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Rock Climbing in Southeast of France

Climbing in France, Ceuse (© P. Gatta).
Climbing in France, Ceuse (© P. Gatta)

Introduction

This page describes some of the nicest cliffs in southeast of France and especially in the Alpes Maritimes. This area offers around 3,000 sport routes, most of them at only one hour drive from Nice (French Riviera).

Cliffs described:

Nice (Courtesy NASA/JPL-Caltech).
Nice (Courtesy NASA/JPL-Caltech)

Peillon, the Cave

Peillon is one of the nicest cliffs. Both the routes and the area are fantastic. One can climb all year around, except in July and August. The routes located on the right of " La violence et le sacre " remain in the sun all day. The rest of the cave is in the shade in the afternoon. Most of routes are long, overhanging and with lots of tuffas.

The routes are well bolted and most quickdraws are already in place. Just check out the slings.

Peillon cave (© P. Gatta).
Peillon cave (© p. Gatta)

Routes: 38 routes from 6b to 8c

Parking: the parking is located on the road toward Peille. 1.5km before Peille, take left a dirt road for 200m. GPS: 7º 23’ 56.2" E / 43º 37’ 34.1" N.

Cliff: 35 minutes walk. The trail goes under the Cime de Rastel. 300m after the Cime, take the trail to the left going down between the area Paul Arene and the cave. Then, take right for 300m. GPS: 7º 23’ 27.0" E / 43º 47’ 0.7" N.


See the detailed routes description, more photos and videos.


The routes from left to right and my preferences:
  • Le pilier de Vannes 6c+/7a
  • Cent milles pattes 7a+ (**)
  • La discrète 7a
  • Suzan Vanke 7b+/7c
  • La femme adultère 7c (**)
  • Inaal ding dingue dong 7c+ (**)
  • Y'a pas d'arrangement 8a (exit by Paret), 8a+ (straight exit) (***)
  • Johnny Guitar 7b+
  • Coup de foudre 7b+ (**)
  • Paret 7c+ (coup de foudre then follow up) (***)
  • Super croix 8b+
  • Das Boot 8b (** very bouldery)
  • Rue Gamma 8c
  • A bout se souffle 8b (***)
  • Batman 7c+ (**, original...)
  • Saharagga 8a+ (Batman then above on the right) (**)
  • Vizir 8a+ (Batman then above on the left)
  • Le souffle du vizir 8b+ (A bout se souffle 8b+ and the end of Vizir) (**)
  • Le souffle du ragga 8b+ (A bout se souffle 8b+ end of Saharagga) (***)
  • Au bout de la rue 8b+ (A bout se souffle then end of Rue gamma)
  • Docteur Buttman 8b+ (Batman then joins A l'envers à l'endroit)
  • A l'envers à l'endroit 8a+ (***, 90 mouves, fantastic)
  • Voyage au bout de la nuit 8b (1 anchor 7c)
  • Le corbeau 7c+ (***)
  • Tout reste à faire 8a+ (***)
  • La violence et le sacre 7b (**)
  • La guerre du feu 7b
  • Lucie naon 7a+ (*)
  • Captain cavern 7a+ (***)
  • Goupil 6c (***)
  • La cinquième colonne 6c
  • Mathilde 6b+ (*)

Philippe in Le Souffle du Raggha, 8b+ (© P. Gatta)
Philippe in Le Souffle du Raggha, 8b+ / 5.14a (© P. Gatta)

Anna Gatta in Tout reste à faire, 8a+ (© P. Gatta)
Anna Gatta in Tout reste à faire, 8a+ (© P. Gatta)

Philippe in Saharagga, 8a+ (© p. Gatta).
Philippe in Saharagga, 8a+ (© P. Gatta)

Castillon

Castillon is THE winter cliff. It's so hot that one can climb only from November to March. There are two areas: Traduction and Arcade. Arcade is the oldest and the best one. The routes offer different styles and overall very nice. The left part is overhanging (45º) and very resistive, the routes on the right side are of different styles.

The first routes have been open by Axel Franco and Philippe Maurel. Later on, Pascal Clémenti signed a convention with the FFME and the mayor so he and Philippe Gatta could keep opening new routes.



Philippe in Trace Directe, 8a (filmed by A. Gatta)


Philippe in Mortal Kombat (© P. Gatta)
Philippe in Mortal Kombat (© P. Gatta)

Routes: 55 routes from 6b to 8c+

Parking: the parking is located in a sharp curve 1.5 km before Castillon toward Sospel. GPS: 7º 28’ 52.7" E / 43º 49’ 42.6" N.

Cliff: 20 minutes walk. From the parking, follow the trail which starts under the bridge of Caramel. The area Traduction is visible from the trail after 10 minutes of walk. Keep going for another 10 minutes for Arcade area. GPS: 7º 29’ 4.0" E / 43º 49’ 33.6" N.


My selection of routes:

Gorges du Loup, Déversé

Deverse, also called Pupuce Surplomb (name of an aid climbing route) is the hardest cliff in term of difficulty. The first free climbing route was Déversé Satanique, open by Bernard Duterte in the mid 80’s. Now grated 8a+ « soft » it remains a fantastic climb. Deverse offer 50 routes above 8a (5.13b), including three 9a (5.14d) : KinematiX (first ascent by Andreas Bindhammer), Abyss (opened and first ascent by Alex Chabot) and PuntX (opened by Cédric Lo Piccolo and first ascent by Alex Chabot).

The cliff is very overhanging and completely off rain. But, if it’s raining for several days; most tuffas will be wet for a while. It’s best climbing there from May to October. It’s one of the few cliffs to remain « cool » in summer.

The routes are well bolted and most quickdraws are already in place. Just check out the slings.

See the detailed routes description, more photos and videos.



Video of Philippe in Qoussaï, 8a+ (film by A. Gatta)


Anna Gatta in Deverse, 8a+ (© p. Gatta).
Anna Gatta in Deverse, 8a+ (© p. Gatta)

Routes: 70 routes from 6a to 9a.

Parking: follow the road D6 from Pont du Loup and Gréolières. The parking is on the left just after the first tunnel. GPS: 7º 0’ 1.55" E / 43º 44’ 19.5" N.

Cliff: 5 minutes walk. From parking walk along the road for 100m, then take the steep trail on the right. GPS: 7º 0’ 5.4" E / 43º 44’ 20.7" N.

Philippe in Dies Irae, 8a+ (5.13c) (© A. Gatta)
Philippe in Dies Irae, 8a+ (5.13c) (© A. Gatta)

Super Tango, 8a+ (5.13c) (© P. Gatta)
Philippe in Super Tango, 8a+ (5.13c) (© A. Gatta)

My selection of routes:


Gorges du Loup, Jurassic Park and Cayenne

Jurassic Park and Cayenne are both on the right side of the Gorges du Loup (looking down). They are great cliffs in summer and they are in the shade in the afternoon.

Cliff of Jurassic Park (© P. Gatta)
Cliff of Jurassic Park (© P. Gatta)

Jurassic Park: 33 routes from 6b+ to 8c+
Cayenne: 22 routes from 6c to 8b

Parking: follow the road D3 between Bramafan and Gourdon. Park your car along the road at a placed marked 593m on the IGN map 25000. A dirt road goes down toward the bridge of l'Abime. GPS: 6º 59’ 38.2" N / 43º 44’ 31.5" E.

Cliff Jurassic: 35 minutes walk. Follow the dirt road to the pont de l'Abime and the water pipe. Follow it to the right along the GR 51. Pass 7 tunnels (head torch) until the bottom of the cliff of Jurassic. GPS: 6º 59’ 38.8" E / 43º 53’ 52.8" N.

Cliff Cayenne: from Jurassic keep going along the trail for another 5-10 minutes. GPS: 6º 59’ 33.8" E / 43º 43’ 48.6" N.

Le Néant des dalles 7b+ (© P. Gatta)
Le Néant des dalles 7b+ (© P. Gatta)

My selection of route voies at Jurassic Park:

Diplodocus, 8a (© P. Gatta)
Diplodocus, 8a (© P. Gatta)

My selection of routes at Cayenne:


Gorges du Loup, Mesa Verde

Mesa Verde is a very nice cliff around the river of Loup. One can climb from spring to fall. The cliff is on the sun in the morning but the bottom of the routes in the shade. The routes are mainly resistive, slightly overhanging or vertical.

Cliff de Mesa Verde (© P. Gatta)
Cliff of Mesa Verde (© P. Gatta)

Routes: 31 routes from 6c to 8a+

Parking: village of Pont du Loup.

Cliff: 20 minutes walk. From the Village, go under the confiserie (candy shop), follow the trail which goes along the river. The cliff is just after the green bridge. GPS: 6º 59’ 45.3" N / 43º 43’ 45.6" E.


See the detailed routes description and photos of Mesa Verde.


My selection of routes :


La Turbie, Grande Face

La Grande Face, also called « Jacob », is the sector of La Turbie with the highest number of routes graded 7 (25) and 8 (19). The routes offer various climbing styles with lots of tuffas and multiples routes over 30 meters high. This place is amazing with a direct view over the sea and Monaco.

La Grande Face of la Turbie (© P. Gatta)
La Grande Face of la Turbie (© P. Gatta)

Philippe in Pestillence, 7c+ (© A. Gatta)
Philippe in Pestillence, 7c+ (© A. Gatta)

Routes: 52 routes from 6a to 8b.

Parking: La Turbie.

Cliff: from the Parking take a small trail going down to the crag, pass a small tunnel, continue straight up hundred meters to the top of the Tête de chien. Take a small trail onto the right going down. The trail progressively turns toward the East and goes to the bottom of the North Face. Continue to the right, following the bottom of the North Face until the corner of the Grande Face at the start of the Crépuscule route. GPS: 7º 24’ 12.8" E / 43º 43’ 50.9" N.


See the detailed routes description and photos of Grande Face.


My selection of routes :


Saint Martin Vésubie, Le Trou du Diable

The cave of Trou du Diable can be seen from the road going to Saint Martin Vésubie. The cliff offers 15 routes plus many connections. The routes are longs, sometimes up to 40m. Bring a lot of quickdraws and a 80m rope. The cave is at 1100 meters, it's in the sun until 1pm which is perfect for summer.

Trou du Diable (© P. Gatta)
Trou du Diable (© P. Gatta)

Parking: follow the road D31 from Saint Martin Vésubie to Venanson. There is a small parking along the road close to the sign 56. GPS: 7º 15’ 4.2" E / 44º 3’ 50.2" N.

Cliff: 10 minutes walk. The cliff is marqued on the map IGN 3741 OT. From the post, follow the steep trail going up to the cliff. GPS: 7º 14’ 57.7" E / 44º 3’ 55.0" N.

Trou du Diable (© P. Gatta)
Trou du Diable (© p. Gatta)

Retraction des corps, 8a (© p. Gatta).
Retraction des corps, 8a (© p. Gatta)

My selection of routes :


Aiglun

The cliff of Giet at Mont St Martin close to the village of Aiglun is the nicest multi-pitch cliff of the French Riviera. There are thirty routes ranging from 200m to 300m high in various styles: free climbing, aid climbing, well bolted or adventures.

Routes: Around 30 routes graded TD (very hard) to ABO (extremely hard).

Parking: village of Aiglun.

Cliff: 25 minutes walk. Take a small trail 100 m after the parking which goes toward the the cliff.


See the detailed routes description, more photos and videos.

Cliff of Aiglun (© P. Gatta)
Cliff of Aiglun (© P. Gatta)

Céuse

Falaise de Ceuse vue du camping des Guerins (© P. Gatta)
Cliff of Ceuse seen from the camping des Guerins (© P. Gatta)

En direction du secteur Berlin et la Demi-Lune (© P. Gatta)
Toward Berlin and Demi-Lune (© P. Gatta)

Secteur Cascade (© P. Gatta)
Sector Cascade (© P. Gatta)

Secteur Cascade (© P. Gatta)
Sector Cascade (© P. Gatta)

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