INTERVIEW: Griffin Whiteside, an American boulderer in Europe

Griffin Whiteside on The Big Island, ~8C, Fontainebleau, France, 132 kb
Griffin Whiteside on The Big Island, ~8C, Fontainebleau, France
© Cole Bradburn

Since early October, 21 year old Griffin Whiteside from Maryland, USA, has been in Europe.
Griffin had done loads of hard problems both in the US and South Africa before this trip, but I suspect this will mean some kind of break through to the broader public.
A month ago he did The Big Island, his first 8C, and last week he did it again with La Toupie carnivore assis

Why not ask him a few questions, I thought:

Do you feel like sharing some thoughts about your Euro experience?
This trip has been a dream come true, I can't believe that it's still far I have explored Ticino, Albarracin, and Fontainebleau with the latter simply being the absolute best. All of the hype it gets is not enough. Everything I've seen here in Fontainebleau is worth trying. Even the worst ones here would be the best in other areas.

High and low points perhaps? Any particular areas and problems that stand out?

My experiences travelling and climbing have been full of ups and downs. Motivation tends to fluctuate frequently which can be difficult to manage. But that has happened plenty of times before so it's nothing new.

It is hard to choose a couple favorites as most could be classified as such. But I'll try my best...La Baleine, Kheops, and Big Island.

1. La Baleine has phenomenal movement up large pinches and edges to a challenging deadpoint. It sits in the peaceful area of Petit Bois, just outside of Nemours, and is 100% worth the 30 second hike...yes, the approaches here are too lovely.

2. Kheops, to me, is the epitome of climbing in Fontainebleau. It seems like a slab climb that is slightly overhanging and somehow you can learn to maneuver the subtle nothingness of Kheops' holds. I found that this one requires more patience and focus than others. It is more of a learning experience than any other climb I have attempted.

3. My experience on Big Island is simply why I climb. This thuggish, overhanging refrigerator block is the ultimate compression climb. If you don't give 100%, you get thrown down to the pads. It is the complete battle to stand on top of this boulder. The Big Island is too good to be true.

Also, La Toupie Carnivore Assis. Good job!
What did you think about it?

La Toupie Carnivore Assis is a newer climb opened by Guillaume Glairon Mondet in Rocher Saint Germain.
The exit sequence that Nalle Hukkataival figured out was the one that I was able to manage. Despite this new method with a slightly easier mantle, I struggled with the finishing sequence more than most.
I managed to fall off of the mantle twice before standing on top.

The sit-start adds a very difficult deadpoint dyno which I only controlled 3 times in 4 days worth of efforts.

The stand-start is a jump-start which starts with a similar move to the sit but much more controlled. I was able to do this move nearly every attempt but the sit-start dyno proved to be quite the challenge.
La Toupie Carnivore has an unbelievable set of holds and is an impressive addition to the endless amount of boulders here in Fontainebleau.

Fontainebleau has truly been a treat and I'm constantly wondering when I can return. I'll be disappointed to leave here shortly but with a bit more time before heading home I'm excited to continue my travels.

Griffin Whiteside is sponsored by: Asana, Evolv and Ibex Outdoor Clothing

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