St Leger Sport Climbing, France
An extensive valley with bolted routes of the highest quality. The crag hosts a wide variety of routes, from short and bouldery to long and sustained on very good quality rock. The area is excellent for routes from 7a/b upwards and really comes into its own in the 8th grade. The featured nature of the rock and sequency climbing makes this a better crag for redpointing than onsighting.
Best Time to Go & Conditions
The best conditions are generally found in spring (March – May) and autumn (September – November) but it is also possible to climb here in summer due to the relatively high altitude. St Leger will stay cool when other southern French crags are too hot, and the climbing is situated on both sides of the valley so shade is easy to find when it gets hot. This also means that some winter sun can be found making the season here a long one.
The nearest airports to the climbing serviced by budget operators are Nimes and Grenoble-Lyon. These are about 1.5 hours (Nimes) and 2.5 hours (Grenoble) drive from the climbing and are well served by Ryanair. From Nimes head for the E15 towards Orange, then drive North East to Vaison-la-Romanie (D975). The valley lies to the East past a small town called Entrechaux. Turn off the D5 just before you reach Mollans-sur-Ouveze. From Grenoble travel South West towards Valence to pick up the E15 and take the Bollene exit heading East towards Vaison-la-Romanie and see above.
Getting to the valley without a car would be difficult, as the area is very remote. Once you are there the climbing is easily accessible with the closest sectors being less than 10 minutes walk along flat ground.
Accommodation & Provisions
Camping in the car park has caused problems in the past and is strictly forbidden. There is a small Gite near the parking but otherwise campsites can be found around the nearby towns of Vaison-la-Romanie or Mollans-sur-Ouveze. View St. Leger - France in a larger map
Vaison and Buis-les-Baronnies are both nearby and have a nice selection of shops, bakeries bars and restaurants. Entrechaux is closer and does have a Spar and a couple of café’s but the selection is pretty limited.
Title: Escalades autour du Ventoux / Price: €20.00 (available at from climbing shops in the area) UPDATE (Dec 2009): St Leger is featured in Rockfax: Haute Provence
Grade Spread and Recommended Routes
The area is best for 7a-b upwards, the hardest routes being 8c+ and there are plenty to do in the high 7’s and 8’s as well as some even harder looking projects. The routes below 7a tend to be poor quality and have loose/ dirty rock. This may be due to the fact they don’t get done very much but it is worth bearing in mind. We found that warming up by doing the harder routes with plenty of rests was more productive. My recommendations would be Un Monde a refaire (7a+), Spit Bouse (8a), Laisser passer les reves (7b), Foetus trou du cus (8b+), Sale fee mal brossee (7b)
The area can get very cold when the ‘mistral’ wind is blowing as it seems to funnel through the valley, many people climb elsewhere at the lower crags like Seynes when the mistral is in town. The usual sport climbing equipment is required and a 70m rope would come in very handy for some of the longer routes, although the standard 60m is sufficient for most. It’s worth training your pinch strength prior to a trip as many of the routes feature thin tufas that require this kind of grip! There is plenty of other climbing in the area, from the lesser known crags like Venasque (around 1 hour drive) to the more popular places like Seynes (1.5 hours) and Buoux (1 hour). Take plenty of chalk, tape and other climbing supplies as there did not seem to be many climbing shops nearby. The nearest Decathlon shop can be found in Orange. REMEMBER not to camp in the car park as this may lead to access being denied in the future!
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