Fontainebleau bouldering - Planning a road trip
So it's that time of the year again. The days are getting almost unbelievably short, the winter blues are setting in for the season, and summer seems unreachably far. For us, to keep our spirits high and our dreams active, it's the perfect time to think about what we want to do next year and adjust our Christmas lists accordingly.
As you may already be able to tell, we're not the couple who goes for a traditional summer holiday so for 2019, we've decided to pack up the Adventure Wagon and head to the continent. We've recently been watching and partaking in a frenzy of bouldering and so the big focus of our road trip is going to be the magical forest of Fontainebleau, just south of Paris in France.
Known as the birthplace of European bouldering, the forest of Fontainebleau is packed full of sandstone boulders with easy and difficult routes alike. It's been used for bouldering since the 1870's and for many, is the ultimate location for a European bouldering pilgrimage. There are MANY thousands of problems and a huge amount of circuits to keep you going, so it really is the dream bouldering destination!
Seeing as we're very early on in our planning of this big adventure, I thought it would be good to type up a quick blog and hopefully get some feedback from our wonderful readers about what to do on our adventure. Following Fontainebleau, we're planning to take a quick detour through Switzerland, Italy and the South of France with vistas of the Matterhorn and Mont Blanc on our photo list for the trip.
As mentioned above, we've decided to drive rather than relying on public transport. With plenty of storage for camping equipment, bouldering gear, and food; we've decided to install a bed platform in the back to give us somewhere to sleep during our adventure. It won't be our only accommodation for the journey, but it'll give us an easy and cheap place to kip if we want to be close to the action. There will be built in storage under the sleeping area, and the bouldering pad will double as some extra padding for the platform.
Camping and bouldering gear
Whilst our gear list is still relatively short, here are a few items we're thinking of taking (some we own already, some we're going to buy).
sleeping bags and pads
dehydrated food (to keep the costs down)
bouldering crash mat
lots of chalk
lots of tape
evening entertainment (probably board/card games)
photo and video gear (you know we'll be vlogging it)
As with everything else mentioned so far, the itinerary is very early days and open to discussion, so if you have any feedback/input/places we have to see, please give us a shout in the comments below. We're planning to go late June, so the weather should be ok hopefully. That in mind, here is our rough itinerary...
Day 1 - Drive to Dover
Day 2 - Ferry to Calais then drive to Fontainebleau
Day 3 - Climb
Day 4 - Climb
Day 5 - Climb and then drive to Chamonix
Day 6 - Plan de l'Aiguille - Views of Mont Blanc hike
Day 7 - Aiguilles Rouges Nature Reserve hiking
Day 8 - Climb near Chamonix, drive to Zermatt, Switzerland
Day 9 - Hike taking in views of the Matterhorn
Day 10 - Drive to Turin, Italy
Day 11 - Explore Turin
Day 12 - Drive to Gap, France
Day 13 - Drive to boulders south of Lyon
Day 14 - Climb
Day 15 - Climb then drive to Bourges
Day 16 - Explore, drive back to Font
Day 17 - Climb
Day 18 - Climb
Day 19 - Climb, ferry to Dover
Day 20 - Home
Overall, this gives us a minimum mileage of 2309 miles for about 28 hours of driving. We're estimating this will cost about £350 in fuel, and Charlie will be doing all the driving (unless I learn bloody quickly). We're pretty flexible, but this is roughly our plan.
If you do have any ideas/feedback/thoughts about our gear, accommodation or anything else, please do leave a comment below, we'd love to hear from you!