Fontainebleau in October. It's like Christmas morning for boulderers, stepping out of the hire car and running into a pile of rocky presents and tinsel leaves under a pine tree. You get the idea. And despite the barricades and strikes and French indignation at the 'retraites', we made it there and back again. Arriving at Potala's ochre rocks in perfect autumnal stillness was, in Colin's words, 'as good as it gets'. Then the fun began...
The actual physical and debilitating ache of climbing every day in Fontainebleau for nearly 10 days has tramsformed into a nolstalgic ache (and lingering tendinitis!), but it was magical to have clear cool blue skies and crisp conditions to hand every day. Resting consisted of working through blue and orange circuits as it would have been criminal not to climb. Blistered pinkies from the sand at Cul de Chien led to customised rock shoes with flaps which allowed a day at Cuvier on some harder lines, but the Joker still spat me off with a perennial disdain.
To be honest, in such good conditions, it was more fun just traipsing through the forest getting away from the crowds and finding lonesome boulders with stunning lines, or just working my way through the circuits. The forest was truly at its best and walking in the footsteps of Denecourt, Millet and Stevenson only added to the mystique. There's much more to Fontainebleau than just the climbing...
Ban Lieu Nord 7a
La Vie D'Ange, Cuvier 7a
Le Surplomb Allayaud, Jean des Vignes - surely 7a!!!