New Climbing Website! by ellie berry


For a while I've been feeling like this site is getting a little cluttered, and so I am super excited to say that this morning I built a separate sit for all 'Climbing and the Outdoors' photography I do. That's not to say a small bit won't still crop up on this side, but now everything is starting to feel a little less claustrophobic. 

I chose the name allezberry  originally as a twitter handle; because 'allez' means 'go', and is a very popular climbing phrase of encouragement in the climbing world. Also, it sounds a bit like 'ellie'. Now I use it for multiple platforms, and so I thought it fitting name for a new website.

This website isn't going anywhere. It's going to remain my 'personal' site, with all the non-climbing work I create on it. The only changes will be me finishing the spring clean so the place has a flow to it. 

So go flick through the galleries on the new site (click the image above) and tell me what you think! 

I hate ants by ellie berry

A tent is a wonderful thing. It's a portable home, one that takes all of 5minutes (*cough*hours*cough*) to erect, needs very little maintenance. There is one thing I am discovering though, that I do not like.


"Ants are social insects of the family Formicidae /fɔrˈmɪsɨd/ and, along with the related wasps and bees, belong to the order Hymenopera. Ants evolved from wasp-like ancestors in the mid-Cretaceous period between 110 and 130 million years ago ... They are easily identified by their elbowed antennae and the distinctive node-like structure that forms their slender waists. Ants have colonised almost every landmass on Earth. The only places lacking indigenous ants are Antarctica and a few remote or inhospitable islands."

Lying on the floor, I look at the opaque ceiling and I see the movements of small, black shadows; the snowman shaped body of these creatures dancing along on paths I don't quite follow. But it's not too bad, there's only one up - no, there's another, and one more ... and two over there. And look at that slightly larger one, but oh my god is it faster than the others ...  

And so, I realised instead of finding a reasonable route around my portable home, what feels like a colony of ants now skitters across above my head. 

This is not were they stop. 

After starting to piece together the moves of the climb Opium 8a in Recloses, I pick up Carl's shoe, only to immediately drop it. Looking inside, there is no sole, but a writhing mass of small brown and black bodies. Throwing the shoe, a sea of these crawling creatures splatter across the rock it collides with. I repeat the process, the rock becoming so thickly covered that I have to move to a new stone to abuse. 
Several minutes later, I look inside and see no more. Slowly, oh so slowly, I insert my hand. Drawing it out, there are more wriggling bodies swinging between my fingers, and I resort to using the climbing brush to knock the final resistors out of the toe. I sit as far as I consider possible on hillside from the shoe, only to then think of my camera bag basking in the sun, the my hoodie discarded on the ground, the food bag out of sight and I pray is fully shut. 

And so on. 

So yes, right now, I am breeding a sufficient hatred of ants, one that I see staying with me for a considerable amount of time. 

Fontainebleau by ellie berry

Lying on a crash pad half enveloped in a duvet, I sit up; partially asleep but awake enough to realise something has changed. Several stumbled zip-doors later, I step outside and grin, moving out of the shade surrounding the tent to stand in the sun. It has returned. 


This isn't even (completely) my adventure. Enter Carl. 

Carl recently quit his job to start rock climbing, until either injury, lack of money, or boredom force him otherwise. Currently there is a large tent located in Fontainebleau, France with his name on it and I've tagged along for the first five weeks. I guess it's time to see how it goes. 


* * * 

There is a song by Crowded House, which has the chorus "Everywhere you go, you always take the weather with you. Everywhere you go, you always take the weather." And I have decided the this is an apt description of what I have been experiencing the past five and a half days. 

I have brought the Irish Rain. 

Rain in Font has enlightened me to a couple of things: 

  • Big tents are amazing. Being able to move from one room to another while remaining "indoors" all day is a blessing. Both cabin fever and general ones ability to tolerate the person next to them is vastly improved if not (almost) eradicated. 

  • Rain here is different. 
    While rain is rain no matter what way you approach it (unless you are a geologist or meteorologist I'm assuming), the area of Font is so flat, that thunder is nearly a given occurrence whenever the skies decide to open (although if I am honest, it may once or twice have been the ride-on lawnmower that the campsite owners seem to relish using morning noon and night. Here there is no stray long grass.).

Campsite mentioned; these are unusual places. There seems to be more caravans than one might expect in something that is, in my mind, what would jungle of tents and guide wires. These caravans come in the most amazing shades of white - amazing in the sense of bewilderment as opposed to shining awe. The patterns of not quite mould, but something off green and possibly fungal, streak down from windows and "racing-stripe" metal bands, to stain the off-tone beige bodies of these portable sleeping vessels which feel like they have been in location for the past ten years. Parked in opposing lots to these established homes are so-white-they-hold-blue-tints, new caravans, possibly glowing fainting from combinations of bleach and window cleaner. Old couples sit in front of both, in their mis-matching chairs, giving intense disapproving stares to those that dare to walk past. Alternative routes are internally plotted to avoid the gaze of the more scrutinising retirees. One would think, as their leather tanned skin starts to show signs of converting to a strong lobster red, that maybe another pass-time should be created, or maybe the chairs moved to a new angle so as to more evenly singe themselves. 
While considering these new routes I must remember to smile and cheerfully murmur a butchered "bonjour" in as happy a face I can exude while under such scrutiny. 

This said, because of the campsites key climbing location, these staring games are dispersed between tents of casually sprawled climbers. Such tents are obviously distinguishable through the multiple crash pads, flip flops and climbing shoes, all of which seems to congregate towards the opening crawl spaces or odd hammock. Slack lines appear and disappear, connecting random trees together. T-shirts are forsaken and displeased shouts are audible when mosquitos find their purchase.

Welcome to Fontainebleau.