© Getty Images

The Four Seasons of Climbing in the Southern Alps

Boosting your cardio endurance, testing your agility, or taking to the heights for a breath of fresh air. The Southern Alps will delight climbers of all levels, all year long.

Pack Your Ice-Axe and Crampons in Winter

Frozen waterfalls make time stand still

With your crampons on and armed with a good dose of motivation, have a go at ruisseling – the new sport where you get to climb up frozen streams. The Parc Naturel Régional du Queyras has several spots, each as magical as the next. Beneath your feet and under the ice, watch the water flow. Ice-climbing, which requires more technique, is often done at frozen waterfalls. We recommend the artificial waterfall at the Centre Nordique du Boréon, the Vallée de la Freissinière, and the ice-falls of Ceillac and Aiguilles in Le Queyras.

Voir cette publication sur Instagram

Une publication partagée par Le Queyras (@lequeyras) le

Great Ascents in Autumn

Indoor rock-climbing is ideal all year round

For completely safe beginner climbs, to keep in shape, or to work on your technique, indoor rock-climbing offers lots of perks: we like the little sponge mats in case we fall! It’s so pleasant that some people have swapped post-work drinks for rock-climbing sessions. At Vesubia Mountain Park, many wall or bloc routes welcome new or experienced climbers. In Gap, the Duo des Cimes hall is open to everyone, and also regularly hosts competitions. For children and new climbers, go to the new Digne À Bloc gym in Digne-les-Bains.

 

Gear Up for Spring Break

Traverse the cliffs in the gentle spring sunshine

Once you’ve mastered the basics, you have many cliffs from which to choose for rock-climbing in the Alps.. Priority number one: safety. We’re careful with equipment (harness, rope – mandatory! -, helmet) and we select sites within our reach. With routes of between 700 and 1,200 metres, the Falaises d’Orpierre cliffs have given Orpierre its village qui grimpe (Climbers’ Village) nickname. The Grande Falaise de Freissinières, near Briançon, is ideal in spring as it is south-facing. In the Parc Naturel Régional du Mercantour, the more experienced will enjoy the wild, limestone setting at the Chapeau de Gendarme site. The Les Méolans site offers a hundred routes, facing south and south-east and with easy access to the cliffs. The last « must-do » spot is the Vallée d’Argenton, thanks to its exceptional sandstone cliffs.

Get Fresh in the Summer

Under blue skies, look out for cool summits

On fine summer days, cliffs that face the north (and the west – for those up early enough) offer enjoyable playgrounds. You just have to be careful of the lack of grip on the rock walls due to the heat. In Ailefroide, the slabs are no higher than 4 metres – perfect for summer! You can also enjoy the big routes which traverse these granite slabs. Still in the Hautes-Alpes, freshness is guaranteed at the Rue des Masques site in Guillestre. Otherwise, go to Céüse, the queen of cliffs: it has 400 routes suitable for all levels. In the Alpes-Maritimes, everyone knows the Gorges du Loup: accessible to athletic types of all levels, they are a climber’s delight. The Mesa Verde sector offers optimum conditions with two magnificent routes – of which the low parts are always in the shade.