Ceuse - Summer sport climbing in Franceby Mark Glaister Aug/2011
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Ceuse's long thin band of grey, ochre and steel blue limestone is often said to be the best sport climbing crag in the world. The validity of this statement is enhanced when its nearby cousin's in the South of France pale when comparisons are made with perhaps the exceptions of the Gorges du Verdon and Buoux.
Ceuse (Céüse) is positioned within easy reach of the southern French and Italian Alps and is easily viewed about 10km south west of the town of Gap.The climbing at Ceuse is all about long single pitch sports routes with a smattering of multi-pitch outings on its larger Grand Face. The rock is immaculate pocketed limestone with almost no loose rock or vegetation and is supplied with stunning blue and grey lines. The style of climbing usually involves a big helping of stamina and a willingness to climb between the good but often well spaced bolts. Grade wise Ceuse has always been promoted as a crag for those operating at the highest grades but this gives a skewed impression as there are now many routes in the grade range from 6a to 6c.
The unbroken line of crags that make up the various sectors at Ceuse are at an altitude of around 7000ft. Due to the altitude and the proximity of the massif to the main Alps the climbing season at Ceuse runs between late spring and autumn. Don't be tempted to go too early after a heavy snowfall winter as seepage and cornice danger are possible (the area above the crag is a ski area). Sun and shade are to be found in equal measure with the left side getting shade in the morning. The altitude keeps the air temperature manageable during the summer but the walk in is best done before the heat of the day kicks in.
Within an hour and a half of a number of low cost airline destinations Ceuse is easily within the striking distance of those searching out a quick hit from the UK. A car is required to get to the great camping site, but from the camping no driving is required, however be warned the base of the crag is an hours walk car or not.
When do I go?
Who flies where?|
Many of the UK based Lo-cost airlines fly to destinations that surround the Ceuse area. The main locations are Nimes, Marseille, Nice, Grenoble and Turin. Expect to pay between £10 and £150 for the return flight from the UK. Ryanair and Easyjet are the main flight providers for the region.
Where do I stay?
What's the scoff like?
Which guide do I buy?|
France : Haute Provence (Dec 2009)
The first in a series of guidebook to the brilliant sport climbing found in the South of France. Haute Provence covers the crags from Céüse in the north, through Orpierre, Buis...
Where can I buy gear and food?
What else is there apart from the climbing?
Mark is a climbing writer and photographer who has travelled to crags near and far for 35+ years. Mark started out climbing at school with friends on the sea cliffs and inland crags of Devon. At 18 he packed up his flares and Whillans harness, tied back his long black hair (where did it go!) and headed for the North, living between the Peak and Dales before moving on to the Lakes for work where he was based for around 20 years. During the 90's, Mark with his then partner Emma travelled extensively spending 1995 to 2000 in a van in the States, Canada, Europe, OZ and New Zealand. The last decade has been a transient one hopping between the Lakes, North Wales, Devon and Lancs, with trips away mainly on guidebook (Rockfax) work or for articles to places such as Sardinia, Finale, Ceuse, El Chorro, Lofoten, Mallorca and Turkey.
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