Places explored/Climbed so far
- Franchard Isatis
It's a popular area, with good landings, so can be a bit crowded. The crowds are there for a reason though, as it has 383 boulders within circuits (and 155 outside circuits) up to 6C+. It has some really nice and fun blue slabs, the red circuit being a bit more challenging. Also, if you're lucky, you will meet a small older french man with white combed back hair and glasses, walking around with just his flip flops and a rag (the locals are too good to actually use climbing shoes). He lives 5km away from the place, and so knows every problem and how they should be climbed. Not speaking a word of english, he will shout at you one of five words: "A Droit!", "A Gauche!", "Bon, Bon!", "Null - Null!", or "Les pieds". When you fall on a heap in the ground, he'll step onto the problem in his bare feet, do the crux in extra slow motion to show you both how useless you are, and how you will never have as much poise as this older gentleman. You'll attempt it again, and feel slightly better when you get slightly further, see him nod at you and continue on, to help the next suffering climber fall more gracefully off their rock.
- Roche aux Sabots
Roche aux Sabots is, in my experience, a little more quite than Isatis. It still has good landings, and is slightly more sheltered with extra tree cover. It is a bit smaller, with (under 6C+) 182 boulders within circuits and 57 boulders outside of them. While being here I wasn't climbing, but the problems looked amazingly fun, and the walk from the carpark to the climbs is almost nothing (until you have to run back to the car to escape the lashing rain).
- Franchard Cuisinière
Cuisinière is right within the same area as Isatis, with about a 750m walk in. A very quite area with good climbing and easy to find. The landings aren't great, and most of the problems are quite tall starting ( I will admit to pad stacking so that I could reach starting holds twice) and very difficult. Oddly though, all the circuits seem to be of the same grade, so it's pretty much a free for all. A couple of the reds are easy, so are the best of getting started. It also contains the easiest 6b I've seen so far in font (as long as you're tall). For somewhere that's not popular, it contains a lot of boulders, with 217 boulders on circuit, and 108 off.
- Cul de Chien
Cull de Chien is one of the coolest places I have seen here. While the rest of the places are within the forest, Cul de Chien is a huge clearing made up entirely of sand. The rocks all fall around a small hill in the middle of this anti - oasis clearing, all the landings being extra cushioned from the amount of sand (as long as you miss all the rocks, so I'm not saying the landings are that amazing). The climbing is good - and hard. The blue circuit is less fun, and more ass-kicking as you feel like you're scrambling up something that you should do in your sleep. The reds provide a really good challenge if you want to spend a little longer focusing on tricky climbing.
- Bas Cuvier
459 in circuit | 217 out of circuit
Cuvier is really accessible, and to be honest we only saw the opening ten boulders as the problems on those were attractive enough to hold us there. I've heard it's a great area, but wasn't climbing there and didn't see much. A little further back there looked to be the most amazing overhang, but that's all I know. Right beside the road, you can see the boulders from the car park.
- Petit Bois
226 Boulders on circuit | 13 Boulders off
Is located just outside Nemours, and so is one of my favourite places as it is easy to cycle to from the campsite I'm staying in. The climbing there is pretty good there, with Big Jim being one of the more famous climbs. And it is most deserving of the name - the drop is huge. After half way, you either finish it or die. One of the first places I went, so want to go back and climb properly.
- Restant du Long Rocher
98 on circuit | 63 off circuit
To be honest, I can't remember this one, but supposedly we have been there .... I'll update this when I find out what it was. Guess it doesn't bode for too shining a review though.
Recloses is reclusive. An out of the way area, it's the first one we found cycling as it's only 15 - 20 minutes away. Most of the area is taken up by a wildlife reserve, as there is something indangered there and don't want climbers trampling new paths and brushing off boulders to set problems. What does exist is an 8a roof problem called Opium. With what I consider one good hold in the whole climb, it's not exactly something I'm aiming for, but Carl has set it aside as a possible project. It's a powerful route, and set for someone with decent reach. The landings are mediocre, but it's a fun one to watch others fall off of. Not really worth somewhere hiking out to if you're on a tight timeline, but if you move here it'd be worth the day.
- Rocher des Demoiselles
163 in circuit | 134 out of circuit
To be honest, I'm not sure if we actually found this area. One thing in fontainebleau, is that if you don't know where you're heading exactly, you can't really wing it. Accidentally parking in a car park 50 meters further down the road can result in a day going from climbing to two hours hiking trying to find the supposed climbing. Always, make sure you know which car park.
289 on circuit | 45 off circuit
Éléphant is one of my favourite places. Admittedly, it was on the June Bank Holiday weekend, so it was packed with every climber and non- climber imaginable, but I really liked the climbing. The boulder Éléphant itself has some deadly roof problems, and then everything else varies from slabs to dynos to foot-jamming.
- Bois Rond
Bois Rond, or "bwoi bwoi" as it has become known through accidental Chinese whispers, is a really fun area. The red circuit has a huge grade range, from something possibly in the high 4's, to a 7a. The landings are pretty decent the whole way around (of what I managed to get to). It's full of traverses, most of which have the most positive holds I've felt since getting here. This is definitely my other favourite area. As well as having great climbing, it is an extremely pretty looking place, with supposedly other climbing areas off of the same path into it. So lots to do.