Font Day 24

Posted by | Fontainebleau | 3 Comments

Rock climbing has restarted full bore after a spell of rain. We finally had a few days with a proper circuit warm-up on dry boulders! It was amazing! For the first two weeks we didn’t have a 24 hour period without some type of precipitation so it feels great to finally have multiple days with sunny skies!

Kevin on Misericorde 7c+

The climbing here is great, the rock is awesome and there are so many boulders it’s unreal. Warming up at Isatis is a blast. There are so many easy problems that you can get a good flow on the rock and try to maintain that fluid movement as you start working on harder climbs. When it’s cold and dry, the rock is very sticky but not nearly as grippy as the rock in the southeast, especially the feet. Pof has been used extensively here for quite some time which has done a number on the rock. Pof is a resin that climbers have used here to help their feet stick to the rock. From what I hear it works well in the short term, unfortunately the long term result is slippery black rock that is very hard for your rubber to stick to.

Leslie on Misericorde 7c+

Leslie on Poussif 7a+

Guillome on Poussif 7a+

Titouan playing with chalk

Larchant

A few words from Les:

Alex has switched into full crush mode… He’s too modest to tell you so I will. Every problem he gets on gets done with the quickness, unless it’s a 6a warmup at Isatis.

Like Alex said earlier, the weather has switched from relentless and crappy to beautiful and inspiring. Conditions could not be better. The rock glitters in the sun as if it is begging to be climb.

A restday in Paris was in tall order, so the crew buckled up and cruised up the A6 to the magical land of:

Guys in really short shorts

People sitting on stairs in a fashionable manner

Amazing Sites

AKA the Notre Dame

Justin enjoying a falafel

The infamous Almond Croissant (worth the trip to France)

Sundev staring curiously at security camera

We also visited the catacombs which was pretty mindblowing.

Catacombs

Catacombs

Until next post…

Au revior.

Font

Posted by | Fontainebleau | One Comment

Not much has changed since our last post, we’ve climbed a few boulders, fallen off a few boulders. No snow but we’ve been having a bit of rain. Haven’t had a completely dry day yet but we did have a couple of good climbing days. We’re getting some much needed rest today and we’ll be back out tomorrow or the next day. We’ve seen a lot of classic lines to keep us busy for awhile!

Our Home

The Gite

The Gite

Big Golden (haven't sent yet)

Big Golden

Justin sending T-Rex

Rock Climbing?

Posted by | Fontainebleau | One Comment

I think we’re on a rock climbing trip but I’m not quite sure yet. We’ve been out to the slowly drying boulders everyday. It rained a bit a couple days ago which was nice since it washed the remaining snow away. Yesterday we went out to Cul de Chien to work on Eclipse, a classic 7C. The weather was nice even though some of the boulders were still wet. It felt good to finally do something that took more than three tries. Up until now I’ve sent the easier climbs quickly and haven’t succeeded on anything that felt hard! Feels like the trip has finally started!

Carnage
Carnage

Eclipse
Eclipse

The gite (rental house) is now running at peak capacity with the addition of Andrea and Doug, aka the Awesome Aussies, as well as additions to Team America with Steve, Justin, and Ander all calling La Genevraye home. A few more are on the way so there may be some gite shuffling in the coming days. Speaking of nationalities, up until two days ago we hadn’t met any other Americans. We’ve met a lot of English fellows as well as many other Europeans. The boulders are interesting since English seems to be the international language of choice. You’re just as likely to run into someone from outside the country as you are a frenchman, so a friendly hello works well most of the time. It’s been great hanging out with folks from all over the world.

Andrea

Andrea

Today (Saturday) we woke up to see big white flakes looking for a happy home on the ground outside. As Doug said, “I haven’t seen snow like this in days!” Fortunately it has warmed up a bit (above freezing) so the snow didn’t last more than a few hours. Again we filled our rest day with a walk through a new area to scope boulders with a shiny coating of water. It seems checking the weather in Font is futile as it may or may not rain everyday. The best method is to wake up and if it looks dry, then go climbing and save rest days for the next time it rains.

More Snow Than the Winter Olympics

Posted by | Fontainebleau | 5 Comments

Thursday evening we finally left McDonalds to do some grocery shopping before making our way to our friends’ gite to hang out and drink a beer. We finally headed off to our snow covered tents sometime after midnight. Unfortunately we didn’t make it.

Driving conditions were absolutely terrible. Snow was coming down hard and sideways. We only had to drive a few kilometers to our campsite but we hit a section of road with a foot of snow which quickly halted our forward progress. We tried to dig ourselves out but the whole car was stuck in the snow. We were stuck in our little hatchback all night in 20 degree temps. We managed to sleep a couple hours but that was about it. Three cars stopped early in the morning to help but even with two people pushing the car, we couldn’t get it out. When daylight finally came we dug a lot more snow out from the tires and pushed the car back and forth to get it on the field and drive around the snow filled road.

Almost out

Back at camp

We finally reached camp at 9AM. We were in a daze and didn’t quite know what to do. Ironically after spending all night in the car failing to sleep, we both passed out in the front of the car for a few hours at the campsite. After the nap we decided that our campsite wasn’t worth driving to anymore. Not only were there creepy folk living in RVs but it was far far away from any rock climbing. We made our delirious way into Fontainebleau to the gite office (across from the chateau) to reserve some shelter. The only gite available was a 6 person gite for 300 euros per week. Turns out it is the same gite that a friend had reserved starting the 20th whom we were planning to stay with for a few weeks. Luck found it’s way to us afterall, despite what I’m told is the worst February weather Font has seen in years.

At the moment we are living it up in a three bedroom gite, enjoying the hot showers, and warm beds. After day three in Font it feels like we’ve been here for three weeks. Everything is a blur and we haven’t even pulled onto any rock yet. Here’s hoping for clear skies and above freezing temperatures.

France, Snow, and McDonalds

Posted by | Fontainebleau | 5 Comments

We departed Tuesday at 6PM. Flight included a few bad movies but no sleep for either of us. We landed in Paris, picked up the car and the snow began to fall. We headed into the city to pick up a few climbing supplies. It was a lot of fun learning the french way of driving which involves making your own lanes and never stopping. The pedestrians don’t make it easy on you as they are always leaning out onto the road appearing as if they are about to start walking across at any moment.

It stopped snowing as we left Paris and headed down the road to Fontainebleau. The ground was wet when we arrived so we drove into town to see what it had to offer. Fontainebleau is much bigger than I expected with tall buildings and many locals wandering the streets at all hours. We stopped to eat our second ham sandwich of the trip which was both cheap and delicious. When we exited the restaurant it was snowing. By the time we arrived at the car it was a full on blizzard with heavy winds. What should have been a 25 minute jaunt home through the forest turned into an hour and a half adventure helping a dozen other people push their cars up an icy road. Did I mention home for our first night in Fontainebleau was a tent?

That is what we woke up to on Day 2 (it hasn’t stopped snowing as of 6PM). Luckily we had stayed up for 24 hours during our travel so I was mighty tired which kept me in my tent for a solid 13 hours. If you know Leslie, then you’ll know he was up well before 10AM since he is always psyched, even when there is three inches of snow on the ground! Today we made it into town for lunch and to scope out the internet scene. We found an internet cafe that was 2 euros per hour.. We decided to go look at some boulders even though it was 25 degrees and still snowing. We hiked around Bas Cuvier and marveled at the snow covered sandstone. On our way out we ran into some british climbers who, believe it or not, Leslie met three weeks ago in Hueco! They had come out to clean the snow off the top of boulders in hopes that we’ll have something to climb tomorrow or the next day. They gave us some clutch beta which sent us up the road to a McDonalds where we are currently sitting, enjoying free wifi. With a windchill of 15 degrees outside, we may never leave the warmth, free wifi, and easy access to food (not exactly a fresh baguet but who’s complaining?).

For more photos check out Leslie’s blog.

Hello Savage Nation

Posted by | Uncategorized | 4 Comments

Since the Les Warnock posse may be quite diminutive compared to that of Mr. Savage, let me introduce myself:

That’s me.   Les Warnock.  You’ll be reading much more from me (not to mention scoping my glorious bod), and hopefully seeing some pretty cool videos from Alex and I over the next  6 months.

A little about me:

I’m from the dirty south. This is how I do:

I know you probably already know, but let me recap our plans for the next 212 days.  We’ll be flying into the city of love next week (Tuesday to be exact), and driving straight to the magical land of slopey sandstone… Fontainebleau. We will then proceed to slap, crimp, grope,  and slope our way to the top of many boulder routes (or problems for you common folk).  Then, when we are good and ready, we will leave and go to areas such as: Ticino , Brione, Mallorca, Rodellar, Ceuse, and maybe even find our way onto some grit in the land of bad teeth.

So stay tuned, because if you’ve ever climbed with Alex you already know he dispatches pretty much everything he gets his hands on during weekend trips alone.

I’m going to sign out now; the sweat from my hands might just destroy my keyboard if I type any longer.

Oh yeah, and nice to meet you.

It’s ON!

Posted by | Uncategorized | No Comments

 

Since I last posted I quit my job, flew home, and sent my belongings on their way to ATL, Georgia. I’m home for a week hanging out with family and friends before I depart for Europe on Tuesday. Yesterday I headed out to Horse Pens with some good friends. Matt and John went all out toting a crane, several cameras, lenses, tripods, etc out to the boulderfield. We had the whole place to ourselves and the weather was perfect! I enjoyed a stellar day of climbing and we got a lot of cool footage of classic three star lines. The good news is that I felt no pain from my finger so the month of rest paid off! I’m more psyched than ever for font and the rest of the trip!!

I’ll post the Horse Pens video whenever they finish creating it so stayed tuned!

To tide you over, here is one of Matt’s videos featuring three from Little Rock City.

Goals

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Starting in February and continuing for at least twelve months, I will only be a climber. I won’t have a job, girlfriend, wife, kids, or any other real responsibility. One of the many reasons I am excited about this is that it will provide a lot of time to focus on my climbing and progressing into a better, more well rounded climber. Areas of improvement for me are: pinches, slab, and vertical. I’m not terrible at these by any means but I haven’t mastered these styles either. On the trip I want to improve in every style of climbing including slab, vertical, steep, compression, pinches, slopers, crimps etc. By that I mean I don’t just want to get stronger and crush the steep stuff, I want to also be a smoother climber on technical climbs, especially on sandstone. It’s been a few years since I’ve spent much time on sandstone so I’m very excited that font is the first stop on our trip.

I already feel more relaxed about having so much time to climb. The reason for that is up until now I’ve mostly had weekend trips and the occasional week long vacation to climb. Going climbing for a weekend can sometimes add stress in that I feel like I need to make a list of what I want to work on and what I want to send. With more time I will be able to take some days to just wander around in the forest and climb whatever looks cool without worrying about a ticklist.

All that being said, I will also be psyched to project some really hard lines and to push myself to the limit. Which leads me to a couple of quantifiable goals for 2010. I want to become a solid V13 climber and I would like to climb a V14. I am skeptical that this will happen in Font but I will certainly try to master the bleau sandstone. I think Switzerland and the Rocklands will offer many opportunities to achieve these goals so it will be nice to have several months in these countries.

I haven’t climbed at all this month and it has been painfully boring, but it’s good that I’ve rested my finger and I’m optimistic that I will be back to 100% when I get to France.

My moving plans changed a little once I found out renting a moving truck to drive across country costs $1,300. It turns out that using a moving company and flying home is cheaper and far easier to deal with than 36 hours of driving by myself. So I’m flying home to Atlanta on Saturday where I will be hanging out with family, plus a day or two at Horse Pens until my departure to Paris on February 9th.

Deception

Posted by | Little Rock City | 3 Comments

 

Check out this rad video my good friend Matt Hanner put together of a problem at Little Rock City, Tennessee. He is a professional photographer in Atlanta who recently started dabbling in climbing videos. His first videos are amazing so I can’t wait to see what he produces in the future!