Climbs 141
Rocktype Limestone
Altitude 139m a.s.l
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Calanques - en Vau to the turquoise Med sea © brianrunner

Crag features

The most classical of all the Calanques, a Mediterranean paradise that has suffered because of its beauty, it is best avoided on sunny summer weekends when the small beach can end up jammed with 'seekers of solitude'. The authorities have made access to the Calanque more difficult as the years have gone by, moving the nearest parking further away, though boat access from Cassis remains the easiest way in. Boats are not allowed to approach the beach, a commando assault will be required. 

The climbing here is excellent, varied and in a wonderful situation, though inevitably the most popular climbs have become polished in the 100 plus years climbers have been visiting the place. Many of the routes are only partly bolted, a light trad rack will be needed for these.

The recessed nature of En Vau makes it a good bet on windy days and, as the cliffs face in different directions, both sun and shade are normally on offer. In winter the base of the calanque sees precious little sun, though the higher walls are a better bet. La Face du Grand Rappel is in the shade from mid-morning, a boon on steamy summer days. Seepage is normally not an issue here.

Approach notes

Option 1 - The usual climbers' approach is from the extensive parking at the Col de la Gardiole. This is reached by locating a small innocuous turn off the D559 Cassis to Marseille road called appropriately 'Rue de Gaston Rebuffat'. From the parking, walk down past the Forestry House and drop down either of two narrow valleys that lead all the way down to the sea - 40 minutes. 

A return can be made from the plateau to the north of the Calanque by way of good tracks that lead past the Youth Hostel and back to the parking.

Option 2 - The approach from Cassis, via parking at Port Miou and the GR 98-51 is shorter but uphill and down-dale.

We used the standard 40 minute walk approach from Rue de Gaston Rebuffat. This felt safe as there are plenty of cars parked there and there was a park ranger at the carpark. Lovely scenic crags.
brianrunner - 02/Apr/12
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