We decided the night before what our venue would be today. I was particularly looking forward to it, as it was my choice – Diplodocus at trios pignons. We had a cobbled together breakfast, as the boulangerie was shut due to a public holiday. After this, a few of us played on the bouldering wall as we waited for Nicolas, who had some business in Paris and was joining us for the day. Once Nicolas arrived, we loaded up the boulder bus and headed for our adventure, singing along to bohemian rhapsody, on the radio, led by the boulder brothers Paul and Mark in the front. It seemed to be 80’s weekend on that channel, and some rather dodgy revelations came to light about someone who used to wear MC Hammer trousers.
Entering the arena
We got to the car park and picked up our mats for the short walk in along the forest path. It was already hot, but the walk in was pleasant with lizards scampering across the path, and the occasional wood pecker in the trees. It is a popular spot and is the only place I have seen with a symbol for how easy it was to push a pram through it in a guide book. Eventually, we reached a clearing, with lots boulders sticking out of a sea of sand, framed by more boulders which were framed by a backdrop of trees. After a brief scout around, we set up base camp near a boulder shaped like Fred Flintstone’s house and got to work on the amazing sandstone blocks in the clearing.
First up was a nice block that had several routes on it. Everyone in the group had now managed to send their first problems. The nicest route on the boulder was called “rattle snake”, and had a rather stretchy top out onto a famous Font sloper (for me anyway). Others found different ways to top out though. The most interesting ones were Paul doing the worm as he gained the top and Mark doing the “beached whale” as they topped out. Nicolas and Chris had a more refined style.
Doing the worm
We then worked through a number of problems before it got too hot. We then had some lunch and joined the lizards for a bask on top of Fred’s house. After the break, it was on to a route called “techno gym”. This was a nice route that crawled underneath a boulder and then pulled over it. Mark claimed it as the first 6a of the week, and I killed my camera falling off it; it was a bit silly putting it in my pocket. So, most posts after this one will be using other people’s photos, mostly Pascaline’s who took some excellent shots, some of which I believe will be on sale at TCA soon. She also became a bit of a slab queen during the week – no mean feat in Font.
After another break, we headed to the central highball area and got well and truly spanked on “Teflon coated slab” It was very polished and liberally doused in the abomination that is pof – resin used by some locals to make the rock sticker. The trouble is that once it is used on a route, you have to use more or the route becomes like glass – a problem we would encounter again at Sabot. At any other venue, you would be dangled over the crag by your nuts – or hexes, for using pof. Our psychological preparation was not helped though when someone said in French to her partner, as Bo was on the slab, that her friend had broken her ankle on *that* route.
Still, there are plenty of other routes there and it is such an awesome place, we just gave the route a Gallic shrug and found some more fun packed boulders to try and we spent another couple of hours exploring and sending routes . Jo even found the ultimate leg Jam and a tunnel she could crawl through. Very happy with our first full day, we headed back to the boulder bus and a fine meal of pecorino and pine nut spaghetti made by Paul. It almost made up for the singing (and the trousers).
“See this, that’s you looking your best” said baby Oliver