26 April 2011

Bubbly, Baliene, & Bdays

The past couple of days have been a blur of bdays, champagne, sandstone, and fun. What better way to celebrate jesus’ death, right? On Saturday the family journeyed West of Le Mans to celebrate Bernard; Benoit’s father who turned 90. I hope I’m as with it when/if I make it that far. The the celebration was bowtied themed, as that’s what Bernard rocked for the past 70 years. I was obliged to take part.

Here Valentine shows off the floppiest bowtie at the party

The party was a nothing short of a feasting celebration, with champagne, an appetizer, a salad, bread, rabbit spread, veal, asparagus, 2 red wines, 3 desserts, and a desert wine! Holy overload. We lounged at the table for 6 straight hrs, socializing (well, I didn’t really socialize that much. I just smiled a lot and said “tres bien” to everything I injested), speeches, skits, and delicious delicious food. I wont even mention the bill, as it was astronomical.

Cheers Bernard (on the left)! Where are all your bowties…..?

…..A bowtie (in French, butterfly) affair

The boys and I rocking the shit out of the bowties

Clowning with the fancy dishes

The next day I had my sights set on venturing out to the southern part of Font to check out the Petit Bois area, home of Le Baliene. Whenever I have a climbing trip, I usually compile a somewhat ambitious list of climbs I want to complete. Usually I get about a tenth of what I want done (or close to nothing in Swizzy, sadface). I had heard about the difficulty of bouldering in Fontainebleau, but I couldn’t help myself as I made just a 3-5 problem hitlist of MUST DOs. Le Baliene is number one on the list.

Tim from Berlin strutting his stuff on The Whale

The money pinch

Myself, the day after the gourging, setting up for the crux

The match before the big move

Welp. Didn’t do it. With miserably muggy conditions of sprinkling rain and 70+ degrees, and the bajaillion calories I destroyed yesterday, that lil whale got away from me. I will be back….

The same day I witnessed one of the most interesting/sad things I’ve ever seen climbing. A british climber was attempting Big Jim (v5), a high ball with monos and took a nasty fall. Though I aint no medic, I think he shattered some bones in his leg due to lack of control while falling (think about puntfest on NerveDamage last spring) paired with atrocious pad placement and no spotters. An ambulence arrived, medics came, and he was given a respirator. Pretty big boner kill as his screams echoed through the forest. I also saw some eastern Europeans flying off La Baliene in directions they shouldn’t be going, along with old men decking on v0 slabs. just an observation about euro boulderers flying through the air....

I finished the day doing the some blue problems and trained home.

The next day was ANOTHER bday, Benoits. We played pick-up soccer in the am. Maxime and I lost, though I registered a hatrick of nutmegs results in goals, so not a total failure.

Champagne (again?! YES) and duck followed. Here benoit proudly shows off his new presents.

Then Myriam and I went up to Sacre Coeur. Beautiful community. One of my favorite spots in paris so far……

20 April 2011

Versailles and Trois Pignons

On sunday we made a stop at Versailles, the legendary chateau in Paris. It was tres tres Francy; golden shingles, marble hallways, and about a bazillion tributes to Louis the 14th. The sun king financed the palace by taxing the working class into starvation to create this regal party palace. Seemed a little narciscistic of ole Louie to have depictions of himself in heaven kicking it with the Greek Gods while his working class perished in the streets, but what do I know? Just another ignorant american I guess.....

A tribute to Louis from Louis on the entrance gates

The famous "Hall of Mirrors"

My favorite thing about the palace was hands down the gardens. we rented bikes for an hr and zoomed around the labryinth of hedges and ponds.

(obviously didnt take this pic)

Posing it out post bike ride

no no. that last picture isnt the beach, its the main area of the Trois Pignons area in the SW part of the foret de Fontainebleau. The family made a day outing on Monday to do a picnic/bouldering trip to accomodate their rock-crazed american cousin. The popular area felt somewhat like Venice Beach; sunbathers, horses, beach volleyball, funny accents, 564 british people and a ton of strange strange pebble wrestling dads. the Bouldering Family was everywhere with the mom tending to the babe while dad crushed stone on his carpet of a crashpad. kind of cool? totes.

here are just a couple pics i snapped.....

The "Eclipse" roof. way badass. I think in Dosage 2 Dave Grahamn does Total Eclipse (8a+) if you want to get an idea of how huge this roof is.

Here is a photo i snagged off ole facebook of Mr. Pickens entering the crux of "Le toit du cule de chien" (meaning: the roof of the dog's ass)at Trois Pignons. this was one of two hard problems i tried.....with no success

Maxime embarking on a Orange highball

Romain eyeing up his next move on the orange circuit

Maxime on a yellow problem

I made a video of the the day (SUPREME gumby climbing), though its about a gig (anyone know how to make hd vid smaller using imovie??????) and wont be uploaded till later. the pics will have to do for now

17 April 2011

Avoriaz and The Ball Breaker of the Universe's Birthday

Whoever said spring breaks were contained to when one is in school is gravely mistaken. At least in France. The whole country coordinates their holidays with their children's TWO WEEK spring vacay. For the Galan family and myself, a skiing holiday in Avoriaz in SE France was in the cards.

The skiing conditions were "spring skiing" at their best; sunny and temperatures in the low 60s on the mtn. Though this somewhat limited the terrain of this gargantuan mtn (like a bazillion quads with access to Switzerland), I was able to demonstrate the strategy I know best when I go snowboarding. A little technique I like to call "Bull-in-a-china-shop." A couple of "epic fails" as my cousin Romain likes to call them were definately part of the trip for me, as were flying down the mtn at mach 4 weaving in between 8 year old ski lessons not being able to control my speedy rented weapon of piste destroying plastic.

The vacation also coincided with Maxime's 11th birthday. Maxime, or as his brother and father kindly like to call him "The Ball Breaker of the Universe", is a die-hard Paris Saint Germain fan addicted to pokemon gameboy, gambling in card games, and running around naked. Oh, and "breaking balls (note: no actual balls were broken)." ALL very French. Upon our arrival in Avoriaz, Maxime told me that if I am not an apt enough snowboarder I wouldn't be able to ski with the family....luckily my bull-in-china-shop strategy assured the fact that i'd always arrive at the bottom of the run before Maxime, if not a little more wet embarrassed. But hey, I beat a 10 year old in carenning wildly down a mountain! Success!
We also competed in numerous fronts; who could name the most professional soccer players (he won with some annyomous french footballers whose existence I highly doubt), arm wrestling ( BIG W FOR SAM), cards (Maxime won, Romain sucks at cards), singing of french cult classics from the 70s (tie), and who could drink the most beer ( savory victory to say the least).

The trip was great. Though I've never skied at any sort of resortesque skiing, the setting seemed fairly SW Coloradian to me with jagged peaks in every direction (usually one can see Mt Blanc from the chairlifts!), lotsa of money/expensive shit, and gold-digging snowbunnies running rampent. Needless to say, i didn't really fit in. Recently I've learned to just embrace my "american" side of being loud, out of control, and hating on fancy French cheese.

Here are some pictures......

champagne for a bday? pourqoui pas


MUAHAHHAHAHAHA; gotcha ya lil turd


THIS is why i have had zero points the last two months. delicious....

more deliciousness

.....and more

pas mal


paragliders near Chamoix

take THAT!!!


upon our return to Paris i made some american burgers. here benoit grabbles with his

08 April 2011


In my limited bouldering experience i've heard quite a bit of negative things about Fontainebleau: "greasy" "contrived" "poffed" "dumpy" "sandbagged as shit" "ugly." On jeudi I decided it was high time I tackeled the daunting foret de Fontainebleau. Little did i know as to the magnitude of said task. Saying you're going climbing in "Font" (or as the frogs say, "Bleau"), is essentially like saying your going to climb somewhere around Denver. It IS that big. For example, OVER 1,769 straight ups (no traverses) v6 AND harder! chew on that, all you copenhagen-montanan-fiends.

Hollllyyyyy bouuulldderrrss. Granted, not every boulder is a stunner (like Molunk), but the sheer quantity is un-friking-believable! I have no idea as to what i climbed on top of (the guide is somewhat elusive dans Paris, c'est bizare), but i'd guess nothing harder than 6B (v3). And it was fucking excellent! 82 degrees, sunny, and prolly more than 23 "problems" done in an hour. I was just a giddy boy running around the forest doing as much as i could as quickly as i could. far more excited than i had ever anticipated i'd be about Font.

As i said, no "hard" sends, but the day was a contender for funnest climbing day of 2011. Here are some pics

THE hard send of the day, mayyybbee v3. and no photoshop, beautiful colors and great great sandstone

a close-up of the holds

never thought i'd have to project v1, but i sure had to bust out the TH on this bad boy

"ya like slopes, slope it up"

hope all the missoulians are crushing REAL hard probs in da desert, as i'm more than content to guzzle wine, destroy croissants, and project v1s....