Altitude 130m a.s.l
Lewis Grundy on the huge 6c+ through the roof of the cave at Orgon in France © Alan James
Mention Orgon to climbers who are reasonably familiar with French climbing and most will assume you are referring to Orgon Canal - a super-steep collection of routes, some of which were once amongst the hardest in the world. This is to mis-judge Orgon almost entirely, as the great majority of the climbing here consists of low- to mid-grade routes on largely slabby or vertical rock. There are, of course, steeper sections, like the Canal, but really there is something for everyone from grade 3 to grade 9. The facts that there is a campsite right in the middle of the place, and that it is so easy to get to, even without a car, make it surprising that it is not more popular than it is.
The sectors at Orgon as so incredibly varied that it's not possible to give a general indication of conditions - in all likelihood there will be a crag facing the right way with some routes that you'll want to try whatever the time of year.
Orgon... straight outta the 80s...
If you decide to come by train, you will find that a service linking Avignon with Marseilles stops a short walk from the campsite - about as convenient as it gets. If you come by car, exit the A7 at junction 26 (or 25 if coming from the north) and follow signs to Orgon.
The main road through town is the D7n - locally known as Avenue de la Victoire. Heading east through town, as if to travel south on the D7n, the last right-hand turn before leaving town is Rue Jean Moutte. It is at quite a sharp angle and very easy to miss - look for a sign to the campsite. Follow Rue Jean Moutte - it becomes Route de la Gare and goes past the railway station. After about 800m from the D7n, you will reach a sign to the campsite off to the right, next to a large pond. Follow the road up to the campsite where there is plenty of parking around the entrance. See individual sectors for approaches from the campsite.
You can either approach from the campsite, or you can save a fair walk by navigating the warren of streets to get to the church of Notre Dame de Beauregard (it is a prominent landmark, and well signposted). The road that leads to the church has a sizeable parking area on its right, just before a sharp left-hand bend. Park here, walk up the road and follow the path off to the right after about 25m.
Sector Beauregard, including Mur Notre dame, Grottes Sud, Pilier Sud and Dalle du Camping, is currently closed due to a rockfall. The restriction is temporary and is being lifted gradually as the FFME make assessments. Update: the rockfall has taken out an area at the top of Germanofolie, Radioactive, RFM and Absence de Malice. There are blocks containing two lower-offs on the path !!!
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