Thursday, March 1, 2012

Fontainebleau six.

It wasn't about climbing, though climbing is always on the cards... Obviously.

This time, Font was about having fun. I wanted to climb, but I didn't care about projects or grades, I didn't even care that it rained and we couldn't climb.

I cared hugely about the friends I was with and the fun that we might have.

Climbing came in a distant second.

It intrigued me that I felt that way. Every other trip to Font I've had (and this is trip 6 not 7, as I'd thought before) has been about climbing hard and getting projects done or at least progressing on them.

It was the end of November when I began to work at my new job. My mind had a distorted and disillusioned view of working as a 'Designer'. Those last guys in the place I worked before had me out photographing buses and taking note of the adverts in Brown Thomas Carpark - that wasn't what I spent 4 rather grueling years in college for. I don't care what type of recession we have going on in this country, design is not photographing the sides of buses on a holiday snap camera, and I don't buy into the idea that I should 'just be happy to have a job'

Before, I didn't want to go to work, I didn't care about the job and mostly I wasn't needed. Whenever I could, I'd be climbing. When I got my month off between ending my previous job and starting my current gig I was training like a lunatic for my trip away with the A-Team. That trip away was only about how hard I could climb, and I didn't let myself down. In fact, considering how weak I was as a gymnast, I surprised myself at how hard I could pull and move on the rock. The trip was full of difficult sends and friendly evenings of chats, good food made by a crew of gentlemen before early bedtimes. Climbing totally filled in the gap I had while design wasn't there.

This job is different to the last one. They need me. I'm designing. The hours are long and I love it. It's the reason I spent 4 years studying design. I've realised once again that I love being creative.

Quite simply, I don't have time to train as hard as before. I don't mind though.

I've just read Dave's blog post on the Irish Bouldering Scene and I think it's time (seeing as he mentions me in it) to talk about the talk I did.

I was delighted that anyone showed up, however, as delighted as I was to see people arriving, I was just as disappointed that the place wasn't full of all the climbers I know, and who revel in taking the piss out of me. It totally knocked the wind out of my sails. I'll never do another. I've no idea why I agreed to do that one. The talk was supposed to centre around how great the bouldering scene is... I made a quick change and instead spoke about lines I've climbed as not a single 'boulderer' showed up.

I'm under no illusion that I've anything astonishing to say about climbing, I don't climb 9a and haven't been to far flung places and nearly died... but that's not the point. There have been talks I've gone to, and others I've given a miss, and I don't blame anyone for not coming to mine. There was nothing remotely inspiring or even interesting about what I said that evening... but I suppose 'talks' gather their momentum and take their shape from the listeners as much as much as the from what the person has prepared. My talk could have been great and memorable if boulderers had come along. But none did, so it was totally crappy.

My trip to Font this time punctuated the end of a period of climbing for me. I've realised recently that it'll always be there, because no one can take it away, but that I do have a passion for design and most importantly that:

That's ok.

I'm taking at least a couple of weeks off. I meant to go climbing this morning with Dec, but I slept through my alarm, a text and a call from him, a call from my Dad and finally another text. I definitely needed the 13/14 hours sleep I got last night, and though there was a pang of disappointment when I woke at midday having missed out the opportunity to head out to Wicklow and enjoy climbing with a friend and the gorgeous weather, I also know that my brain and body were wasted after last week's efforts in work.

I landed off the plane on Monday and got a lift all the way home from Peter Tom. Legend.

I dropped my bags and headed straight to work to finish a pretty huge and intense project. It felt like I didn't leave the office until I did leave it on Friday evening. My head was so mushed.

Font seemed like it happened about a month ago. I can't believe I was in Paris last Monday morning.

Michael prepares coffee on Peter Tom's espresso stove yoke.

The gite was amazing and the centre of our trip as the rain was unrelenting. Misty sheets fell almost continuously and we hung out, played table tennis and had a laugh. The place was huge and I nabbed a massive double room all to myself. Totally over the top and decadent luxury for a climbing trip.

There were 10 of us in the place and it never felt remotely full.

Sure enough when the weather did turn in our favour we jumped into cars and headed to 95.2. Three sessions there on a hand full of dry problems left the group yearning for a different location.

I'd never really had time for 95.2 before, I thought it was a little lacking or something...

I was properly introduced to it this trip and it's bloody brilliant. there were about 5 beautiful 6c/7a climbs that I wasn't near strong enough to climb this trip. There were all quality and when ever my psyche does return to get training and get strong again, I'll very much look forward to trying those lines again.

95.2 is officially great!

Dec and Pierre arrived in late on day 2 and most of us waited up to meet them. They got in at about midnight (maybe later) and Pierre immediately demanded to know where Michael was sleeping and suddenly Michael wasn't asleep anymore!

The group was so much fun and despite poor conditions I was mostly laughing all the time. It was me, Tim, James, Shane, Dec, Dave and Peter as well as Diarmuid who I hadn't seen in AAAGES, never remember meeting Michael before, had only met Pierre once and when everyone was there and we were all hanging out, I was lucky enough to find myself as content as can be!

This arete was the only thing I was totally psyched on sending. It's beautiful. We arrived at it in Isatis on our last day which became MINT as the morning turned into the afternoon. The climbing on this was so beautifully balancy and then a sudden change of pace was required as our beta included a jump for the top which I nearly hung no less than 5 times. Tim and Diarmuid both sent it.

I wanted to climb well that day but timing let me down.

I did what I could, and chilled out for stuff that was too tough. Great day and Isatis is gorgeous as always.

While he was in Font, Pierre gave stunning renditions of 'Voyage Voyage' by Desireless remixed with various Jacques Brel songs. Where else would you hear it!

Great craic.

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