Showing posts from November, 2009

Indian Johnny Dawes

Johhny Dawes' Indian clone... static stickmen will be appalled. Guy Robertson sent me this, saying he has given it all up to go hillwalking. I think I will do the same, with my flask of soup and red socks.

Dumbarton Rock A History

As a lot of climbers have been kept away from the Rock by these incessant westerly rain fronts, I thought some might be interested in reading a little about the History of Dumbarton Rock while it wallows in drippy green misery. I've been working on a climbing history to the Rock but this will be included in the new Clyde & Argyll guide soon. This is what happened at Dumby before we slipped our rock boots on...

Four Fontainebleau Problems

What is it about the magic 'a' grade at Font (6a, 7a and the even more magical 8a!). I guess these arbitrary grades are 'designed' by accident a bit like evolution's blind wathcmaker. They seem to be natural benchmarks of physical and conceptual progression in the forest, where restriction and history are finally broken, where something truly remarkable emerges. They always seem to have an 'edge' on problems beside them on the same scale and the true 'a' problems have an independent feel about them, as though jealous to retain their reputation from the others. Climbing them you feel they possess a hidden inbuilt code like the golden ratio, or at least a few extra digits of Pi! This could all be said about any grade, especially the new 'highest' grade, but in Fontainebleau, the feel of the 'a' problems is unique. They are a step above anything before and are worth seeking out if you are operating in the grade range. La Marie Rose 6a -

Fontainebleau and Rain Wisdom

Le Parisien newspaper is not worth the 95 centimes to a poor French speaker. I can do the Sudoku and check the footie scores, but the rest is obscure political blabber, car accidents and endless TV sur-reality. Apart from Le Meteo ... to the visiting boulderer the weather page is the fount of all frustration or elation. Sitting in Bar Bacchus in Milly la Foret, as the rain runs off the Halles and bounces on the cobbled streets, squeezing the life out of a 3 Euro glass of Heineken, the Meteo page is studied forensically. The symbols are crucial to the case as the cryptic French style of weather reporting is more like a red-top Horoscope: 'your umbrellas will be at Granny's, a courageous cloud will follow you' Spot the squirrel... The next three days are checked for the best conditions and great debates ensue as to the surest strategy. The heavy cloud and rain symbol means a rest day or exploration, or recovering from a beer and wine tasting. A sun symbol means get out