Fontainebleau, May 2010

We caught the overnight Ferry to Dieppe on Thurs arriving at Grez sur Loing on Friday morning in rain just as the advance party was getting up after their first day on the rocks. Very soon and thankfully,  the sun emerged and the rock quickly dried out to give us an excellent day at Roches de Potets. Back at camp at Grez sur Loing Friday night was BBQ night and the weather was perfect. Saturday dawned looking hopeful and we went to Rocher Guichot where we found the first slab on the orange circuit was horribly polished, not helped by one or two light showers. Disallusioned half of the party set off through the woods to find JA Martin forgetting the map, and were unable to find it. After an hour or so of wandering in ever increasing circles lunch called and we found our way back to Guichot to join the others for a picnic.

After lunch the orange was retackled with more enthusiasm leading to an enjoyable afternoon with some blue and red problems thrown in.

Rain threatened that evening and most of the group collected at the restaurant in Grez for pizzas. After we had sat down at a long table and were into a round of drinks the chef emerged to inform us that he had run out of pizza bases and we would have to make do with 8 between the 11 of us! Saturday night it poured with rain – not so funny for those who had partaken of more than one beer when it came to getting out of their tents in the middle of the night for a pee.

Sunday dawned damp, but although mainly overcast everything dried out quite quickly and the party headed to Cul de Chien where many did all 58 of the yellow PD circuit, and others did a number of blues and attemped reds, including a mass ascent of the Toit du Cul de Chien the weight of which, some alleged, made it rock slightly. Infrequent showers during the day added to the grades, but were insufficient to stop play for long, as the rock quickly dried between them.

Monday dawned looking hopeful and after packing up tents etc, those with an evening ferry to catch went to Apremont at Barbizon to spend the morning on a delightful PD yellow where in spite of first appearances the rock, much of it moss and lichen covered under the pines, was found to be unpolished with excellent friction.

All in all an excellent trip with much better weather than had been forecast, although somewhat marred for some by more than the usual number of sprains, joint/muscular pains, cuts, scrapes and bruises, and the inevitable sore finger tips! In addition to climbing some folk took days off on cultural trips to Paris and Fontainebleau, although it is reported that the proposed attempt to ascend of the Eiffel Tower failed.

Many thanks to Jenny for once again organising this popular annual trip


Here is a second report for font 2010….

The May Bank Holiday saw a convoy of 29 climbers and WAGs cross the channel for another punishing schedule in Fontainebleau. Kevin’s inability to book things correctly on the Internet saw him arrive 12 hours earlier than everyone else; but we had a team assembled by Thursday lunchtime ready for our first warm up yellows. Throughout the weekend we gradually progressed from yellow to orange to blues, whilst the ‘big boys’ scampered up the reds to general admiration.

As usual we were shamed by the local Bleausards pointing out our poor technique and holes in boots.

It paid to be petite as Jenny/Jeannie discovered as they were rescued by the strong shoulders of Fruit and Simon a couple of times. It did not pay to have Jenny/Jeannie spotting if you were Simon or Fruit and found yourself being held up by their hands under your feet. A sapling Simon leaned on for survival didn’t come off too well either.

Whilst we enjoyed fine weather and on-site camp catering, our experience in the local pizzeria left something to be desired; our order for 11 dinners came in the form of 8 with the command “you can share”!

Our return to England was heralded by the disposal of many pairs of trousers, holed around the nether regions by extreme climbing techniques and Jeannie’s masterclasses in pre-climb yoga.

Another good weekend enjoyed by all!

Same time, same spot next year?

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