Fontainebleau is known as the top-1 bouldering spot in the world. “Its little yet hard-to-climb rocks” are perfect for testing yourself. It is totally legitimate to ask yourself whether bouldering in the best spot in the world is dangerous or not. We know that bouldering can be paired with injuries and that we should always be prepared for this kind of training. We should make sure to bring the right pieces of material in order to stay safe while bouldering. So, is bouldering in Fontainebleau dangerous?

Bouldering in Fontainebleau is not particularly dangerous if you bring the right material with you. That material includes a crash pad, your chalk bag, and your usual bouldering equipment. It is also better to come with a friend to belay you.

three persons belaying a climber on a rock
Coming to Fontainebleau with a friend is great to both have good time and having someone to belay you.

What should you bring with to boulder? The ultimate bouldering checklist

Rock climbing safely means that you need to carry on some equipment with you. If you want to be sure to not forget anything, here is a rock climbing checklist I made for you. This list will make your bouldering in Fontainebleau less dangerous.

  • Bouldering shoes
  • Chalk and chalk bag
  • Crash pad (bouldering mat)
  • Water
  • First aid kit

Bouldering shoes

Bouldering shoes are key to have strong footholds during your climbs. You need them to challenge Font’s rocks. “Font” is how people call Fontainebleau. You can also hear people calling Fontainebleau “Bleau”. It is pronounced “Blow”.

open climbing shoes on the grass
A pair of climbing shoes on the ground. Picture from Julia Margeth Theuer.

Chalk and chalk bag

Putting chalk on your hands and on some parts of the rocks is great to make the climb easier (and sometimes to make it doable). Since there are lots of climbers in Fontainebleau nowadays, the chances that you see chalk on the rocks even before you start bouldering are high. This can help you to see where is the easiest route up the rock. However, this also shows that bouldering damages the rocks and that we should be careful not damaging them too much. The chalk bag is not mandatory, but it can be useful and comforting for some of the hardest rocks.

Crash pad (bouldering mat)

The crash pad (bouldering mat) is probably the most important piece of material you should take with you for your safety. Indeed, falling from 2-meters high does not look dangerous, but it totally is! If you boulder in Fontainebleau, you may climb 7Cs! Those kinds of rocks will probably put you upside down, exposing your head to the ground. If you miss the foothold or the handhold, your face will be the first body part to touch the floor. Of course, this is the most dangerous part of bouldering, and this is why bringing a crash pad is really important. Last but not least, a crash pad is a comfortable place to relax when your session is over.

The most common bouldering injuries

When you climb, every muscle group is engaged, from the buttocks to the fingers. Hence, the most classic body parts which are injured when you climb are the articulations. The fingers, the shoulders, the elbows, and the knees are under a lot of pressure during some movements. Understanding how does these common climbing injuries happen is very interesting. Here, we are just going to name them. So, here are the 4 most-common climbing wounds.

  • Finger Pulley Injuries
  • Rotator cuff tendinopathy/Shoulder Impingement
  • Lateral Epicondylalgia (Tennis Elbow)
  • Meniscal Tears

Since I am not a doctor, I will not give you tips to cure these injuries. If you are injured, you should plan a meeting with your doctor, and see a sports-specialized doctor. If you follow general safety tips (warming up, stretching after the session, drinking a lot of water,…), and bring with you the material I metioned earlier, you should be able to avoid the majority of those injuries.

Bouldering in Fontainebleau

The best season to climb in Fontainebleau is winter, because it’s where you will have the most friction on the sandstones. However, if you prefer climbing on warm days, it’s totally fine to climb during summer. Be careful, the best rocks will be crowded!

If you are not sure where to head in Fontainebleau, it’s fine. Indeed, the forest is very large and not every corner of it has great rocks to climb. However, the majority of the forest is rocky. Also, the car parks are usually close to bouldering spots. You can head to Les Sables du Cul-du-chien, Rocher Canon, Franchard Isatis, or Bas Cuvier to start off. Those are the most common places to boulder.

fontainebleau bouldering map for climbers
A Fontainebleau map with the 4-named bouldering spots. Picture from Les Others.

Is Fontainebleau the best bouldering spot in the world?

Choosing “the best” in any category is not something easy, because it’s often subjective. Here, some people will prefer other spots for various reasons. However, it seems like different websites agree on saying Fontainebleau is one of the best bouldering areas in the world. Here are two different quotes from two websites I found after some research.

Fontainebleau, also known as Font or Bleau, is situated 90km south of Paris and can be simply described as the best bouldering area in Europe if not the world. The majority of the bouldering is to found in the forests that surround Fontainebleau, which makes for a magical and unique setting. The sandstone rock is of fantastic quality and the landings are generally soft and sandy. The bouldering sometimes requires brute strength, but that is rare, most of the time you need excellent skills in balance, footwork and technique.

According to Climb Europe.

Fontainebleau really is the Mecca for bouldering in Europe and the rest of the world too. Only 40 miles south of Paris and set around the beautiful Forest of Fontainebleau, the sheer quantity and quality of boulders in such a small area is completely mind-blowing. You’ll find more than 30,000 problems for every level of climber; techy slabs and long traverses, unforgiving roofs, giant dynos and pant-shitting highballs, you name it they’ve got it. You can watch pros attempt classic problems or explore quieter parts of the forest and have the whole place to yourselves. It really is paradise for climbers and set in truly beautiful surroundings. 

According to Veggie Vagabonds.

What else to do in Fontainebleau if bouldering is too dangerous for you?

I hope that I didn’t make bouldering in Fontainebleau look impossible. Indeed, bouldering there is simple. The hardest could be to find great rocks that suit your level which is not already being climbed by other climbers. However, there is not only climbing which is great in Font. You can also camp or hike in Fontainebleau. The landscapes are scenic and the light in the forest keeps changing, offering a variety of colors all day long.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *