The sight of the impressive rock face of Céüse in the French département of Hautes-Alpes makes every climber’s heart beat faster. The rock face is several kilometres long, rises up to 200m and offers an endless ampunt of outstanding routes. It is not for nothing that Céüse is one of the most famous climbing spots in Europe.
There was a time when we reliably visited Céüse every autumn. It was a highlight every time and I remember that time with pleasure. In recent years, however, we visited a lot of other destinations, so I haven’t been to Céüse for a long time. We could see that some things have changed in the meantime by the fact that a brand new tourist information centre has been built at the top of the Col de Guérins and the car parking has been extended and is not free anymore. For about 5€ a day, you are allowed to stay overnight and to park your camper or to place your tent in the shady forest.
La falaise de Céüse …
However, our first day was a bit unfortunate. I drove my bus into the steeply sloping gravel car park – and immediately realised that this had not been such a good idea. I got stuck on the loose gravel and had no chance to get out of this unfortunate situation. Fortunately, some helpful guys were around us and pulled us out again with another van. After that, we were a bit more careful in choosing a suitable place for the van. 😜 🚗
Besides the outstanding routes and the beautiful nature around, it’s the daily routine you get with time there that I like the most. Since you can only climb in the late afternoon because of the sun, you get up late, have a leisurely breakfast, then run up the steep mountain for 1h and climb until the sun slowly sets. Then you often run back down the mountain in the dark, then eat as much as you can and then sleep for a long time because you are so exhausted. And then the game starts all over again. It feels like all you do is climb, hike and sleep 😅
L’ami de tout le monde …
When we were in Céüse for the first time, the routes seemed incredibly technical, extremely demanding and the runouts super wide. Today, the routes are still challenging, but everything works a bit better now. Nevertheless, there is no lack of open projects. One of these projects was ‘L’ami de tout le monde’ [8b] – a classic with two very small and strong boulders at the start and in the upper part. But once I got stuck on the lower crux, I didn’t let myself miss the send. A really good route and a great feeling to climb the upper part to the anchor with all the cruxes below you.
Climbing in the sunset …
Most days Luca and I climbed Demi Lune, Bibendum and Grande Face, as they promised a bit more shade than the other sectors. With each day, we gained a little more endurance (also for the long approach), so that we got more and more used to the routes with more endurance. However, it was like so often: just when you had the feeling of being really fit, our holiday was already coming to an end.
It felt good to be back in Céüse after such a long time. You can never get enough of the fantastic routes and the breathtaking landscape. And I’m already looking forward to the next time – hopefully, it won’t take too long. 🙂