Ahhh the juex de mots potential of Font, just another reason why it's such a great place.
Lists were made, ticklists and packing lists, but in the end both failed to deliver the hoped results. The ticklist is always at the mercy of the whims of family and friends so is a regular casualty on the Font trip but the packing list is usually a safe bet. Mind you it is usually in the safe hands of my wife. So pants, passport and climbing paraphernalia were flung in various bags and then the various digital accoutrements of modern life were lovingly ensconced in a single padded bag and stowed in the boot. It's time to go, but wait a minute whats the address of the hotel we're staying at in Dover? I dunno, I'll check, get the computer out...
I'm sure you can guess the rest. Suffice it to say the lovingly packed bag of electronica was comfortably settled on the sofa when we returned home.
Anyway, on with the diary:
Wake up in Dover, get on the ferry, swan through Northern France and arrive at Maisonbleau mid afternoon and god is it hot, 25 degrees according to the car. The gites are still been fettled so we head to Buthiers to warm up/dig holes/snooze. I decide that the ideal warm up would be Coccinelle, a problem I have done previously. Whilst the flash was hopelessly optimistic it was heartening to get it ticked in a handful of attempts, I then did the alternative easier finish version just to do something new. Then back to the gite to make food for the troops.
Tried to get out early, and failed. Went to Hautes-Plaines and the birds dibbed first climbing session, then they continued on to Sablons. The boys got a look in at lunchtime, by which time it was back up to yesterdays temperature, we headed to the Rainbow Rocket Block, I had a couple of throws at Voltex before doing Mortel Transfert then did Les Pantins Sociaux on the back of this block. Then we returned to Hautes Plaines for a couple of quick flashes of Lapin Ou Canard and Ah, Plus Facile?. Although given that they both share a common start I guess it's not possible to flash them both, cue some silly ethics debate somewhere on the net...
Back to Buthiers, ladies day, stinking hot. Manage to sneak off and get up Le Dernier Probleme Droite in a couple of goes. Geez has this got a sharp hold on it, watch those tips.
The team is keen for Potala, I'm indifferent. We head there but manage to get out early (when it's still pretty cool) so I pop across to have a quick look at L'Atelier at Guichot. Neil mentioned this to me a couple of days ago as something well worth checking out. He'd described the sequence to me and looking at it from the ground I could see why it appealed to him (as a gent of the taller persuasion), one of the moves looked HUUUUGE. Anyway the rest of it looked steady away so I placed the mat under the obvious crux move and got on it. The start is just a steady traverse on good holds, then a drop down onto a good sidepull-jug with your left, come over with the right hand to a good slot, bring the left hand down and in a bit to a slopey hold and pop your right foot up onto the good sidepull-jug. Then the big move, the ultimate aim is a left hand gaston about six miles away but first I popped the left hand to a poor finger dimple, then a big lock and tension to a stupidly poor nothing a few inches shy of the gaston then a final positive launch, keep it tense hit the gaston latch it stabilise. A slight foot tweak then I (with my twiddly little fingers) can match the gaston. Swing the feet round and pop a left heel on then finish. The end is steady but I was tired and didn't really know where I was going, and it's a bit bulgey and the feet are a bit blind and my foot pops, I start to slide a bit but claw the fingers, scrabble the foot on and gracelessly haul over. First 8A flash, and it's in Font. Good times. Spend the rest of the day playing fire-engines with lard at Potala (but also sneak up La Poussiere Qui Tue), yet again it is very hot.
I'm a broken man, yesterday exertions have done me in. Isatis is busy and hot and I do a lot of sitting and looking. In the interests of ticking something every day I drag myself up Le Faux Baquet.
The ladies bagsey the first slot today at Apremont and by the time we're up for action the heat is just ridiculous. In a desperate bid to get a 7's & 8's tick I stoop to this. It actually turns out to be a nice bit of climbing, but looks rubbish. It would make a great top-out it's just a shame there isn't a problem under it.
Last day, hottest day. I am still a very broken man. Things are getting really desperate now so there's only on thing for it. This is rubbish but it's a tick (yes I'm that sad). To compensate I do Beatle Juice twice as it is brilliant, but doesn't count as a tick as I've done it previously.
A good trip despite the outrageous heat. Tailed of a bit at the end though, as ever...