Ken Roberts - - Climbing

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climb France

12nov

Rocher de Roquebrune - East ridge

GPX file

Spectacular and interesting ridge traverse which stays on or close to the crest the whole way, going up and down over or around various peaks along the way. Big views in all directions, lots of interesting moves on mostly sound rock.

The climbing sections are short, most at difficulty 2 or 3. One short sequence at difficulty around 5a+, very well protected by modern bolts - (perhaps avoidable by a variant route).

The route is complicated but generally well-marked by painted white stars or blue marks. Sometimes the white stars go one way (with more difficult climbing), while the blue marks offer a different alternative way (not as difficult).

our day

A friend told us this route was the best easy climb between Cap Canaille and the Esterel massif, so we decided to try it. It turned out to be an interesting route with lots of fun scrambling and a few climbing moves. The descent was mostly straightforward and not difficult (except for a short section through bushes at the top). I would gladly to it again.

We tried to follow the detailed instructions in the book Provence vertige insolite by Pierre Millon (Glenat 2003), but many things had changed since the book was written, so instead we followed the blue marks and white stars, which were mostly clear and helpful.

For our descent we continued a ways farther northwest on the ridge, with some more "white star" climbing sections, then found a trail marked blue and followed that south down to the GR51, then around the east side back to our car.

Neither of us brought rock-climbing shoes, but we did use "approach" shoes with high-friction rubber soles.

We carried a 60-meter rope and a 15-meter. We used the 60-meter rope for the rappel of the West side of the south peak. We used the 15-meter rope for all the other steep sections. But we found that some of the bolt-protected climbing sections were higher than 15 meters.

Next time I would not bring any stoppers or friends. And I would return on the trail descending northeast from the West col. I might consider just skipping the "south tower" and bringing only a 30-meter rope.

Rock was mostly sound. In-place protection equipment modern in good condition. Marking of route mostly clear, except that the beginning lower section of the approach from the NorthEast was not much marked (anyway it was obvious where to go).

see also:

 * [ photos slideshow on Picasa ] *

 * [ route description + photos on CampToCamp ] *

 * [ trip report on C2C w photos ] *

 . . . _______________________ . . .

 * [ detailed GPX filewith detailed tracks and waypoints for GPS ] *

 * [ map of area : smaller 800x | higher resolution 1024x ] *

map of Rocher de Roquebrune

Cap Canaille - Philemon traverse

12dec : (French name: traversée Philemon)

Spectacular hiking and scrambling beside the Sea, under and over dramatic cliffs. Several sections exposed to dangerous falling, not a good choice for persons unaccustomed to exposed scrambling and hiking. 

We did it in the normal way from East to West. The rock was in good condition except some loose sand on the exit from the subsidence (with possible "step across") a little before the rappel. Equipment for protection and rappel in good condition. Note that the protection is mostly glue-in eye-bolts, so we found there was not much need for quickdraws -- next time I would instead carry more runners with one carabiner each (also useful for threading in the rock and around trees).

Main difficulty was a long section of prickly grabby bushes encroaching on the narrow trail between the rappel and Pas de la Chevre. So be sure to wear thorn-resistant long pants -- Sharon got some scratches on her legs.
(It would make this tour much more enjoyable if a heroic party went through it with several pairs of pruning shears and a small saw to cut away some of the intruding bushes.)

Seemed to me that the rappel was significantly more than 20 meters west after the subsidence (with optional "step across" across move). Anyway the top anchor for the rappel was very obvious with the steel spiral ("pigs trail") in the middle of a horizontal fixed rope -- with a black paint mark of right angle.

We had a 60-meter rope, and found this was more than enough to allow us to rappel down to the platform below the overhang -- and also (with rope stretch) partway down the gully below + west from the platform -- which was helpful because the top entrance to that gully seemed loose + difficult. After disconnecting from the rope, each of down-climbed about 2.5 meters using stemming moves on nice holds. (A 70-meter rope would have allowed us to rappel down to below the bottom of this gully).

see also:

 * [ photos slideshow on Picasa ] *

 * [ route description + photos on CampToCamp : English | French ] *

 * [ trip report on C2C ] *

 * [ GPX file with waypoints for Parking for GPS ] *

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