UKC

Is there bouldering in Fontainbleu for beginners?

New Topic
Please Register as a New User in order to reply to this topic.
 jduncs 04 Jul 2024

I am a keen beginner-intermediate (~V5-V6) boulderer and looking to go to Fontainbleu this summer for a week. My girlfriend (who climbs V2-V4 comfortably indoors) is less keen as she says the climbs are all really hard and she doesn't want to spend a week spotting and holding matts etc.

Are there beginner-friendly routes there to enjoy?

Apologies, don't know the other grades all that well as we are only just starting to venture to outdoor climbing! 

5
 Jackspratt 04 Jul 2024
In reply to jduncs:

probably the biggest range and highest quality beginner problems i the world, to the extent that I'm still not sure if you are trolling us.

OP jduncs 04 Jul 2024
In reply to Jackspratt:

glad to hear that thanks. Any advice on whereabouts in particular or is it pretty much all over?

> to the extent that I'm still not sure if you are trolling us.

genuinely not, my gf asked me to investigate as a few people have told her that!

1
 DamonRoberts 04 Jul 2024
In reply to jduncs:

You could spend a week climbing V0 and not run out of things to try. 

One of the best elements of climbing in Font is the easy circuits. They're marked by colour, yellow, orange, and blue. Many of these will be 30 or 40 problems long (occasionally over 100!), and you just go on adventure through the forest, occasionally ending up projecting a 'V0' but rarely feeling the need to go fetch your pads. Of these, some of them are 'floor is lava', so you follow a trail of arrows and dots around without touching the ground. These are a personal favourite. There will also be numerous variations, and non circuit problems everywhere.

Yellow - 1A – 3C/VB – V0 

Orange - 2A – 4B/VB – V0

Blue - 3C – 5C/V0 – V2

Red - 4C – 6C/V1 – V4

If you prefer projecting, almost everywhere will have things to pull on across the grade ranges. I'd recommend a mix of the two. Grab a cheap used copy of Jingo Wobbly Font from here or eBay and have a browse! (then use Boolder on your phone to navigate when you're there)

Post edited at 11:46
1
 Doug 04 Jul 2024
In reply to jduncs:

short answer is yes, remember that there are circuits for kids & often lots of easy problems not included in any circuit or guidebook. I think  V2-V4 equals 5 -6 in bleau grades so she could probably climb many of the yellow, orange & blue circuits once she gets used to the rock.

OP jduncs 04 Jul 2024
In reply to DamonRoberts:

This is amazing, thanks very much! Getting excited to go now! Are the circuits quite obvious or is there a best guide book on that as well? 

Will have a look at Jingo Wobbly Font, thanks for the tip. 

 Jackspratt 04 Jul 2024
In reply to jduncs:

You're best bet is to get the Jingo Wobbly fun bloc guidebook and take it from there, favourites of mine are, Rocher aux sabots, 95.2, cul de chien but I could go on for ever, some of the places are a little on the higher side but you'll have no problem finding lower stuff with immaculate landings. 

A rather convenient quirk of font bouldering is that on the well travelled circuits you'll find coloured numbers and arrows telling you exactly what bloc it is. 

I'd highly recommend figuring out how you'll get down off blocs before you head up, there's plenty of problems with suitable down climbs but also plenty where the v0-2 is the way down too.

Also don't get disheartened if the easier stuff kicks your butt, I failed on a 6a, had a strop watched a beta video and still failed, sent a 7b the next day. Grades over there are best taken with a pinch of salt! I've definitely learned to leave my ego at home when going to font! 

Post edited at 11:55
 Yak-muhahahaha 04 Jul 2024
In reply to jduncs:

Yeah, as DamonRoberts said, jump on the circuits from yellow and see how you go. Just pick an area that has yellows, oranges and other stuff mixed up together and you will both be fine. I go regularly in a mixed group with kids and stronger folk and it all works fine. Most of the bigger areas will be good. The only issues would be if you had a particular project in mind that wasn't near easier circuits, but at V5/V6, just pick off the odd gem that happens to be near the yellow/orange/blue circuit and you'll be good. 

Also, lower your grade expectations initially as some 5's will feel very hard and 7a might be impossible...for now. Have fun.

1
In reply to jduncs:

Yeah I also thought you were taking the piss. There's surely more... Look at the Bart van Raaij guides. 7+8 is one book (it's really good btw), but 5+6 needs two.

Get the Boolder app, and have a look round bleau.info. I think the jingo books are unintelligible hieroglyphic crap but some people love them so get them if you like them. I'd recommend the BvR ones or just using Boolder but I'm not going to die on that hill. 

Oh and if you're climbing V5-6 mainly/exclusively indoors, temper your expectations as others have said. You'll need time to learn what feet are.

 Ramblin dave 04 Jul 2024
In reply to Longsufferingropeholder:

> Get the Boolder app, and have a look round bleau.info. I think the jingo books are unintelligible hieroglyphic crap but some people love them so get them if you like them.

I find the Jingo Wobbly books pretty good for finding an area to go to. I ignore most of the hieroglyphics because once I've found an area I'll generally just go around a circuit or climb stuff that looks nice, I'm not going to seek out a specific problem because the book says it has "a certain magique quality" or whatever.  Similarly the Montchause white guidebook is useful for picking somewhere to go. Boolder is good too, though - it seems good for actually navigating around an area.

> Oh and if you're climbing V5-6 mainly/exclusively indoors, temper your expectations as others have said. You'll need time to learn what feet are.

To be honest I wouldn't put any stock in indoor V grades when it comes to outdoor bouldering these days. Grades at most walls are basically on their own scale now where V0 is a jug ladder and no amount of learning to use your feet or read the rock or whatever is going to make a typical Font 4 feel like that.

But yeah, the OP and their girlfriend should have an amazing time, there's basically unlimited stuff to go at at any level. So long as she basically enjoys climbing she should have a great time.

In reply to Ramblin dave:

JW books are great for maps, and the topos are useful (but are now superceded by Boolder), however the hieroglyphics, topos for every single bloc, and page after page of mediocre holiday snaps mean you're hauling around a ton of ballast nobody asked for.

The Montchausse books are great apart from the topo maps, which he must have outsourced to Escher and Dali. I've spent too much of my life thrashing through bracken nowhere near the off piste problem I was looking for thanks to Joe.

1
 Nick1812P 04 Jul 2024
In reply to jduncs:

If neither of you have been to Font before then spend the first day you have doing a children's*  circuit they're a really friendly way to get a feel for the forest and understand the concept of a circuit which you don't really get anywhere else and teaches you useful skills like downclimbing and boulder hopping that you won't have come across indoors. 

Also prepare to get humbled, font isn't harder than any other bouldering area, but it does require a good amount of technique that you might not have developed yet if you're new to the sport.

*(read lowball if you have a fragile ego)

1
In reply to jduncs:

My partner and I were there recently for the first time and I don't think we climbed anything above V2 the entire time we were there and probably climbed over 100 problems in that time. We personally really enjoyed 91.1 and Petit Bois for their yellow, orange and blue circuits

 seankenny 04 Jul 2024
In reply to jduncs:

Just remember to wipe your feet every time before climbing. Try not to use tick marks and if you do, brush them off before you go. Music from a portable speaker disturbs wildlife and seekers of peace and quiet. Don’t climb if the rock is wet. 

Those are the key things to remember to ensure one of the most amazing climbing areas on the planet remains amazing. You’ll have a great time and there is an absolute abundance of amazing and not hard problems. Note that not hard doesn’t mean easy! You’ll see what we mean after about half an hour… 

 GrahamD 04 Jul 2024
In reply to jduncs:

There are many, many circuits.  Some quick drying, some high ball, easy, hard etc.  Best get a guidebook so you get the best circuit for the prevailing conditions and requirements. 

 JLS 04 Jul 2024
In reply to jduncs:

She’ll be fine. Complete blue circuits if she likes a marathon or sprints up selected classic red problems. Might be worth ticking an orange circuit to begin with just to get her eye in if she’s not a regular outdoor boulderer.

Post edited at 22:29
 Dunthemall 09 Jul 2024

Take a compass on the route. After 40-50 PD (font 3+/-) problems you will have no idea where your car is.

A trick on circuits is to have a "bar-towel" on a couple of metres of cord - so you can step onto the problem without sand on the soles. 


New Topic
Please Register as a New User in order to reply to this topic.
Loading Notifications...