Climb Europe

Ceuse rock climbing

Ceuse is often described as the best sport climbing crag in France, and some would even go as far to say as the best sport crag in the world!  Well Ceuse is certainly blessed with beautifully pocketed limestone rock, outstanding lines and in a magical location. The climbing at Ceuse is all about long single pitch sport routes on stunning blue and grey limestone rock.  The style of climbing various enormously from overhanging jug feasts to steep technical walls.  The routes at Ceuse have a reputation for requiring lots of stamina and having the ability to climb between good but well-spaced bolts. There are also some multi-pitch routes on the Grand Face (up to 4-pitches long) and a smattering of some Trad routes. 

Ceuse Rock Climbing GuidebookCeuse has a reputation for hard routes particularly in the grade range from F6b to F7c.  However there are many sectors that also offer a good range of routes between F6a and F6c, along with some routes in the F5s.  The Ceuse Rock Climbing Guidebook is the definitive guidebook detailing over 600 routes.  This guidebook can be bought from our shop.

So is the reputation of Ceuse too good to be true? Well the magical location has its good and bad points.  The good being the rock climbing is at an altitude of over 1,700m. This along with its close proximity of the main Alps Massif, means that the ideal time to climb here is from late spring through to the autumn, which is something very unusual for the south of France! The bad point is the walk-in, which is steep and takes on average about an hour.  However, the vast majority of climbers will put up with the walk-in for the world class climbing on offer!

Map of the rock climbing areas south of Gap, including Ceuse

Map of the rock climbing and sport climbing areas south of Gap

Ceuse climbing logistics – all you need to know

The majority of rock climbers visiting Ceuse stay at Les Guerins campsite that is located at the base of the hill just outside the village of Sigoyer, though there are numerous hotels and gites in the area. 

Flying into Grenoble, Nimes, Marseille and Turin airports are several low cost airlines, with the travel time to Ceuse being no more than one and a half hours.

The France Haute Provence guidebook covers Ceuse, Orpierre and SisteroneOverall the climbing at Ceuse is very enjoyable with the best time to visit being from late spring through to the autumn, though it does get busy in the August.  Ceuse is shaped like a bowl with sectors facing east, south and west.  Therefore it is always possible to find the sun or the shade, and the altitude keeps the air temperature manageable during the summer.

There is a definitive rock climbing guidebook for Ceuse that covers over 600 routes.  Alternatively the Rockfax Haute Provence guidebook is a selective guidebook that covers nearly 200 routes at Ceuse. Buy these guidebooks from our shop.

Other areas

If shorter walk-ins are your style then Orpierre is only 10 minutes and Sisterone is a roadside crag.   Of the two Orpierre is definitely the most extensive with over 650 routes up to 200m high, with the majority of these in the F5 to F6b range.  At an altitude of 700m the best time to visit is spring and autumn.  Sisterone has around 100 routes mainly between F5 and F7c.  Most of the climbing is on an immaculate south facing limestone slab that gets plenty of sun.

Both of these areas are covered in the Rockfax Haute Provence guidebook that details over 200 routes at Orpierre and 75 routes at Sisterone.  Buy this guidebook from our shop.

Within a couple of hours drive away there is some extensive climbing around Avignon plus the other world class areas of Buoux and Verdon.

Click on the thumb nails opposite to view a larger image.

All of these photographs appear in the Rockfax guidebook called France Haute Provence, which describes the sport climbing around Ceuse, Orpierre and Sisterone, and can be bought from our shop.

Ceuse Rock Climbing Guidebook

The Ceuse rock climbing guidebook is the definitive guidebook for Ceuse, describing over 600 routes.  Buy this from our shop.