Le Clis, Vallee d’Arve

We’d exhausted most of the major Chamonix Valley cragging options, and needed a break from granite slabs, so headed back down the Arve to seek out Le Clis. This is one of the limestone crags that line the A40, accessed from above from Les Carroz.

The guidebook and various online resources all agreed that it takes a bit of finding, and the guide even goes so far as to give the gps coordinates of a cairn in the middle of a forest (without which it would be even more of a struggle!) Here’s a wikiloc trail to save you the bother (which you need to follow in reverse)


You get a magnificent view of Les Vuardes across the valley (with memories of Bill’s and my ascent Of Vertiges de L’Oubli https://rockaroundtheworld.co.uk/2016/08/16/vertiges-de-loubli-les-vuardes/) from the approach

… and a bit of a view of the sector Cascade of Le Clis through the trees (and a few hundred metres down to the A40)

We headed further round to the main crag – 1 to 3 pitches of steep limestone, 6a to 7plenty, smattered with gouttes d’eau and showing relatively little sign of traffic. Judging by the state of the approach path, the crag is somewhat out of fashion.

The first pitch of Egouts de Paradis, 6a+,was a stiff but high quality warm up with a tricky overlap and crimpy gouttes d’eau. The first 6a pitch of Guerre de Feu was a bit scrappy, but much easier, whereas pitch 2 had a really bouldery problem straight off the intermediate lower off (very tough for 6b+).

Further left a slanting roof provides stiff starts to further routes – I battled through a crumbly roof on Flash, 7a, only to get shut down around 2/3 height; all feeling a bit untravelled and somewhat run-out. Perhaps next time we’ll check out the Cascade sector…

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