Jonny Kydd – Finally More About the Climbing

By The Climbing Academy

TCA Staffer and Black Diamond Hero Jonny Kydd shares the latest from his trip to Europe, including a visit from more of TCA's team.

Not much has changed in regards to my injury on my left foot, and it’s hinderance on my climbing, but I’m getting fed up of 1) the effect that it’s having on my climbing and 2) talking about it so I’m going to leave it at that.

When I last blogged I was hoping for some good cold weather. What I woke up to the next morning had the cold but also plenty of white stuff! Font had gone from winter to summer and back to winter in the blink of an eye. At least it looks prettier than rain.

(winter wonderland in Font)

That day some folks from TCA arrived in Font and I decided to meet them for a walk around Cul de Chien. We were pleasantly surprised to find that some of the problems had dried out by the afternoon and headed back to the car park to grab our climbing stuff and got climbing. I had my eye on a roof problem called “Arabesque” which I had previously struggled with but hadn’t tried for a few years. On my first go I reached a new high point and then I decided to try the top out before going from the start. A couple of attempts later and I was standing on top. I then decided to try a harder variant of Arabesque called “Nouvelle Vague”. I didn’t know the beta for the end so decided to try and figure that out before going from the start. After faffing about finding a sequence, I had a good rest before climbing it to the top whilst feeling like I was on autopilot. Not a bad day for one that I thought was going to be snowed off!

(Going through the crux section of Nouvelle Vague 7C, Cul de Chien) 

The following day my skin was suboptimal so decided to have a short session up at Cuvier Rempart. It started off with a couple of goes on “T-Rex”. Not a problem that I had ever planned on getting on but having seen people climbing on it made me decide to get my boots on, albeit not for very long! I really struggled with the first move and after a bunch of goes I decided to move on to try “Big Golden”. It was a good day for it as it was quite overcast and it sits in the sun all day. I figured out some good beta for the bottom section but didn’t have enough in me to get to the top. After this I was in need of a rest day, which was conveniently timed with my girlfriend coming out to visit. It was nice having someone else back in the van to keep me company on those rainy rest days.

The next morning we woke up to find the Office National des Forêts had gone around placing barrier tape and signs up all around the forest to try and raise awareness of the risk of the forest becoming privately owned. I’m not sure what level of seriousness this has for the risk of climbing or whether it’s likely to happen but it was certainly alarming to hear access could be at risk.

After a couple of sociable days bumbling about trying easier stuff, being a pad caddy, and letting skin grow it was time to start trying hard again with some nice cold temps. We had headed to Franchard Cuisinière with the intention of trying “Rencard”. It’s a slightly overhanging wall that revolves around a couple of moves on subtle hand holds and pretty small feet. At first I found the crux moves impossible, even struggling to be spotted through them. But by the end it felt as though I could do them on command. It was a problem that I found both harder and easier than I expected which sort of sums up Font in a nutshell!

(Sticking the first move on Rencard 7C, Franchard Cuisinière)

The following day warmer weather was back in the forest so we decided to head to a shady area and went to Apremont Envers. After getting a bit spanked on “L’Apparemment” in the morning, I decided to rest until the cooler temperatures in the evening to go test out my fridge hugging skills on “Hadès”. A lot of compression problems in Font are simply too spanned for my arms so it was nice to come across one that I could reach! There was a lot of subtlety in the heel positioning which took a bit of time to dial in. I found a sequence that worked for me and got the send just before the light faded away.

(Giving “Hadès” (7C) a big hug)

Along with the warmer weather we had also received rain. The forecast had said that there was to be a few iffy days along with many washouts. This meant that if it was dry we had to take our chances and climb! On the first of the iffy days I went to try “Deux Faux Plis en Plats Réels”. This was the first 7C that I ever pulled on and 4 and a half years later I was still yet to seal the deal, making it even more satisfying when I did. Having said that it still put up a good fight and I felt lucky to come away with a win! I finished off the day with quick ascents of another couple of classics “el Poussif” and “el Poussah”.

(Fighting on the slopey rails of “Deux Faux Plis en Plats Réels” 7C, Franchard Hautes plaines) 

Since then it has been mainly rainy rest days with not much climbing. Luckily during that time the Black Diamond Rock Project has been taking place. I have spent the last couple of days helping and hanging out with the team from Black Diamond. They are trying to bring awareness of good climbing practice to some of the busiest areas of Fontainebleau over the Easter weekend.

(Black Diamond Rock Project highlighting how to behave in the forest) 

The points that they are trying to get across to the public (seen in the poster above) are not just applicable to Fontainebleau but most climbing area across the world. Far too frequently access issues to crags seem to be popping up with the impact of climbers on the land being a common reason. That’s why it’s important to leave the crag in a similar, if not better, state than when you arrive.