Being British, I love a good winge. Its either too hot, too wet, to cold too average etc. Font had been unseasonably warm – up to 18 degrees in November! And not really dropping below 10 degrees even at night. Still, at least it wasn’t too wet.
When I planned this trip I had one thing on my mind – gecko assis. The perfect font problem revolving around weird moves between terrible slopers. The issue is that for me to link gecko I need perfect conditions, dry, cold and breezy (for Ondra bad conditions and one go would suffice). Sadly this wasn’t going to happen so I had to make other plans. Fortunately font has a bit to choose from so finding something to try until it got cold wasn’t too difficult.
Narcotic is a roof, mostly on big jugs so perfect for warm weather. First session was spent spooging around in the heat figuring out the moves and nearly linking it. After a rest day I was back with more favorable conditions, 17deg! Get in. However it was wet. After walking up that hill I wasn’t going to leave empty handed so out came the towels and after an hour of drying and emptying the finishing jugs of water it was ready for action. After tweaking the sequence (and poor Leo tweaking his knee even more) it was done.
One rainy day we went up to check out Satan I Helvete. Its steep and crimpy with a crux leap between 2 poor edges. It is considered to be quite hard for the grade and the hard climbing is packed into half of 1 move – holding a swing on some crimps. Not your typical font problem. Steep dynamic climbing on crimps is probably my weakest style and I really didn’t think I’d stand a chance so was keen to avoid it.
However in the warm it made sense to stay away from slopers and climb on more positive holds. I dragged people up to spot me way too often, usually finding very poor conditions. Because the rock was cool and the air was warm and humid we were having problems with condensation. The undersides of the boulders were coated in a layer of water at night which would only dry off if the breeze picked up. Eventually the temps dropped to 9deg with a slight breeze. I was really fed up with throwing myself at 1 move which I thought I had no chance of doing, but in better conditions it suddenly felt very possible.
Instead of rushing in order to keep as much chalk on my fingers as possible I was able to relax and climb more slowly, grabbing everything just right and sailing across to the sloping edge with strength to spare (thats how it felt on that go anyway!) After digging my teeth into my chin to kill the swing I paused to catch my breath, even the smallest mistake on the last few moves and I would have been doing battle with that flipping move, again! Luckily I held it together.
photo: Leo Moger
Contributed by: Ned Feehally