My first trip to Fontainebleau went way too quickly! In fact, this was my first proper climbing trip too and I could have easily stayed for a lot longer. Waking up everyday with a big group of friends, having coffee and French pastries, checking the weather app and choosing which area to climb at isn’t a bad way to spend a morning. We were very lucky with the weather, despite a slightly dodgy forecast the rain held off all week with a minor downpour on one or two evenings, but we still climbed for 7-8 hours every day which was incredible but also very tiring! The most I’ve climbed back to back is probably two consecutive days at the crags in Yorkshire on the grit so this was completely new to me. Luckily the rock isn’t as harsh on the skin but I could definitely feel my body slowing down by mid-week.
I didn’t go with too many expectations of grades to climb, I wrote down a few problems that looked cool which I wanted to get on but knowing that the grades are often pretty stiff in Font I was happy to just top some out! As it was my first time I wanted to get on as many problems as I could, so we spent a lot of time going around the blue and red circuits at each area we went to, probably getting on 20-25 problems each day which is something I wouldn’t normally get to do in the UK.
We headed out to Rocher aux Sabots on our first day. It was insanely busy as it was the weekend and Easter Sunday plus amazing weather all at the same time! It was a great place to start as all the boulders were super close to each other with mountains of blues and reds to go around. We stayed out till about 7.30, until we could no longer put our shoes on or pull of the ground anymore. Towards the end of the day I had a few goes on Graviton 7a, managed the first few moves but found the crux to slap my left hand up and over onto the top of the boulder. One for next time with fresh arms and skin.
Went to Franchard Isatis/Cuisinere and did more of the blue and red circuits. The weather was a little bit more temperamental and started to rain at about 6pm so we called it quits for the day and walked the dog instead for the evening. I really liked this area as it was very picturesque but the boulders weren't so close to each other like they were in Sabots. Did mean that there were some pretty good spots to get a yogi picture though!
Spent our time at Rocher Canon today which was a lot quieter so we had the puppy out with us at the boulders. I did my first 6 of the forest! (Caprice 6a) a fairly slopey techy problem but the top out was okay :) Really pleased that I got this climb and hopefully I can get a few more before the end of the week!
Time for a rest day. Skin and feet getting a little bit sore so a rest day seemed like the best idea, plus the weather forecast was looking a little dodgy. Lazy morning followed by pastries and coffee in Milly la Foret. After lunch the sun started to shine so we took the dog out for a walk around 95.2 and took our pads and shoes just in case. There's a boulder on the right hand side as you walk up towards 95.2 with a problem called yoga on which I really wanted to give a try. Some of the holds were a little wet so Matt got on 'Yogi' instead and I managed to send 'La Surplombe Rouge' 6a on the other side of the boulder!
Second 6a tick of the week. It was quite a juggy problem with the hardest bit cutting loose and holding the big back swing.
And here's Matt on Yogi...
Went across to Elephant today as there were a few problems that both me and Matt wanted to get on. It was super busy with families and lots of climbers so not so many circuits today but instead we spent more time on individual problems. There are a lot of high problems at Elephant and Matt did a massive arete called La Figure de Proue- 7a.
I did another 6 today :) La Surplombe du Lepreux- 6a. A really nice climb with a few slopers and underclings. No picture but here's me trying La Voie Michaud- 6c :)
This was one of the problems on my list that I wanted to try. It looked pretty spanny so I surprised myself that I managed the first few moves. Now just working on keeping the heel in to get my right hand over into the crack above my left. I definitely think I can get this next time!
Last day :( We had such amazing weather today with completely blue skies from morning till sundown. Me and Matt headed to 95.2 for the morning to get on some problems that we didn't try on Wednesday. The heat did make it a little trickier to grip on some problems that were directly in the sun, so that just meant more sunbathing!
We went back to Isatis in the afternoon as the weather was cooling down slightly and finished off our time in the forest with a few more blues and reds. When it gets to the point where its painful to touch the rock it's definitely time to stop and rest!
I had the most amazing time in Fontainebleau and I can't wait to go back soon and get back on the climbs I didn't quite manage and find some new ones to send!
I can't recommend Font enough as a place to climb outdoors, even if you're a beginner there are thousands of problems to try and ultimately it's not about how hard you climb but being outdoors, in the moment and having pure fun.