At UKC we are all climbers and we understand the strong urge to be outdoors as the weather is finally improving. Please proceed with caution though. Read more
Altitude 66m a.s.l
Pitch 5 © kevin stephens
Heading east from Les Goudes, Sormiou is the first of the proper calanques to be reached; a deep, flooded valley with steep rocky sides. The approach to the area is through one of Marseilles' less salubrious neighbourhoods, which makes the contrast between city and wilderness all the more marked.
The small cliffs of the Sormiou area are rapid drying and don't suffer from seepage to any extent. Most of the cliffs face more-or-less west, so get morning shade and afternoon sun. They are generally exposed to the Mistral, except for the central section of the Colline de Lune which offers some shelter.
Head for the southern suburbs of Marseilles (Marzagues) and signs for 'Sormiou' will lead you to the correct valley. L'Arenas and Colline de Lune are the first crags passed on the left. Above that you drive over the Col de Sormiou and two more crags before dropping down into the Calanque de Sormiou and the final crag of La Pinèda.
If there is no parking then the other option is to drive over to the Morgiou car park and walk from there (similar distance). Walk out the path on the right hand side past the barrier and follow the path up past a couple of crags. Worth while getting a map for the area.
Access to get to Sormiou (and Morgiou too) is restricted in the summer (and also on windy days in hot weather when the fire risk is elevated). The restriction is only on the approach road and it is possible to walk in from the barrier - 1 hour. On weekends from 23rd March to 8th June, and every day between June 9th and September 13th parking anywhere along the road is not permitted between 8:30 and 19:30 due to narrow roads and serious problems with congestion. If you wish to drive in during these periods then arrive early and leave late.
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