...take your pick
Fontainebleau is probably the most documented bouldering area in the world which means you have a lot of choice when it comes to guide books. Broadly speaking there are three main different styles of guides: Circuit guides, “Off-Circuit” (A.K.A “Off-Piste”) guides and, thirdly, guides that are a large mixture of both of these.
Circuit guides describe circuits (in their entirety) at the different areas. Circuits consist of a large number of different problems (all of a similar grade) that are numbered on the rock starting from 1. There are different difficulties of circuits in Font, these are delineated by the colour used to number the problems.
Since the 1980s there was a standardisation of route colour by difficulty:
Yellow = PD for Peu Difficile (around 2 grade), Orange = AD for Assez Difficile (around 3 grade), Blue = D for Difficile (around 4), Red = TD, for Très Difficile (around 5 ), Black = ED Extrèmement Difficile, (around 6 ), White = ED+ (around 6C/7A).
Many problems in Font are “Off-Circuit” meaning that they aren’t numbered on the rock. The location of some Off-Circuit problems are sometimes also indicated in Circuit guides. Similarly, stand-out problems that are On-Circuit are regularly included in “Off-Circuit” guides, however the difference being that these guides do not contain the full circuits.
Here’s a selection of the best and most popular guidebooks.
Circuit style guides
Fontainebleau Climbs: The Finest Bouldering and Circuits – by Jo & Francoise Montchausse and Jacky Godoffe (Baton Wicks 2001)
Fontainebleau Magique – by David Atchinson-Jones (Jingo Wobbly 2009)
Fontainebleau Off Piste – by Jo & Francoise Montchausse and Jacky Godoffe (Baton Wicks 2006)
Fontainebleau 7 + 8 – by Bart van Raaij (van Raaij 2007)
Fontainebleau 5 + 6 – by Bart van Raaij (van Raaij 2012)
Essential Fontainebleau – by John Watson (Stone Country Press 2014)
Fontainebleau Fun Bloc – by David Atchinson-Jones (Jingo Wobbly 2012)
Rock and Run have a really comprehensive article on their website about Font guidebooks that’s well worth a read.
You can also find additional information with recent updates, new sector developments etc on: bleau.info, Topobleau & 27 Crags.
The one additional thing that is invaluable for finding your way to the various the areas is a 1:25 000 map. This is the one you need: IGN – 2417 OT au 1:25000 “Forêt de Fontainebleau”.