Destination Guide: Saint Leger, France

by Jack Geldard - Consulting Editor Apr/2012
This article has been read 14,105 times

The wonderful limestone valley of Saint Leger is home to hundreds of quality sport routes. Many of the routes are in the F7-8 grade range, but there are a smattering of worthwhile easier routes too. However to make the most of a multi-day trip at this venue, being able to operate in the mid F7 grades is probably best. For teams climbing at F6a-c other venues in this region are better - Orpierre for example.

 

Geoff Unger smashes the classic 7a of La Lévrotte on a great vertical wall at Saint Léger, 236 kbGeoff Unger smashes the classic 7a of La Lévrotte on a great vertical wall at Saint Léger
© Jack Geldard

The climbing is mainly on the sunny south facing side of the river, where there are many sectors, however for the hotter days there is the shady side of the valley which is home to the less extensive but still good Face Nord, which stays out of the sun all day.

The climbing style is varied on pockets, crimps and tufas, with a mixture of short and long routes, mainly overhanging, sometimes extremely so.

The approach is short and flat; a pleasant stroll up the valley by the side of the river. The base of the crag is generally flat and friendly and the valley has no road, making it quiet and tranquil.

Saint Léger is in many ways a classic example of French sport climbing. Amazing rock, well bolted routes, beautiful scenery, excellent camping and restaurants nearby, and usually perfect weather. Did I mention the wine?

Dougal Taverner all guns blazing on the shortish, but power-endurance 8a of Hilti Blues, 213 kbDougal Taverner all guns blazing on the shortish, but power-endurance 8a of Hilti Blues
© Stephen Horne

A climber on the brilliant long 8a of La Farce Tranquille, 157 kbA climber on the brilliant long 8a of La Farce Tranquille
© Stephen Horne

Logistics

 

When do I go?
The prime time is spring and autumn. However in summer it is possible to climb on the shady North Face and in winter the south facing crags do get a lot of sun, so if you get good weather you could be lucky.

Where do I fly to?
The closest airports that are served by budget airlines are Grenoble (2.5 hours from the crag) and Nimes (1.5 hours from the crag). A car is fairly essential for this crag as it is not close to a village and access on foot or by public transport would be difficult.

Where do I stay?

Campsites abound in this area, and can be found around the nearby towns of Vaison-la-Romanie or Mollans-sur-Ouveze .The village of Buis les Baronnies is 15km away and is a popular spot. More info is on the Buis les Baronnies website.

NOTE: Van camping is not tolerated at the parking for the crag.

There is a small gite a few km from the crag, halfway down the small approach lane, but the closest accommodation to the crag itself is the bergerie-des-salamandres gite which is situated at the crag parking.

15 minutes drive from St Leger is a gite, B+B and small caravan for rent from UKC user Enty. There's more info here: provencerock.com

What about eating out?
There are plenty of restaurants in the surrounding villages.

Where can I buy gear and food?
Vaison and Buis les Baronnies are your best bet for a bigger shop. with a variety of shops, bakeries, etc. The smaller villages nearer to the crag often have bakeries and small local stores.

What else is there apart from the climbing?
Fantastic wine, amazing scenery and top class road cycling.

Which guidebook do I need?

France : Haute Provence (Dec 2009)

France : Haute Provence 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...
More info

 

St Leger Panorama, 159 kbSt Leger Panorama
Alan James - UKC and UKH, Apr 2012
© Alan James

Photo Gallery

Unknown French gadger on Thierry Golé - 7C

Unknown French gadger on Thierry Golé - 7C
© Enty

Jerry Peel on a 7b at La Baleine - St Leger du Ventoux

Jerry Peel on a 7b at La Baleine - St Leger du Ventoux
© Enty

Crankin!

Crankin!
© Rich Kirby

Le Maître et son Disciple, St Leger.

Le Maître et son Disciple, St Leger.
© jon

Terry Holmes on the best 6C at St Leger

Terry Holmes on the best 6C at St Leger
© Enty

Enty on the best 6C at St Leger

Enty on the best 6C at St Leger
© Enty

Rainbow at St Leger

Rainbow at St Leger
© Chris the Tall

Adam Jeeworth, 8a, Saint Leger, France

Adam Jeeworth, 8a, Saint Leger, France
© mikerolf

St Leger du Ventoux

St Leger du Ventoux
© John Reed

The cliffs of St Leger du Ventoux from the summit of Mont Ventoux

The cliffs of St Leger du Ventoux from the summit of Mont Ventoux
© Enty

Piedra Salvage

Piedra Salvage
© Seymore Butt

Iain Hutchinson at St Leger de Ventoux, Provence

Iain Hutchinson at St Leger de Ventoux, Provence
© gill79

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