France : Haute Provence



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France: Haute Provence presents many of the finest sport climbing destinations in the world together in one clear and colourful book. Covering all the best areas from the magnificent walls of Céüse in the north to the impeccable climbing playground of Buoux to the south, this book has a lifetime’s worth of climbing waiting on its pages.

Categories: , Style: Location: FranceAuthors: Adrian Berry

The full guide is available on Rockfax Digital
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This book probably still has the best concentration of quality sport climbing across all our titles. Although the book itself is over 10 years old the crags it covers were fairly mature when published so the information is still accurate for most of the crags.

For climbers in northern Europe looking for a week of winter sun, this is a destination that doesn’t necessarily require flying, all the areas covered in this guidebook are no more than an hour away from a train station in a major town.

Eastern Crags
Céüse, Sisteron, Volx, Orpierre

Buis-les-Baronnies Area
Bellecombe, Baume Rousse, Ubrieux, Saint Julien, Saint Léger, Malaucène, Combe Obscure

Les Dentelles de Montmirail



December 2009





Rockfax Number


5 reviews for France : Haute Provence

  1. Steve Crowe

    I have been busy going through all my old French guides and ticking off loads of 6’s and 7’s with out ever getting out of my arm chair. It has been a great trip down memory lane for me. Provence is where I started my Euro rock climbing experience as a passanger on the back of a motorbike for a Christmas trip to Cavillion in 1990. The Easter trips to Ceuse, Verdon and The Ardeche soon followed.

    Although there are some favourite crags (ie: Vontavon and Meouge near Orpierre) missing from this guide, there are other crags described that I have never been to and now feel the need to check out!

    Furthermore the photo diagrammes show off complex crags like Buoux in a refreshing new light. My old guide to Dentelles de Montmirail only has four routes ticked in it! It is complex area to navigate and this new Rockfax has made the access much clearer even including GPS references for the car parks.

    Ceuse has had a lot of new routes put up since I last bought the local guide but there are some sectors that we climbed on that have been omitted. However this chapter makes the crag look brilliant which is a pain because I think I am going to have to tackle that 45min up hill walk again!

    There is more than enough climbing for a holiday (actually quite a few trips), covering a vast diversity of sport climbing from popular roadside crags like Volx and Venasque to high standard crags like St Leger. Old classic venues like Sisteron and Buoux are veiwed in a fresh light and if it is getter to warm then Ceuse should provide some respite.

    At almost £25 it is still a lot cheaper than buying lots of local guides to just climb four routes in 20 years!

  2. Steve Craddock

    Even though I’m a retired climber, and this book is effectively just soft porn for me these days, I’m delighted my wife gave it to me for Xmas. We’ve made repeated trips to this area, walking and driving around, so we know the general areas well.

    I could never justify buying the topo or guidebook when we were there touring, and we always wondered just what climbs we were watching across from the Fort de Buoux, while walking on the Dentelles, or from the Fort at Sisteron. This beautifully produced book will provide the answers, and will certainly accompany us next time.

  3. Paul Clarke

    Got a copy just the other day and have to say congratulations to all concerned. Adrian Berry has done a brilliant job of giving us a sense of the variety and quality the area has to offer.
    “The South of France contains the best sport climbing in the world, there’s no ‘some of’ about it. While new sport combing areas regularly take the limelight as the latest ‘must visit’ destinations, seldom is the quality of routes found on the limestone crags of southern France matched”
    Well – I’ve not been everywhere – but certainly true in my experience!
    Nice one guys.

  4. Dave Westlake (Rock and Run)

    In brief, this is a superb guide that contains all the knowledge and advice anyone planning a trip to the region. It has an impressive range of areas covered, including the really famous crags and the lesser known gems. There is ample information for the planning of your trip and the guide also does a great job of signposting you on to find more detailed information. The pictures and diagrams are first rate and the book is very easy to use. The only slight disappointment to some may be the lack of history or first ascent information. However, anyone looking for this is sure to consult the more detailed local guides that are mentioned within.

  5. Karin Magog

    This is Rockfax’s latest guide and certainly doesn’t disappoint. It basically covers the area east of the main autoroute du soleil, between the towns of Gap in the north-east and Avignon in the south-west, or in crag terms Ceuse in the north and Buoux in the south. The guide covers fourteen crags in total with some of the other well known crags in the guide being St Leger, Volx, Sisteron, Orpierre and Les Dentelles. The area is divided into four geographical regions each of which come with the usual detailed info such as map, where to stay and local guidebooks. The individual crags then have their own intro giving you an idea of what to expect from the crag, best time to visit and how to find it.

    As you would expect each crag also comes complete with clear photo topos, which give an excellent indication of what to expect from the climbing. The guide seems well balanced with a good mix of high and low grade venues and routes, therefore offering something for everyone. Obviously this area has many outstanding crags and the author needed to be selective, however I was still disappointed to find Ventavon missing for example and some of the routes I’d done at both Buoux and Ceuse didn’t make the cut either, but I know it’s impossible to put everything in. The action photos are okay, generally reinforcing the nature of the climbing at that particular crag rather than inspiring you to do a certain route. However, for me the one of Toby Dunn climbing Mariotte at Combe Obscure really stood out. If you ever wondered what a 7c slab would be like check out page 183 – horrendous!

    One design feature that I wasn’t too keen on was the see through textboxes on top of some of the photos. It’s a good space saving idea I agree but personally I would just make them white, less distracting. On the whole the guide seems well researched and pretty accurate, however, one typo that stood out was the sentence that suggests that the Cascade area at Ceuse gets the sun until late morning when in fact that’s the only time it’s not in the sun, a very important difference. On the whole an excellent, well put together guide and a good effort by Adrian. For a sport climbing holiday this area of France should be high on everyone’s list of places to visit, making this guide an essential buy.

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