|- Introduction & routes
- Getting there
From Grenoble there are two alternatives. Either follow signs for the Vercours park through the narrow gorges via Villard De Lans and Choranche. Before Pont en Royans turn right to the village Presles. Alternativley, drive north up the motorway, exit at St. Romans and continue for Pont en Royan and Presles.
Before reaching Presles (65km from Grenoble) leave the car at the penultimate hairpin curve (tiny parking lot). A small path leads down southwards to the left-hand sectors. Alternatively, park the car slightly higher on the side of the road or on the edge of the plateau. (the descent path leads down to here). Access to the more distant sectors (Paroi Rouge & Triangle de Choranche) is either from above via abseils (equipped descent line), or from the road which leads to the Choranche cave.
Food & Accommodation
There are two campsites, one at Choranche and one at Pont en Royan, plenty of gîte d'étape and some hotels in the village. It is strictly forbidden wild camp within the park. Highly recommended is the refuge/gîte "Gazon", situated directly above the cliff; it's possible to go climbing from here without using the car. Book in advance as there are only 10 places.
Don't miss out on the region's typical dish, the ravioli "en Royan". On a rest day visit the Choranche cave or have a wander around the park's marvellous forest.
Useful telephone numbers
The international prefix for France is (0033)
- refuge/gîte "Gazon" 0476 361093
- gîte du Charmeil 0476 360931
- Auberge de la Fontaine 0476 360475
- Auberge du Faz 0476 360675
- Campsite 0476 360896
- Gîte "la Ranconnière" 0476 360865
- Gîte "Vol de Nuit" 0476 360403
- Auberge "Le Jorjane" 0476 360950
Pont en Royans
- Campsite 0476 360630
Best time of year
Most routes face south and are at about 900m above sea level. Although climbing is possible all year round, summer is often too hot. Recommended therefore are spring and autumn.
"Escalades a Presles" by Dominique Duhaut, published in 1998, is indispensable and excellent. It contains detailed descriptions, drawings & maps and includes the three sports climbing areas Tina Dalle, Balme Etrange and Pierrot Beach. The road map Michelin 1:200.000 no. 244 may be found useful.
The cliff is vertical with many overhanging sections. In the vertical sections the limestone is grey and compact, resulting in technical face climbing - good footwork is essential. In the overhanging sections the rock changes colour and becomes yellowish/reddish; the holds are often rough and the climbing is more physical & fingery.
The central section. The two triangles indicate the starts of Vue de l'exterieur and Canada Dry respectively.
The route to Choranche
Click on the map.
|The routes in general
There are over 200 multi-pitch routes of different lengths and grades, from 5+ to 8a, subdivided into different sectors (and three excellent sports crags, too). Almost all routes are equipped with bolts, although some traditional routes, which require nuts and friends, still exist. The route names are written at the base. The distance between one bolt and the next varies according to the difficulty; an easy route may require as many as 16 quickdraws on its crux pitch, whereas routes above 7a tend to be more run-out, especially on the easier sections. The guidebook indicates precisely the gear and difficulties.
The left-hand sectors are the most popular because of their ease of access, consequently some routes are already polished. It is well worth the walk to Paroi Rouge, where the rock and routes are excellent.
Since the descent is on foot a single rope, a set of quickdraws and slings to set up the belays will suffice. Two 50m ropes are necessary for any eventual abseils.
Highly recommended is a helmet which almost all climbers really do use, even if the chances of a rock fall are extremely slim on this solid cliff.