Dec 27, 2017

Roc de la Bissone

  Saint Guilhem le Désert, a much old and pittoresk village on the French countryside, far away from what you can call suburbs! In summer a very busy place full of tourist but in late fall and winter more or less the opposite, so a good time to go. And specially for the climbing and other adventures to be found there

I packed my Ford for a roundtrip in south of France / northern parts of Spain for a Road Trip combo parachuting/rock climbing seek and find.
On this very useful Internet I made some pre-searching for good places to visit but left most of it "for the road"

After a week of great parachuting in Empuria Brava it was time to start saving some money and head for the climbing part. Empuria doesn't have much of that part, but a most scenic ocean and beautiful town like a small Venedig.

My first destination on my detour via France towards Haute Savoie was Mont Pellier and then Puéchabon. A super nice part of France with a lot of small farmings and vineyards, many of the most famous wines are produced here.

But also a lot of good limestone, very steep limestone faces!
In Saint Guilheim there is a trail that takes you right out of the village entering a narrow valley surrounded by these limestone walls. One of the classic ones was to be Roc de la Bissone and the route Carmina Burana. A 180meter route, always overhanging and maximum 6b. If you stay on the right route that is...

With a few pictures in my phone I was able to navigate up to the base of the cliff, some 20min walking on a good track and then jungle terrain for 5minutes.
The start was quite obvious, and after rigging the gear up I could take on with the first pitch, a 5c warm up. The rock always looked a bit loose but despite from some smaller moving things it was much better then on first sight. Arriving at the first belay I find it best though to bring out the rope and continue rope soloing for the next ones.
The climbing is all the time really steep and super cool, mostly good holds but hard to see exactly where to go cause of the steep terrain.
But all the time good bolts and good belays.

Somewhere high up on Roc de la Bissone 
As always after a number of pitches a start to loose the counting of them. They are mostly quite short like 30 maximum 40 meters. And arriving on the upper parts the written topo gives me a bit hard time cause it says I should go right but the bolts heads left...I decide to stay with the bolts.
The climbing, very airy and and as it says in the topo "muscle et gazeux" well they can't be more right about that at least.
But the steep rock makes it almost harder to rappel back down to clean each pitch when going back up again. At least a fall will end up in the air!
Perfect hauling terrain!
Finally after a bunch of good climbing I arrive at a big cave, just some 20 meters below the top and the exit. A short leftward travers and then a small runout straight up, I can leave the north facing part and get some summit sun at top. But unfortunately the wind has picked up so there is jut one alternative to get back this time, by rappelling.
A few moments in the afternoon breeze and I head of to find the track down to the rappel anchors.
Saint Guilhem le Désert - departement Hérault
Closest bigger town
Saint Guilhem le Désert
Equipment for Roc de la Bissone
2x40m rope minimum if you use the 2 rappels to get down
8-10 QD´s

Head up to the top of the pillar and then find a faint trail heading westwards, scramble down for some 100 meters and the you arrive to a fixe rope. Follow this to a bolt station.
And take care not to slide away rocks on the way...

Topo for la Carmina
After here the trips continue towards Milleu...

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