They have now gone into the magic forest………………Fontainebleau.

Two years ago pretty much to the day I first visited the beautiful and legendary forest of Fontainebleau, France. I had heard about this place only about six years previously as I was a newcomer to the sport and adventure of rock climbing and bouldering. Today with much excitement I had the great pleasure of returning to the fabled woods with some of my nearest and dearest friends.

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Gemma and Rob sharing a moment of laughter about something unknown to us………

My friends and I had talked about travelling to places of legend over a long period of time and today one of these conversation would occur no longer, replaced with an excited “How good was Font? To be able to be present when your mates experience their first boulder in the Bas Cuvier Sector is truly a wonderful thing.

I was alone on my first trip and only had three days, we now have a week and the weather is pretty good considering it’s the end of summer. Sure its not the best for projecting but so what! You’re in Font! This time it was just a time to relax after a very busy few weeks. No projects, no numbers to tick…….Just enjoy climbing lines that were appealing and that I could learn from.

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Gemma simply being in the forest…..wonderful shot of her by Robyn Sharpe 2017

I was definitely enjoying a new set of challenges here today. Bold mantle top-outs, thin vertical faces and long moves with smeared feet just to name a few, but my goal was to do things that I was not particularly good at. It was weakness improvement time for me.

The group separated yesterday just by the nature of things and Jara, Mike and I stuck around the main sandpit and tried a bunch of stuff that was definitely different, with the exception of Jara’s crack fetish. The wider the better, the more painful, the more delightful he finds them. Mike and I spent some time on a classic of the sector called “Marie Rose” F6a (first F6a (V3) in the world apparently).

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Jara getting a bit of crack action in the forest………

Whilst we worked through the problem Mike was sorting out how to do the top section and I was learning to stand on my feet a lot more than ever before. This was only one thing that came about  from the route. It was fabulous to be standing where we were, hanging out together working one of the most famous problems on the planet. A couple of other guys from Germany and Austria were there with us and the camaraderie was wonderful.

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Michael finishing up the first of many great sends on the day.

Karine, Gemma, Robyn and Rob had wandered off to another part of the sector and were having a blast on some super fun problems. We decided to try and locate them after about an hour or so and walked around the boulder field looking and singing out their names to no avail. When we retraced our steps and turned around a couple of corners…….There they were smiling at us.

Karine had just pulled on to the problem they were doing and was doing great. Robyn had just sent it and Gemma was up next. We all had a good go and it was a super fun problem with a scary top out. You really couldn’t ask for a better way to spend a day in the forest. I think we are all really appreciating being able to spend time in this magical place.

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Middle-aged Mutant Ninja Turtle……

We returned home and settled in of the evening with Gemma and Robyn preparing an amazing feast for us and Natalie prepared a sensational chocolate cake with raspberries and creme fraiche. Life is truly a wonderful thing when you have great people to laugh with , love, provide support and be inspired by…….these people are some of mine.

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(L to R) Karine, Natalie, Jara, Gemma, Me, Mike, Robyn and Rob.

In the forest there are only friends……………………………

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