Climbs 220
Rocktype Limestone
Altitude 884m a.s.l
Faces S

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Poisson d'avril (7a+) at Calamès © Chris Craggs

Crag features

Calamès is one of the most important crags in the whole area, with a superb array of single and multi-pitch routes across the grades. The crag can get busy on sunny weekends in the high season - March to May and September to October. At these times a helmet is sensible.

The crag is exposed to the wind, which dries it out quickly. Despite this, it gets very hot, although some shade can be found beneath the trees at the base of the cliffs. They don't make very good rain shelters though.

Good topo here.

Approach notes

From Tarascon-sur-Ariège, head west on the D616 through Surba and on to Bédeilhac. Here you will find an extensive parking area just above the village. A small road leads from the left-hand (southeast) corner into the village. Follow this past the buildings and take the second right turn after the church (red/yellow flashes) just after Base Calamès. This track heads up over a brow to reach the right-hand edge of the cliff. From here, the cliff runs leftwards up the hill with a rough path zigzagging up the steep slope in front of the face. The upper-most buttresses are another twenty minutes away and can also be reached by staying on the GR path and turning right at the col.


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
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