Altitude 861m a.s.l
A great 7a+ roof problem in the charming granite boulderfield of Orlu in the Ariège © chez Arran
An extensive boulderfield of high quality, grippy granite in a lovely wooded riverside setting. Bouldering, picnicking or just taking in the atmosphere - all are options. There are colour-coded circuits - from really easy to really, really taxing, a local guide-pamphlet available from the tourist office in Ax and even a sign-board with the problems marked.
The wooded nature of the area offers shade in the summer, and the proximity of the river helps keep it cool. In the winter, the place is often worth a visit if it has been dry. After rain, the area is quite slow to dry and the mosquitos can be an issue.
From the main road through the centre of Ax towards Andorra, but where this jigs hard right across the river, turn left onto a narrow road - the D22. Follow this for 5km to Orlu, and continue past the village for another 700m to a right turn over the river where there are two old bridges. Park on the right by the sign-board and follow the riverside path to the north for 200m to enter the wood and locate the first of the boulders.
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