/ Where in France? - April 2012 - Rock

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Alan Bates on 14 Nov 2012
We're looking for a 4 day rock climbing trip, probably bolted, in France or elsewhere in Europe in April next year. Ideally easy grades(5 - 6a+/6b)and not too polished. Multi and single pitch options would be good.
Therefore important things are good venues, decent weather, not too hot, easy flights.
Could/will trawl the guide books but appreciate any suggestions you may have.
Cheers
Martin Bennett - on 14 Nov 2012
In reply to Alan Bates:

One word answer - Ariege.

Multi word justification - exactly fits your spec; Rockfax guide book about to be published; accommodations available in a number of British run spots, as well, obviously, as rather more authentic gite style places if you prefer.

We really like it and our demands seem very similar to yours.
Alan Bates on 14 Nov 2012
In reply to Martin Bennett: Thanks Martin, I'll take a look
AJM - on 14 Nov 2012
In reply to Alan Bates:

St Julien, Baume Rousse, Combe Obscure etc near Buis? Or the Gorge de la Jonte near Millau?

Or Buoux I suppose although the lower grades are interesting in terms of style and grading!
zootloop - on 14 Nov 2012
In reply to Alan Bates:
Orpierre
benka - on 14 Nov 2012
In reply to Alan Bates:
Buis les Barronnies, loads in your grade spread, not polished, multi and single pitch. Cheap camping.
Alan Bates on 14 Nov 2012
In reply to zootloop and benka: Cheers, we'll be looking into these
Skyfall - on 14 Nov 2012
Having been to a lot of the Brit frequented areas of sports climbing in France, I would suggest going to the Buis area as per AJM's post. More easy grade stuff than you can shake a stick at, fairly consistent bolting, and grading, single and multi pitch (search out La Grotto at St Julien for a fun multi pitch outing at 6a), plus a lovely area.

Ollie of Climbapaedia (google it) can even put you up about 5 mins from some of the crags. Coombe Obscure was/is one of my favourite crags for easy angled sports climbing.

There is some very good stuff in the Ariege but the grades can be, well, interesting, as can some of the bolting. More adventurous mind and a wider variety of low and high level crags, rock types (limestone and granite), and sports to alpine. John Arran lives locall and can accomodate.

Rockfax guides to both areas.
eldre070 - on 14 Nov 2012
Assume you mean April 2014 if we're aiming for 6+s!!?
Simon Caldwell - on 14 Nov 2012
In reply to JonC:
> Ariege ... rock types (limestone and granite)

and gneiss and quartzite.

Brilliant area. Not sure about the weather in April though - a 4 day trip might end up being 4 days of rain (this is based on reading not experience - our October trip had just 1 write-off day out of 13, though 3 others were also damp).
Skyfall - on 14 Nov 2012
In reply to Toreador:

We had a fair bit of rain in April but climbed every day. For what it's worth, and I appreciate this will run counter to what some will say, we thought the easy stuff was significantly less appealing than other areas such as Buis. But if you're looking for varied climbing it's great.
Simon Caldwell - on 14 Nov 2012
In reply to JonC:
I'd better add Buis to the list then as we thought the easy stuff at Ariege was great :-)
Alan Bates on 14 Nov 2012
In reply to JonC and Toreador: Thanks fellas, good stuff. It will all help in considering the options

As for you Mike, I'd hope to be 'enjoying' 6a in April 2013 and following you up 6b's
AJM - on 14 Nov 2012
In reply to JonC:

In terms of April weather, we got soaked in the Tarn/Jonte area this Easter. The forecast was equally as bad further east for Buoux etc, but when we spoke to people who had been there it had actually turned out far better than the forecast would have suggested. I don't know enough about the drivers of French weather, but in terms of stormy systems coming off the Atlantic the usual rule of going as far east as possible might be a good one.
john arran - on 14 Nov 2012
In reply to JonC:

> There is some very good stuff in the Ariege but the grades can be, well, interesting...

Hopefully we've sorted the worst of the anomalies out already ;-)

To be fair though people often disagree wildly about which routes are undergraded and I'm sure some of it at least is down to lack of familiarity and experience - certainly on the granite routes.

french'yves - on 19 Nov 2012
In the same area than Buis, there is a place called Saou which is quite good as well. From there you can also drive to few other craggs, a good one: pont de barret with a river just down the cragg, quite enjoyable after warm days! Small and quiet village, you can camp there and I think I remember a few cottages "gites de france" that you might be able to book
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Alan Bates on 19 Nov 2012
In reply to french'yves and John Arran: thanks to both of you, all info gratefully received.
With it being a short trip it looks as thought convenience of flights might now also be a big factor, we don't want to lose a day with travelling so we're hoping to arrive and leave late evening, thus maximising climbing time.

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