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Showing posts from November, 2008

'Voices in the Forest'

I thought I knew the forest and decided to produce a guidebook. Now, there are a few infinite numbers in maths, such as the Golden Ratio, or the elegant vanishing point of Pi, which suggest we cannot map the world without a formula that summarises our human limitations. My formula was to be that guidebook, the key to a forest's secrets. The forest of Fontainebleau is to me one such infinity, and my brief years of wandering the forest and bouldering on its rocks has only brought me closer to a love of the infinite and the endless adventure of climbing, whereas when I started out I thought there might be a revelatory summit to all this climbing - some, well, point to it all. There wasn't and there isn't, but something of the code was understood. I had grand ambitions when I first came to Fontainebleau, but it decided to rain on us for a week, so we walked around a lot, boggling at the maze of boulders and trying to find famous problems such as Carnage, Sur-prises, Le Toit du…

Committed Review

The Hotaches Committed series of films are now a raptly anticipated event in the climbing calendar year, and this new film, featuring five 'incredible climbing stories' is the best yet. The quality of production is superb and the film stories are future treasures of climbing documentary. They followed some high level traditional UK climbers throughout the year and the viewer is treated to an armchair sauna of the fear, trauma and elusive elation of high-end climbing.

The choice of stories is apt and varied. The first story begins with the thoughtful James Pearson attempting the 'last great problem' of The Groove at Cratcliffe Tor. This blank groove between two gritstone breaks was always deemed unclimbable but this did not deter James, he is filmed clutching a pebble the size of a peanut, rapt and intent... so this first film leads us gently into the microscopic obsession and invisible geometry of a climbing magician. The bizarre sequence of moves that James finally…

Essential Fontainebleau Out Now!!

At last! The Stone Country Guidebook to ESSENTIAL FONTAINEBLEAU is now available!

The main issue with publishing a guide to the best 350 problems in the forest was actually identifying them. They had to be varied, they had to exhibit character and they had to be good! I enlisted Colin Lambton as editor... with over 20 years of experience, he knew precisely what to put in and what to leave out, though we did have some mighty editorial arguments. J A Martin was the venue that caused us to come to verbal blows again and again, and Rocher Guichot was finally given a page as I caved to the blackmail of a free pint of beer. Colin I think has done a super job in selecting and balancing the guide and deserves all my thanks for trying to keep the guide on the straight and narrow.

Colin Lampton on an early ascent of 'Bivouac' at Cuvier

The point was to create a guide mainly for the first-timer which did not confuse and offered a n entry-level to the complexity of Font bouldering, both the …