We finally made it to the areas near Grenoble after dozens of recomendations from various climbers. Without much expectations and equipt with an 10 year old guide book from 1996 Val d´Isere, we packed our stuffs and took off for Grenoble, Combe laval.
Bonjour la France
From Grenoble, take the motorway heading to Valence. Exit at Pont-en-Royans. Follow the signs for 14 km. Pont-en-Royans is the centre of everything. You´ll find all what you need there, and it´s pretty centralized to get to all the differant areas.
We stationed ourselves in Choranche, some 3 km away from Pont-en-Royans , just below the Presles massiv. There´re 3 campgrounds, a gite rural and a small hotel/restaurant on the main road. Despite the fact that these campgrounds are situated at the base of the tall massives, they all receive sun from the early mornings till the evenings, provided the sun shines :-)
It was a pleasant surprise to find a good infrastructure so nearby.
The caves from Choranche with it´s indoor pool seems worth a visit when you´re there. There are days when you´ll find many speleo guys filling the parking lot. 7,50 Eur per adult.
- Casino , butcher, 2x backery in Pont-en-Royans.
- Supermarkets in St.Marcellin(18km), or
- in Villard-di-Lans(24km)
Croque Montagne in Pont-en-Royans. Has everything to suit the needs of a climber – gear, clothings, guide books. (WEb: www.croque–montagne.fr/)
Internet Centre in Pont-en Royans. Free on Saturday mornings (2007)
Where to stay:
- Camping Municipal in Pont-en-Royans (next to the football field, by the river)
- Camping in dir. St.Jean-en-Royans off the main road
- 3x camp grounds in Choranche
- div. Gite rural
- Hotel in Choranche
- Grimper en Isere**
- Autor du Grenoble
…and you´ll have enough crags to last a life time.
from 700m – 990m
all year round, provided that the summer don’t bring hot temperatures
Balme Etrange ****
This area is situated just above the entrance of the caves of choranche and consists of 3 main sectors.The majority of the routes are good and very much worth it.
West, cool in the mornings
20mins from the Parking lot
2 sectors with ca. 50 routes 6a – 8a, steep walls + slightly overhanging.
35m at 900m sea level.
The site was opened especially for the youth championship held in pierrot beach a couple of years back.
It´s recommended to bring helmets along if you´re going to sectors Mur bleu + Dalles… A via feratta goes above these sectors, alpine routes too. Most of the other sectors are overhanging, or out of reach so you won’t need a Helmet there. Sector Finales would be good on rainy days.
climbeable on the first few rainy days.
10-20 mins from the Parking lot
5 sectors with 73 routes fr. 5c – 8b+, steep walls, overhangs, slabs.
La Goulandiere ***
You would’nt really expect to find a such a lovely climbing area admidst parking along the touristy gorge where thousands of motocyclists and cars seem to just pass by roaring down the gorge. But after obtaining a few walking meters and within the the next curb, the traffic will slowly just disappear from sight and sound. A little paradise shaded by the trees and thus making it also possible to climb in summer. The name of the routes are all written down with much devotion and although we didn’t climb there (coz it poured cats and dogs), it’s definately a place I won’t miss the next time.
Driving in the direction of Villard de Lans (D531), park just before the village Balme de Rencurel, walk back on the main road for 200m and take the ascending trail heading for the Refuge de la Goulandiere on the right. Continue for about 15 minutes. Shortly after reaching a point where 2 blocks on both sides stands, take the path on the right ascending the crags in 3 mins (stone piles). 20 mins altogether.
South/East, with shady trees in front. Good on hot days, shade after 2pm.
Concretions, limestone mix. 55 routes from 5c – 7c, well secured. Steep – slightly overhanging.
Height: 25m – 40m
An interesting group of crags situated in the valley of Rencurel, growing literally out of the meadows. With the small river in front of the crags , this makes an ideal spot for families with children.
Sectors Nenuphars, bataeu and Finale has longer routes till 40m. The rest are from 10-15 m.
From Pont-en-Royans drive through the gorge de la Bourne.Turn left after Balme de encurel and head for Rencurel. After the first group of houses, turn left to take the trail road descending till the sport place. Park just after a small bridge.2 mins to the crags
Limestone layers, concretions.
36 Routes from 5a – 8a, 10m – 35m
Tina Dalle, offers a dream destination for every lazy sportsclimber who loves reaching the crag within a few minutes. As you drive along the way to the crag you will see from a distance this impressive peace of rock jutting out in the clouds. What you are looking at is the Presles massive offering sportsclimbing routes from 4c – 8c+ as well as alpine routes far more left. As you park your car in the next curb, you walk back about 200m to reach the access that takes you in 2 min to the first route.You’d find on your left routes with easier grades, on the right routes that needs plenty of endurance. Due to the fact that it is absolutely south sided the best time to go there is either after 3.30pm in the summer or restrict climbing only during the colder months. Using the guide book from Vercor, the routes are well described and rated.
Tufas, horizontal wall climbing or overhangs. The wall is blessed with good jugs and pockets. A good portion of endurance would be an advantage.
from 5a – 8a, 30m – 40 m
Even just hiking through the gorge would give you an impressive image of how the rivers used to flow. Situated high on the terrains of Tamee, you could enjoy peacefull climbing in a lovely, quiet ambient. 2 major sites and a few other sectors scattered here and there – find topos laid out in the Bar in Oriol-en-Royans. Take notice that climbing is only tolerated as you´re climbing on private property. So please behave and be nice to your neighbours.
Climbing is possible all year round.Possibly too hot in summer.
South, East, West.
Keeps dry for a short period of rain.
Auberge d´Espagnol- 70 routes from 6c+ – 8c, 30 – 40m
La Plage – 30 routes from 7a – 8a+