Slippery Bouldering At Casteljau, France

Truth being told, I can't recommend anyone in their right mind bouldering at Casteljau, France. Me and T stopped there for a couple of days on our way from Spain to Fontainebleau only to notice, that the area is almost abandoned by climbers.

To our disappointment, many boulders at Casteljau are nowadays taken over by green mosh. Only a small part of the almost 500 boulders can be climbed without doing some heavy brushing first. On top of that, the gray limestone is also super slippery, which is why we didn't feel like bothering with the brushes so much.

Overgrown boulder at Casteljau
Maybe bouldering at Casteljau was popular, when the area was first discovered? In any case many of the boulders are now sadly overgrown.

Another moshy boulder at Casteljau
The limestone under all the vegetation turned out to be silky smooth.

There are plenty of circuits, though. If you don't mind the vegetation and slippery rock, you can choose a circuit of any level of difficulty and spend ages climbing in the silent forest near Gorges du Tarn

For me, the low traversing problems offered the most fun. As soon as I buried the thoughts of climbing anything gradewise hard or higher than two meters, my eyes opened to a whole bunch of interesting lines squirming from jug to jug just above the ground. Trust me, it's tougher than it sounds!

Low traverse at Casteljau
Most low boulders at Casteljau are strict eliminates, which can make a seemingly easy climb feel tricky.

All in all I'd say April isn't the best time for bouldering at Calsteljau. On a cooler weather the fraction of friction left on the rock might still be on your side and make it possible to enjoy even the higher boulders - while me and T certainly didn't climb any highballs at Casteljau, there's a fair share of those too.

If you're planning on bouldering at Casteljau despite everything, make sure to consider the air humidity as well. The boulders are in the woods and I have the feeling, that they might stay wet or at least very humid for quite a long time after rain. While the big trees make the area sheltered on a windy weather, they also block the wind from blowing the moist away.

Another low and long traverse at Casteljau
Trees and long solid walls make Casteljau a sheltered area for bouldering.

As for camping, Casteljau has only official camping sites to offer. Spots for free camping at Casteljau are hard to find and I believe there is even a sign to forbid it (in French, which the two of us can read only with the help of Google Translate).

For all these reasons, that you can read on and between the lines, me and T didn't stay bouldering at Casteljau for long. We didn't even visit the much complimented Gorges du Tarn nearby, because our plan obligated us to keep on moving towards north.

Luckily we managed to make a short pitstop at Fontainebleau before driving off to enjoy the Finnish summer. More of that in the next post!


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