Pebble Wrestling on Ouessant and the Bull Frog Boulder

The days here seem to pass quickly and the weather has the consistency of the mountains. One minute it is beautiful, the next it is ominous and grey. Like the Peak District  in the UK, you have to brave the changes and the elements and just get out and enjoy the opportunities Ouessant presents.

Today was like this. We headed out for a ride and decided to take the shoes and chalk with us. There are a plethora of large pebbles here to wrestle with and Karine and I felt it was time to enjoy the possibility of bouldering here. There is no information available about the boulders here other than they are granite and covered in lichen. So we only clean what we want to use as holds.

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The incredible coastline of Ouessant. Boulders everywhere………

We had already discussed not having crash pads and decided not to take any adverse risks or just simply be stupid about it. We wandered around the coastline taking in the vast beauty that surrounded us and spied some possibilities for a little vertical adventure. The formations here are really cool and I am enjoying just looking at the landscape.

The contrast here is remarkable. The granite towers in the sea are almost orange in colour and the deep blue and turquoise of the sea is offset by this and the exploding and colourful blotches of the fauna. Karine had walked around here the day before with Jean-Jacques and said she had found some good boulders.

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Karine standing on Bull Frog Boulder.

We dropped our gear at the base of what I affectionately called “Bull Frog Boulder”. To me thats what it looks like side on. Starting to get in close and have a look at the possibilities, I spotted a nice starting point for what turned out to be our first problem. Given the size of this boulder I thought the problem would be quite short, but it turned out to be a long and sustained route through steep and somewhat sloper filled terrain.

It took a couple or three attempts to string it all together, but it just simply felt great to be back on rock after a month hiatus. Karine tried it and successfully pulled through the first six moves, only to be over-powered by the need to keep her feet lower. I know she can climb it. So, I have named it “Et Elle Embrassait Le Beau Prince” V3 (F6a) or “And She Kissed the Handsome Prince”.

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Karine, first day on “Et Elle Embrassait Le Beau Prince” V3 (F6a) or “And She Kissed the Handsome Prince”.

A couple of days later we went back for the afternoon. The sun was shining on us this day and we just simply loved the location. There is nothing better than being out with your loved one and enjoying doing what you’re doing together. Its one of the great things about common ground and travelling together.

We warmed up and sat chatting about what we were going to do. Karine wanted a rematch with “Et Elle Embrassait Le Beau Prince” and I wanted to send this new route on the right hand side. I started to work my route and figure out the sequence through the bottom. It was harder than the first route by a grade point at least. I fell off regularly. Karine worked through the moves and climbed the route with one fall.

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B.A.L.A.N.C.E……….It all comes down to it.

Resting she got back on and tried again. As she rounded the nose, she started to feel a little desperate and fatigued, but I shouted “keep going……Finish it!” She pushed on through and sent her first Font 6a (V3) boulder problem. She stood up on the top of the boulder and threw her hands in the air celebrating mildly, as she does. So incredibly proud of her, she always tries super hard even when scared and pumped.

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The first ascent of Heel, Toe, Dosey Doe” V4 (F6a+).

I tried my boulder again and got it a couple of goes later. I was really excited to have pulled the moves, as it was a slopey, overhanging start with a heel hook, toe hook and core squeeze to get off the ground. I found it a little powerful until I found the solution. I named it “Heel, Toe, Dosey Doe” V4 (F6a+).

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Our view at the end of our day was spectacular.

We decided to head home before the chill of the evening kicked in. It gets a little cool here at night.

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