/ ideas for beginner climb near Luberon
My girlfriend and I will be going on our honeymoon in Luberon in the South of France in June. And we were wondering if anybody with experience of that area can advise us where to go.
I've been climbing for about 9 months, with about 3 months leading indoors, and just a touch of outdoor sport. She's only top-roped indoor, but will probably do some leading practice indoors before we go.
We'd want route from about 5-6b. In a nice location, even with a lake nearby would be perfect! I'm getting the Cote D'Azur rockfax guide as Calanques looked a possibility, but I realise that our location is in the crossover between this and the Languedoc-Roussillon and Haute Provence rockfax guide.
If anyone can recommend some possibilities that would be greatly appreciated. I think Buoux is the closest but a bit worried it's not for the likes of us. Maybe too hard and a lot of finger pockets.
Also, we'll have a car so we can drive a bit but don't necessarily want to go too far.
Orpierre and/or Chateauvert (Vallon Sourn). Both places offer superb routes, but expect a bit spaced protection in Chateauvert.
Oh, and you may want to avoid Buoux. Even easy routes require really good climbing technique. It's old school, really old school ;)
In the Luberon itself your best bet is Oppede which has plenty of well bolted routes in the 4 - 6 range. No lake but a pretty hilltop village with a couple of bars and with an old chateau overlooking the crag. There are details on the find a crag thing on this site. I have an old photocopied topo which I got from SOS escalade in Avignon that I can scan for you if your interested. I've never seen it in a guide anywhere but its a nice place I've used as respite from Buoux! If your in the Luberon btw you really should visit Buoux if only to walk under the crag, there are a few reasonable routes to go at on the Le Devers wall left of TCF and slightly lower though I'm not sure if all the easier routes are in the Rockfax guide, pretty obvious when your there though. Or leave it till last and set yourself a target!
Orpierre is a long way from the Luberon and you'll have driven past dozens of far better crags to get there btw. Around Buis Les Baronnies for example.
If you had a chance to scan the topo, that'd be really appreciated.
My girlfriend is not too keen to spend the whole honeymoon climbing, so I think a few strategically chosen days is the best bet! And bars and cafes are likely to be used to sell climbing to her.
Many thanks again
Chateauvert / Vallon Sourn is stunning - right on the banks of a river - and there are quite a number of reasonably easy routes in the 5s and early 6s (and some entertaining 4s in the Lycopodium sector). But, as said above, the bolting on some is a bit sparse, esp to first bolt, take a stick.
You are not too far from Orgon - has a reservoire (and Orgon Canal) - everything from slabs to outrageous overhangs. Good bolting in most sectors.
There is a small crag very near you at Meyrargues.
Don't overlook Sainte Victoire - there are some excellent routes from the mad and adventurous to 'normal' sport.
You should try to get to Gigondas / Dentelles for a day
However almost all of these sites can have an interdiction in summer. June may be OK, I think if it is put in place - it varies year by year - it starts in July, but best to check. This is essentially a ban on all access to crags due to fire risk. Orgon canal is one of the few that never closes. St Victoire closes regularly.
I've sent you an email. I'd agree with Mont St Victoire but it will almost certainly have a fire restriction on it which is a shame because it's stunning, again worth heading that way for a look, there used to be a number you could ring to find out the following days restrictions for the whole of the Bouches du Rhone. Buoux and Oppede aren't in that department btw so don't get banned.
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