Showing posts with label France. Show all posts
Showing posts with label France. Show all posts

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Farewell, Fontainebleau. Hello (somewhere in) Spain!

We've had nearly three weeks of bouldering here in Fontainebleau, France. Our gite rental is nearly over, and our friends almost gone. So tomorrow we leave for somewhere in Spain.

We're not sure exactly where we're headed yet, as the weather everywhere in Catalonia seems to have a pretty dismal forecast.

Anyway, we'll be on the road all day tomorrow, hopefully arriving in the Barcelona area sometime before midnight.



Autumn descends on France.

"Cozy" riding conditions on the way to bouldering. (Four people, four pads, and bags in a small Toyota sedan)

Serious topouts for serious people

Simulclimbing in Font

Jakob getting revenge on a really nice 7a in 95.2

Our street in the morning

Parking at Franchard Isatis is sweet.

David initiating the send train on a crimpy 7a in Franchard Isatis (Plan 3)

Franchard Isaatis

David sending a 7b+ problem in Franchard Isatis (Plan 3)

David giving Duel (an 8a SLAB!!!) a good go at the end of our trip.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Photos from Font

We've just polished off two weeks here in Fontainebleau. Our only guidebook is the 7 + 8 Straight-ups, so I have no idea what most of the problems we've done are even called... Which I think is better anyway, as all of them (even the warm-ups) seem really hard anyhow in this technical wonderland, and most all of them cool. In an area with this much rock and this many amazing problems, it seems like a real waste of time and opportunity to run around with a guidebook in hand, looking for a few problems. Or at least on your first trip here, as is my case.
A classic Font topout

The solution for the topout. (Notice: the climber is already on the rock.)

Our street in Avon.

One of the gite owners' cats checking out our stuff in the morning.

Swedes and technology

A classic and fun face problem in Isatis

Johan trying a 7a in Isatis.

Another fun and high problem in Isatis whose name I don't know...

French countryside

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Bonjour from Fontainebleau!


The stairs of our gite (in a picture that uploaded at the wrong angle)

Swedes love sausage and potatoes.

It was raining, but we were going to climb (in Bas Cuvier).
Climbing is a team effort, especially if you have matching pants.

A rather classic Font topout in the area 95.2.

David does tricks.

Staging for climbing outside the gite in Avon

Following "Ingrid," our GPS unit.

David trying the "pure" jumpstart to this problem in Bas Cuvier, sans crashpad.


Boulders, boulders all around (in Bas Cuvier)

Andreas falling from Super Prestat

The castle in Fontainebleau

The castle in Fontainebleau

Fontainebleau

Me taking a coffee in the town of Fontainebleau

When in France...

Morning coffee and stress balls outside the gite

Swedes like baguettes.

Swedes like coffee.

David sending a classic 7a in Franchard Cusinier

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Peace Out, Montana. Hello, France, Spain, Sweden, Turkey, ...?

Well, the time has come again to hit the road.

I leave Bozeman tomorrow morning and hope to arrive in Fontainebleau, France about 24 hours after leaving my house.

Next time I log in for a post, it will probably be in the back corner of some French McDonald's. Unless Fontainebleau is too snobby for McDonald's.


Saturday, May 1, 2010

Frequent Flyer Miles

High in the Alps With the Dent Blanche in the Background

The past two months have kept me on my toes with guiding trips in Colorado, British Columbia and the French and Swiss Alps. I think my home in Crested Butte is just a laundromat with a mortgage these days!
Wolverine Basin on the Mt. Emmons Massif

After a Ski Mountaineering course in Crested Butte with the FBI (can't say anymore about that...) I headed off to Vail to teach a Guide Training Course including an AIARE Level 2 safety course for Paragon Guides.
Skinning Out of Ten Mile Basin Near Vail, CO

Back in Crested Butte for two days to finish my taxes and pack for a week of guiding at Ruby Mt. Lodge in the Valhalla Mountains of British Columbia.
Nadia in the Deep Valhalla Powder

We had a great week with 10-20 cm of new snow every night and fairly stable avalanche conditions which allowed us to crank out some great late March powder turns. The hospitality at Valhalla Mountain Touring is second to none with gourmet meals every day and a wood fired sauna to melt away the daily 5000 vertical feet of skiing in the legs.
Lisa Floating the Snowboard

Hopping a plane back to Crested Butte for another quick turn around I hit the road again bound for Chamonix, arriving just in time to ski 25 cm of fresh snow on the Valle Blanch. This was just the warm up day for the next week of skiing the iconic Haute Route tour from Chamonix to Zermatt. For this week we had amazing weather with blue skies every morning and building clouds in the evening which would drop 10-15 cm of fresh snow every night. All the guides I encountered on the trip agreed that this was the best week of weather any of us had seen in many many years on the traverse of the Alps.Ian Checking Out His Turns
Pow Turns off the Grand Montets
Schladeling on the Pingne de Arolla
The Vignettes Hut Above Zermatt

Upon returning to Chamonix via train (don't even ask about that fiasco!) I quickly dumped off my ski gear, grabbed the sport climbing kit and jumped in the car with my brother for the journey south to Finale, Italy on the Mediterranean coast. A cute little Italian B&B in Castelbianco was our base camp for the abundant limestone crags in the area. Pulling on the textured tufas felt great after wearing ski boots for so long. Cool days and slightly cloudy skies made for perfect sending temperatures. We were all pretty happy to be climbing in the upper 6 grades after skiing all winter, and spent the one rainy afternoon sending dry overhanging 25 meter routes on world class limestone.
Ridin' The Tufa
Jeff "The Crusher" Banks

Driving home after four great days of warm sport climbing, I had to wrap my head around skiing again, this time a week long Ski Mont Blanc program. With two experienced Irish ski instructors, we were again headed into the mountains and onto the glaciers for some steep skiing and acclimatizing for the objective ahead. The Gervasutti Couloir on the Tour Ronde, followed by awesome corn skiing in the Argentier basin led us into the end of the week and another winter storm rolling into the Haute Savoie. The new snow and clouds kept us from being able to climb and ski Mont Blanc, but we had an excellent week of ski touring and many great turns.

On The Amethystes Glacier
Skiing the Gervasutti Couloir
The Classic Valle Blanche

The continued valley rain and mountain snow has kept me on the couch today, glued to the computer and wondering where I will be of to next skiing high on the glaciers or climbing down in the valleys.

Steve Banks
IFMGA/UIAGM Mountain Guide
www.stevebanksmountainguide.com