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Liv Sansoz climbing at the Gorges du Tarn, France
Photo by Simon Carter
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Great Gorges du Tarn climbing news


After years of uncertainty, sector closures and a recent massive rebolting effort, climbing at the beautiful Gorges du Tarn is now back in full swing.

The Gorges du Tarn close to Millau in southern France is an important bastion of French sport climbing but as it grew in popularity throughout the 1980's and 90's it also ran into difficulties connected to access problems and some poorly protected routes.

Realising the entity of the problem, the local climbers joined forces with the local administration and the FFCAM to address the issue and a convention was agreed upon with the local landowners, after which over 250 routes have now been systematically reequipped. These initially included the oldest lines with their rusty 8mm bolts, but after a (thankfully non-fatal) accident in 2010 the modern roof climbs were rebolted too. All routes are now equipped with 12mm bolts or glue-in bolts. Interestingly, where the famous Tarn run-outs were deemed simply too dangerous they were reduced, but "the spirit of the routes has been conserved". Which translates into clipping at good holds and not in the middle of a crux, and, importanly, safe and exciting run-outs.

To celebrate this official reopening a new guidebook has been published in French, German, Spanish and English and this major update since the first guidebook obviously covers the entire area except for those few sectors where access is currently forbidden, namely Shadocks and Gymnaze.

More good news is expected shortly concerning the nearby gorges de la Jonte and de la Dourbie, and if you're looking for a cool alternative to the increasingly crowded Ceuse, then Gorges du Tarn might be just the place to be. Before you pack your bags take heed and listen to a recommendation directly from Olivier Obin, one of the local driving forces: "make sure your rope is at least 80m long and of course never, ever forget to tie a knot in the the end!"

For more information check out: www.topo-tarn-jonte-dourbie.info

TOPO: Gorges du Tarn





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