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No day in Font can start without some pain au chocolat

November 22, 2013

Font is that magical place that every pebble wrestler needs to visit during his/her lifetime.  Thanks in part to frequent flyer miles, it became APW’s second bouldering trip out of North America.

The climbers: Shane, Art, Esten, Jackie, Bob, and Pierre
Hydration: Wine, wine, wine, wine, Belgian beer, and Talisker Storm

With rain in the forecast for much of the week, we were eager to get out to the rocks as it was sunny on our arrival day.  After making a quick stop at Pierre’s place in Melun, checking into our gite for the week, and eating some yummy croissants and baguettes that Pierre brought, we headed to the 95.2 area to get used to the slopey, technical rock.  This would, sadly, be one of our only days without any rainy or damp conditions.  However, Pierre hadn’t climbed all season because every weekend was rainy, so in a sense we were lucky to have some moments of sun.

Bob sending 32 Blue (4)

Bob sending 32 Blue (4)

We were soon introduced to the concept of the Font circuits – orange, blue, red, white, black in easiest to most difficult order.  Since we only had an afternoon, we just picked an area and played on problems from all the different circuits.  It didn’t help that we were all pretty exhausted from not really sleeping on the plane the night before, but it was still a good session.

Pierre sending 47 Red (6a)

Pierre sending 47 Red (6a)

Esten sending 6 Red (4+)

Esten sending 6 Red (4+)

Jackie working White 32 - Le Mur de la Fosse aux Ours (7a)

Jackie working White 32 – Le Mur de la Fosse aux Ours (7a)

Esten’s gift to Pierre from the States was a chapeau d’hélicoptère (helicopter hat).  I can’t think of any better present, can you?

Pierre et chapeau d'hélicoptère

Pierre et chapeau d’hélicoptère

After stocking up on plenty of meat, cheese, wine, and foie gras in a jar, we headed back to the gite, which was equipped with a full kitchen, grill, sauna, and cabinet full of DVDs.  Combined with our rental car, this was definitely the most high rolling pebble wrestling trip we’d ever been on.

The next day Pierre took us to Bas Cuvier, one of the most classic areas because you can basically roll out of your car and be staring at a boulder.  It is also one of the quickest drying areas, so because of the rain we ended up here on 3 separate days.  Most of the time, the rock was quite damp, but still somewhat climbable.  Even though you might see blue skies in some of these photos, don’t be fooled – this was usually short lived.  On our last day in the forest, we awoke early after a night of downpour to see blue skies.  With cooler temps and sunlight, the rock was at its driest.  But as soon as we started making some progress on harder problems, the sky turned gray and opened up.

Bob sending la Marie-Rose (6a+)

Bob sending la Marie-Rose (6a+)

Esten working Cortomaltèse (6c+)

Esten working Cortomaltèse (6c+)

Shane sending l'Authenac (5+)

Shane sending l’Authenac (5+)

Bob sending la Nescafé (6a+)

Bob sending la Nescafé (6a+)

Pierre working La Joker (7a)

Pierre working La Joker (7a)

Jackie working Pince-Mi, Pince-Moi (7b+)

Jackie working Pince-Mi, Pince-Moi (7b+)

Bob sending the Cuvier dyno

Bob sending the Cuvier dyno

Shane sending la Clavicule (5+)

Shane sending la Clavicule (5+)

Esten sending la Trou du Simon (6a)

Esten sending la Trou du Simon (6a)

Arhtur sending la Bicolore (5+)

Arthur sending la Bicolore (5+)

Bob sending la Soufflet (6a)

Bob sending la Soufflet (6a)

Estem working L'Hélicoptère (

Esten working L’Hélicoptère (7a)

The crew also spent a day at Rocher Fin.

Hike into Rocher Fin

Hike into Rocher Fin

Shane sending something

Shane sending at Rocher Fin

Pierre working Guerre et Paix (7a)

Pierre working Guerre et Paix (7a)

The one upside of all the rain was that we had the opportunity to spend two days in Paris without feeling like we were missing out on climbing.  Don’t be fooled by the blue skies in the photo below – the rain came back soon after.

Our rest day at the Arc de Triomphe

Our rest day at the Arc de Triomphe

All in all, the trip was a great first taste of Font, but there is still much, much more to see.  There are thousands and thousands of problems in the many guidebooks, and a lifetime of bouldering.  It is definitely a unique bouldering location, with such a major international city at our fingertips.  And, with pain au chocolat for breakfast everyday, cheap but good wine, and escargot and duck breast readily available at the Walmart-like superstore, it wasn’t a bad place to hang out for a week.

Thanks to Pierre for showing us around, teaching us that “douche” is French for shower, and steering us in the right food & wine direction!  Hopefully the weather will improve so he can start crushing more slopers out there.

Below are more of Art’s photos from the trip.  More to come from others!  You can also view them on Facebook here.

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