Altitude 650m a.s.l
Drew mid way up À vue pour Corinne © Phil Belcher
This is a major crag in SW France, well worth a visit especially by climbers in the middle grades. There are lots of excellent climbs in grades 5 and 6, including several multi-pitch routes (up to 7 pitches) and good quality harder climbing (F7a to F8c). Calames offers an impressive variety of climbing with steep routes on the first sectors and slabs further on.
The crag is south facing and can get hot in summer especially between late May and August. The furthest sectors (Le Col, Presse Puree) and a handful of routes on 'Les Grottes' are in the shade for much of the morning. Sector 'Le Levant' is shady from 1500hrs onwards and 'Les Grottes' from about 1700. The Autumn brings the most reliable conditions but if the weather is right, the crag is climbable all year. The closest accommodation is an english run guesthouse a short walk from the crag (www.basecalames.com), there are plenty of other options for accommodation and climbing in the area.
Free PFD Topo's here - http://cafma.free.fr/calames/fr_cal.htm
stated grades are either from the new guide or the online topo.
From the roundabout at the end of the N24 at Tarascon-sur-Ariege take the D614 towards Saurat/Col de Port. After 5 minutes enter the village of Bedeilhac and park in the large carpark on the left. Walk up through the village following the footpath marked with red and yellow stripes arriving at the 1st sector in around 10 minutes.
|Sector "Le Papy" must be one of the best venues for grade 5 routes in France. We almost had the crag to ourselves (mid-March). The rock is not polished, is quite steep in parts and very well endowed with holds. All the routes we did were very fine to outstanding. In particular Coralie is that rare item - a truly memorable sport route! Some of the alleged 40m routes (left end) are in fact fine on a 70m rope. Not sure about the two alleged 45m pitches - didn't risk it... The sunny aspect made it possible to climb comfortably in the sunshine although there was quite a lot of snow on the ground (and falling down the crag on to us), and the views of Pic du Trois Seigneurs covered in snow were stunning. An unmissable venue for climbers of modest ambitions.|
Rog Wilko - 17/Mar/10
|Really nice easy limestone routes in this sector. Got very hot in the mid afternoon sun though (September) so get there early for pleasant climbing!|
bigbobbyking - 15/Sep/09
|This is a major crag in SW France, well worth a visit especially by climbers in the middle grades who are often poorly catered for at better known crags. There are numerous excellent climbs in grades 5 and 6, including several multi-pitch routes (some of which require trad gear) and good quality harder climbing (F7a to F8a) in the Secteur des Grottes.
The crag can get very hot in summer especially between late May and August, and the weather can be wet in spring. The best time for a visit would be September to November but if the weather is right, the crag is climbable all year - it is a suntrap and it's possible to climb in tee-shirt and shorts in December. It would be possible to combine climbing here with skiing in the upper part of the Ariege Valley or even Andorra.|
AlisonC - 05/Dec/05