Black Diamond athlete Paul Robinson had an exceptionally successful trip to Fontainebleau earlier this year, dispatching numerous testpieces near the highest end of difficulty. Here is an insightful and inspiring video of Robinson in Font, put together by fellow BD athlete Chris Schulte, as well as an intro (below) written by Schulte.

Paul Robinson’s monumental ticklist for his 2010/11 visit to Fontainebleau included some of the world’s most difficult boulder problems. Paul’s hits included rarely repeated lines like Sebastien Frigault’s Trip Hop (8c), the first ascent (after a very discouraging hold break ) of the crimpy and dynamic Sideways Daze (8b), and the second ascent of Kevin Lopata’s mysterious, difficult and morphologically challenging line Force du Destin (8b+). Paul also fired off a quiver of modern classics through all grades and styles, hammering out what we’ve come to expect from him in the overhang department, as well as cutting through an impressive array of slopers and slabs.

In this series of clips, Paul knocks out a tough series of edges, battles a loping compression classic, and discusses the educational process involved in getting to know the style by which the forest has gained renown. It can be a tricky business climbing in Font—what “should be” a warm up can easily (and often) turn into a full-blown project, or a “done once, never again” experience. One may be roundly trounced five grades below one’s limit, only to breeze up an 8b of a different vein or style in just a half hour later. The hairpin learning curve can be a daunting obstacle for most, but for others it’s the source of the draw and appeal of this giant among bouldering areas. No doubt, the school of Font will teach you a lesson you’ll take with you for life.

— Chris Schulte

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