Thirteen talented young climbers aged between 12 and 16 travelled down to Fontainbleau last week on the BMC/Adventureworks´ ´Extreme Bloc´ youth meet.The participants, some of whom are members of the British Youth Competition Climbing Team, were invited onto the meet based on past BRYCS competition performances.Most of them hadn´t been to Font, one of them hadn´t climbed outside before.Needless to say, they went bonkers! Day 1 was damp, so the group headed for the Trois Pignons and 95.2 to test their tiny frames on the area´s infamous gratons.The next day it was Isatis and Cuisiniere combo, which, although greasy from a previous week of damp weather, saw many a classic problem fall to the mini-crankers.Highlights were seeing the tiny 4 foot something frame of Katie Hill top out on a highball 5+ (English tech 6a) problem left of L´Ainge Naif.Day 3 was quite misty and after a long drive to L´Elephant the kids were itching for some steep pocket pulling.At the end of the day, half of the group were all trying one long pumpy rising traverse, taking fall after fall from the last moves until Hazel Findlay (daughter of South West legend Steve Findlay) unlocked the sequence and locked for glory. On the final day, they visited the crucible, Bas Cuvier.Some of the sloping finishes proved exciting, but there were impressive displays of technical instinctiveness and tenaciousness, resulting in some well-deserved top outs. Overall, it was a brilliant four days with everyone thoroughly enjoying the whole experience.The youngsters´ approach and attitude to climbing put most of us adults to shame – there were no excuses – just sheer determination and enjoyment.The ´next generation´ might only be 12 years old at the moment, but the talent is there and it´s both inspirational and frightening! Thanks to the BMC, Adventureworks, Roger Barton, Tony and Debbie Powell and Justin Bolger for helping out. News courtesy of Tom Briggs at Jagged Globe
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