Moving on during a drizzly day, we headed over the spectacular Cirque de Navacelle, winding its way through scenery a bit like Canyonlands a la Francaise.
We based ourselves at a great little camping-a-la-ferme high on the Larzac plateau (an area of quirky Karst formations at around 800m) near Le Caylar…
… with the main aim being to explore a couple of newly developed crags nearby, recommended by Keith and Fiona.
After more overnight rain, the next day dawned damp and chilly, so we needed an alternative objective, and turned to our latest secret weapon in the ongoing search for dry and sunny Rockaroundtheworld – we fired up the Meteo Blue app. https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.meteoblue.droid
This is one of the bunch of weather apps we trawl on a regular basis, but we’ve just discovered the “Where2Go” feature which is AWESOME! You dial in a place (your current location or somewhere else), a radius (ie how far you’d be prepared to travel) and a time slot (say “tomorrow afternoon”) and at the press of a button it comes up with the best place to go for good weather.
The only thing that would improve it is if someone would integrate the information from a crag locator app like ClimbingAway https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=fr.climbingaway to select the most suitable crag in the vicinity (orientation, grade-range, approach time…) and you’d be completely sorted – as it is, there’s still some cross-checking to do, but after a bit of head-scratching we came up with Laumet in the Gorges de la Dourbie. As an extra bonus there’s a free online topo to download here: Topo
One more click on the “navigate to parking” button and we’re off on another voyage of discovery…
Les Gorges de la Dourbie run through Millau, and since 2014 are spanned by the stupendous viaduct. To visit the Gorge itself you turn off the A75 just south of the viaduct (up until which point it’s free!) and wind down steep zigzags, stopping briefly at the well-situated view point from which you can view the bridge…
… and the more famous crags (and via ferrata) of Le Boffi, on the opposite side of the gorge.
The road along the gorge is very quiet, with spectacular rock scenery on either side, and you soon arrive at the designated parking for this newly developed crag – well signposted as you’d expect from a community-funded amenity.
… and of course there’s also a very well-made path which accesses the crag in a mostly horizontal 10 minutes. Somewhat concerningly, despite being south-facing, the crag was in shade from the other side of the valley when we arrived (around noon)…
… but we needn’t have worried – it was soon basking in full sun and was scorchio for the rest of the day.
There’s a huge spread of grades (4s to 8s) up to 40m and beyond, and it’s all recently developed and therefore largely unpolished – the main downside is that it’s a crag of two halves, with the bulk of the routes being 15m or so on a lower tier of grey rock and the harder routes being extensions into the huge red wall above. The grades are also quite stiff. I had a go at a couple of 7a extensions but got shutdown quite quickly (having said that, I got shutdown on the 6a+ first pitch of Corde Sensible, so shouldn’t have been surprised!)
Plenty of vultures circling high above, waiting to pounce on any slip-up!
A really handy, sunny crag, in a gorgeous setting – It would work really well for a mixed ability team. Arrive strong, or leave your ego at home, and you’ll have a good time.