Boissy-aux-Cailles is a relatively undisturbed beauty-spot on the metaphorical face forming the sites that dwell within the Forest of Fontainebleau. The rock resides in heavily wooded areas across two main sites, both lovely walks over fields from the cemetery on the edge of Boissy. It obviously receives some traffic as there are a few boulders scattered about that have been developed for climbing and is also well publicised in a couple of forest guidebooks. On a pretty-close-to-perfect day, however, it was ours and ours alone...well, almost.
We could hear all different birds chatting in the trees, although no quails for which the area is named; the small, mottled smooth pebbles that are conglomerated within the sandstone resemble quail eggs. A small herd of large deer scattered before us as we walked through the woods. Most charismatic of our encounters was with a small bird, later identified as a goldcrest, that flittered about the rock we were climbing. It didn't seem to mind us as we climbed, but when we stayed motionless for a moment it alighted on the finish holds to pose for a few pictures.
The crux moves on Water Roof gauche (7c), out of the darkness, into the light.
We went with a limited but rather realistic goal following a recommendation from a friendly Belgian boulderer: session the Water Roof bloc. As we hadn't been out for a few days and wanted a thorough workout it seemed fitting, with limited daylight hours, to hide in the darkness of a cave and pull some muscles. The boulder itself has four different problems that power out of the dark depths of the cave and into the sunshine:
Sam flashed Bégnots Story, and made relatively quick work of the other three, and Amber... Came extremely close to Bégnots... She felt a bit disgruntled that all her endeavours and effort eggs (there were a lot!) were placed in that basket when she made all the individual moves out to the lip on Water Roof. Not to be discouraged, we will return...
Gorge is definitely one of the more popular areas within the forest and also one of the smallest areas of such high quality boulders. We visited one morning before the rain came, however the cold bite in the air proved too much for such sensitive beings. Unable to make limbs work, we sacked it off. A predominant reason was for Sam to try Rubis sur l'Ongle (7b+), an absolute classic and must do boulder of that grade. Amber also had her eyes on a couple of things but succumbed to the cold even more (so we unequivocally sacked it off).
Good things come to those who wait (and work). The rain passed, we'd managed to work through a couple of our allotted tasks that we've been doing to balance out our keep. The evening looked dry, crisp and definitely fresh, but moisture free nonetheless. We headed back to Gorgeous Cats.
The cold yellow evening turned out a stunner. After a few drops, Sam latched the crucial hold on Rubis, and we both went on to send another uber-classic, Travaux Forces (6b). The problem traverses a line of sharp crimps up an overhang, finishing on a twist into a glory jug. C'était super.
Sam on top of Rubis sur l'Ongle (7b+), somewhat surprised but definitely relieved.
Once the elation following our ascents had settled we basked in the sunset. I know right, sickening, but sorry to say, it happened. It was lush. We absorbed the last rays of warmth on an otherwise chilly evening, but once the light faded and the sun was all but gone...
...twilight bouldering! Amber decided to get on the awesome Sa Pelle au Logis (7a). Unfortunately the light had dissipated just a little too much to see things such as key foot placements and where the finishing holds were. Despite this she made it look pretty effortless and flew through the whole route up to the last couple of holds about four times before conceding defeat. Once again, we will return...(sensing a pattern here?!)
A random decision to head out to Cuvier turned into a quick session on the Abbatoir / Carnage / Bérézina bloc. Not much to write about really, Sam worked the moves for about 30 minutes then climbed Bérézina-Carnage (7c+), Amber figured out she could kick a branch about a foot above her head, we went home.
And of course... Here's the photo of Amber kicking that branch (gently).
Restant du Long Rocher is another site a bit off the broken track, a sprawling field of asteroid boulders, sandstone endowed with curious pockets full of friction and occasionally spiders. The pockets are a bit of a novelty in Font, more reminiscent of Frankenjura, both in climbing style and tweakiness for the fingers. We didn't get much further than these pock-marked beauties, so couldn't say whether they form the pattern for the massif as a whole, but one can only hope...
We smashed out Vigipirate (pictured above) and Pandams droite (below), both 7a and quite different in style, the former bunched and full of options, all of them worse than they look, and the latter featuring specific, long, twisting moves to exit through La Vigie, a delightful 6a+ sitter. The problems aren't all of a kind; backing onto this boulder is a tall, leaning face that bears three routes. The middle problem is a nice 6b, Entre les Flèches (pictured bottom), stiff if laybacking isn't your game. Overall, fun climbing and a lovely, tranquil spot for a Sunday afternoon.