For those that haven’t been before, Fontainebleau (often known simply as Font) is the spiritual home of European bouldering. So much so it even has a grading system named after it (https://www.99boulders.com/bouldering-grades#font-scale)! The area is largely covered by forest over a total of about 280 sq. km, interspersed with clearings and footpaths and positively chock full of funky sandstone boulders.
The climbing is here is quite unique due to the nature of the rock, and has been a focal point for climbers since the 19th century. There’s grades suitable for everyone no matter your level of bouldering expertise. Expect to spend a little while getting used to climbing on sandstone and finding your friction, then have a go at following one of the many numbered circuits, which will be a sequence of colour coded routes (problems) all at a similar grade 🙂 Some of these circuits are long enough you can spend a whole day working on them, others are short enough to blast round in a couple of hours. See https://www.ukclimbing.com/articles/page.php?id=1567 for more info.
Due to the wooded setting and the number of different areas to explore there’s also ample opportunity for resting your fingers and having a go at some slacklining or chilling in a hammock scoffing a croissant.
Here are some quick points on the trip that the club is organising. Much like the camping meets in the UK, the expectation is that members will arrange their own transport and book their own camping, although we’ll be offering plenty of suggestions to make it nice and easy, and prepping the campsite for a big group of SCC’ers.
- Thurs 18/04 to Mon 23/04 (Easter Bank Holiday weekend)
- Although you can flex this in your own bookings
- Our suggestion is to drive and catch either the ferry or Eurotunnel
- You may want to share the driving as it’s about 3-4 hours either side of the channel
- The ferry is generally cheaper (~£110) but slower (~1h45)
- The tunnel is more expensive (~£180) but quicker (~30m)
- These services generally include up to 6 passenger, so you can fill your car up, but bear in mind you may need some room for boulder mats either on the way over or once you arrive
- The forest is big! Although 1 or 2 areas may be walkable from the campsite you’ll probably want to drive to explore other areas.
- We suggest staying at the La Musardiere campsite right in the middle of the forest: https://www.campingfrance.com/uk/find-your-campsite/ile-de-france/essonne/milly-la-foret/la-musardiere Contact: +33 1 64 98 91 91 / firstname.lastname@example.org
- It’s a large campsite and we’ll be asking them to arrange an area for SCC, but you must make your own bookings once we’ve given you the heads up
- Price: aprox €30 per night for 1 car + 1 tent + 3 people + city tax
- If the campsite is full or you don’t want to camp, there are mobile homes at the same site as well as gîtes. There’s also other campsites and gîtes in the area
- It’s just bouldering! You can probably leave your trad rack at home 😉
- Boulder mats, chalk bags & climbing shoes are all you should need
- There are options for hiring boulder mats around Font, we’ll pass on details of this nearer the time but Easter is a busy time so if you have your own it’s definitely worth taking it along
- As always SCC will do their utmost to arrange good weather
- Easter is a popular time of year around Font as the cooler temps lend themselves to better climbing, but we were still climbing in T-shirts last year
- There is always the chance of some rain. In that case there’s a few options for wet-weather activities: Paris & Versailles are only an hour’s drive, there’s loads of walks around the forest, a weird sculpture nearby (https://www.atlasobscura.com/places/le-cyclop), a bunch of climbing gyms in Paris and of course there’s always wine.
There’s a Facebook event for updates, but please register your interest here on the SCC website as soon as you can to give us an approximate idea of numbers for the campsite.
Allez, allez! (verb. French for “Go!”)