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By: Nicholas Hobley
Country: France, Region: Haute-Provence, Town: La Palud sur Verdon (Haute-Provence)

If the mountaineering trilogy is composed of the Eiger, the Grandes Jorasses and the Matterhorn, the climbing equivalent is the Verdon, Ceuse and Buoux. In certain respects these “mythical three” were the birthplace of sports climbing during the 1980's and '90's, each different, yet each one with three fundamental characteristics: a breathtaking natural setting, incredible limestone, and hundreds of top quality routes.

The steep walls of the Gorges du Verdon witnessed the entire evolution of this sport: from long trad routes opened from below in the '70's, up to the introduction and systematic use of bolts in the 1980's and ‘90’s. Single pitch routes became the norm, as did top roping, invented here they say, and bolting from above. For obvious reasons. And the Verdon remains unique perhaps also because of this: that to reach the routes, you need to abseil down into a truly impressive drop.

A frightening drop, above routes that have made their way into the history books; classics such as La Demande established over two days in 1968 by François Guillot and Joel Cöqueugniot, Pichenibule, Ctuluh, Gwendal, Debiloff Proffondicum, l’Ange en decomposition, Surveiller et Punir, Papy on sight, Les Specialistes… the list is endless. As is the list of main activists: Jaques Perrier, Jean Marc Troussier, the Remy brothers, Jean Baptist Tribout, Patrick Edlinger, Bruno Clément… all attracted to this incredible limestone which, for its quality, has become world reference point.

Nowadays the steep Verdon walls are no longer the stage for the world’s elite. Their eyes look elsewhere, towards the super-overhangs. But the attraction of these technical slabs, set in magnificent surroundings, remains strong. The triology: a climber’s dream. At least once in a lifetime.


From the north: take the A6 motoway to Avignon and take the N100 for Apt, then Manosque and Riez. From here take the D56 to Moustiers, and continue along the D952 to La Palud. From the south: from Nice take the N85 to Castellane, and continue along the D952 for La Palud. Turn left shortly before entering the village along the D23, the panoramic Route des Cretes, which leads to the Belvedere de la Carelle lookout and the routes.


Highly technical slab climbing on steep compact limestone.


La Palud is the base camp for climbers, offering numerous camp grounds, hotels and gite d’etape. Camping Camping Municipal**, route de Castellane, 04-92-77-38-13. Bourbon*, route de Moustiers Sainte Marie, 04-92-77-38-17. Boulogne (à la ferme), route de la Maline, 04-92-77-30-27. Bourras (à la ferme), route de Castellane, 04-92-77-33-54. Julliard (à la ferme), route de la Maline, 04-92-77-38-18. La Graou (à la ferme), route de Moustiers Sainte Marie (6 kms), 04-92-77-38-22. Gîtes & Refuges: Le Chalet Le Refuge, les bondils (8 kms), 04-92-83-68-45. Le Chalet De La Maline, route de la Maline (8 kms), 04-92-77-38-05. Le Wapiti, le village, 04-92-77-30-02. L'arc En Ciel, place de l'église, 04-92-77-32-28 L'étable, route des Crêtes, 04-92-77-30-63. Gite Rural Du Serre, les Michels, 04-92-83-61-90 Hotels: Le Panoramic**, route de Moustiers Sainte Marie, 04-92-77-35-07. Le Provence**, route de la Maline, 04-92-77-38-88. Les Gorges Du Verdon***, route de la Maline, 04-92-77-38-26. L'auberge Des Crêtes**, route de Castellane, 04-92-77-38-47. Rooms: Le Perroquet Vert, le village, 04-92-77-33-39. La Valdenay, hameau de Chaumas, 04-92-77-37-92. Les Michels, Châteauneuf les Moustiers (5 kms), 04-92-83-61-45. L'enchâstre, Châteauneuf les Moustiers (10 kms), 04-92-83-76-12. Maison D'adele, route des crêtes, 04-92-77-30-34 Other: Le Bureau Des Guides (mountain guides), le village, 04-92-77-30-50. Le Perroquet Vert (climbing shop), le village, 04-92-77-33-39. Bureau du tourisme, tel.fax 04-92-77-32-02


Welcome to Adobe GoLive 6

Video Gorges du Verdon
For further info visit www.lapaludsurverdon.com


Grimper au Verdon B. Gorgeon, D. Taupin

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Spring and autumn. The Gorges du Verdon are situated on a plateau at almost 1000m: summer can oftern be too hot, while from October onwards it may be too cold to climb.






Compact grey limestone


South, West and North



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