earlier in the trip and was able to play on the start for a little bit but then it rained. So I was keen to get back to it and have another go. Yesterday, Kook and I set off in search of dry had rained all day on Saturday and are hopes were getting dashed as each problem we went to was wet. We regrouped by drinking a commiserative coffee in Milly and then picked up a friend and went to check out one last block : Appartenance. It was a bit damp. But closer to dry than anything we had seen and I decided to apply some drying techniques and have a go. The wind picked up and it just got better and better and Kook eventually joined in climbing too. The climb is very technical all the way up with a low and a high section separated by a big move. I had a good sequence (lent to me by Mickey Stainthorpe) and eventually stuck the big move that leads into the high section. Now I was on new ground but managed to find a method to get my heel, then toe, really high and rock up to the good crimp and then over the top. A bit out of the blue and very pleased! Very soon after Kook also topped out! The day was a success after all :)

No comments:

Post a Comment