Methamis – Gorges de la Nesque

Another brand new crag in the Vaucluse, and an interesting contrast to the neighbouring Villes sur Auzon. The blogger who brought both to our attention, whilst celebrating VsA as “gentille”, marked Methamis down as a “falaise que je déconseille” – a crag I “un-recommend” – and “les
cotations sont vraiment extrêmes“. She sums up saying the place seems dangerous and you’d be better off going for a walk! For the adventurous, there’s a topo at the base of the crag…

Unperturbed, we set off to investigate. You head east out of the village on a minor road then fork left after a couple of hundred metres down Le chemin de Nesque for a further few hundred metres to park here: 44.0178810, 5.2308700 Don’t be tempted to ignore dire warnings of flash flooding and drive along the “dry” gorge bottom – you’ll only end up way beneath the crag (not that we did that!) Instead, follow a good path above and parallel to the gorge, marked by “climber signs”

– when this zags back sharply left, instead follow a smaller track straight ahead past a cairn to arrive in a couple of hundred metres at a crag sign overlooking the crag.

Looking back towards the village and the view down into the gorge below.

Quite an impressive piece of rock…

As advertised, there’s even a topo at the base (this has 38 routes, though there are probably over 50 at present)

It’s true to say that the grades aren’t giveaways, but they’re not complete sandbags either, and the reports of loose rock are greatly exaggerated (or perhaps unsurprisingly the crag has cleaned up a lot over the last year). It’s certainly a LOT cleaner than most of the post-industrial holes in the ground that we get to clip bolts on in The Peak (fond as I am of some of them!) In short – don’t be put off – it’s very well worth a visit.

Locals climbing Les Brunes… 5c/6a with the emphasis on the 6a end, but great climbing up a juggy corner.

We warmed up on the loose-looking Bague a Essence, 6a and also did Fissurace, 6a, and a new route right of Les Brunes… at around 6b, plus Vers Les Etoiles and L’Amour Soucier, both 6c and both outstanding.

There are a couple of very fine looking 6c+/7as which look stiff for the grade but well worth coming back for – here’s one of the local team catching the last of the sun on Ne Tirez pas sur l’Alpiniste.

… and Un Impossible Reve
Great light catching the crag as we left
… and stunning views of the village silhouetted against the setting sun

Well worth a visit, but don’t expect the “Kalymnos in France” experience of the nearby Villes sur Auzon.

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