Fontainebleau has been a common hang out for the whole of the After The Send team for years now. We have learnt so many different things from that forest- technique, surviving in cars and vans but for me I have learnt that I just love sandstone! It is such an incredible rock to climb; a bit of creativity and body tension is all you need. So when Pymn and Connie came back from a trip to Europe with a new guide book to a sport crag in Luxembourg boasting sandstone sport (!!!), it wasn’t long until I was planning a trip there.
Berdorf is a small town north of Luxembourg City and a 30 minute drive from Trier, Germany. The town leads you to a beautiful quiet forest with tons of sandstone buttresses towering over what looks like a sea of trees. Although there are tons of climbable faces and potentially 1000+ routes, all the climbing is limited to a small section which offers just under 200 routes.As you walk around, you see all these incredible unclimbed lines with pockets, cracks and slaps which must be hard to see as a local knowing you can’t climb them. As a tourist, this is not such a problem, as the routes which are bolted will keep you fulfilled for long enough. At the weekends the crag is packed with climbers from Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands and you can find yourself waiting for one of the classics. But in the week it is super quiet!
Finish work. Grab Emmie and Tilly. Jump in the van. Hit every bit of traffic. Drive for 10 ½ hours. Sleep in a petrol station car park in Belgium. Drive another 1 ½ hours and boom! We were there.
The posh campsite couldn’t be closer to the climbing, so no need to be driving about. The campsite is great for vans and tents and also has very clean and tidy facilities. It’s cool to bring your dogs and cats on leads!?! Yes, we saw a huge cat on a lead- very strange but fair enough! We took a tiny dog the shape of a sausage…
So the climbing, I love it! The walls tower above you which Emmie found a tad intimidating as she has not been able to get out on the sport too much this year. We planned to hit up as many classics as we could ranging from 5 to 7a and they were all outstanding.
‘Felyane’ 6a+ was a route which stood out as it followed a huge crack/flake 25 meters up finishing over a little roof with a beautiful knee bar to rest on.
‘Philosoff’ 6b has been massively underrated by the guidebook writer, in my opinion, as it holds one of the most impressive features I have seen on a rock. Imagine a 21 meter piece of honeycomb which you can climb- it is awesome!
Another route which stood out was ’25eme Anniversaire’ 6b+ which started off super steep. I was very worried I was going to pump out as the climb is over-hanging for the first 15/20 meters but the holds are perfect. You then climb out through the trees and lose all sight of anyone below which gives a very peaceful atmosphere as you climb a relatively thin slab for the last 10 meters. Not so peaceful for the belayer who was left blind for a good 15 minutes!
‘Taklan Makan’ 7a is an awesome bit of rock littered with tons of pockets which can be used at every angle. It starts with a tough boulder-like start working through shallow pockets and moves onto a steeper but easier end with pockets you can only dream of. We only scratched the surface there as the weather wasn’t the best with rain showers on our 3rd day so we pushed our trip further south to Fontainebleau. This crag is one of my favourite places I have ever climbed. I love
We only scratched the surface there as the weather wasn’t the best with rain showers on our 3rd day so we pushed our trip further south to Fontainebleau. This crag is one of my favourite places I have ever climbed. I love sport and I love standstone so put them together with an incredible backdrop and super friendly locals-I will be back for sure!
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