My final day in Font unfolded as quite the storybook ending to a dream-realized trip: I decided to rest one day in order to give my best effort on the boulders I would attempt during my final siege. In addition, I convinced myself that getting up for sunrise at the boulders would be my best opportunity for good temps to send one of the final elusive boulders of my trip: Big Golden. I filmed the uber-strong Ludo Laurence sending this area classic early in the trip (the video is posted here), but half-ass attempts, exhaustion, weak fingers, and the fact that the entire boulder bakes in the sun, had delayed my summit. Not for long… Read More…
At 7:00 AM I pulled up to Rempart and started one of the most difficult warm-ups of the trip. The freezing temperatures were screaming, and my joints were actually laughing at me. After about 45 minutes, I found myself at the base of Big Golden, convinced I could do the rest of my warming up while I learned the problem. Power was a bit lacking at the 8 o’clock hour, but I persevered. With on-attempt determination, I was capable of experimenting with the tricky left heel-hook beta that previously seemed preposterous. 9 o’clock saw me up into the high right gaston, a veritable final move was separating me from the summit, but the fresh morning pump was in full swing, and my skin preferred spitting me off backwards out of this tenuous position (a few feet beyond my pad to a back-slap landing from 15 feet). It sure felt like defeat. Come 10 o’clock, the sun was becoming its usual midday hindrance, and Big Golden was now due for 8 hours of direct sunlight. Bugger.
However, the good news is, I had worn my favorite clothes for climbing this day: I was once told by a wise traveler, that, in Europe, you’re best to dress by picking your favorite garment for every layer. Whether they match or not, wear them like it’s your last day, and then people won’t know you’re an American. It actually was my last day, so: Smartwool socks, white Columbia pants, a pink t-shirt with a delinquent chest pocket, and my Broncos beanie – Booya.
Looking so good, and finally feeling a bit warmed-up, I figured I’d go repeat a few of the Cuvier classics that I had previously skipped over with the camera. I’ll just enjoy my finale in the sun, on the problems that made Font famous, right?
L’Aerodynamite, Le Carnage, and Infidele all looked great in the white slacks, and my comfort and awareness on the sends reminded me of circuiting at Horse Pens 40! Wondering where to go next, a resting Tim Doyle walked onto the scene and brought with him selfless and infectious energy that would inspire the remaining 7 hours of my day! Off to Isatis…
Note: Basketball is not good training for climbing, even for huge intimidating dynos.
The Rainbow Rocket was some of the most fun I’ve had failing on a problem in a while. It didn’t bother me to continuously jump one inch from a bomber jug and never be able to get far enough to grab it. Plus, I absolutely perfected both the 180-degree and 360-degree spin landing techniques.
Not to be discouraged, I decided to walk to a problem which I had only tried before when the sun and my strength were fading. This time I would surely put it together. Modulor went down in great fashion with feet sticking to both arêtes like they were meant to be there (If you ever get a chance to see my beta, they most certainly aren’t meant to be there).
“Oh, Tim, you should see this thing Jokeri Droite…” When we get there, I had no excuse not to try it. This problem has a beautiful slightly overhanging face with a deep undercling and a 4-plus-foot area of blankness to a rounded lip. Having had such a complete experience in Font already, sending more problems was really not that important to me on this day, but in a half hour of halfhearted efforts and some serious analytical discussions about climbing, I found myself having stuck the lip. A precarious pine straw top out ensued, but don’t tell Tim that, cause this is just the first time today where, if I’d fallen, I might have pushed him backwards into a death hole. Thanks Tim for the spots!
At this point, I was starting to think about Big Golden again. It actually goes back into the shade when the sun is setting, and that would give me a good half hour in which to thrash a few final burns of the trip. In order kill the time, I thought the best thing to do would be to train my calves a little more on Rainbow Rocket. So I did just that, no need to send, I was getting prepped for my seemingly futile goal of dunking a basketball when I get back to the States.
In due time, we were back in the car and on our way to the Cuvier lot for my second 7 o’clock siege of Rempart. 12 hours of climbing! When I walked up to Big Golden, it was still in the sun, but with the extra pad, and my confidence/much much warmer body I decided a go was worth it right away. I found myself higher on the right hand gaston than any go previously, but I was stymied by odd hip placement because I was laying back on the hold so far to avoid actually pulling on it in my famished state. This is still doable! Rest, dry fingers, dry fingers some more, complain about raw first finger bleeding from the fingernail, dry fingers some more, okay…I find myself back up at the gaston, this time again better than ever, alerting my left toe to point on the sloper below, I reached the flat edge out left, sit on the foot, and cross to the high edge over the final not-cool landing of the trip, lay it way way back, because technique will suffice despite strength here, rock over the top feet, and I’m on top!
Usually with a send like this, the adrenaline rush creates power in me, but standing on top of Rempart, with the sun setting in the distance, I realized the true state of exhaustion I was in. 50 Days of Font, 12 hours straight, some 300+ classic boulders that have left an indelible mark on my life, and I can finally rest!