Chasin’ the rubbish

Fontainebleau is the destination of many climbers from all over the world, especially during the easter holidays. To minimize the impact from the legions of climbers, Black Diamond has organised a cleanup event for the past years. The goal of this event is to collect trash in the most popular sectors like Bas Cuvier or Franchard Isatis and to sensibilize climbers for a ‘clean climbing’ codex.

In my experience, most climbers  care quite a lot for the rocks, forest and nature. But even if you behave perfectly, you will have an impact on the nature and leave some traces. Therefore its really important to try and minimize your own impact and also to educate others about it…. in a nice way obviously 🙂

Here is a video from the event:

Black Diamond and Evolv have updated their websites with athlete biographies, if you fancy a read:


Magic March in Fontainebleau

We had a great trip with good weather, fun with friends and obviously lots of climbing!! I seem to be back in alright shape, doing the powerful “L’art de la fugue” (8A) and my big project from 2013, “Frisson” (8A+)…which is my 50th boulder 8A and harder:) That problem evolved to be a mental game, as I already fell after the crux in 2013. This trip it didn’t gave up easily as well… After way too many times stepping off, making mistakes or just not trying hard enough, I managed to switch off my head and try with an all-or-nothing attitude. Super super happy to climb ‘Frisson’ on the last evening of the trip!

Très heureuse also about doing some high classics, like “Misericorde”, “De la Terre à la Lune” and “Super Prestat”.

Miséricorde (7C+) is the kingline of Franchard Cuisinière and was maybe the best experience of the trip. I’ve tried this high problem in previous years, but after some weird falls I was usually scared and climbed like it. This year I went there with no expectations and a relaxed mind…(and better pads… 😉 Such a great feeling to grab that perfect top jug!

Fontainebleau 2013

Since Andi and I have rediscovered Fontainebleau as one of our favorite places in 2009, we climbed on the historic sandstone boulders every March when winter was over and usually a streak of dry weather arrived. This year the weather gods seem to be a bit confused, though, and after a pretty miserable fall and a dark winter came an almost non-existent spring with lots of rain. So after coming home from Switzerland we eagerly waited for our yearly Font trip to happen, but it just rained and rained and rained…. In the end we had already settled for another trip to Ticino, when we checked the forecast one last time. It looked slightly better all of a sudden and so we instantly decided to do another voyage à Fontainebleau!

Our prayers must’ve been heard and we had perfect weather for two weeks, maybe even the best conditions we ever had there! Climbing-wise, we both had our ups and downs… One memorable evening was spent in Buthiers: Really sore from the day before, I had planned to rest that day. Tempted by the cold temperatures, I wanted to have a look on ‘Misanthropie’, a high crimpy face, that I briefly tried and deemed impossible on a warm day last year. Well, ‘feeling the holds’ turned into ‘trying the moves’… and a while later I found myself on top 🙂 Andi managed to get an ascent of ‘Partage’, the most beautiful arête in the forest and climbed many classics like ‘L’Angle parfait’, which I was too chicken-hearted for. But I’ll be back! Next to settling some old scores like ‘L’Angle Bens’ and ‘Excalibur’ I put the great conditions to good use on the slopy ‘Papillon’, a well-hidden prow in a nice area called Petit Reine.

We both ‘failed’ on our main project for the trip: Andi felt close on Duel, but had to give up when he found it dripping wet on the last day. Lucky me even got another chance to try my project. It was supposed to rain more that day and conditions were rather mediocre. Just when I sat down for my last attempt, the wind picked up and the holds suddenly felt grippy. I fluidly moved through the crux, even omitting an intermediate hold. After the crux waited some bigger holds and one more insecure move. Hanging on the better holds I suddenly got nervous. I managed to do the insecure move, but then my brain shut off and I forgot my beta. Instead of fighting, I eratically tried different footholds and then…. dropped off! A bit later the first raindrops started to fall. As angry as I was at myself the next minutes, in retrospective I think it was a good reminder for myself to always a) know my beta for the topout and b) try as hard as I really can!

pictures by Manuel Brunn, Andreas Barth & me

2012 review

check out a review of my climbing year 2012 at monkeeeeeeeeee…

If you are too lazy to read… here is a summary in pictures:

spring in Fontainebleau:

summer in the Frankenjura:


winter in Ticino:

Rock Art…

the beauty of nature… a welcome excuse to browse through my harddisk and reminiscence about past travels on yet another rainy sunday…:)

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:)

Fontainebleau 2011

Two great weeks in the mecca of all bouldering areas, Fontainebleau! (Almost) perfect weather, good friends and lots of ‘baguette et fromage’ helped us making our way up some classics. Or was it the always motivating musical support of ‘Radio Fun’?
I managed to do the quite powerful ‘Sale gosse assis’ and ‘Fata morgana’, as well as some easier stuff like ‘Rencard’ and ‘Le mur des lamentations’. My undisputable highlight however was ‘Duel’: This very classic slab at Franchard Cuisiniere always was on top of my wishlist, though I never even dared trying it. This time I was convinced going there by a friend who was trying it. It took me 20 minutes to figure out how to get of the ground as I can’t reach both ‘normal’ starting holds at the same time! Still I was happy and keen to keep trying. I found a method, which didn’t involve crimping the tiny ‘grattons’ with your fingernails (which most people to, but I was scared of this). Two days later I found myself holding the crux move (to the left edge) and fumbling the sloper just below the lip. This hold is actually quite good, but due to my slightly numb fingers I couldn’t find the good spot on the hold. I stared at the lip just in front of me, decided to simply take the sloper anywhere and went with everything I had to the lip! Et voilà, I was standing on top of this beautiful boulder!

Andi, who had amongst others already done ‘The Dagger’ in Ticino two weeks before, had a purple patch by doing pretty much all his old projects he had left from earlier trips: ‘Amok’, ‘Elephunk’, ‘la Totalité de l’autre toit’ and ‘Total Eclipse’. On the last day he climbed ‘Karma’ in a couple of tries and couldn’t believe it!

The ‘problem’ in fontainebleau is that for each boulder you do, you wanna try three other ones… Which means we now have plenty of new dreams & goals and can’t wait for the next trip there:)

Duel, 8a, Fontainebleau from Dorothea Karalus on Vimeo.

click on pictures in gallery for bigger pictures, another click brings you to the next picture