The last two days have been dry and cold, and finally we have been able to experience what those in the know consider 'good conditions' in Fontainebleau. Temperatures have been between about three and eight degrees, typically considered perfect for some sloper slappin' on sandstone.
Our thoughts have been mixed. On the one hand the friction has been excellent in a bit of a giddy way, sticking moves unexpectedly and finding different sequences. On the other, the friction isn't necessarily so beneficial when your fingers are numb. Eating massive amounts of honey bread, wafers, anything with sugar or carbs, in an attempt to maintain core temperature can also be detrimental to both waistline and wallet. Longevity is also a problem, the smaller amongst us getting cold and tetchy after a few hours. This is actually a scientifically described phenomenon; heftier animals (i.e. Sam) lose heat at a slower rate due to a smaller surface area to volume ratio.
Another upside to climbing in February is the solitude. Everywhere, even Isatis, is tranquil and quiet, and everything feels a little lazy. The white skies that cloak some days give everything a dreamy quality, only sharpened by the bite of gritty rock under balding finger tips. The people we have met, scattered about, have been friendly and interesting; local French boys, a German astrophysicist, a northern lad roughing it for a month.
Hazy days drift by, days spent wandering the forest, followed by nights in front of a fire locked in from the Baltic temperatures outside. It's a bit of a shock for two fair weather climbers, but one not totally unpleasant.
...because we have waffles !