|An account of a Rock Climbing in Presles, Vercors region of France. Words and pictures, comments, links to other sites and gallery of images. Non-commercial.|
Presles. September 28th to October 7th 2006.
Grumpy old men Chris Jackson, Gerry Langsley, Nick Longland, John Robson, John Jones, Mike Mortimer.
Click on images to go to gallery.
Despite Lyon being the closest international airport, we flew to Geneva, not just because car hire was more expensive and it was 3 hours drive from the climbing but because no one wanted the long drive to Stansted and the expensive parking. Hmm. Still, it was an easy drive from Geneva as we had by pure chance booked a car at the Swiss side of the airport so we could use the Swiss motorways to the border, in addition we had Mike our local expert with us in our car. We arrived at our gite 'Les Arnaux' in the gathering gloom to be greeted by our hosts Silvie and Ludovic whom Mike knew quite well Picture 1, Pont en Royans a typically picturesque little town jammed into the mouth of the gorge at Presles, 2, at dinner, left to right Gerry Langsley, John Robson, Nick Longland, John Jones and Mike Mortimer. Picture 3 a long shot of about half of the main crag. A small road cuts through the escarpment near the left end which is useful for access to some of the routes. Picture 4, essential supplies - mainly beer, Obviously early in the proceedings as the plates and wine jugs are still full. Excellent meals including wine but not so good for the power-to-weight ratio.
Our local expert suggested Secteur du Fond du Cirque, and knowing no better we agreed. This turned out to be a 40 minute uphill hike. Later perusal of the guide revealed that it was possible to reach the foot of the routes in 15 minutes. Three long abseils took us to the bottom. Second row, picture 1 the second abseil, not quite Lanabong but fairly 'out there'. Nick and John Robson took the classic Torquemada, Mike and John Jones took Thurifere Solitaire while Gerry and I launched ourselves at Absolue. Picture 2 shows Mike on the 6a P3 as viewed from the top of our P3. I think that we drew the short straw here. Absolue was mainly prickly cracks with P4 being a 6b off width which required some aid. The next pitch was graded 6b+ and although it was a bit of a tough cookie it was more do-able than the 6b. The last pitch? A 5c chimney. 5c? What? Picture 3is Gerry on P3, the off width is just visible on the enlarged image top centre.
Picture 4, what's this? Jones propping up the bar again. Are all those beers really his?
Rochers de Nuges proved to be a popular crag, nothing to do with the fact that it's only a few minutes walk from the road of course. The adjoining buttress Tina Dalle is also very accessible though apart from a hand full of excellent 6bs it's mainly 7 and 8 territory. Recommended for mere mortals are Voie Cloutee and Anidalle 6a/b. Both excellent routes. Avoid the grey slabs to the left , it is VERY polished. I ended up using a point of aid on Bipede a Station Verticale 6a/b. Picture 1, rave reviews for this one, Jules 6c. Spot the climber on the enlarged image. I played the cameraman card. Picture 2 is Ahi Remy, only given 6b+ and no stars. Don't they like him? Try 6c and **. Also recommended are the multipitch Super Nuges (aid used), Pilier de Nuges (1 tricky move) and Fait d'Hiver (crux at the top).
Picture 3 shows the main Rochers de Presles, we were slinking off to the one pitch routes on Pierot Beach. It's a bit polished and very overhanging in places. For mortals, recommended routes include Nantes la Bruineuse 6a+ (one hard move), Racontez-moi la vie 6b and Ojos 6b+. Picture 4, Silvie and daughter serving dinner.
Seeing as there is only about 1000 routes at Presles, we visited a nearby crag called Ombleze. Lots of climbing, some of it in a deep gorge. Picture 5 the brilliant Zig 6a+.
Picture 6, some of the local wildlife, a fire Salamander.