A Technical Break

Chateauvert, France - Taking a break from the technical Verdon to explore southern France's sport climbing crag. After spending two solid days in the Verdon (catch up on that trip here), we opted to move on to the rather famous Chateauvert for some pumpy sport climbs. The sub two-hour drive to Chateauvert was uneventful.  We [...]

Chateauvert, France – Taking a break from the technical Verdon to explore southern France’s sport climbing crag.

After spending two solid days in the Verdon (catch up on that trip here), we opted to move on to the rather famous Chateauvert for some pumpy sport climbs. The sub two-hour drive to Chateauvert was uneventful.  We had an amazing home style French dinner, an appetizer of salad, a main course of duck and interesting potato dish, and some neatly prepared carrots and zucchini and desert of some citrus mousse all paired with a provence de verdon, a blush wine, that less surprisingly was really good.  Before finding a nice place to camp in the French forest we met another French pig who did a much better job of minding his own business in the night.

Chateauvert turned out to be amazing and the following two days were comprised of some pretty awesome sport climbs on solid limestone in a luscious French valley.  The small surrounding towns had delicious bakeries and Provence de Correns is famous for its wine and cheese so we had a great spread of French fair.  We made friends with everyone from Belgiums to Germans. We were also explained the climbing ethics of the area which were described to us as “Frankenjura Climbing Ethics”.

As explained by a German, the “Frankenjura Climbing Ethics” are as follows:

  • Red point: to climb cleanly hanging all draws and clipping all bolts
  • Flash: to climb cleanly the first having information about the route (seeing someone else climb it or beta, how to move through the route)
  • Onsight: to climb a route cleanly the first time with no information
  • Pink point: to climb cleanly with pre-hung draws

Here is a list of the routes we did broken down by the 2 days.  We chose our climbs based solely upon the aesthetics of the line and then cross referenced our initial impression with our guidebook’s level of excitement toward that line. Seeing that we were only in Chateauvert for a very limited time, we wanted to get on as many of the area classics as we could. Chateauvert gets my stamp of approval and I plan a return if ever weathered out of the Verdon.

Meteque et mat (6b+, 5.10d) - Chateauevert, France

Chateauvert route names at base were as described, “pretty”

Day 1

  • El paf le chien! (6b, 5.10c) – A tricky dihedral capped by a roof you pull!
  • Le sot perilleux (6b, 5.10c) – A bit polished but beautiful limestone face climbing
  • Meteque et mat (6b+, 5.10d) – beautiful traversing route over the lip of a cave
  • Miss tintiguette (7a, 5.11d) – an somewhat unbelievable route out of a sizeable cave
  • Etranger aux verities premieres (6b+, 5.10d) – fun but polished
  • L’essaim de nat (6b, 5.10c) – an aesthetic arête though perhaps the low crux is a bit   height  dependent
  • Abolution des priviliges (7a+, 5.12a) – beautiful holds up a steadily overhung face
  • Les frontiers du neant (7a, 5.11d) – a somewhat miraculous line of large pods up the face

Meteque et mat (6b+, 5.10d) – Chateauvert, France

Meteque et mat

Miss Tintiguette (7a, 5.11d) - Chateauevert, France

Miss Tintiguette

Day 2

  • Koksinel (6a, 5.10a) – fun bolted trad line
  • Vigie picrate (6c, 5.11b) – if you want to learn how to climb a roof these are the holds to do it on – knee bars, bat hangs, you name it you can find it on this route
  • Le elementes ne fond pas de cadeaeau (7b, 5.12b) – beautiful but intimidatingly bolted line, they are where you need them
  • Le magician d’Oz (7a+, 5.12a) – beautiful overhung face climbing into a crack followed by a traverse into a dihedral

The French were amazing and so were the climbers we met from all over Europe.  We made some awesome friends and are feigning to return to the remarkable limestone climbs in Southern France.

Quick Reference Guide:

Guidebook: France Cote d’Azur (Rockfax Climbing Guide), by Chris Craggs. Full color and in English.

Location: Chateauvert, France

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Eric grew up in Southern Los Angeles, surfing the beaches and hiking the Sierras with his mom and dad. He is an avid backcountry skier and climber having led alpine ski descents of Denali and Mont Blanc as well as numerous Colorado and California fourteen thousand foot peaks. He has climbed extensively in the Sierras, Colorado and throughout the Alps.

Eric has written 18 articles for Thrillseekers Anonymous.

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