Managing injuries, wet rock and patience - Black Diamond Hero Jonny Kydd shares his latest experiences in Font.
When I last blogged I was unable climb… but good news! My ankle recovered, albeit not 100%, but enough to allow me to climb. This wasn’t straight away and I had a few days of spectating / spotting with a few friends from the UK.
The day that I was able to climb came as a bit of a surprise as I didn’t intend to climb but packed my shoes, just in case. I was pleased to find out that I could get my shoe on without too much discomfort and decided to give it a go. There was a bit of stiffness and it didn’t enjoy being pushed to its full range of movement but most movements felt ok. That day I managed to send “Haka” a steep 7A+ that was very much my thing, and got close to “Phénix” a 7C+ that was a bit of my anti-style so was pleased with that for the first day back, especially as the temperature had started to creep up and my hands were starting to sweat that little bit more.
The next day we headed to Rocher Fin, a nice exposed area that dries relatively quickly and the rain had started to become the main dictator of where to climb. After warming up Amber and Duma had been trying “el Kift” a 7B+ that revolved around a right heel-toe cam with minimal use of the left foot (perfect for my ankle!) I thought I may as well give it a go and ended up with a quick send. I then tried “Micholeg assis” but after having worked the moves and attempting to send I was beaten by sweaty tips and then the rain…
After another rest day I was back out again and hoping to start getting to work on a few problems that I had intended to do before the bad luck started. However after a day of getting a bit shut down at Bas Cuvier, I realised that due to my ankle, the amount of rain, and the increasing temperature that it was probably sensible to change my plan of attack (at least for the time being) and focus on things a little bit further away from my limit of difficulty but which are still world class.
But even this was put to a halt as the weather decided to become consistently inconsistent and showering enough to soak the rock without long enough breaks between showers to allow the rock to dry. Climbing on wet sandstone is also a big no no as it can be very fragile and holds can break off easily!
This has resulted in many walks around the forest, enjoying the endless paths and cool rock shapes.
There was a small break in the rain where it seemed as though summer had decided to come early! It was too hot to try hard so I decided to climb a few easy problems at Apremont, rather than get frustrated at not being able to hold impossible sloppers that had been baking in the sun as all the problems in the shade were still wet(!?!)
A few more days passed watching the heavy rain showers from the comfort of my van until there was a break in the weather and a cool day with no rain! I decided that I would try and finish off “Phénix” as it was quick drying and my injuries didn’t seem to hinder my performance on it so much. Sadly for whatever reason I couldn’t piece it together before wearing out my skin, making holding onto marginal holds a real issue.
The forecast for the following days didn’t look so great so despite thin skin I didn’t want to leave empty handed and decided to to try “Lullaby” an overhanging boulder with more positive holds that didn’t rely so much on friction. After figuring out my beta the race was on against the fading light in order to get it done. This time things worked out for me and with the last possible go of the day I topped it and headed back to the van.
I’m currently chilling in my van to avoid the rain, which has been falling for the last 8 hours, and optimistically looking at the weather forecast which is suggesting there could be a good cold and dry spell (hopefully without too much snow) for a few days at least! I’ve been out here for a month now and only had 9 days of climbing so hoping this forecast is accurate and I can get back on the rock!
Keep following Jonny’s travels on Instagram: instagram.com/jonnykydd[ssbp]