Toby Dunn spills the beans on a top French climbing area rarely visited by us Brits...
In Cazals I would also recommend Euphorie (7c) and Sudden death (7c+).
On Roc d'Anglar, apart from the routes mentioned in the article, people shouldn't miss Voleur de Feu (7b) (likely the best route of the sector), Baston (7b), Illeou (7b+), Phenomene de Rejet (8a) or S'il vous plait merci encore (8b). The tricky thing with Anglar is that there are a lot of routes you should avoid, so stick to recommendations!
In Super Manjoc, all the routes on the central part are good, Bad Attitude is the most popular 8a+ in the area (for all the usual reasons), and all the 8bs are good, but it is tricky to get good conditions as it is often humid because of the protected aspect of the crag; so for a visitor it's good to have some margin on the grades.
Nice article Toby. My experiences have been similar, i.e. I didn't meet any UK climbers, the crags were uncrowded and generally all the climbing was good - even the 6's at Anglars despite the polish. I'd have to say that for lower grades, 5's to 6a it is very limited and not that good - all the rest ace!
If you drive st east for 30min to Gaillac some great wines and a great place to visit isCordes sir Ciel a great village on top of a pointy hill just left there this afternoon .
This looks a brilliant area; very interested. Lovely part of France too, drove through on my way to and from Carcasonne last year.
What's the best time of year to visit? Is it standard spring/autumn? Are there any north facing crags that can be sampled in summer or south-facing suntraps that would work in winter?
Climbing is possible year round. Capucin is in the sun all day, and only really feasible in the winter or late in the evening in spring/autumn.
Roc d'Anglar is the best sector the summer. Of the north facing sectors, it is the most exposed to wind. Manjo Carn and Super Manjoc are also possible in the summer to a certain extent, but to be avoided the hottest days.
Cordes sur Ciel is a ridiculously beautiful village.
> Cordes sur Ciel is a ridiculously beautiful village.
...as is Najac, Saint Cirque Lapopie, Bruniquel, Penne....
Totally agree with Jonas regarding year round options. Autumn is probably best as it opens up La Croix and Cazals, although I have climbed at both in the summer, the tufas at la Croix stay in the shade until mid afternoon and are fine unless it's silly hot.
Anglers has a couple of 'too polished to be fully enjoyable' routes but out of the 30 or so I have done there only two or three have disappointed.