Altitude 290m a.s.l
Tom on Sacrilege © alpboy57
Located in the Minervois Region of South East France. Relatively unheard of and recently developed climbing areas, mainly single pitch on walls of limestone gorges.
The area is beautiful, the church where you park, the gorge and the surrounding areas are picturesque and generally nice to be around, even if you are not climbing. Walks up the gorge are highly recommended, as are longer trips around the Planette plateau. The area is rich and diverse in wild flowers and birdlife. Wild boar also live in the hills above the cliffs.
The lines are climbed regularly by all levels of climbers with multiple schools trips made by students as well as locals and some holiday makers throughout the week. That said, it is not too busy and you can always find a wall to get away from it, but its not remote if thats what you are looking for. If it is busy a safe bet is to head for the secteurs Lucky Luke, La Breche, Bouchon and Sherpa. It's a bit more of a walk but well worth it for the setting and the solitude. Either follow the gorge until the 2nd dam follow the obvious path up the hill to the east, or from La Sanctuaire follow a winding path steeply up hill east at first, then west before reaching a hermit's cave and heading north. Take a 70m rope for the climbs at Lucky Luke. Lucky Luke was bird banned in 2014 from April until June.
In La Gorge and a little bit in secteur Gendarme the French ethic of sticking on plastic (and real rock) holds onto lovely limestone is bizarre and a bit off-putting, but this is only in the Initiation areas and is not generally found on climbs of of 5c and above.
Grading follows French standards, but with 5a, b and c (which I had not seen before) to assist in choosing routes, which in general I found reasonably accurate (not taking into account any stuck on holds).
Use this guide for the area which is out of print but still pretty good: http://andre.berche.sudsportsnature.pagesperso-orange.fr/Pages/documentspdf/Topo_Escalade_en_Minervois_edition_2000.pdf (cant find it on UKC list).
A lovely area, definitely worth a visit.
Near the town of Caunes-Minervois, 30 mins on D620 from Carcasonne.
Follow the sign for Notre Dam de Cros church which is appx 2km east of Caunes-Minervois.
|Beautiful location, as previous commenter, was quite busy at Gendarme, Santuaire also quite busy, we were there on a weekend though. La Gorge section was quieter (in fact we were the only ones there). The church is well worth a look in and there is the beautifully shaded picnic area below Santuaire by the entrance to the gorge for a quick bite to eat. WC's at the church.
ianbowles - 29/Apr/14
|Lovely climbing location in the Minervois area of South of France.
Set in and around a gorge next to an old church. Has shaded picnic area with stone tables next to running stream (great for a cold splash!).
Quite well used by locals and children learning, but this is only concentrated in the Gendarme area leaving loads of space for anyone else.
Great quality rock, not too polished. Plenty of variation in terms of grades and climbs!
Overall a great climbing experience.
JohnDHillman - 27/Apr/11
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