/ France : Languedoc-Roussillon
I am heading down to France for a couple of weeks in August. Having never climbed in France I was looking for a bit of advice...
I am taking the family so am looking for some easy sport routes in the Ardeche / Gorge du Tarn areas...
Has anyone been before?
Can you recommend any spots?
Will it be too hot to enjoy?
If you get fed up of limestone sport-routes, you could do worse then checking out the Caroux. Hundreds of routes from single pitch to 300m multi-pitch. The rock is a beautifully compact gneiss. If you just give it the once, I'd head for the Gorges de l'Heric. There are some lovely pools for swimming and a population of wild sheep- the mouflon.
I have a house down in the middle of the Languedoc central to around 10 crags of differant size, 1 hour south of the Gorge du Tarn and close to Thuarac being the largest with nearly as many routes as all of Derbyshire limestone and of all grades with multy pitch as well and shade family freindly with a fantastic visiter's cave and cafe . http://www.topo-thaurac.com/ this site also goes to a few more crags.
the guides are easy-ish to find as you go to the local village bar and ask and all the money goes back into bolting new crags/routes. [[ I am still finding new crags the French are developing ]]
E-mail me if you want more info.
Boy will it be hot.From whta I know most of the locals do not bother climbing in August and wait for the cooler months.
Bloody hell Keith, that's not what you said a couple of years ago as you and I drove from Tourist Information Offices to Pattiseries to local bars and even Wine caves and vineyards in a fruitless search for local guides. :-)
Something you may want to do is familiarise yourself with a plant called "La Rue" I got affected with it at Russan, quite unpleasant.
Have a look at: http://www.ukclimbing.com/logbook/crag.php?id=1926
Morning shade, then: http://www.ukclimbing.com/logbook/crag.php?id=1927
for afternoon shade.
Campsite just across the river: http://www.camping-mazet-plage.com/
Yes it will be too hot, but you'll, have fun swimming in the river.
> Boy will it be hot.From whta I know most of the locals do not bother climbing in August and wait for the cooler months.
Perfect temps for early morning and evening climbing. Go cycling or be a tourist in the afternoons.
> I am taking the family so am looking for some easy sport routes in the Ardeche / Gorge du Tarn areas...
Hi Martin, the combination of easier sectors and "not brain-meltingly hot" is going to be quite hard to find.
Gorges du Tarn is great for a family holiday next to the river, but most of the climbing is well above F6a.
Ardeche would be better, as there are easier areas that are shady in the morning:
Chaulet is OK until about 12 and right next to the river. Campsites can be a bit noisy, although the chalets at Camping Les Blaches are about the best choice.
Opposite Chaulet is a crag not in the Rockfax : Baume Escure with a couple of easier sectors (routes around 4/5) both before and after the caves, and some fun steeper routes inside.
Mazet also stays in the shade until about midday.
The boulders up on the casteljau plateau can be a bit hard to navigate around, but there are a LOT of child-friendly circuits and it's OK on all but the hottest days. It's not Font, but good fun.
Actinadas isn't really a good choice anymore, as the sector with the easiest routes has apparently been de-equipped due to the campsite expanding.
The big disadvantage with all the crags (except the boulders) in the Ardeche is that the easier routes (up to about 6c) are hugely polished, no, massively polished, no no actually they are more polished than that.
Around Thaurac/Montpellier there are a few shady options (there's even a reasonable spread of easier routes at La Joncas) but it is stinking hot here in August, although there is always the sea and rivers to cool off in.
Thaurac itself has a few sectors that are shady - but it can be stifling and baking even in the shade. Claret and St Bauzille de Montmel are good evening venues, but from about 17h30/18h00 - possibly a bit late for a family outing.
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