Saint Leger

I had heard a lot about sport-climbing in St. Léger du Ventoux: it was praised as one of the best climbing areas in Southern France. And I have to say the awesome landscape, hundreds of routes and the steep overhanging routes were really impressive … At the end of March, I had 4 days off...

I had heard a lot about sport-climbing in St. Léger du Ventoux: it was praised as one of the best climbing areas in Southern France. And I have to say the awesome landscape, hundreds of routes and the steep overhanging routes were really impressive …

At the end of March, I had 4 days off before my climbing trip to Seynes with the competition climbing team Karlsruhe. I decided to spend them climbing in Saint Léger together with Lulu, Paul and Nici. I always wanted to see this place and this was the perfect opportunity … After driving about 8 hours from Karlsruhe, we arrived the campsite in Buis-les-Baronnies in Southern France. The campsite there is located in the middle of the town and so you have the flair of a Southern France town around you and you can walk to the bakery every morning (The bakeries in France are amazing … I fear that we lost a lot of money there 🙂 ) – that were the good things. The bad thing was, that the French workers decided only to work from 7.00 am to 9.00 am waking up the whole campsite just to make a break for the rest of the day afterwards. But besides that, it was a really nice in Buis-les-Baronnies.

To get the climbing crag you have to drive for about 30 minutes through the mountains on an idyllic little street. Idyllic – not only because the landscape is superb, but there are hundreds of little bushes next to the street and the French street workers cut all of them in a specific form. I am sure this had cost them weeks to do so, but it looks quite fine. When you arrive at the parking place at the valley ground, you have to walk about 10 minutes and then you arrive at a super long cliff with hundreds of routes.

What’s the best strategy to climb long routes without endurance?

The first one that we tried, was a stunning long 8a called ‚Quelques instants au bird du Monde‘. It was a challenging project for us because none of us had trained endurance in the last weeks. It seemed way to exhausting for me to climb this line multiple times, so I decided to try my best in the first Go – and happily, I flashed it. And only a few tries later Lulu and Paul also climbed it with ease.

One funny thing about Lulu is, that she knows so many other climbers. So I was not surprised at all that she already knew the two other climbers hanging around at our next project: Sylwia Buczek and Daniel Jung. The route was called ‚Spit bull‘ and graded with 8a+/b. It was impressive to see Sylwia climbing this route with a speed and precision I have never seen before. Starting at the beginning, she made no stop and no wrong movement until she fell in crux at the top of this route every time. I tried my best to move at the same speed and efficiency, but I could not reach it at all … (should work on this for sure … 🙂 ). When we arrived late at the next morning at the crag, Sylwia stood there smiling and had just sent her project. It took me some more tries, but finally, I did it later this day.

Do you know the situation, when one last Go is one too much?

I had one and a half day left. Nevertheless, I tried one of this huge overhangs (about 45m). The line was called ‚Foetus trou du cus‘ and graded 8b/+. Surprisingly, the moves felt doable and I had some chances to climb it, even though I run out of time. So I figured out a good beta and let all of Pauls‘ quickdraws hanging in this route (about 20 pieces) to give it a final Go at my last day in Saint Léger. Well, it rained on the next day and the top slap which affords climbing 5m above the last bolt without good holds and loose rocks was really wet. There was no way around at it cost me all my nerves the get to the anchor chain and to save Pauls‘ quickdraws. Immediately before the anchor, I had only one small hold and crimped as hard as I could not to slip away on the wet footholds. Then after a lightly ‚CRACK‘, I had my only hold in my hands – not connected anymore to the wall. Happily, I managed to keep my balance and to avoid the 15m fall from the top slap – my nerves …

All in all, we were pretty lucky with the weather. It rained multiple times during the night, but the overhangs always remained dry. Sadly, I had to leave after 4 days heading to Seynes. Saint Léger is a really cool climbing destination. I am not sure whether it is the best or not, but it is worth a visit for sure. We spent the 4 days at the same spot, but I think there are a lot of other crags around and even a lot with lower grades. So everyone can have fun in this climbing area …

airline_seat_individual_suiteCampsite location_onParking place

Thanks a lot, Lulu, Paul and Nici for the nice days in this cool area. And thanks a lot Nici for playing around with your camera and taking this nice photos of me …

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