Lowie Lamberechts on Tractosaur, 8b, at l'Oasif, Gorges du Tarn © Jonas Wiklund
Of the three areas in this section, the Gorge du Tarn is the most widely recognised. With both superb quality rock and a mostly road-side approach, it is a justifiably popular venue. The climbing has only been developed since the late 1990s, and new-route activity is on-going. There is no doubt that the Tarn is of more interest to climbers operating in the 7s and 8s than it is to those looking for 5s and 6s, though there is plenty enough for a short trip if you can stretch to mid 6s. The routes are largely characterised as stamina tests, and pitches up to 50m are not uncommon, the usual method for doing the very long pitches is to use two ropes - switching from one to the other (and dropping the unneeded one) along the way to reduce rope-drag.
The Tarn is not a place to visit in the winter, as the steep sides of the gorge limit the amount of sun the crags get. The rest of the year, sun and shade can be found in roughly equal measure. Some of the steeper crags are climbable during rain. If it gets too hot, the River Tarn is never far away and is always guaranteed to cool you down.
The climbing is found on the north bank of the river Tarn, two kilometres north of the village of Les Vignes. There are a number of parking areas on the side of the road. From the road, paths lead up to the crags.
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