BETA PHOTO: Combeauvieux with Corrençon in the background.
A cragging area set in the forest above the ski area at Clot de la Balme, which is just south of Villard-de-Lans. Nice views of the country side below. The rocks’ location is of course overshadowed by Gerbier and the Grand Moucherolle to the east.
With around 60 routes, from very easy to hard (2 to 8b), mostly single pitch but several short multi-pitch routes, this area has something for climbers at any ability level. The rock here tends to be superb; nicely featured limestone. Cracks, corners, face, pockets, overhangs, roofs, and even the occasional tufa feature with most routes well equipped with newer bolts. Some opportunity for gear placement too. A 60m single rope suffices for most routes here.
The popular season tends to be May through September and into October, weather permitting.
The area is comprised of 4 sectors:
Secteur de la Dalle
Located up above and to the left of Secteur du Triangle, this area has more difficult routes from 6a to 8b.
Secteur du Triangle
The most popular spot with good moderate routes. Grades range from 4a to 6c.
Secteur des Toits
The “roof” sector with routes from 5c to 8a, above and to the right from the Triangle sector.
Secteur de la Terrasse
Comprised of tightly equipped routes perfect for initiation. Located on a (very) short, shady cliff band below the Triangle.
From Villard-de-Lans, go south on the D215 to Corrençon-en-Vercors (aka Corrençon). Continue on the D215 to Clots de la Balme where this rock climbing area can be seen in the forest just above the ski area to the east. As you drive to the ski area, the road parallels the forest on the left, and some lodging on the right. Look for the sign, “Site d’escalade” on the left which marks the start of the trail to the crag.
Take the trail uphill through the forest to the top of a ski run. Follow the trail north, in the open, going slightly down hill and towards more heavily wooded terrain. After around 60 meters, at the second possible right, take the small trail uphill through the dark woods to the rocks. Near the left side of Secteur de la Terrasse, the trail splits depending on which sector one wishes to visit.
Previewing the crag and its location from the ski area prior to hiking does help with finding this climbing area. The area is also marked on the IGN map 3236OT “Villard-de-Lans” located right above Clots de la Balme. The hike should only take around 15 to 20 minutes from the parking area.
Evanescence is a great route, sustained, a slight rest in the upper middle, with a great finish on tufa-esque features.Start up a difficult and sustained thin seam/crack. After a horizontal break, pull up onto the smooth face above and finish on the tufa-like features to the top. Fantastic!...[more]Browse More Classics in International