The area to the north east of Avignon, in the Loire Valley, there are over 50 different crags offering good quality sports climbing. These crags are generally relatively small and spread out, which means they are usually quiet and peaceful places to rock climb, and are in stunning locations. The routes are mainly single pitch on predominantly limestone rock, and most crags have a good mix of grades that has got something for everyone. At some of the crags there are also some multi-pitch routes that are up to 100m long.
The climate around Avignon is very sunny and warm. Fortunately the different crags in this area are at various altitudes ranging from 100m to 900m above sea level. This makes it possible to climb here all year round providing you choose your crag appropriately, though the best times are in the spring and autumn. However this area also attracts the famous Mistral wind, which cools the temperature from 30+ degrees (in the summer) to a wonderful 20-22 degrees in the sun - ideal rock climbing conditions.The map below shows the location of the main crags, though there are lots of other smaller crags in this beautiful area of France.
|The main Crags around Avignon, Provence in the south of France|
|Crag no||Area||Are some routes Multi-pitch||No. of Routes||Max Height||Popular Grades|
|1||Gorges De La Nesque||No||95||45m||5 to 7b|
|2||Corneirette||No||67||35m||8c to 8b|
|3||Venasque||No||240||32m||5 to 8b|
|4||Clapis Face||Yes||216||90m||4 to 8b|
|5||Aiguillette Lagarde-Turc||Yes||88||85m||4 to 7c|
|6||Grand Travers||No||43||30m||4 to 6b|
|7||Saint Christophe||Yes||56||40m||6c to 8a|
|8||Combe Obscure||No||65||34m||5 to 7b|
|9||Rocher du Groseau (Malaucene)||No||65||35m||5 to 8b|
|10||Trois Rivieres||No||112||22m||4 to 8a|
|11||St Leger||No||226||40m||6b to 8c|
|12||Saint Julien||Yes||240||100m||5 to 7c|
|13||Lou Passo||No||58||30m||4 to 8a|
|14||Ubrieux||No||93||36m||4 to 7b|
|15||Baume Rousse||No||87||35m||4 to 8b|
|16||Rocher Aiguier (Bellecombe)||No||47||35m||6a to 8a|
The above information has been extracted from the guidebook for this region called "Avignon Soleil", that is published by Jingo Wobbly. The guidebook covers 37 separate crags in the area around Avignon. Another guidebook that covers this area is " France Haute Provence" published by Rockfax. Buy both of these guidebooks from our shop.
The majority of the routes in this area are single pitch and if you chose your crags and/or routes carefully a 60m rope will be sufficient. However to make the most of your trip to this area a 70m or ideally an 80m rope is advisable. Along with 12 to 16 quickdraws, this is all the gear you need, but be warned the run outs can be quite long, and the rock does not easily accepted natural protection such as nuts and cams very well.
There is an abundance of accommodation available in this region of France, from camping, gites, to hotels of all sizes and budgets. ClimbFrance has a self-catering holiday cottage (gite) available for rent all year round, close to Buis. The accommodation is ideally suited to families as well as groups of climbers as it is located close to many fantastic crags.Avignon is conveniently located with regards to access to International airports; Marseille airport is only 60Km away; and Nimes airport is only 35Km away.
The famous crag at Roucher Aiguier, or sometimes known as Bellecombe. The arete on the left hand side is the famous "Grand Arete", which goes at F6b+.