Writing my master`s thesis …. at Fontainebleau:)



Fontainebleau has always been one of my favorite (if not THE favorite) areas. The climbing style there is so special though, that I always need some time to get reacquainted with the subtleties of the movements and the rock. All previous trips had been rather short, and at the end of each two-week long trip I always felt that I just started to understand…
So when it was time to write my master`s thesis I had the brilliant (or crazy?) idea to write it during a prolonged trip to Fontainebleau…I rented a small caravan on a campground, accumulated my data and material for my thesis and drove to font. As it’s neither productive to sit at the desk all day nor to climb all day, my plan worked quite well. I busily typed in the mornings and evenings and climbed during the day. Though it sometimes costed a moment’s effort to get back to work while everyone else was enjoying le vin rouge after a climbing day…

After five weeks, my thesis was finished and I had climbed a lot. You don`t necessarily get  twice as much done if you spend the 5 weeks instead of 2.5 there, but I`d like to think that I learned twice as much:)  I also settled some old scores, like my long-term-project “l’angle à Jean-Luc” (red #25 at Roche aux Sabots) and the neighboring “à l’impossible nul n’est tenu” (my first 7a slab…). Each trip I’m amazed by the small line between impossible and doing a problem. In other areas, you can often just power through sequences but in Fontainebleau, moves often feel impossible if you don’t find the perfect body position. But if you do it right, it suddenly feels easy, maybe even easier for a certain grade than in other areas. These rare moments, where it clicks and every move feels easy makes me come back to Fontainebleau every year…and that these moments are so rare makes them even more special:)

This trip the weather was quite summerly and warm for several weeks, which was good for working at my desk but not so much for climbing. That’s why I started doing circuits and I was really amazed how much fun that is! I always had climbed a lot of easy problems, but never a full circuit, always dismissing it as too skin-intensive and strenuous. This time I was persuaded and was instantly hooked!  Highly recommendable, you shouldn`t miss this on a trip to font…

One particular goal I had in my mind before the trip was to try ‘Partage’. This stunning arête looks beautiful and requires a perfect mixture of power and technique. I found a good method for the upper moves, so that the hardest part was the start. You do a big move to a bad pinch and then you somehow have to shift your center of gravity to the other side of the arête.  It took me a while to understand the movement (and to get strong enough to do it). As the climb is quite friction-dependent, the increasing temperatures demanded increasingly earlier morning sessions… But it was worth it:)

I`m already looking forward to the next trip to Fontainebleau! Jusqu’à la prochaine fois dans la forêt!

Pictures: A. Barth, F. &. M. Christof, N. Korff, merci beaucoup:)


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