Helen Dudley

Mum of Sebastian, 8, and Theo 6. Living in Arbonne-la-Forêt.

After making transitions from trad, to sport, to motherhood, Helen now lives in the Fontainebleau area dedicating as much time as possible to bouldering and playing in the forest with her two boys.

Still getting stronger at 49, Helen recently climbed her first 7c+ (V10).

Follow Helen Dudley
Height: 154cm
Ape: 4cm


Helen Dudley, July 31 on Contributing to BettyBeta

Did you work it out Josie? Sorry I didn’t reply straight away. If you go to the ‘contributing’ section, in the first bullet point, there’s a line in blue text... ‘import individual lines from Bleau.info’. If you click that you should be able to paste in the URL of the page from Bleau.info that has the climb in it. If you have any problems let me know.

Helen Dudley, June 4 on Délit de Droite

This didn't feel particularly hard for the grade, but I think its a mistake to try and use the lower footholds if you're short.

Helen Dudley, May 30 on Scarlatine (assis)

Bonjour Celine, Je sais que cette route est un peu déroutante, mais je pense que ca dépend de l'angle de lequel vous la regardez. Autant que je sache, la prise de départ est légèrement à droite et tend à gauche sur la dalle pour sortir. Je pense que ça peut être plus facile que 7b si tu es petit ??

Helen Dudley, March 11, 2020 on La Ritournelle

Berengere let me have this video... does that help?

Helen Dudley, March 8, 2020 on Égoïste

I love your beta Petra! That right hand near the top looks like it might be the key! I’ve always struggled to set up for the final move on this problem! Thanks for sharing!

Helen Dudley, March 3, 2020 on In town, hoping to climb

Are you alone or will you have family along? We live around Font, and I’ll have my 6-year-old son with me and could possibly climb on the Wednesday, or if you could get down early enough from Paris we could climb one morning? Hope you have a great trip

Helen Dudley, February 8, 2020 on Recovery

I’m looking for any top tips anyone may have for speeding up recovery rate. I want to be able to climb when the weather’s good, and not have to wait 3 days for my body to catch up!!

Helen Dudley, October 22, 2019 on Tube Rider

I found this quite a bit harder than Surf Betty because I couldn't keep my feet on with my hands on the top. Taller folk seem to find it somewhat easier. The beta I used makes up for the difficulty, because it is so sweet, and big guys miss out!! I found I could get a heel-toe cam in under the undercling for the move around under the arete. Then, forget the feet, campussing is easier!

Helen Dudley, October 22, 2019 on Surf Betty

Ok, so I'm biased because I opened this line, but it is so much fun for someone of just my height!! Sit start to the right of the wave, matched in a pocket, and avoiding the pedestal. Move out to a luscious undercling, and using core strength, a foot jam and a tiny crimp on the face, make a full-length dead-point to a small dish on the lip. The move left around the corner is easier if you can bunch your feet up really high.

Helen Dudley, October 13, 2019 on Pitt Boule

I am short, not terribly bold, and nearly always climb on my own, feel free to look at my list of ascents for ideas, but I really recommend a day at Drei Zinnen on Close contact and Bifurcation :-)

Helen Dudley, October 13, 2019 on Pitt Boule

Awesome, let me know how you get on. Silvergrey is quite straight forward for shorties, and you might try https://bettybeta.com/bouldering/fontainebleau/mont-simonet/poignee-damour too if you’re feeling strong. Have a fun day

Helen Dudley, October 12, 2019 on Pitt Boule

Good thinking, Maybe that would work, but I just got grumpy and went to climb something else !! 🤪

Helen Dudley, October 12, 2019 on Pitt Boule

Sorry, I had the same problem, I don’t think the start goes at the same grade for shorties!

Helen Dudley, August 25, 2019 on y'a pas photo

It is. This page is actually the result of a mis-spelling way back on our first day of entering data for BettyBeta, and should be hidden from view for anybody who's not a moderator. Here's the actual entry for the line:

https://bettybeta.com/bouldering/fontainebleau/franchard-isatis/ya-pas-foto

As a historical note, this line is one of the reasons we now use bleau.info's route names as the single point of truth for how things are named. If we didn't we'd have four copies of some routes in our database by now!

Helen Dudley, July 7, 2019 on Share your views on shoes

What do you wear and why? Check out the shoe review in Articles and let us know what you think

Helen Dudley, June 8, 2019 on Rio Bravo

Let me know and I’ll meet you there :-)

Helen Dudley, June 7, 2019 on 7a that suits the shortest

Then, I would recommend you have a look at Reta Franklin - that’s super fun if you’re short

Helen Dudley, June 7, 2019 on 7a that suits the shortest

I tried it yesterday, and I think it’ll go, but it’s hard. If you’re around for the weekend you could maybe try it with us tomorrow??

Helen Dudley, June 7, 2019 on 7a that suits the shortest

Hey Chrissie, I tried that Chasseur de Prises with Caroline, and it’s super hard if you’re our height. I think it’s hard for everyone anyway, because it’s a classic, and more polished than when it was first climbed, but that little jump to a sloper is quite tough for 7a!

Helen Dudley, June 6, 2019 on Rio Bravo

Have you been yet Nadine? I hear it’s dry?

Helen Dudley, June 6, 2019 on 7a that suits the shortest

Begnots Story ? https://bleau.info/valleeeglise/1392.html Really fun roof that’s good on a hot day, and will stay dry in a light shower. There’s not much else around it, but I have no doubt you’d love it???

Helen Dudley, June 6, 2019 on What is the minor Crash Pad Equipment you take for bouldering?

I am loving my ‘blubber’ at the moment, it’s this giant thin mat that goes over the top of whatever else you take with you. I go for one big, one small and a blubber. This is great for higher probs to make sure there are no gaps to fall in, or for ground cover on low traverses, oh, and of course, the towel!! Gotsta wipe those feet :-).

Helen Dudley, May 25, 2019 on Rio Bravo

Hi Nadine, I haven’t climbed it yet, but I’d like to. I think it’ll be dry now if you’re around to try?

Helen Dudley, May 24, 2019 on Black Hole Sun

This is a nicely climbed block, but I'm not sure that it's Black Hole Sun that you've climbed. I think it starts a little further right and exits to the right of the prow. If you need a definitive decision perhaps you should ask bleau.info, but this line looks fun - maybe you need to name and grade it and submit it as a first ascent.

Helen Dudley, May 22, 2019 on Weather

That’s amazing Dani, only wrong once! I think Accuweather has only been right once! I’m swapping to meteocentrale!!

Helen Dudley, May 18, 2019 on Confusion on Vent Couvert at J A Martin

Hi Cat, did you ever get any clarity on this? I’m sorry but I haven’t seen this block, so I can’t comment

Helen Dudley, May 17, 2019 on Weather

Who uses which weather forecasts for the area? Any recommendations for a reliable site?

Helen Dudley, May 17, 2019 on Chat

Does anyone have any ideas about how to get people chatting in the cafe? Any ideas about topics for discussions or about usability of the forum??

Helen Dudley, May 17, 2019 on Make it grow

Hi Josie, are you still around? I would love to discuss Insta-posts, hashtags and flyers. Sorry that I didn’t get back to you before. I’m completely new to the Inst-scene :-).

Helen Dudley, May 11, 2019 on La Marie-Rose

The only way to climb this is to concentrate on your feet. Get them as high as possible, and forget how bad the holds feel. Climb by levitation and belief!

Helen Dudley, May 11, 2019 on Sous-Dur

For me the trick was to creep the hands along the ledge to make room for the left heel. Then the mantle goes with a high right heel, but the trick here was the placement of the left foot to initiate the rock over.

Helen Dudley, May 11, 2019 on Contraction (assis) / Misère Noire

This doesn't feel like 7b+ if you have tough skin and a high pain tolerance :-) There are no big reaches, and it benefits from hip flexibility, so an easy tick if you're a lightweight rhino!

Helen Dudley, May 11, 2019 on Iceberg

The initial traverse is definitely easier if you're short, as we don't need to worry too much about butt-dragging, but the move to the start holds of the stand-start can be a bit of a stopper if you're less than 5ft4. It does go with a precise right foot placement and a dead-point to the left sloper. For the top move I had huge problems sticking the upper left sloper, so I found some foot-beta that allowed me to miss it out.

Helen Dudley, May 11, 2019 on Humphrey

Fun jamming to a little change of style in Font. Be aware of the flake inside the crack that seems a little fragile, don't crimp behind it, commit to that jam :-) The move at the corner benefits from a large undercut low on the left.

Helen Dudley, May 11, 2019 on Coup de Poing

If you can keep your left foot in nice and close, and rock your weight right over it, this mantle is probably easier for us shorties, just make sure you have a plan for what to do with your feet once you're over the lip :-)

Helen Dudley, May 11, 2019 on Proue Puérile

This is a little harder the shorter you are, but its actually loads of fun. The holds are ok when you get to them, so commit to the swings and hang on :-)

Helen Dudley, May 10, 2019 on La Chicorée

For me the crux was getting off the ground, although even after the good hold there is a long reach to the left hand crimp. We used a slightly worse vertical crimp that was fractionally closer. For the fist move my beta involved pressing down with my right thumb on a marginal crozzle (see photo), and Beth used the tiny edge next to the crack.

Helen Dudley, May 5, 2019 on Girls fun Sunday

That would be great Dani, let’s do it again soon :-)

Helen Dudley, April 20, 2019 on Girls fun Sunday

If there are any girls around who fancy meeting up on Sunday 21st April at La Segognole, we’re meeting up from 10.30 for some fun on orange and red circuit problems.

Helen Dudley, April 17, 2019 on The Climbing Girlfriend

Ha! Absolutely Jessica :-) ! What’s worse is when they catch you warming up and feel they are entitled to correct you too 😳🤪??

Helen Dudley, April 17, 2019 on Mine de Rien (assis)

If you get it on a good day the tiny sloper crimp on the right will work as a lay-back that turns the problem into two 6bs tied together by a lucky catch. I used my flexible hips to get in a high left heel hook and bump up onto the key undercling that marks the start of the 6a+ upper section.

Helen Dudley, March 23, 2019 on Lucifer

Not a bad 7a+ for lightweight frames and small fingers. For me the key was matching the high crimp, moving the right hand far enough over to leave space for the left.

Helen Dudley, March 14, 2019 on Compresse Nez (droite)

Wow! That's so neat! Now I wanna try :-)

Helen Dudley, February 24, 2019 on Y'a pas Foto

This appears in some guidebooks as a 7a+. Maybe it's not quite that hard, but it is a great line, and has the option of using a hand-jam and plenty of girl-foot-trickery. Take care not to jam the foot in too well at the start, because you'll end up on your head if your hand-jam slips out!!

Crouching start on the horizontal break using a left hand jam and right foot jam. Reach backwards to place the right hand-jam in the crack on the lip, then the left on the sloper next to it. reach around the lip to a good hold on the vertical crack with your right hand, and bring your feet out to the front face. Trust the left hand sloper and a marginal right hand to place a toe jam in the crack, and udge on up to the jug on the right. it helps to have good hip flexibility for this last move if you're not very tall.

Helen Dudley, February 24, 2019 on L'Étroit Mousse, plus Bas que Terre

The key for me was moving the right heel to the front of the ledge to reach the sharp holds, and swinging my right foot around to lead on the way out of the roof.

Helen Dudley, January 22, 2019 on 8-6 Bavaria (bas)

Helen Dudley, January 21, 2019 on Good Vibrations

Nyce !! like the vid.

Helen Dudley, January 21, 2019 on Good Vibrations

Helen Dudley, November 26, 2018 on Bleau's Art

Beautiful bit of Bleau sandstone with a combination of athletic overhang climbing and true Bleau slopers. If you're super short the first move is a bit dynamic, and the spans can feel a little stretched, but it works, and feels like a very solid 7b+

Helen Dudley, November 26, 2018 on Transformers

I loved this route, and spent lots of time in this beautiful part of the forest. Three-dimensional roof climbing fun,

Helen Dudley, November 26, 2018 on Iceberg (aller-retour)

This is an awesome first 7c+ for girls, with small holds and no big reaches

Helen Dudley, November 26, 2018 on Bifurcation

This is a lovely problem for girls, with pockets and high foot placements. The first move is a bit of a trick, but once you have it, the route flows quite nicely.

Helen Dudley, November 26, 2018 on Bifurcation-diversion combi

This was put up when there used to be a large pinch hold for the right hand that was used to start a route to the right. Since the hold has broken and the line is more direct it may be a little easier than the original 7c, but it still flows really nicely for girls.

Helen Dudley, November 25, 2018 on La Nuit

Super fun route with a hole in a roof that you can cam your foot in and climb round it like a clock. The description on Bleau.info says where to start with the left hand, but it is unclear if you need to match on the start or not. I didn't, so the ascent in the video may not be valid, but the beta for the rest works and is too much fun not to recommend to other girls.