søndag 17. november 2013

New beginnings

It´s come to my attention that it´s been a while since my last confession. 
This is of course not the first time I neglect to update the blog for months at a time, but this time, instead of trying to sum it up with tons of old outdated blog posts, I´ll just jump right to the conclusion. 

Apparently I´v been bad, and if there was a Santa he would probably pass me by this year.   
Luckily for me I don´t believe in magic fat men crawling down chimneys, so I might just be fine :)

Now, this has of course having nothing to do with what this blog post is all about. 

What I´m really supposed to write about is the beginning of a new winter season, a new era really as it´s the first winter in Spain without Hannah joining me.

Replacing Hannah as my main partner this year is Roger. 
That´s right, it´s gonna be all testosterone, short lines to the bathroom and few reasons to think about anything but climbing. 
Not that Hannah actually spent that much time in the bathroom, but thats beside the point. 
Without a female presence, the dynamics of the collective will change, be that for the better or worse time will tell, all I know is that this year will be different. 
With the film now in post production, (thought still missing Magnus´s/Sindre´s send footage), I´m also psyched to finally focus a bit more on my own climbing this year, then I perhaps have done in the previous seasons.

Returning somewhat in the style of the first season, we drove down and stopped by Fontainebleau on the way. That is, Roger drove down, and I was along for the ride.

Since Roger got off work a few days before me, he decided to drive to Font on his own and let me fly down and meet him there, something I was pretty happy about as the drive down is pretty boring.

Unsure of the weather and how long we would stay we decided to go for the cheap solution of free camping at the hippodrome.    
"Roger contemplating the weather"

After a few days of cold and windy nights combined with evening/morning rain, we soon had our fill with the camping life, and invited ourselves to stay with fellow "trønder" Tarjei and the two danish Katrine and Bjørn at their gite.     

"The nice looking gite before I spilled red wine all over the carpet"

"The mandatory pointless picture of a baguette, this one made by Tarjei" 

"Tarjei, struggling with some complex numbers, (here more interested in the guidebook), gets some help from dr. Roger, who for some reason brought his calculator on a 5 month climbing trip..." 

Font, mainly known for a freakin huge castle, or to climbers for it´s great sandstone bouldering, can be a crispy dream come true or a wet nightmare. 
Now I wish that was a sexual reference, but boring as it might sound, I´m talking about the weather.

As my luck in Font (still talking about the weather) has been pretty bad the last few trips, I guess I can say we got a bit more lucky this time and got a bit of both.

The first few days however were wet, and we just walked around in the forest and looked at boulders. 
Then it dried up and we got a few good days, but still I didn´t really have much success, coming close to a lot, and yet getting to the top of nothing.
It wasn´t before we left the somewhat wet and tiering camping life behind, that things really started turning around. 

Having spent a considerable amount of time in Font in my "youth", the list of unfinished projects is, and probably always will be long. 
This time, seeing as we still didn´t know how long we would stay, and the weather being quite unstable, I choose to focus on the problems drying the quickest, and of course the once haunting me the most.

First on that list was Vandale. 
5 years ago I fell off 1 cm from the top jug, I then came back for it a year later on my way down to Spain, found I was weak and the start a bit wet, tried anyway, and ultimately failed.

Feeling stronger then I previously had in Font, the turning point of the trip then naturally came with my return to Vandale.
It was early in the morning, the sun was on the rock, the air was cold and after a quick warm up, I was up there slapping for the blind hold. 
After a few failed attempts I stuck it, pulled myself together, and finished it off, opening my eyes to the possibility that my other projects might be within reach as well.     


After another rainy day, I decided it was a good time to get back on one of Font´s other classic fast drying 7C´s, Eclipse at Cul de Chien.

My first attempts on it was surprisingly promising, getting my hands all the way up in the right position for the final move, something I´d never been able to do before. 
Unfortunately getting the foot into position was a different matter. Having done almost no stretching the last year, I found it very high and awkward, and seeing no quick solution to the problem, I changed my focus to L'Œil de la Sybille instead.

L'Œil de la Sybille is one of those famous Fred Nicole problems that like Karma, I´v been looking at and dreaming about doing for years, but never really been strong enough to get anywhere on.
After a quick play on it now thought, I realised that this no longer seemed to be the case.   
Completely forgetting Eclipse, I got to work on it, and before long was almost sticking the dyno from the ground.
Because of rain earlier in the day we started late, and before I knew it it was dark. Not having brought any good lights, I decided to call it, wowing to return in a few days.

A few days later, after some more rain, I returned with the full crew. 
Tarjei, also psyched on the problem, and Roger, Bjørn and Katrine, in general psyched never having been there before.

"Katrine warming up on a 6A traverse, here pissed at me for putting some sand on a hold"

"Roger attempting the tricky slab (Svæ!) warm up, carefully watched over by Tarjei"   

"Katrine sticking the crux move on the Svæ!" 

"Tarjei, apparently never needing to warm up, spends some quality time on Rogers pad" 

After an extremely relevant slab warm up, we all went down to the famous roof.
Apparently not the only ones realising this would be a good place to be a few hours after rain, we were however not alone.

At first glance the boulder looked nice and dry, but at closer inspection the roof part of L'Œil de la Sybille had gotten wet..
So instead of getting down to business, I ended up trying to dry it up, and wasting some more energy on Eclipse.
A few hours later it seemed dry enough to be climbable, but while I got close, it was not meant to be this session either.
In the meantime Bjørn completely crushed the rest of the roof classics, first sending la Nouvelle vague (7C), then Arabesque (7B+) and finally Eclipse (7C).
Tarjei, having done most of the problems before, also made an epic accent of la Nouvelle Vague (7C), crawling into a big hole at the top, ass first, and then spent 5 minutes trying to get back out.
"Katrine looking strong on Arabesque"

"Tarjei crushing the slopers of la Nouvelle Vague, here spotted by fellow strongman Øyvind"
(btw congrats on Karma Øyvind!) 

Then the next day, feeling tired and sore all over, I returned with Tarjei to L'Œil de la Sybille.
Tarjei as usual not seeming to need any form of warm up, got straight on, did the roof dyno a few times, and then just sat down and did it.

"Tarjei sticking the 154 cm long roof dyno on the actual ascent" 

"Tarjei, looking all surprised, tops out L'Œil de la Sybille just 10 min after getting there"

While Tarjei was topping out, I had barely started warming up..
Now, I´v rarely felt as old as when I then needed a full hour to get the warm enough to do the dyno that Tarjei did on his first "warm up" try..
Eventually thought I managed to get the machine going, sat down, missed the dyno a few times, suddenly stuck it, and then found myself on the top, just as surprised as Tarjei 1,5 hour before.

"me (finally!) sticking the dyno"

"The skin after sending L'Œil de la Sybille, painfully ready for the next challenge"

After finishing up at Cul de Chien, we drove down to meet up with the rest of the crew at Buthiers.
Danish, an easy language to hear at a distance, quickly lead us a frustrated Bjørn trying the classic Controle A.
With Tarjei, having done the problem before now in place, Bjørns life got a bit easier.
Bjørn, having been trying to establish and move up on the boulder from a standing position, found it quite a lot easier when Tarjei explained that it was a kick/jump start, and that he did not actually have to try to climb the blank looking lower part. 

"Tarjei and Katrine gets way with all the cookies while Bjørn slaps his way up Control A (7C)"   

"Tarjei, barely having spent any energy on L'Œil de la Sybille, quickly crushed Dosage (7C)" 

"Roger, getting a sweet ass double cheek spot from Tarjei and Bjørn"

"Roger crimps down, and desperately tries to slap his way up a classic blank looking Font top-out"

Just before dark I then went back to one of my longterm projects, la Coccinelle. Having already been on it a short session on the "rest day", I felt ready. 

 "La Coccinelle (8A trav)"

Unfortunately, as the darkness covered all, and the light from my headlamp became my entire world, I forgot how low of the deck the crux move was, something that with an added crashpad caused me to slightly dab on my one "successful" attempt..

Dabbing, for those unfamiliar with the term, means that you in some way come in contact with the ground, a pad, a spotter, a tree, a adjacent rock or some other form of item/object not deemed part of the problem.
A slight dab might mean nothing, but again might mean everything. 
In reality what one feels about the dab does not really matter. A dab is an automatic fail (invalid ascent) no matter if it helps you or not. 
In this case it really felt like it made no difference, but as I just wrote above, that didn´t really matter. 
As the saying goes: In your heart you know.

So, removing the pad, I kept trying, but running out of both power and skin I eventually had to call it, returning to the gite knowing that I could have done the problem, and yet not having done it.        

Then, on our last day, we woke to rain and some more rain (again). 
We tried driving around a bit, but as it all seemed wet, we decided that a roof with an actual jug at the top was our only option.
After a quick look in the guidebook, I found a picture of a boulder called la Kraken, and after a much longer then expected walk in, we were there.

Tarjei, as usual in no need of a warm up, sent all three variations within an hour, 7C, 7B+, 7C! (thought with some "gulling" at the top, as some did top out, and that was kinda out of the question). 
Bjørn quickly followed, but found the direct (7C) to be to reachy, and I, not as flexible as the rest, got stuck on the first version (7C), struggling to get my feet high enough, eventually failing after several hours of trying.. 

"Tarjei easily dispatching la Kraken droit (7C), on his third attempt" 

"Me on the crux move, trying to get my left foot out without the right coming off, here obviously failing"

Then, during our time at la Kraken, the rest of the forest seemed to dry up a bit, and seeing as this was the last day, we moved on to the nearby area of Drei Zinnen for some twilight/night sessioning.  

"Bjørn sends the classic, old-school highball, Multipass (7B) in the dark"

"Tarjei gets ready to get on Multipass (7B), while I check once more to see that I still have no skin"

Then, after a already long day, I decided to drive down to Buthiers all alone to give the cock a final go.
The classic Buthiers traverse, la Coccinelle (pronounced something like cock-si-nelle, or for short just the cock), was after yesterdays "dab" ascent, really the one major ascent I was missing for this Font trip to be complete. 

A traverse, for those not so versed in the terms commonly used by climbers, basically refers to moving sideways instead of the somewhat more common concept of moving up. 
In most climbers eyes the perception of a traverse is usually manifested in a lot of shuffling sideways on some sort of ramp/edge. 
The cock however climbs much more like a "normal" boulder, if there is such a thing. 
You start standing, do a few hard/weird sideways moves, and then top out with no shuffling or matching involved.

Now, I don´t remember when I first tried the cock (oh yes, that sounded all kinds of wrong). What I do remember is that I introduced it to Hannah on our bouldering trip some 5 years ago, and that I had been playing with it on my own before that.   
Initially the cock seemed quite simple and easy to figure out, but after several sessions, I still did not really get it.  
I was pressing, squeezing, pushing and pulling, but no matter how hard I tried sticking the rubber in there, it always seemed to be slipping out. 
Returning this year, stronger and more experienced, I still had to spend several sessions with it before it finally came to me. 
More rubber, not less, was the way to go. 
And so it came to pass that on the last night of our last day, I found myself once again alone with the cock. 
Taking my time, I strapped my rubber on, carefully placed my hand on the outside of the somewhat wet crack, pulled myself in, got two fingers into the pocket just right, and then, in one of those rare perfect moments, it just happened. 
Then, for a short, but oh how sweet a moment, I was the master of the cock, it no longer the master of me.

"More rubber, not less, was the way to go"

Now, to top this already long and time consuming blog post off, I have in the spirit of wasting your time with more of my nonsense, also made a short film from this years Font extravaganza. Unfortunately for some of you I could not be bothered adding english subtitles, but thought you might be missing out on a few things, it´s pretty straight forward.  

Now, this blog post should have ended right about here, but as Tarjei keeps mentioning his single during his face time with the camera, I figured I´d add some insight, aka beta for you girls out there. 
(This is of course based purely on observation, Tarjei being the wrong sex and all for me personally.)

Solution 1: be aggressive, make the first move, waiting for him to do it will probably just end in a lot of waiting.
Solution 2: get him drunk, this, if you had not already figured it out, usually works on most men.

Where to find him?
Tarjei has recently moved to Oslo to study, and can probably most days be found lurking about the bouldering walls at Klatreverket with no t-shirt. 

How to approach him?
Any compliment about his not so large biceps looking large, fierce or powerful will probably do.     

Redeeming qualities:
Better in the kitchen then his looks would suggest
From perhaps the best city in Norway (maybe not entirely true, but then again..)
Not a lot of baggage
To young to be a full blown cynic
Cool family 
Might actually get a decent job upon finishing his degree    

Happy hunting girls!

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