Sunday, 21 June 2009

A Glorious Month of Achievments

Oh what a month it's been for the staff at Joe Browns! Six different staff members have taken, or are on, trips all over the country and abroad so here are some of the highlights...

Young Jamesy-boy is currently out in America in Yosemite, climbing some of the worlds best Big Walls and having a trip of a lifetime. While we haven't heard from him yet, and he's not due back to Britain for a couple of months, I'm sure he's having a wonderful time. We'll keep you posted on his achievements as soon as we here from him.

From the very big to the very small but still dealing with world class climbing, earlier this month I indulged in a week long trip to Fontainebleau. It was a stunning week, staying at the campsite at La Musardiere and climbing mainly at Trois Pignons, it was fantastic to get back to Font and get some 40 problems done, mainly thanks to the new Essential Fontainebleau guidebook, which is really as good as it seems.

The highlight of the trip is probably my ascent of Jet Set: a 7a at 95.2 which unfortunately took two sessions although a lot of the credit for this must go to a friend I made whilst there called George, who showed me the problem and shared in the joy of a good little project. I'm also going out to Albarracin in September to climb with him again.

While this was my third trip to Fontainebleau, I was shocked for the first time by the French attitude to the marvellous spot they have on their doorstep. On the right is a photo of the classic highball Le Troit de Cul du Chien 7a and while you may not be able to see, at the top of the flake is a brand new peg, completely resin-ed into the rock at about 10ft. There were also five pegs all chopped at about head height running across the face. After all this unnecessary damage to the rock, someone has written on the wall "Stop magnese". I get the feeling that throughout the many trips I will take to Fontainebleau during my lifetime, I will never understand the French attitude to such an amazing resource.

Our resident hardcore-climbing-enthusiast-in-all-disciplines managed to get in yet another trip for 2009 to get out to Gorge du Tarn in the South West of France. While Rob was keen to play down his accomplishments once he returned, I'm sure he's understating the routes he made it up including the 'best 7a in the World' Le Tresor du Zebra.

Our other resident strongman was also away this month although reduced his carbon footprint with a week long jaunt to the Lake District. A few good routes were had, and a nice relaxing trip has allowed Chris to come back fresh for some more hard and mean ascents back home. Watch this space.

While most of the staff this month have been going out and spending some time away from work, Alex has been hard at it in the shop. However, he did manage to get out to the Peaks this month with an amazing ascent of Nosferatu E6 6b at Burbage South. I'm still not sure whether the best achievement with this was to do it in the middle of the summer, or the fact that he managed to get the top hold statically. Either way, it's one hell of a tick, and I'm sure more hardcore Gritstone ascents will follow soon.

Firstly, I think everyone would like to congratulate Rich on getting a First in his degree course. Well done Rich! To celebrate, our youngster has forsaken his rock boots to go cycling through the South of France. Rich only left last week so I'm hoping we'll have some kick ass photos to go on the blog for you as soon as he's back.

With all this activity, though, it all goes towards training for getting back home. Personally, a week in font has made me much stronger and since getting back, I've managed to flash Johnnys Wall V6 and get the sitting start at V7 on the Cromlech Roadside Face, not to mention some serious action out on the Orme for Rob and Alex, and some excellent bouldering down at the local crag of Fachwen for Chris.

Possibly the best thing about working at Joe Browns just has to be: no matter where you go for your trips, you'll always be able to come home to the mountains of Snowdonia.

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