Climbing ethics

grimper en forêt


No fire and no flame in the forest, 99 acres burn every year

The forest floor is a very dry sandy soil with small pockets of organic material that can ignite very slowly, even with a cigarette butt or a poorly extinguished fire. Fires and flames are therefore strictly forbidden in the entire state forest and in adjacent forests. A fire means the loss of wood, biodiversity and a major risk for all forest inhabitants. 

Let's clean our shoes, sand erodes the rock and reduces friction

If all experienced “bleausards” walk around with a towel or a doormat it is not because they have an inexplicable fetish….they know that sand is made of silica, like rock, and that the rubbing of the sand will cause them to slip. Did you also know that this rubbing, this crushing tends to tighten the grain of the sandstone and contributes to the patina of the rock. So the basic rule before any climb is to brush your shoes. 



Let's not climb
in protected areas

Did you know that the state forest has 1060 hectares of Integrated Biological Reserves (RBI), divided into 7 different areas:
– la Tillaie,
– le Gros Fouteau,
– le Chêne Brulé,
– les Béorlots,
– le Rocher de la Combe,
– la Vallée de Jauberton,
– la Gorge aux Loups. 

These zones are areas where all human intervention is forbidden and where scientists carry out monitoring to better understand and quantify the impact of all human practices. It is essential to respect this limit.

Avoid climbing on damp rock and avoid artificial drying

Some people organise their stay in Bleau but then have to face rainy days. They try climbing with towels, leaf blowers, torches, fans….and remind us of those who bail with a thimble and ignore the reality of the uncertain natural environment they enjoy. Sandstone is a fragile sedimentary rock, which is wet, crumbly and easily broken. Not only are the conditions sub-optimal for the climber, but he also contributes to the destruction of his playground: no sense.



In the forest, let's listen to the birds, not the music

Connected loudspeakers…. are not yet banned from the forest, but they have no place here. Artificial sound is known to be one of the main factors disrupting the natural cycles of fauna and flora. A so-called “protection” and “Natura 2000” forest, such as those of Fontainebleau and Milly-la-Forêt, is one of the last refuges in northern Europe for at least 17 protected species. This forest is also the most visited in France, but the impacts of hyper-frequentation are increasingly worrying. Please avoid producing artificial sounds in the forest: speakers, drones, music…

Let's give wildlife a break and avoid climbing at night

After sound, light is the other main factor of disturbance caused by human presence: night light can modify the natural cycles of insects, mammals, plants… and even cause the violent death of hibernating bats. It should also be added that over the last 10 years it has been observed in the Fontainebleau forest that even animals that live and hunt during the day try to become nocturnal, as human disturbance is so problematic. So it is forbidden to climb with lights and it is not recommended to climb at night.



Leave zero waste in the forest: no paper, no plastic, peelings, excrement

Most people wonder why there are no rubbish bins in the forest. There are many reasons why they have been removed, including the risk that some of the waste will poison animals. As waste calls for waste, it is important to remember to bring back all this waste, even banana peels (spread of invasive exotic seeds), and why not take the ones you come across.

Chalk pollution is a thing, don't overuse it and clean after you climb

Scientific research has shown that the addition of the chemical “magnesium carbonate” does not allow the life and survival of lychens, the mosses that usually colonise the rock. Moreover, the accumulation of magnesia in the holds contributes to making them wet, slippery and brittle. But the worst pollution linked to magnesia is the visual pollution. Many other users of the forest cannot stand this often unbrushed and faded remnant of human activity in a landscape that they too expect to be “natural”.


Join us

The festival will offer an opportunity to fix what can be fixed, or at least to learn how to fix it: erosion, clean up workshops, boulder brushing…and more discussions on the topic. To download the climbing ethics poster and other communication material, please click here.