Coed Brenin Enduro 2014

Coed Brenin Enduro 2014

Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Winter cometh....

With the temperature dropping and first snow fall in the Lakes and Scotland its time for me to start and think about winter and what I want to do and achieve in the mountains. To try and prepare I've mentally split things into 3 categories.

Physical -  After I smashed up my left leg quite badly over 10 years ago I am well aware of the fact that I'm 'wonky', well out of alignment/symmetry, and also I have a clear disparity in strength and control between left and right sides. I'm pretty fit/strong, and in everyday life its easy to ignore or mask this issue. But over the last year or so I've quickly realised that skiing highlights this fault. Partly linked to this, and also to try and get in the best condition possible for the season I've signed up for SkiFit, a specific home exercise program. Its early days (1.5 weeks!) but it seems to be a very good program, and the exercises and balance work seem to be working me hard. Currently trying to fit in 3 x 1 hour weekly sessions at present......
Get down to those crazy hoedown ski exercises!!
Equipment - Dust off the kit, check its working, and although I should have done it at the end of last season finally get those holes in the ski bases filled and repaired!!!

Skills/Education - I love the world of backcountry skiing that I've recently started to dip my toe into, but also I've been thinking a lot about how the risk is probably a lot greater than the other stuff I do. I don't have any evidence to back this up, but even when winter climbing you are generally trying to avoid snow laden slopes, looking for the steeper (consolidated) ground, whereas with skiing you are actively seeking snow filled slopes to cruise down, and obviously 'theres the rub', you want the snow slopes, but will they play nicely... So education to back up (good) judgement is required.

Lots of reading... Bruce Goodlad's Ski Touring book  is very good, along with watching Internet videos ....!

Know Before You Go from Trent Meisenheimer on Vimeo.

Monday, 2 November 2015

The Muscles from Brussels..

I can't remember how I got talked into a quick Autumn visit to Fontainebleau, or when I booked the flight, but what a fantastic idea.

Love this picture of Mr Giant Hands (me!)

'Muscles' on day 1

A recent thread on UKC had made me wonder if the forest had changed since my last 'proper' bouldering trip here over 10 years ago, it suggested that there was a high probability of being mugged, being arrested trying to sleep in the forest, and that the forest was destroyed, indeed on its knee's because of human waste pollution - luckily things weren't quite that dire!

My favourite picture - Dave was a little disappointed that the toadstool takes the attention!
So a quick flight from Manchester saw he quickly arrive in Paris where I was stuffed into the camper van and whisked off to the forest by the 'muscles from Brussels'.

The best problem we found - old /off circuit

Struggled to be flexible enough for this one!!
The weather was magical, crisp and cool at night, followed by sunny warm days. It was fairly busy as you would expect in half term, with many different nationalities enjoying the forest, but who can blame them.

Dave showed me some great spots due to his excellent local knowledge, and the routine of boulder for 3 hours or so, before a long lunch break at the van, then an afternoon session at another area worked well. Obviously finishing every day with beer and then wine!

We managed to go to 5-6 areas, all amazing, all slightly different. I particularly enjoyed Isatis, which had a magical feel to it, maybe because the rocks spread some distance into the wilder forest so you could always find a quieter area.

It was all made more beautiful because of the rich Autumn colours that coincided with our visit. The climbing is also brilliant and so unique. I soon got into the often delicate nature of the climbing, and appreciated the sloping and at times polished holds.

Isatis - red

Isatis - red
I wish I was still there sleeping near to the trees, waking up slightly chilled holding a hot coffee waiting for the sun to warm up the forest so that the dampness on the rocks was rubbed away, and you could start to lose yourself in the simplicity of climbing them.... Can't wait for next year to revisit this magical place.

CDG - waiting to fly home