Jonny Kydd: The First Weeks in Font

By The Climbing Academy

"Not the start I was hoping for..." - Black Diamond Hero and TCA staffer Jonny Kydd shares an insight into the first few weeks of his trip to Font.

Sometimes things go your way, other times they don’t. The first couple of weeks of my trip definitely feels a lot like the latter. Annoyingly the day before the trip I came down with a cold, making everything that needed to be organised a bit more challenging. Nevertheless I caught the ferry and arrived in France in the early hours of the morning. I stopped off in a picnic area on the motorway for the night before heading to Font the next day.

After a very pleasant first night in the van, I arrived in a wet Fontainebleau. The boulders remained wet for a couple of days resulting in no climbing and then the bad luck kicked in… I had a cooking accident that resulted in cutting my pinky finger quite deeply.

(cut finger 10 days after the accident)

Fortunately the bleeding had stopped by the time I had removed the plaster the next morning, meaning I could climb, albeit very cautiously. I had planned on climbing only easy stuff and headed to 95.2 for the sun and quick drying rock. After bumbling about for a bit, one of my friends, Sam, was planning on trying ‘Éclipse’ at Cul de Chien so I went over with him to spot. I had previously tried to pull on this problem but really struggled with the span of the first move and had written it off as a problem for me. After watching Sam on it I decided to give it a go and to my surprise I had topped it on my 4th go with my finger still intact!

(Setting up for the last move on Éclipse 7C, Cul de Chien)

The next day the bad luck continued. I woke up and had a really strange pain in my forearm preventing me from being able to even hold a bottle of water without pain. It was really bizarre as there was nothing that happened the day before that could be attributed to causing the pain and it left me unable to climb for the next 3 days.

The first day back climbing was another surprise. It was the start of a really cold spell and I was worried this wouldn’t be great for my arm. I started warming up and my arm was feeling better and better so I got on ‘La Bérézina’ the first 7C in the forest. This is one that has puzzled me in the past as I felt as though I should get on quite well with it but I’d really struggled. After a bit of battling and trying all sorts of beta I was able to stick the first move and a couple of goes later had topped it!

(Sticking the first move of La Bérézina 7C, Bas Cuvier. 📷 road.ramble)

I then headed up to Cuvier Rempart to have a go at the infamous Big 5. Each of these problems are high, hard and historic with any boulderer being proud to add them to their cv. The one that has always caught my eye is ‘Fourmis Rouge’. I had previously tried it and made it up to going for the crux from the start so was psyched to try and finish it off. After a few goes of getting efficient through the bottom section I reached a new high point and knew the send was on the cards. After a good rest I managed to send it next go. Proper pleased!

(Latching the crux sloper on Fourmis Rouge 7C, Cuvier Rempart. 📷 road.ramble)

The next few days the cold spell was in full flow. Some of the driest snow I had ever seen was falling and the temperature didn’t reach above -2 some days with the coldest night hitting -13! I woke up from that to find absolutely everything in the van frozen solid, including bits of my sleeping bag and my 13L water tank.

(Dry snow the day before the coldest night…)

Thankfully in the day it heated up enough to be able to climb (just) and I felt as though it was time to get on something a bit harder. The problem I most wanted to do before heading out was Ubik so I decided to go check it out. There is a very subtle balance between strength, power and body position in order to do this problem and My first session had my psyches for more. Unfortunately the bad luck didn’t let up and on the last go of the day I fell awkwardly and slightly rolled my ankle. It has been 2 days since the fall and I am able to weight my ankle but there is pain when I move it and it has swollen up a bit.

I am currently sitting in a rainy Isatis car park hoping that my ankle heals and I don’t have to cut the first part of the trip short…