Monday, 24 September 2007

First Forays into Font

Our first week in Font has proved very interesting. What a place! It took us 5 days to get our heads around the grading system, find our way around and work out what was where. It is possibly the strangest place I have ever climbed but also the most exciting. I also have to say that our egos have taken something of a knock. We thought we were climbing quite respectable grades but in Font it seems that you can almost halve your best grade, and only expect to be able to climb at that level. It wasnt a nice feeling at all. Still, things improved and I have hopes for Font 7a .... one day!!! Ha Ha.

4c No. 27 red at 91.1

We were surprised to find that after 3 days we still had lots of skin left on our fingers, although we wont deny that they were sore. We started off with the yellow circuit at 95.2 which was dead easy, but lots of fun. We tried some more circuits, but struggled to find many of the problems, spent ages walking between them, and got very frustrated, not knowing how to find our feet with things. By Friday lunchtime we were quite despondent about things. I certainly felt I had achieved nothing (Caroline less so, I think) and was almost ready to go home. Me and my bloody expectations....

The moment we decided to abandon the various coloured circuits was a revelation. We picked a couple of problems that looked entertaining, and just kept trying them. Success!! Having not found the 3bs as easy as we thought we should have done, we cranked through 4c slabs and 5a crimps without too much difficulty. Still only 4c qnd 5a though....

Caroline on an un-graded pockety problem at 91.1

Yesterday, we forgot the guidebook, and found ourselves a long and strenuous traverse at 91.1 (number 29 red for those of you who are interested). We spent an hour or so on it, and sent it just as our strength and energy was starting to fade. We didn't know what grade it was at the time, but it turns out it's 5b! It was hard! What I don't understand is that the 6a+ I did at La Roche aux Sabots was so easy by comparison..... This French world is very...... well, French I guess! I am looking forward to many discussions about the randomness of Font grades, and to the many explanations I might find for the variability and (apparent) inconsistencies. All comments welcome here!
The 5b traverse, which was much easier for tall people...we watched them!

Me on a 4c slab at 95.2

Andy Shanks on Sale Gosse 7c+ at La Roche aux Sabots

Apologies for the awkwardness of this post, and for the un-rotated pictures. I can't get to grips with a French keyboard; it's spoiling the artistic flow of my prose (!!). Nor have I worked out how to get my camera to rotate the pictures before I plug it into this internet cafe pc. You'll have to turn your monitor sideways to see the pictures properly!

PS. 25.12.07 I've rotated the pictures now!

7 comments:

Keith said...

Ha ha ha! Welcome to the wacky world of Font! You'll have to calm your grade-obsession down over there - "Me and my bloody expectations...." The buddha said "Suffering is caused by desire" so forget your grades and have fun! And don't talk to too many funny old Frenchmen - they'll have spent 200 years or so perfecting "their" technique for climbing those funny slab things...

DaveR said...

I found the grades even out with the UK as the problems get steeper and less of the whacky vertical technique is required. Learn first to master your feet and the rest will follow..

Ian said...

Hey, your still alive!
Good to know you've not tried to climb off the edge of the world or anything!

Have fun in the sun.... In the last week, it's turned cold over here...

Tom CE said...

Monsieur Spanky not looking at all bald in that photo...

Anonymous said...

Hiya babe
great to see you are working hard but having loads a fun. Leave some skin on your fingers you have a long way to go x HMcV

Paula(bear) said...

Yay, Emma's still alive and still climbing :D we miss you lots, but so glad you're enjoying the freedom and the fresh air, make sure to get some for me too... luv Paula xx

alpinedreamer said...

We had a good shot at an overhanging 7a+ yesterday, and weren't very far from completing it. A bit more rest and a bit more skin, and it'll go. All very exciting now....except that it is pouring with rain. Our mats are wet, we are wet, the tents are wet; I keep thinking about gites.

Some of the old frenchmen are helpful; some are just grumpy. Either way, we are definitely enjoying ourselves. When it stops raining we will venture towards Bas Cuvier and Apremont. Once I've had some food, I will hardly be able to contain my excitment!!

Thanks to all for your comments. Glad you're reading my ramblings!

Emma