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Dave Graham
Interview 1  2
The Fantastic Four
The Fantastic Four

Those who’ve been to Font know I’m not talking about the Marvel superheroes. I’m talking about “Big Boss’, “Tristesse”, “Big Golden” and “Fourmis Rouge”, the four pillars of this earth, four mythical problems on four enormous boulders that stand there, immobile, waiting for their next prey. Another being capable of climbing them, and they laugh heartily when, after a day of failed attempts, the human goes home empty-handed. But this time things went badly for them. “Conditions weren’t even excellent, it had rained all day previously, but when I stood beneath the problems I was full of energy. One after the other, gently, they all ceded”. They aren’t extreme, one is 7b+, another 7c and the other two 7c+, but it’s really hard to see all climbed on the same day.” This holds true also for the fantastic four, who by now are used to encountering the world’s best.

A hypothesis?

We’re at Bas Couvier, a type of opening with an enormous boulder stuck in the middle. Around us lies Fontainebleau’s history. Bas Couvier is to Fontainebleau as Rimini is to Itlay. Hyper-frequented, standardised, optimised but unlike Rimini it conserves its antique attraction. One doesn’t even have to search far to find its magnificent jewels, rounded crimps, huge slopers and pockets. Ideally suited to perfectly stimulate ones tendons. Dave has found his ideal warm-up. Four laps on “Coromaltese” 7a without stepping off, looping from the flat hold and descending on the left. A few laps on “Carnage” 7b, and then to complete the opera four or five times “Hipotese” 7c. Not only to warm-up but “because it’s a truly great problem, at the end of my trip I’ll have repeated it, I don’t know, more or less sixty times.”

C'Était Demain

“8a has already been flashed, although not at Fontainebleau. I was with my friends, we were searching for “Fatman” and I knew that nearby there were some hallowed problems, but I didn’t expect to find such a pure line. As soon as I saw it I wanted to try it, so I got ready. I didn’t need to warm up, I felt ready, so I put on my shoes, studied the line a bit and started. I immediately felt at one with the moves, it all came completely spontaneously. I really gave it all and put in a massive effort - I don’t think I’ve ever experienced anything like it. And I managed to send it. Fantastic.”


Dave tackled the legend of the forest on one of the last humid days of his trip. It rained, then stopped, started raining again, stopped once more and so on. POF had been placed above the last hold to stop it from getting wet. Humidity had reached 98%. The rock was green, the light was weak and there was no one around.

One unsuccessful attempt was followed by the next, Dave always slipped off the crux hold, by now he was trying more for fun than anything else. After a couple of hours trying he says” Right, that’s it, I’ll do it in better conditions next time.” So he takes off his shoes and goes far a walk. But he’s back soon and after a couple of attempts he states “Last go!”. It’s about the sixtieth time he says “last go!”, no one takes him seriously anymore but Dave reaches the intermediate, holds it, dynos for the sloper, sticks it, heelhooks , pulls himself up, continues to hold the sloper and… exits. Another 8a.

Dave Graham climbing at Fontainebleau

The fantastic Four
Those who’ve been to Font know I’m not talking about the Marvel superheroes. I’m talking about “Big Boss’, “Tristesse”, “Big Golden” and “Fourmis Rouge”, the four pillars of this earth...

Dave Graham bouldering at Fontainebleau
(Photos by Roberto Fioravanti)

Dave Graham climbing at Fontainebleau
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