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Picture of Nicolas looking out to sea at the end of the day

Climbing in the Calanques

··329 words·2 mins
Blog Travel Climbing
Nicolas Lorin
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Nicolas Lorin

After a busy summer of climbing, we decided that it was time to get back into the swing of things (and no, we don’t do artifice)!

The whole gang decided to take advantage of the recent heat to climb in the south of France. We headed for the Calanques between Marseille and Cassis.

After a bit of train and car travel, we arrived at the Calanque de Port Miou for a short day of rutting, to get acclimatized to the style of climbing in the region.

We set our sights on Calendal, parking in the calanque’s paid parking lot.

The next two days were spent in the Calanque de Sormiou doing long routes (some of them their first) in two different areas:

  • Rumpe Cuou ;
  • Dièdre Guem.

The setting is truly magnificent and the weather was superb. I forgot to put on sun cream.

Nicolas with his back to the sea after the picnic, photo by Romual Terranova
Nicolas with his back to the sea after the picnic, photo by Romual Terranova

Two parking options:

  • the paid parking lot at the bottom of the calanque: perfect for a stopover at the beach, this leads to a long uphill walk to the climbing sites;
  • the small parking lot at Col de Sormiou: access to the sites is via a path along the ridge with a great view.

I think access via the lower parking lot is quicker. Having made the return journey along the ridge path by headlamp, I can say that it was no picnic (we nearly turned back after losing the way).

Be careful not to drop the rope into the water when abseiling to the bottom of the routes!

Alice and Nicolas at the bottom of the Rumpe Cuou sector before leaving, photo by Romual Terranova
Alice and Nicolas at the bottom of the Rumpe Cuou sector before leaving, photo by Romual Terranova

My best memory is NTD’s sixth pitch at Dièdre Guem (6a+), which is very aerial and impressive. Communication with Jasmine, who stayed at the belay, wasn’t easy in the wind.

Nicolas clipping the second quickdraw on the third pitch of NTD, photo by Romual Terranova
Nicolas clipping the second quickdraw on the third pitch of NTD, photo by Romual Terranovaa