Altitude 600m a.s.l
These are the crags overlooking the "Grande Corniche" road as it winds down from La Turbie towards Monte Carlo. The climbing is very similar to the La Turbie crags. However, the routes are more varied, the bolting is friendlier, and the grades, in general, seem less severe. Some of the best climbs in Les Alpes Maritimes are located here.
Generally speaking, a lot of the crags offer shelter during rain, and they dry out quickly after rain, though any routes with tufas take longer (especially in Les Marches du Palais, which can seep for a long time once wet).
Ideal for climbing from early autumn through to late spring. It is possible to climb in the shade in summer, but expect it to be hot.
All styles are catered for: slabs, overleaning walls, edges, pockets, tufas and even upside down cave climbing.
Pitch lengths vary from 10 to 15m (Petit Palais), 20 to 25m (Le Palais) to about 30 to 35m (Alcatraz). Due to the friendly bolting, a large number of quick draws is helpful, so take 20 (including some long ones, to reduce rope drag).
Les Marches du Palais: Park at the large carpark on the left (driving downhill) uphill from "La Vista Palace Hotel". Walk 100m back up the road (taking care with the traffic) and take the path on the right (possible to park here), passing some derelict buildings and heading towards the obvious cave, 5 mins.
Petit Palais: Park at the same place and take the same path. However after approx 100m take the handline up the rocky slope. Continue steeply uphill, past some handlines, for about another 10 mins to arrive at the right hand end of the crag. Time: about 15 mins.
Le Palais: As for Petit Palais but pass this steeply on the right, then traverse upwards and left across the hillside above Petit Palais, to arrive at the hidden crag after about 30 mins in total. This is a very steep and difficult approach, so may take even longer.
Alcatraz and L'Evade: Parking is very difficult and restricted to a few places near the first pair of large bends, as you go downhill, about 500m uphill from the A8 maintenance access road (which has a large gate across it). Take great care when walking along the road as traffic is fast. After the lefthand bend, there is a concrete road on the left and space at the bottom for about 5 cars. Park here, or back up the road wherever possible. Follow the steep concrete road uphill. At the first left bend there is a small path on the right, follow this steeply uphill. The path eventually levels out and traverses rightwards across the hillside. Continue past the large metal safety nets (that protect the traffic below) and then steeply uphill through the trees. The path levels out again and continues right for about 200m to the end of a shady buttress of rock with a sign for L'Evade. Take the path uphill for Alcatraz, and down for L'Evade. Time: 15 to 20 mins. Voila!
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