After the end of competition's season it's time to get back on rock trying to enjoy and develop some less known areas in Italy such as Val Daone or Monte Amiata but even to make a quick trip to Fontainebleau and Belgium... let's see what happened.
First focus has been in Val Daone, where I had a couple of nice projects to be climbed before annual closure of the road during winter period. The first and easier one was "Big Bamboo sitstart", which consists of a hard and physical start to an old problem on this blank and slopey arete just next to "l'Avenir..." at Dos Dei Aser sector...
The problem gave me more trouble than I first thought and it took me 4 days to complete it, so I didn't worry to give it 8a+ and wait for future repeaters' opinions. The other project consists of slightly overhanging granite shield, crossed by a tiny finger crack where I struggle to make my fat fingers go inside... I tried many and many times always falling on the last dynamic move to a slopey crimp, which I was able to hold just one or two times trying the single move. Nothing to do, the project is still there and I will have to wait spring for the road to open again... temperature are dropping a bit, time to move on to Fontainebleau!
Unfortunately in Font weather was still quite warm but I had the pleasure to climb a few good lines I had never tried before (thing that is getting harder as years pass), like Vague Patatras, 7c+ at Saint Germain or Art and Nature, 7c+/8a at Cuvier Est, but I had to move to Belgium soon where I had the pleasure to take part in Bleau Open Bouldering Sensations 2011 (see the beautiful pictures of Stef D'hoore) a really fun competition at the bouldering gym "Bleau" of Ghent.
After 4 hours of qualifications on these round shaped boulders I made my way to the finals where I still had to fight hard to take (as usual ahahha!) the second place after Mr. Glairon Mondet... pretty happy in the end and really fun climbing. Now destroyed was time to relax, visit city center and drink a good beer before going back to Fontainebleau.
Back in the forest I was joined by my friend Kakko and we spent another week there. Weather has been quite good at first but soon became quite humid and foggy and had to give up the idea of completing "The Big Island" where I dropped almost at the mantle last year... anyway I have been able to climb two stunning problems which has been in my dreams for a while: the first one is a powerful rounded arete called "Bleu Sacré", a hard 8a+/8b opened in 2010 by Antoine Vandeputte, and the second one is the legendary "Merveille", a high and technique 8a+ opened back in 1991 by mr. Le Ménestrel...
...old school vs new school, huge slopers vs sharp "grats". Luckily I got some good beta for last move from my friend Ned, and was able to send it second time I passed the crux in the middle... probably the best boulder I have ever climbed, nothing that any 8c out of a dump cave will ever give you... (and it's a pleasure to hear that Adam Ondra just went flashed it! Too many beautiful boulders just don't receive the right attention because their grade is not "hardcore").
Then shut down by the fog all we could do was hiking through wet boulders, picking up mushrooms, buying some local cheese at the market of Milly la Foret, going last time to our favourite pub "La Tete des Trains" in Tousson... good bye Fontainebleau. At the moment I'm writing from my small house in Siena, exploring never stops and at Monte Amiata is full of new rocks to be climbed and new stories to be told... I'm just getting too much pictures and videos, no time is left after climbing, but I will try to give a video update soon.
Greetings from Tuscany.
Greetings from Tuscany.