A while back I wrote a post about managing expectations and climbing goals. For a number of reasons, this summer was really difficult and I couldn’t train or work on my target problems as much as I wanted to. This meant that I didn’t send Weedkiller, or really train in any target sense. Towards the end of August I decided to let go, and simply focus on the enjoyment of climbing while still recording what I achieved/worked on/found difficult during my training sessions. I felt a sense of relief that I was not chasing after grades and simply climbing certain problems because I liked the look of them.
At the end of September I took a leave of absence from my PhD due to personal reasons, and this meant that I could really focus on my climbing and reclaim the enjoyment of moving and pulling hard. I started to climb four times a week and this usually included three sessions with Diane Merrick. While she wasn’t specifically coaching me, because we climb so often together, she gives good insight into where I am weak on a problem or alternative body positions that would make the moves easier. By the end of October, I felt really strong.
So, with that background in mind, I didn’t set any targets for this trip to Font. The last couple of times I have tried to send Lapin ou Canard. However, I’ve always held off going there until the last day, when surprisingly, I’ve been tired and generally sore. It’s never gone. After the last trip, where I drove home quietly crying in the car, I decided to let go of that goal and return to Font without any intention of sending anything hard.
This trip to Font was very different. There was no interest on big ticks, or sessioning any particular problem. We explored new areas of the forest, started a pine cone war when it rained and climbed simply for the fun of it. I felt really strong and confident on my feet, and able to top problems that my head would have made me jump off last time. I even topped some problems that were so not my style and way outside of my comfort zone!
I was going to do a detailed record of each day and were I climbed, the best problems etc, but I think I’ll just do the highlights in this post:-
Climbing in the late autumn sun
Topping a technical red on my first day
The style of problem is one that I don’t really get on with – i.e. footwork needed, balance and belief in sandy top outs
Exploring Rocher Fin
This is a beautiful area. There is good friction, it’s not poff’d to death and quiet. I played on some blues to warm up, many reds and a couple of off piste problems.
Getting spied on by bugs
We all tried very hard not to squish the numerous bugs on the rocks. Seriously, what are they?!
Returning to Lapin ou Canard
I’m not entirely sure how that happened and getting to the point where I kept falling off in 3 moves. Realising that everyone including Diane were falling off at the same point because the friction was terrible due to weather conditions. Deciding to go play on some oranges instead.
Returning to Drei Zinnen and working standing start of a 7b+ sit start problem. It’s not in any guide, but I loved the moves and wanted to try them out. (I’d say it was probably a 6c, the 7b+ was definitely from getting off the floor)
Driving there and back in an over-packed car with good friends and listening to good music (that’s debatable though!)
Pine cone wars
The first day was terrible as it had rained quite heavily. We went for a walk which descended into a pine cone war. It was fun to simply play in the forest again.
A sense of calm and remembering how awesome it is just to climb!