Apr 7, 2015

Haute Provence - France

   An other miserably bad weather week coming on around the French Alps, well the decision was easy to make. Lets head south!

Le Bellecombe-Tarendol

Filling up the Ford with all necessary equipment as espresso cocker, winescrew opener, chalk, wine glasses and a number of quick draws and a very looong rope. A 3 1/2 hour drive should take us way out of the dark rainy clouds of houte savoie to an other houte place; Provence!

With le Printemps a bit further on we agreed that sunglasses and t-shirt should do it. But, a down jacket just in case…

Le Grande Arete at Bellecombe

After the regular stop on the local no.1 bakery in Sur Arly we was equipped for a trip south.
The other shopping is best done at place, the local wine and cheese in Provance, well it is just perfectly good and tasty!

le Grande Arete

Haute Provence has a number of famous and good rock limestone areas, as Sisterone, Orpierre and the well known Céuse. Our goal was even more south around st Julien. And that turned out to be necessary since the rain kept us company as long as to the the last 10min of driving. Then, just before arriving to Bellecombe-Tarendol it suddenly stopped! The rain!!

With out any further questions we just hooked on for the most obvious cliff and route, ”le Grande Arete” a 6b, 4- pitch route. Which after the first giggly pitch turns out to be a most doable route. Very exposed and amusant after a long drive. 

We finish the climb with enough time to do one more singel pitch route up l´Onde Verte 7a, 2-pitch route before its time for a well deserved late afternoon coffee under the roof of stars.
Other nice routes here is ”Dulf” 6b+ and ”Petit Rouge” 7a

Next morning we wake up under a most briljant blue sky, no clouds in sight. Just a big sunny sun!
The goal is St Julien. A big area with mulitpitch climbing above the village of Buis-les-Baronnies, 
A most beautiful village with 2300 inhabitants. The whole area holds about 3000 and there is 27 communities!
One of the smallest is Bellecombe-Tarendol with its 92 habitants. Quite close to my home village that had 42!

The whole area is very unhostile, there is camping grounds and pic-nic areas all over.
And the climbing areas are all very neatly arranged with information and good parkings.
Gets one feel most welcome.

And the climbing is also very solid on good limestone. And a thing that I like, there is not only single pitch routes. Some are up to 4-5 pitches. And all on good bolts!
The mega fun route of ”la Grotte” 6a is a must.
But routes like ”Équinoxe” 6c, ”la Peur” 7b and ”Force Majeure” 7a…solid climbing.

the village of Buis-les-Baronnies

After a long day of climbing a nice evening in the sun, over viewing the town of Buis-les-Baronnies, with a fresh brew in my hand. Would be more than great if it wasn’t for the famous wind. This area has a back side of a tendens of the Mistral winds blowing over the area quite often. Bit its ok, better then rain back home.

the wall of Saint Julien

Next day we go for the famous competition area of Baume Rousse. This was one of the places that got developed for sport climbing competitions before the modern indoor era took place.

Time to head home...

Here its good to be non focused on the grades. A 6c here is HAARD, just leaving the ground takes a big effort. But  after some cussing and cursing , always helps, and finally we are on top of the most funny ”Gnocchi on Heavens Door” and ”des Abeilles” 7a.
A must do here is ”L´Ecolo Net” and ”Haschisch” and of course ”RaHa”!

...with a view!

Back home at Vallee l´Arve…

Pitch 1 of Y´a de l´Urgo dans l´air 7a+

-A good combo for not taking unnecessary falls is leading on a very used rope on a route with old bolts that is quite a bit spread out!-

After a easter weekend with a stunning amount of pow pow we took our gear and headed for the impressive and most of all easy accessed le Balme, close to Cluse. Its south side quickly dries out after wet weather and stays climbable more or less during the whole year. A lot of the routes are re-bolted as well which keeps the moods up.
We was planning a well tried Easter tradition, climbing on Balme and Pizza at Savoiarde, two secure cards!
And just to make things better we choose la voie " Y´a de l´Urgo dans l´air” 7a+ 180m. 

Even though I had climbed this route before, I apparently had forgotten that the bolts was in an old fashion mode. The first pitch is ok but then it gets a bit worse and the anchors starts to look a little suspected as well. 
On the way down we at lest change the old ropes linking the belay bolts togheter but I still recommend to stay of this particularly route until it seems some fresh iron on it.

Meet them and eat them...pas du stress en Provence

Topo for Haute Provence
Adrian Berry - Rockfax
13+ QD´s
70mts rope or longer, or make it easy and bring Twinnropes!
A good wind jacket!
Time to go, just avoid the summer months

Ögonblick av flykt.
Brist på fruktan tyder inte alltid på mod. Bara brist på insikt.

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