AAC Publications - http://publications.americanalpineclub.org

French Exchange

French Exchange. Scott Frye and I arrived in Paris on May 18 to attend the International Climbers’ Meet, sponsored by the Fédération Française de Montagne. For the next twelve days we were to travel and climb throughout France with a group of 40 climbers from 13 different countries. The first stop was at Fontainebleau, where our group bouldered for two days under cloudy skies. It was a chance to get acquainted with each other, climb and enjoy the classic beauty that Fontainebleau truly is. We then spent a full day traveling by bus to the famous Verdon Gorge, where we spent four days. The climbers were free to do whatever routes they chose, and those new to Verdon, were given French partners to help introduce them to the climbing routes and the perplexities of limestone climbing. Next was Saussois, a small limestone cliff near Paris. During the three days there, the place began to resemble a circus with increasing numbers of photographers and spectators. The last day of the meet featured a crowd of 300 people and an intercom system. We all climbed at our limit and past it, with the Russian speed climbers as the best crowd-pleasers. It was magnificent to see such a positive reaction to pure rock climbing and the whole meet was a great success. Throughout, we were treated to fantastic French cuisine in restaurants and, except for tents in Verdon, we slept in cozy countryside hotels. Our gratitude goes to the FFM and the French climbers, particularly Alain Lebian, who organized the gathering.

Stephen Schneider