Nick Chavis Visits
Fontainebleau, France

Fontainebleau

Fontainebleau is known as the birthplace of modern bouldering. After talking with friends who have visited in the past I knew it was an incredible place filled with culture, history, and insanely good rock. I had to check it out!

Through photos, video, and general word of mouth I felt that I had a good idea of the style and how to train for it. I’ve climbed in the southeast quite a bit and I knew that the climbing is similar in Font. I did a lot of tricep oriented exercises to prep for the notoriously hard top outs and ran circuits on physical, slopy boulder problems.

My primary goal for the trip was to see and climb as many classic boulders as I could. Font is massive with something like 20,000 problems. This being my first trip I really wanted to see as many zones as I could and get the most out of my trip. As far as individual problems I really wanted to try Elephunk, Partage, Misericorde, La Baleine, Tigre et Dragon, Cetait Demain, and Rainbow Rocket. The first 5 days of our trip were incredible. We had an amazing weather window and I took advantage by climbing all day, every day. It was a great chance to adjust to the style and I was able to climb 3 or 4 world class boulders each of these days. My goals seemed to change often, every day I would stumble past some incredible looking boulder and need to pull on. Climbing in font was like drinking water through a fire hose! Totally over whelmed by the quantity of world class boulders.

Da Capo, (7C) relatively new highball boulder at l'Elephant Ouest. Probably the best of the grade I've ever done. Subtle but powerful with hard, committing moves at the top.

My primary goal for the trip was to see and climb as many classic boulders as I could. Font is massive with something like 20,000 problems. This being my first trip I really wanted to see as many zones as I could and get the most out of my trip. As far as individual problems I really wanted to try Elephunk, Partage, Misericorde, La Baleine, Tigre et Dragon, Cetait Demain, and Rainbow Rocket. The first 5 days of our trip were incredible. We had an amazing weather window and I took advantage by climbing all day, every day. It was a great chance to adjust to the style and I was able to climb 3 or 4 world class boulders each of these days. My goals seemed to change often, every day I would stumble past some incredible looking boulder and need to pull on. Climbing in font was like drinking water through a fire hose! Totally over whelmed by the quantity of world class boulders.

(upper left) Misericorde (7C+) So mega! After seeing this massive arête I had to climb it. Some of the best movement is Font on one of the sickest features. This boulder embodies everything I look for in a good boulder problem. (upper right) Rataplat (7b) in Franchard Isatis. After seeing the rock on this one I had to climb it, features that classic elephant skin font texture that everyone loves! (below) Partage, 8A+, zone is Buthiers Piscine

I wasn’t able to finish of Elephunk or Partage (which became the main goals) due to a dramatic shift in weather over the second half of our trip but I climbed a few others that weren’t on my radar so all in all I came away very satisfied with how everything went.
Font is incredible and is easily my favorite bouldering area in the world. The features and texture of the rock creates incredibly subtle movement. I noticed that although the style was physical, weight distribution and body positions played a key role in the climbing. People have been bouldering there for nearly a century and it shows! There is so much history and the local community is very respectful of the forest. I could spend a lifetime exploring Font and I can’t wait to return!