escalade française



Er. No. Bonjour? Yes?



We went to France! Specifically, we went bouldering in the magical forest of Fontainebleau!

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Which way?

Fontainebleau, if you don’t know is one of the oldest bouldering areas in the world. It sits in the French countryside, just under an hour’s drive south of Paris. Well, I say ‘it’, but really it’s many little patches of sandstone that emerge from the ground in the woods in between thousand year old villages.

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Barbizon, home of the best meals we had in France.
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Trail through the Fontainebleau woods.

We stayed in a tiny, tiny village called Arbonne La Foret, in the back of some lady’s house. Kind of. We stayed in what’s called a ‘gite’. They’re like little cabins that people rent out all over the place. Our was was called ‘the charming chalet’, and charming it was.

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The main house.
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Morning coffee on the doorstep to our cottage.

Ayway. Climbing. We spent just under two weeks there climbing all the sandstone we could get our hands on. And believe me there’s quite a bit.

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Abby working a fun line in L'Elephant

The first week was a bit frustrating because the day after we landed the humidity spiked and we spent 2 days slipping off holds that looked like they should be great.

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Sarah climbing some tall stuff
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Sarah trying to decipher the sequence on the Font "warmups"

On the third day we decided that we had quite enough and with the thunderstorm forecast looming ahead, we decided to take a break and head to Paris for a little cultural R&R.

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Abby feeling the existential dread setting in

Have you been to Paris? You should consider going to Paris. I don’t think it’s the most amazing city in the world, or whatever, but I do think it’s pretty great. I think it’s neat to walk down streets and see building that are older than the United States. To imagine the French Kings and Nepoleon ride down the same little alleys where we just got a treat. I don’t know. Maybe it’s just me. I like it.

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Abby looking fabulous despite the gloom

The next day was our friend Sarah’s last full day in France, so we wanted to make it as full a day as possible. Wanted.

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Not what you want to see when getting ready to go bouldering

But the nice thing about the Fontainebleau sandstone is that it dries crazy fast. Despite the morning rain, we were able to get out and climb for a solid 6 hours. I even sent a fun climb called L’Hélicoptère and Sarah did La Marie Rose, which may be the hardest I’ve ever tried on a 6a. Nice work, Sarah.

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Sarah working the massive first move on Raie Du Q
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Abby setting up for the gnarly topout on Raie Du Q

And that was the last we saw of the rain. For the rest of our trip, the weather was amazing. It was cold and dry. Abby stepped up and sent a couple really great hard lines. I even got video of Abby on one! Also: video of me on it. What a great climb!

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Abby topping out L'Entre Toit
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Abby heelin S-Direct

And that’s that. Two short weeks have come and gone and we are back home, looking forward to new adventures, both local and not.

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The road ahead