A chilly, showery day following heavy rain overnight – time to put the “you can always find somewhere to climb in the Durance” theory to the test! The crags around Embrun are the south-most in the guide and amongst the lowest altitude, so seemed like a good bet for a dodgy day. They’re also quite near the road, or VERY NEAR in the case of Roche Rousse:
More very stratified rock, but mostly at a uniformly sloping angle and without the handy incut holds of Les Traverses – one or two suspect holds certainly make for a “voyage in absurdity”: 6a felt somewhat absurd for this tricky little number…
A squall of rain intervened at this point, and as we were finding the climbing to be a bit of an acquired taste, so decided to make it a two crag day. Another 10mins down the N94 brings you to the lakeside honey-pot of Savines, and just across the bridge and up the hill is La Rochette. This lump of rock is clearly visible from the now mandatory new parking spot, and is gradually being surrounded by rather posh wooden chalets.
The helpful signposts soon run out, and it’s a bit of a maze getting through the gated community (if that isn’t an oxymoron). Tip: follow the escalade sign dropping down leftwards then climbing gently up right until a tarmac road off to the left beneath the very highest chalet. This deteriorates into a gravel track running beneath the crag to its far left hand end, where a further signpost takes you on a good path through trees to the crag. More like 15 mins from the parking than 5.
But the views down to the lake and beyond are probably worth the effort, and the climbing is quite interesting. Large textured conglomerate or poudinage, reminiscent of Riglos, though it’s probably a bit cheeky to name the central route of the crag Los Rigolos. This turns out to be a very tough, very steep 6c – it completely exposed my lack of fitness.
As well as the steep stuff on the right there is also a bunch of 4s and 5s on the same funky rock, around to the left. Some poudinage for everyone!