Montagne Sainte-Victoire is an 18 kilometer long limestone mountain in the south of France, with a 7 kilometer long summit plateau, east of Aix-en-Provence. Resembling a long ridge, the high point is the Pic des mouches at 1,011 metres (3,317 ft). The Croix de Provence is a 19 meter high cross and is a popular hiking destination which looms large on a slightly lower point on the massif.
Climbing season: south facing and fairly protected from the Mistral, the area works for winter but the prime seasons are spring and fall. Summer can be wicked hot.
In 1989, a fire burned at the mountain's south face. Reforestation has been promoted, but, the effects of the fire are still present. Public access is restricted during periods of high fire danger, especially the summer season. Please take care with any spark or flame producing device and respect the restrictions. Current information at:
+33 (0) 8 11 20 13 13
Besides climbing, the Saint-Victoire massif is a very popular destination for hiking. There is also paragliding and some caving.
Montagne Sainte Victoire is one of the Grand Sites de France.
Escalade en Pays d’Aix, Daniel Gorgeon and Philippe Légier.
Buying the local guidebook supports equipment maintenance at the crag.
Places to Stay:
There’s camping in Puyloubier, Rousset, Peynier, and Beaurecueuil.
Gites available in Puyloubier and St. Antonin.
Hotel in Puyloubier.
Wild camping is prohibited.
Climbing gear, guidebooks:
Les 3 Mousquetons
17 rue Jacques de la Roque
13100 Aix-en-Provence, France
+33 4 42 21 93 98
Some fun climbing source quotes:
"Rising to the west of Aix en Provence, the first sight of the soaring limestone peak of the Montagne de Sainte Victoire, rising to 1011m, should set any climbers pulse racing. The south-facing sheets of limestone look both smooth and huge from a distance, a closer inspection reveals a massive area of compact white rock. Off-vertical face climbing is the name of the game here, often with slightly spicy bolting. The 170+ routes we cover here are about 15 percent of the total routes on offer on the mountain, if you enjoy the place, get the local guide and go off exploring." Chris Craggs from the Rockfax guidebook, France: Côte d'Azur
"The famous great white mountain rising from the Mediterranean plains just E of Aix is perhaps the most revered natural feature in the whole of Provence. The artist Cézanne, painting it repeatedly, brought it to the attention of a wider world. It is easy to see his fascination. The ivory white rock captures and intensifies every light and mood. If the sky is angry then Sainte Victoire is black, if the sky is clear blue, the mountain lives, if the sun sets red then the hillside becomes a wall of flame." Bill Birkett from the Cicerone guidebook, French Rock.
"La Montagne Sainte-Victoire :
Above Aix en Provence, not far from the Mediterranean Sea, this mountain is the home of at least a thousand routes. These are run-out, committing and sequencey climbs that require good footwork. Try the legendary, seldom repeated big routes, OVNI or Hyper Médius, both 6c (5.11b) and you will understand. These climbs require a strong constitution and perfect foot work. It is here that Christian Guyomar and Christian Hautcoeur wrote a page in the history of climbing. Four decades ago, they climbed these routes using hooks and bad pitons. Since then, bolts have replaced these, but the runouts are still there, so you will be stepping into a bygone era of boldness. The strenouous athletics of the average sport route are replaced by precarious footwork. Tight shoes and steel fingers are essential.
Finally, let us emphasize that judgement and mental fortitude play big parts. Sainte-Victoire is the ultimate test for mental weakness. If you climb here enough, your confidence will increase." Stephane Silvestri in Gripped Magazine from the article Traditional Sport Climbing in FRANCE. The Innovative "Old World"
The easiest option for folks across the puddle is to fly to Marseille or Nice and rent a car.
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Mountain Project's determination of some of the classic, most popular, highest rated routes for Sainte Victoire:
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