British climber Ned Feehally has just returned from two successful bouldering trips to the sandstone venues of Fontainebleau, France and Albarracin, Spain. In Font, Ned climbed Surplomb de la Mee, 8B, and in Albarracin he ticked 4 8Bs, 1 8A+, and 9 8As in just 8 days.
Ned had a short trip to Font a few weeks ago, where despite the heat he managed to climb Surplomb de la Mee, now graded 8B after a hold broke. Ned had climbed the problem befoe the hold breakage commenting:
"I had done it a few years ago before it was broken. At the time I found it ok, but it's a totally different beast now - way harder.
I did a couple of other 8As too, but it was pretty hot so couldn't try any harder stuff - shame. I actually climbed Surplomb in my undies as it was so hot! I mainly climbed early in the morning and at night to get the coolest conditions."
Ned then headed to the spanish bouldering area of Albarracin for 8 days, his ticklist for the trip was as follows:
Ned commented on why he racked up the numbers on his trip to Albarracin:
"I got a fair bit done in Albarracin. I think this is for 3 reasons. Firstly it was much colder and drier, way better conditions for me. My hands are quite sweaty so I really struggle when it's warm. In Spain it was so cold and dry my skin stayed hard and grippy as I climbed rather than getting damp and slippy. As a result I found it harder to fall off than normal!
Secondly I had never been there before so everything was new and I had loads to go at. And thirdly it's easier to climb hard there than it is in Font as the problems tend to be less beta intensive and technical. They are more about pulling hard on holds.
I have climbed a lot in Font over the years and done a fair bit there. I think if I turned up at Font for the first time and had freak conditions as good as I had in Spain then I would probably have done more, as there are loads more problems there to do! Albarracin is a great destination but it is fairly limited, especially as about 1/4 of it is closed at this time of the year for bird nesting."
Ned also commented on which problems were his favourites from the trip:
"It wasn't the best problem, but I had always wanted to do Cosmos since seeing a photo years ago so it was nice to finally get to do that. And it's style pretty much sums up Albarracin. Pinturas Buldestres was a very cool bit of rock with some great moves. Quimera was probably the best line I climbed there. It's a great feature with a bit of height to it and the crux sequence is really unique - rocking over on a heel into a 'thumbdercut'."
In addition to this great trip abroad, Ned has also been over to North Wales where he climbed Push the Button SS, 8A, 36 Chambers SS, 8A, and Enter The Dragon, 8A+. Ned then created a new problem, climbing a link from Enter the Dragon into 36 Chambers, Ned has called it Enter the Chamber and graded it 8A+.
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