Housing perhaps the most condensed population of climbers pushing 9’s; welcome to the sandlot, bienvenue à Cèüse – Cèüse, France.
If you aren’t warming up on 7s, I recommend you prepare yourself for some soul crushing. The 3 km, 450m elevation gaining hike (1.8 mile, 1500′) to the base of the 2km wide overhung limestone ‘crag’ serves as somewhat of a warm-up and cool-down as well as effective crowd control. For those planning on multiple days in Cèüse there are a few variations to the hike to keep it fresh. May I recommend Falaise direct on your descent?
I spent four days in Cèüse and by the time I warmed up to the unique style of climbing, I had squandered all of my finger skin. Next time, I will spend at least a week. The climbing is incredibly hard and the bolting is not for the faint of heart, once you get a grasp of the hard and runout nature you are ready to play in this elite playground. The VERY SMALL town surrounding the cliffs of Cèüse is busting at the seams with round disks of scrumptious goat cheese and one bakery, which happens to be closed on Thursdays.
- Zagreb (6c) – sustained crux. Vertical yoga.
- Casse-noisette (7a+) – tricky second clip. Save some for the mentally exciting crux above. Follow the tick marks and you are screwed.
- La petite illusion (7a+) – burly introduction right out of the gate leads to delicate, beautiful climbing
- San john’s pécos (7b+) – follow the blue streak for a stinger of a finish
- Blue comme l’enfer (6c+) – easy, hard, easy. Sharp and juggy with one mind boggling crux before letting off.
- Bibendum (A0 two bolts, 7b+) – aid to the second bolt, everyone does it. This one makes you fight for the fun. Don’t miss the no hands rest.
Sector Un pont sur l’infini
- La reine des pommes (6c+) – technical and sharp
- Le vol du pilatus (6b+) – Sharp, though more consistently juggy
- Dietetic line (7b) – warm up sequence plays peek a boo with two distinct cruxes
- Gelati Dolomiti (7a) – a throwback to trad style, technical climbing leads to a beautiful lieback section.
Quick Reference Guide
Fly into either Grenoble, Nimes, Marseille or Turin, leaving you with less than 1.5 hours of driving to Cèüse. Many low cost airlines fly to these locations from within Europe, like RyanAir into Montpellier.
Medical emergency 015
All are at the base of the cliff and at or within a stone’s throw of the trailhead.
Camp 6 EUR pp. Shower, bathrooms and access to WiFi for 1 EUR/hr
- Gîte Chevrerie de Ceuse
15 EUR/pp, + 5 EUR for linens, free WiFi. They also make some of the best goat cheese around.
- Gîte Le Grange aux Loups
16 EUR/pp, free WiFi and very accommodating owners
- BEST CHOICE – TOPO CEUSE 2013 by Rolland MARIE and Laurent GIROUSSE: A brand, spanking new guidebook (July 2013) in both English and French that you can also buy at any campsite, hotel or restaurant in town for 25 EUR.
- Rock Climbing Europe, by Stewart M. Green
- France Haute Provence (Rockfax Climbing Guide), by Adrian Berry