We arrived in France three weeks ago, ready to set the sat nav for wherever was sunny, and immediately made a beeline for the Durance Valley to take advantage of a week’s window of Grand Beau Temps. Occasional gloomy spells at the edge of the forecast horizon have since evaporated before they arrived, so we haven’t managed to drag ourselves away yet. We’ve had unbroken blue skies every day, save for one overnight shower – Here’s the best “Bad Weather” pic I can muster:
… which prompted the early declaration of a much-needed Rest Day, only for the clouds to roll back within an hour…
After a few van chores I decided to go for a gentle jog to explore the 4 crags within a short distance of the campsite. Of these, only Falaise de Gero passed muster as good enough to visit with a rope, so you’ll find some climbing pics at the end of the post taken a few days later.
Le Batheou has to be one of the best manicured and maintained crags anywhere – immaculate fencing and benches, in a pretty garden setting. Unfortunately the routes are either super easy or totally desperate (guessing grades from occasional painted labels as it doesn’t feature in the guide). It’d be worth a look if you didn’t have transport.
Le Carriere would be a perfect spot for introducing kids to climbing – 3s and 4s on the slabbiest of slabs. Yes, it is in a disused quarry, but you’d hardly know, and the views are stunning.
Dropping down steeply into the village (via an MTB track – you’d have to be bonkers!) you arrive at the lake. You don’t get the full impression of what a lovely spot it is when you thunder by on the main road (past all the posters demanding a bypass).
That brings you to the final venue – the eponymous Roche around which the village is constructed (literally – some of the houses utilise it as a back wall!) Remarkably, climbing is still tolerated here, though you’d have to be going well to make the most of the 8s on offer!
Falaise de Gero looked worth a visit, and it’s super convenient and super sunny too!
A couple of dozen routes, mostly 5c to 6b.
Most of the routes are named after Native American peoples, in a way which is probably culturally inappropriate.
Cherokees is a good 6a with a couple of tough polished moves, but otherwise interesting climbing.
Haut-Alpins is a sandbag at 6b, and unpleasantly slippery just where you don’t want it! Helen enjoyed Yakari, 6a. Over on the right end, Cheyennes and Arapahos are both excellent 6bs on an attractive shield of rock (flanked by a couple of 7as that looked nails!)
Here’s a strong local climber on the rightmost route Ecureuil Givre, 6a
… and Helen finishing off the day after the sun had gone off the crag with Comanches.
… and only a 10mins roll down the hill for beer o’clock chez nous.