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Top 3 Europe’s Climbing Rocks

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Top 3 Europe’s Climbing Rocks

In this article we put together the top 3 countries for rock climbing within Europe and their famous 9 rocks, to help the climbers or traventurers plan their rock climbing activities and trip.

1. Frankenjura, Germany

Frankenjura is a climbing area in south-eastern Germany. The nearest airports are Nuremberg (0,5hrs), Munich (1,5hrs) and Frankfurt (2hrs). To get most of your trip a car is essential, since the cliffs are spread over a big area. All cliffs within the area are divided into different zones. Usually there are signs at the base of the cliff and in the guidebook. Zone 1 no climbing. Zone 2 “status quo” climbing on existing routes is allowed, but new routes are not. Zone 3 climbing and opening of new routes is allowed, but excessive cleaning of vegetation will lead to trouble, usually your bolts will be removed. Because of nesting birds some seasonal closures occur from Jan. 15th until July 31th. If the nest is abandonded or the breeding was unsucessful the climbing ban will be lifted much earlier. For more information check the website of the local climbing club.

Best fingerpockets on earth!” The top climbing area in Germany with famous routes like Wallstreet and Action Direct (both first ascented by Wolfgang Güllich) and hundreds of outstanding climbs also for moderate climbers.

The best time to climb at Frankenjura is late spring and autumn, but as many of the crags either face north or are shaded in woods, then summer is also an excellent time to climb, hence why it is a popular holiday destination for rock climbers all over Europe.

Extensive area with over 800 cliffs and more than 12.000 routes. Most of them on steep and pocketed limestone. Routes cover anything from 10 m steep bouldery powerfests to 40 m long vertical routes. Grades cover everything from 3 to 9b. Best selection probably from 5c to 9a.

The meeting point for climbers is the campground in Untertrubach, opposite of the Zehnerstein. Everybody knows it as Oma Eichler. Obviously you can camp here. There are several other campsites in the neighbourhood. Cheap accomodation (appartments or local guesthouses) are easy to find.

In the lower grades (up to 6b) the protection is not good. Although there are some good exceptions. And using nuts and friends can be fun.

A guidebook and a road map/satnav system for the area are essential to get the most out of your time here. Kletterführer Frankenjura Band 1 and Band 2 from Sebastian Schwertner/Panico Verlag cover the whole area. Frankenjura Extreme from the same author in English is a selected guidebook with more than 2000 routes mostly in the harder grades above 7a. All books are for sale at the Campground Eichler in Untertrubach, bookstores and climbing shops in the area or through our our shop from Amazon.

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For a climber, saying that you are stopping by Everest is like saying that you are stopping by to see God.― Roland Smith, Peak

2. Arco, Italy

60 sectors with 10 to 120 routes, perfect limestone, short climbs or multi pitch routes, sunny cliffs for winter, shady places for summer – the guidebook weighs one pound easily…
Arco – near the surfers paradise Lake Garda – is also famous for its excellent mountain bike trails.

Arco is situated within the Sarca Valley and offers something for everyone, from single pitch sport routes to long Dolomite style airy multi-pitch routes on the big walls of Monte Casale, Piccolo Dain and Monte Brento. The whole area is vast with over 5,000 routes to choose from at all grades on superb limestone rock. Situated just north of Lake Garda and only a couple of hours from the Dolomites it is possible to rock climb throughout most of the year and is easily accessible if wet in the mountains around the Dolomites. The rock climbing is definitely split into 2 distinct styles, which are:

Superb bolted sport routes on limestone rock, with vast majority being single pitch, though there are many 2-pitch and multi-pitch sport routes to be found.
Long, Dolomite style big wall routes on steep limestone rock up to 1,400m long, with many of the routes in the region of 200 to 600m long. These routes require a mountaineering approach and the placing of natural protection such as nuts and cams.

Learn more in related article: Staying with a local family on Bali

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3. France

Ardeche

Perfect sports climbing at the mind blowing limestone cliffs above the rivers Ardeche and Chassesaque. On rest days you can hire a kayak and enjoy the beautiful South-French landscape whilst paddling down one of these rivers.

There is a large number of separate limestone sport climbing areas in this very scenic and charming region of France. In my opinion none of the climbing areas that follow are “first class” compared to other better known French areas. The rock is mostly less then vertical and many moderate sport climbs can be found. Many more climbing areas in Ardeche can be visited, some are known to have radical overhangs and stalactites.

Ceüse

The wall of Ceüse is one of the top climbing areas in France and Europe. The southeast-facing limestone walls are up to 200m high and offer great climbing on holes, ledges, sintering. A great area that attracts climbers of all nations. The currently heaviest and most well-known route in the area is the first realization by Chris Sharma in 2001 (also: biography), the world’s second route in difficulty level “9a +”. There are also other well-known routes from Sharma to Ceuse: Three Degrees of Separation (9a), whose key locations consist of three Dynamos, and the Bah Bah Black Sheep (8c +) route, first undertaken by Dave Graham. But there are also easier routes from 5c (6) on, but you should climb a good 7b to have fun in this climbing area in France. In addition, the rating is rather hard and the drill holes are far distances. Best time is for this at 1700 m located climbing area of ​​late summer and autumn. In the summer, the wall is in the shade from 15:00.

Buoux

A large number of great and mostly well protected sport climbs on white/gray limestone in a very scenic region of Provence in South of France (Luberon region in Vaucluse department, North of Marseilles, near Apt). The climbs are in a canyon surrounded by old French villages and vineyards.

From the town Apt drive south pass the small village of Buoux. After 1.5 Km you make a left, in the middle of a hairpin right turn, on a small road that leads to “Auberge des Seguins”. Drive to the main parking area.

Chateauvert

A rather short stretch of excellent limestone cliffs with many great steep climbs of different difficulties. The very strong glued bolts tend to be far apart at times (especially in easier parts of the climbs). Some routes are equipped with dangerously high first bolts. The climbs are of exceptional quality and deserve the numerous stars given in the guide book that can be bough at the Auberge that is near city hall (“Mairie”) in Chateau Vert.

Chateau Vert is north of Toulon, east of Marseilles and north of the small town of Brignoles in the South of France. The actual climbing happens on one side of the scenic canyon of “Vallon Sourn” that is between the villages of Chateau Vert and Correns. All the other great cliffs nearby are not climbed.

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Orpierre

Great very well protected limestone cliffs above a scenic old French village. The small village of Orpierre is far away from any city, on the map of France its located between Marseilles and Grenoble and north of the town of Sisteron. Some easy and super protected climbs can even be found amongst the harder climbs. The main cliffs are obvious from the square at the center of the village, you will probably not need to use your GPS to find “Falaise du Chateau”. Park in the village for most climbs.

Cliff “Falaise du Chateau”, route “La Moulinette Endimanchee” 6a, N 44o 19′ 7.2” – E 5o 41′ 7.6” CEU023 Many great routes of varied difficulty are to the right.
Cliff “Les Blaches Sud Ouest”, N 44o 13′ 22.0” – E 5o 42′ 13.0” CEU024 This cliff is away from the main cliffs. Park at Adrech parking (do not park in the village). To get to Adrech parking drive a few hundred meters on D30 eastbound out of the village of Orpierre and follow the signs.

Verdon

An amazing limestone canyon east of Nice, South of France. Climbs often start with up to six rope lengths of impressive rappels into the huge canyon with vertical walls. Bolts are far apart and a few camming devices and nuts are part of the standard equipment. From the small village of La Pallu on the North side of the canyon, head West and take the “route des Crets”.

Woldfamous climbing in the „Grand Canyon of Europe”. (Recommended for experienced climbers only because often you will have to abseil down to the climbs.)

Russan

Great well protected limestone cliffs above a scenic horseshoe bend of a river. The climbs are from vertical to radical overhangs on stalagmites. This is really a great place. Russan is near the town of Nimes in the South of France.

From the town of Nimes in the South of France take road N106 towards Ales, make a right on road D22 towards Dions and St Anastasie, after about 4.0 Km make a right on road D618 towards Russan, after about 1.0 Km of narrow road you will enter the confusing village of St Anastasie, make a left in the village to the square “Place de l’ Eglise” and then an other left to the main town square “Place de la Fontaine”, from the main square take “avenue des Sept”, make a right at N 43o 56′ 13.7” – E 4o 19′ 23.1” CEU018 on “Rue du Castelas” (there is no street sign at that turn but a sign at that says “Site le Castelas”), follow signs toward “Group Scolaire” and “Castelas”.

At one point you have the choice between signs to “Group Scolaire” and “Le Castelas”, choose “Le Castelas”. At one point make a sharp left and the pavement ends, you are at N 43o 56′ 8.2” – E 4o 19′ 37.0” CEU019 . Follow the decent dirt road to N 43o 55′ 42.6” – E 4o 20′ 20.2” CEU020 and park. From the parking walk a faint trail to N 43o 55′ 37.2” – E 4o 20′ 17.3” CEU021. You can rappel down in a huge hole (bolts) or (better) walk at the top of the cliffs along faint trail to a place were you can make it down to the bottom of the cliffs (one 4th move). The first climbs are nearby: walk back in the direction of the parking at the bottom of the cliff.

There is also a path to the climbs that heads south-west from the parking.

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