Altitude 366m a.s.l
Hortus - left (main) crag © Andy Chubb
Hortus is a crag unlike any other in this guide. Although just down the road from Claret, Hortus is not somewhere you will ever find a crowd. In fact, you are likely to have the crag to yourself. The reason for this is that Hortus is a lot more adventurous than your typical French crag. Although there are bolts, you should not rely on your chosen route being a clip-up, and a small trad rack is worth having even if you are confident you won't need it.
The crag has a number of aid routes - these have mostly been left out, but their existence should be noted when route-finding. Belays are not always the neat two-bolts-and-a-chain affairs found elsewhere - expect to hunt around for pitons and threads and be able to equalise them - and be prepared to leave gear behind if you need to retreat. The designated abseil descents should be used and having a pair of half ropes is preferable to a single rope. Grades will often feel quite stiff here, so it's worth starting off conservatively to get a feel for the place.
If you haven't been put off, Hortus is well-worth your time - the lines are stunning, the positions memorable, and you're sure to have an adventure to remember long after you've forgotten the rest of your trip.
The crag is south-facing and gets a lot of sun. It is also exposed to the wind.
The crag lines north of the D1 section of road linking St. Martin-de-Londres and St. Mathieu-de-Tréviers. Right next to the 28km marker-post on the D1, a large track leads off towards the cliff. Park at the wide parking area at the start of this track, and walk up about 1km towards the crag, until 50m before you reach an old metal gate ('Interdit' sign). From here, take a winding path leading off to the left. A path leads along the base of the crag in both directions. Take care if you find yourself below other climbers, as there is a fair amount of loose rock about.
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