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Les Calanques, France
Photo by Davide Necchi
Les Calanques, France
Photo by Davide Necchi
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Parc National des Calanques - climbing at risk in the future French park?

09.11.2009 by Roberto Ghibaudo

Climbing and other low-impact sports such as canoing and hiking may be at risk at the planned Calanques National Park in France. A group called "Association des Calanques et des Hommes" is asking for climbers to sign their petition online in order to participate in roundtable discussions for the management of the future park.

"I'm writing to inform you that in France a workgroup has been created to plan for the Calanques National Park. This entails the creation of a land and sea park which prohibits all human activity (hiking, climbing, canoeing, diving, swimming, etc).

For those who don't know the Calanques, they are a wonderful natural habitat to the east of Marseille, ideal for all outdoor sports and above all for climbing and alpinism. There are literally thousands of routes dotted along the 23km rocky coastline and it is on these walls that calibre climbers and alpinists such as Rebuffat, Livanos and Flematti took their first vertical steps.

Parallel to the official study group an association has sprung to life, comprised of the CAF, FFME, GHM, Mountain Wilderness, Mountain Guides, walking associations, etc. The aim is to mediate with the "experts" and reach an agreement as to how to manage the area but, to this date, this has been unsuccessful.

Please visit the site linked below and sign the online petition to show how many foreigners love the Calanques, too."

Roberto Ghibaudo, National Mountaineering Instructor, Italian Alpine Club

The online petition on the site Association des Calanques et des Homme
"We support the future Calanques National Park; we support nature protection and environment preservation; but we are opposed to the creation of any unjustified restricted reserve along the coastland of the Calanques and Falaises Soubeyrannes, which would condemn all nature activities of low environmental impact in these zones."

Climbing at Les Calanques
Les Calanques, located on the outskirts of Marseilles and spanning all the way to Cassis 20km to the east, is one France's most famous natural beauties. The limestone massif is marked by an impressive, jagged Mediterranean coastline with deep green bays and forging promontories which offer not only breathtaking views and swims but also some of the best and most varied sports climbing in France - technical slabs, steep overhangs, single pitch extremes, multi-pitch delights, north, south, east or west facing... Les Calanques have it all.

The Massif is divided into 6 main areas: Marseilleveyre, Les Goudes, Sormiou, Morgiou, Luminy and Gardiole. Put together these host a myriad of different crags and a total of circa 2500 bolted routes and more than 1000 trad routes.

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