now for € 31,50 excluding shipping costs.
In the current offerings of Fontainebleau guidebooks, there is a massive
gap left by the other new guidebooks, which just contain information on harder
problems (starting at the 5th / 6th grade). Fontainebleau
Magique fills this gap, by providing topos and detailed information about
50 orange, blue (and a few red) circuits in the most popular parts of the
forest. As can be seen from the full list of circuits below, most of the
problems presented lie in the 3rd to 5th grade range, thus targeting the
beginner to intermediate level boulderers, who are looking to enjoy a
representative selection of the many circuits that Fontainebleau has to
The book has been written completely in French and English, and contains a
lot of background information about the different areas. Describing 50
circuits could be done in less than 136 pages, but the guide has 336 pages, so
over 200 pages (including a lot of colour photos) are devoted to this
background information. This makes it a heavy guidebook which is not all too
practical to carry around, but on the other hand, who has intimate knowledge
about all these different areas? The guidebook will therefore appeal to the
majority of climbers who want to visit the boulders for the first time, or
those who want more information on the many more 'achievable' circuits that
are to be found.
The fact that the guide isn't written by locals has its advantages and
disadvantages. Guidebooks by locals tend to overlook basic information about
stuff like campings, how the find the start of the circuits, and so on, which
is not relevant to locals, but very relevant to other
climbers. Fontainebleau Magique surprises by providing information
about a number of less visited and thus quieter areas (e.g. Grand Montagne,
Rocher de la Cathédrale, Restant du Long Rocher). These areas are not
the most interesting ones, and therefore often forgotten, but are welcome
hideouts in busy periods like Eastern. For these reasons, a guidebook written
by an 'outsider' is a welcome alternative.
There are a few gripes however. For some strange reason, the author found
it necessary to give names to all the described circuits, instead of using the
Cosiroc numbering. As if it is up to the author of a guidebook to come up with
those names?! Also, all circuits have been re-graded (which in itself might be
a good thing), thus overruling the consensus among locals about the grading of
these circuits. On top of that, non-existing and rather ridiculous gradings
are introduced, such as 4a- and alike. The discussions on this website
show that it is very hard to give a single grade to a boulder problem, so why
introduce additional levels, such as 3c+ and 4a-...
There will also be many discussions about the overload of numerous
quirky symbols and icons to describe the characteristics of boulder
problems. In Europe
Sport Vertical, it initially takes some time to get the hang of the
symbols and pictograms that are used, but in the end they are very handy to
convey as much as possible information. For Fontainebleau Magique, it
would have been better if the symbols were used less extensively. The biggest
problem is that you can't remember where the quirky icons stand for, because
there is no logical system behind them. For instance, there are seven symbols
to describe whether you need a craspad or not for a problem, or if a problem
is a highball or deathball. However, those seven symbols do not have any
correlation in shape, color, text font, etc., making it virtually impossible
to understand in a glance the characteristics of a boulder problem or
Notwithstanding these few drawbacks, Fontainebleau Magique is the
best companion guide if you are not too familiar with all the areas of the
magical forest, or are interested in climbing orange and blue circuits. The
famous purple selection guide by Jo & Françoise Montchaussé
and Jacky Godoffe contains some orange and blue circuits as well, but is
rather out of date, and is not followed up by a guide containing circuits for
intermediate level boulderers. To show you that Fontainebleau Magique
has a very good selection of circuits, you will find a list with all the
presented circuits below.
now for € 31,50 excluding shipping costs.
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