Fontainebleau is a world-renowned bouldering destination located just outside of Paris, France. The area is known for its beautiful forest and unique sandstone boulders, which provide some of the best climbing in the world. Fontainebleau is a must-visit destination for any boulderer looking to push their skills and experience some of the best climbing in the world.
The History of Fontainebleau Bouldering
The history of Fontainebleau bouldering can be traced back to the early 1900s, when climbers first started exploring the area. However, it wasn’t until the 1950s and 60s that bouldering in Fontainebleau really took off. During this time, climbers such as John Gill and Bernd Arnold were pushing the limits of what was possible on the sandstone boulders, and establishing some of the area’s most iconic problems.
Since then, Fontainebleau has become a mecca for boulderers from around the world. Today, there are over 20,000 boulder problems in Fontainebleau, ranging in difficulty from beginner to elite level.
What Makes Fontainebleau Bouldering Unique
One of the things that makes Fontainebleau bouldering so unique is the sandstone rock. The sandstone in Fontainebleau is unlike any other type of rock, with a unique texture and friction that allows climbers to smear and edge on the rock in a way that is not possible on other types of rock. The sandstone boulders also come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes, from small and technical to large and powerful, providing something for every type of climber.
Another unique aspect of Fontainebleau bouldering is the forest environment. The boulders are scattered throughout the forest, which provides a peaceful and natural setting for climbing. The forest also provides a wide variety of other activities, such as hiking and cycling, making Fontainebleau a great destination for a climbing trip with friends or family.
Tips for Climbing in Fontainebleau
If you’re planning a trip to Fontainebleau for bouldering, there are a few things to keep in mind. Firstly, it’s important to respect the environment and the rules of the area. This means not damaging the rock or the forest, and sticking to the established paths and boulders.
It’s also important to bring the right gear for climbing in Fontainebleau. Use chalk with caution and brush it off afterwards. Chalk should only be used on hands, never directly on the rock. A good pair of climbing shoes with good friction is essential, as is a crash pad for safety. Clean the bottom of your climbing shoes removing all sand and dirt before any climb. This is essential to limit rock erosion. Additionally, since the boulders can be spread out throughout the forest, it’s a good idea to bring a guidebook or map to help navigate the area.
Finally, it’s important to remember that Fontainebleau bouldering can be challenging, both physically and mentally. The sandstone rock can be unforgiving, and the boulder problems can be complex and technical. It’s important to be patient and persistent, and to take breaks when needed to avoid injury or burnout.
Fontainebleau bouldering is an experience like no other. The unique sandstone rock, beautiful forest environment, and wide variety of boulder problems make it a must-visit destination for any boulderer. Whether you’re a beginner or an elite climber, Fontainebleau has something to offer, and will challenge and inspire you in equal measure.