This bit of writing is an experiment, to see if you lot out there in the web zone actually read! I have had a tremendous amount of hits on this blog recently!!!! And I cant really imagine its just my Mum, cos she is dead. But what do you lot want? I like all climbing, little rocks to Giants, but I also like Sense and Sensibility, and learned opinion, I am getting very little from established mags and web zeens.
Firstly, the Fontainebleau boulders seem to be being torn apart by young climbers from all over. What is interesting is that it is not the obvious bouldering specialists who are doing the damage but many lead climbers and comp climbers. The excellent freezing temps have helped but things have been pulled down in all weathers.
Adam Ondra was notable in a flash of an 8B+ which he did say may have been 8b for him, Adam is 6 feet tall (?).
I am ashamed to say my knowledge of these boulders is second hand so if I added comment it would be a bit hollow. It seemed only yesterday that there were only one or two operating at the big grades and now there seems to be a short dozen, if some one would care to explain, that would be good. There is also a lot of weird work being done at Font to control sand, maybe they are making work for the sake of making work, and some people don’t like it. Perhaps boulderers could spread themselves around a bit more to help stop the erosion. Boulderers all over the world seem to be operating just under the magic Font 8c, which now seems to be the new leval to aspire to.
Mixed climbing is doing well this winter, with lots of activity. The problem with the Mixed climbing game is however a lack of good reporting which is not doing the routes, or the protagonists any favours. It’s a great shame, as I don’t think that many climbers have caught up with the advancement and new gear yet. This great gear does allow fantastic things to be climbed. Ines Papert did the fourth (?) repeat of Illuminata, which is one of the most spectacular mixed routes in the world as a girls team, which I thought was very interesting, they were full of praise for the route. I would love to do that route.
Nanga Parbat is being tried this winter, which although not of a high standard of climbing; is of a hard standard of toughness. One day the Himalayas will become the Alps of yesterday and we might see some interesting routes, but financial constraints is effectively blocking good alpinists from venturing away from there own back yards. Interestingly enough the Pakistan mountains are very good value at the moment due to the lack of tourism, due to American foreign policy in the area.
While we are talking Mountaineering, the annual nonsense of the Piolet d’Or has come around. This is where a panel of Judges, pretend to judge studiously, some apples that were eaten in another country, and then compare them to some tangy tangerines described on a topo, with a google fish translator. Not to mix metaphors, or shazam similes, or anything, but the Cerro Tori Burning Inferno of silliness seems to have fizzled out into what it is, a fate accompli. The Bolts (actually only a certain portion) have been pulled, and it doesn’t matter why they were, because lets face it they were unnecessary. Perhaps soon people will demand wheelchair access as well, and we will all have to agree or we will be branded elitist. The next thing the two boys should do if they want to remove monstrosities are remove the loop road around Yosemite, and take out the CIC hut from Ben Nevis, and the Aiguille de Midi télécabine. If they do this I will give them the Piolet de Diamond, paste of course, as in copy pasted around the globe instantly.
Meanwhile at a scintillating cliff in Spain two young climbers are trying to do a very hard route and I hope they enjoy success. Notable at Oliana was the ascent of an 8c+ by two girls and this was reported but as usual the reports were so shallow that they finnally evaporated. The route is now regarded as 8c. The fog that lies over many Spanish grades is not transparent; and will have to be faced sooner than later. I think it will be faced much later, as all anybody seems interested in are short snippets of pseudo news. One of the problems in Spain are the big temperature differences, and the initial often dirty condition of new routes which then get easier due to cleaning. Also many of the routes are on conglomerate which seems to get easier as the climbers fiddle with the holds.
There is lastly some very partisan reporting, certain people are being treated very oddly by the web masters and the Mags, there is no real conspiracy, just amateurism and business, coupled with a soupson of old fashioned childishness.
Rather than say Ciao, I’ll say Goodnight and Goodluck, these immortal words were of a real news commentator of the 1950s in America : Edward R.Murrow. He was courageous, and of course there is not his like in the Climbing press today . In France a few years ago, the staff of an Ink Mag kept on trying to do a good job, they were pressurised by the owners, who new nothing about climbing, and then finnally sacked. In Britain the same thing happened…….