Fontainebleau 2014

Two reports for this well attended trip, the first from Jenny then one from Nick…

I think we had 25 climbers this year….including young Matilda who will progress rapidly if she keeps on practising as much as she did. As usual the age range was great, from 2 to 70ish, and much fun was had by all. We knocked off problems ranging from white “enfant” to blues and reds, spurred on by not being beaten by Glyn’s son Dan and his mates, who do no practice yet can still out climb us by a mile. Alas the weather never quite peaked into glorious sunshine, and one rainy day was spent pottering around local villages or in the comforting surroundings of Decathlon, but we managed BBQ most nights… failed to tick off one usual haunt, Chalet Jobert at Dame Jouanne. They saw us coming and said “non, complet” I reckon that was the smell from the group Evolv rock boots, cheesy in the extreme, that put them off us. What with the excitement of a near stabbing in the local Formula 1, the Copp family disaster outing on the train line to Paris, and Jeannie’s wrath at those who dared camp near her tent, we had enough adventure to keep us going for a week. Holland and Germany arrived in their masses on the Ascension bank holiday weekend, just as we were leaving…we have made sure that next year (late May Bank Holiday) does not coincide with them again, we’ll see you on the Franchard plot of grass again in 2015. Unless you join the growing band of softies who have graduated into caravan living.

You know who you are. (Named and shamed below!)

Jenny

Cast:

Camping – Jenny, Steve, Simon, Lisa, little Mathilda, Tim, Gill, Jeanie, Nigel, Faye, and their 3 children.

Caravanning:

Kim, Glyn, Monty & Kevin.

Tony, Gerry and their 2 daughters.

In Formule One: Dan, Lee, Tom & Mike.

I arrived Friday teatime to frustratingly hear tales about how good the climbing had been that afternoon, so I got my tent up, bought some basic provisions in Grez-Sur-Loing and then rushed off to Dame Jouanne for a bit of solo bouldering. But the skies darkened and as soon as I touched my first bit of rock there was lightening & thunder & a spatter of rain, so I backed off top the car to return another day.

The next day, after rain overnight we made a late start to Dame Jouanne and parked at the Auberge. The rock was much better than expected after rain and the rest of the day was spent with half the group doing a big chunk of the wonderfully long, often high & exposed yellow circuit and the other half picking off blues & reds. Steve & I walked the GR13 from Dame Jouanne back to picturesque Grez-Sur-Loing and the campsite with wonderful views on route high at Dame Jouanne & Maunory and later above Villiers-Sous-Grez. Well worth doing to get a better feel for the area.

After a pleasant meal on the campsite, the next morning dawned clear & sunny and an excellent day was spent at Trois Pignon 95.1. followed by a campsite barbeque in the evening.

Monday was less kind with rain on and off from the start. I joined Jenny & Steve on a walking tour round Grez-Sur-Loing, starting down the river to the Chateaux. Mentally, Steve & Jenny had bought several properties by the time we got back to the village centre and some very large (Litre glasses) of lager. The short walk back to the campsite was quite challenging after 2 glasses.

A “team” meal out in Nemours proved difficult to accommodate & in the end we gave up trying to find somewhere French & plumped for the extremely un-Gallic Buffalo Grill.

I had to leave early to get a ferry on the Tuesday, but others found a good circuit north of Milly-Le-Foret.

Although the weather was not completely kind, this was an excellent trip (thank you again Jenny for organizing).

And the bouldering? On Saturday & Sunday it was as good as I can remember.

And the company? Well you will have to come yourself next year and find out.

The best accommodation? If you are into stabbings and police sirens then the Formule One would appear to be your best bet, otherwise for me personally the camping is perfect. All male caravan sharing appears to be an acquired taste specially for people who like the tension of extremely diverse sleeping patterns and are willing to get up at 6 am and wander aimlessly around the campsite for a couple of hours.

Nick

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