Mecca for rock climbing

Mecca for rock climbing

[July 2023] Barbizon, France, the home of painters, is located at the edge of the Fontainebleau Forest.

the faces of Millet and Rousseau carved on the rock in Fontainebleau Forest, France
the faces of the painters

We entered the forest from Barbizon village.

At the entrance to the forest, there were reliefs of Millet and Rousseau carved into the rock.

The Fontainebleau Forest is famous for rock climbing.

The couple we met this time moved from England to Fontainebleau because of their interest in it.

Even before they moved, Fontainebleau was always their travel destination.

As a complete amateur, I thought that rock climbing was a sport in which people climb up the precipices of the Alps with a lifeline attached to them, seeking a sense of accomplishment when they reach the top.

one of the rocks in Fontainebleau Forest, France
looks like a fossil of a dinosaur

But here, many of the rocks are no more than twice the height of a person.

This time, I realised for the first time that the goal is not to “climb” the rock, but rather how to move skilfully along the surface of the rock.

This type of rock climbing is apparently called bouldering.

According to my friend, it used to be used as a training ground for high-altitude rock climbing, but now it is recognised as a sport in its own right.

Indoor bouldering practice ranges are scattered all over the world, and an increasing number of young people these days have only had experience indoors.

a view of the Fontainebleau Forest, France
rocks are scattered in the forest

I asked my friend to point out his favourite rock.

And the one he likes was meant to be “traversed” rather than climbed.

It reminds me of a playground equipment, monkey bar I used to play with when I was a child.

The surface of this rock has patterns that look like reptile skin and a series of small holes, making it look like a dinosaur fossil.

When I looked around, I saw a strange landscape with rocks scattered between the trees.

It is said that in ancient times it was under the sea.

nature in the Fontainebleau Forest, France
not only rocks in the forest

This forest is a world-famous mecca for bouldering in this field, and my friend said that it was featured in a magazine he saw in the United States.

The climber we happened to pass and exchanged words with was from Chile, South America.

By the way, there are different styles in every world, and in this bouldering, there are those who put chalk on their hands and those who don’t.

When a certain gymnast started bouldering, he put chalk on his hands out of habit (?), and many people have followed suit.

But according to my friends, that makes the rocks slippery, so they don’t use chalk.

Apparently there are some schools that apply pine resin instead.