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Sport Rock Climbing in Burgundy

France has an excellent choice of locations for all grades of climbing enthusiasts whether you are of world class mountaineering standard for scaling Mont Blanc or more of a weekender looking for an interesting challenge sport rock climbing.

Saussois in the Yonne for Rock Climbing in Burgundy
Saussois on the Canal du Nivernais

In Burgundy, the limestone crags from Clamecy in the north west right down to Solutré in the south of the region offer thousands of routes, across all grades. The cliffs are known as the Falaises de Bourgogne and there are 19 major crags, which are all limestone, bar one, the Vieux Château Cliff which is granite. The three largest crags are Surgy near Clamecy, Saffres near Vitteaux and Hauteroche near Venarey-Les-Laumes, both west of Dijon. Some cliffs are protected as natural sites and here you should avoid the nesting season between February and the end of June when there are occasionally temporary prohibitions in force.

©climb-europe.com

Main Crags in Burgundy

Crag no

Area

No. of Routes

Max Height

Rock Type

1

Surgy

58

40m

Limestone

2

Rochers du Parc

146

28m

Limestone

3

Saussois

141

N/N

Limestone

4

Vieux

44

40m

Granite

5

Hauteroche

240+

35m

Limestone

6

Saffres

400+

30m

Limestone

7

Lantenay

51

25m

Limestone

8

Geligny

33

25m

Limestone

9

Fixon

202

35m

Limestone

10

Brochon

28

35m

Limestone

11

Chambolle-Musigny

61

25m

Limestone

12

Bouilland

89

34m

Limestone

13

Cormot

141

35m

Limestone

14

Rome Chateau

39

15m

Limestone

15

Remigny

27

22m

Limestone

16

St.-Denis

16

13m

Limestone

17

Culles-les-Roches

38

N/N

Limestone

18

Vergisson

58

35m

Limestone

19

Solutre

45

24m

Limestone

Reproduced with kind permission of climb-europe.com

The Saffres Cliff


The Saffres Cliff, forms part of the Rochers de Miraude, the backdrop to the village of Saffres, located around 35km west of Dijon and 4km south east of Vitteaux. This is a well known site, which is often crowded in the springtime. The cliff has both easy and moderate climbs, which require some skill but which are well protected. The walls of this cliff generally face south, apart from one, the Tour Carrée, which can be climbed on all four sides. There 400 different routes up the cliff, ranging in difficulty from 3c up to 7b. One of the easier climbs is Le Piano à Queue, which is rated at 4+, while both Le Boulevard à Mathieu and Top Lisa are rated at 7+. The rock is hard Jurassic limestone, which is stratified, but the hand hold is better than at Cormot near Beaune for example.

To reach the cliff, turn off the D905 4km south east of Vitteaux, turning east on the D119 to Saffres. Go past the village and then turn off the road as it ascends above Saffres along a narrow track which runs past the Tour Carrée (visible from the road).

Hauteroche Cliff

Hauteroche BurgundyThe Hauteroche Cliff is located around 40km west of Dijon and about 10km from Venarey-Les-Laumes. Hauteroche cliff is around 1km in length and about 14-30m high. The cliff is Jurassic limestone but not as secure as Saffre and a helmet will be needed due to the loose rock slopes which are above the climb. Hauteroche has over 200 routes ranging from 2c to 7a in rating.

To reach it, take the D26 east in the direction of St-Seine-l’Abbaye to Villy-en-Auxois, then follow the D9 to Venarey-Les-Laumes for 9km before turning right towards Hauteroche. 500m to the south of Hauteroche you need to take a sharp right along a narrow road, which leads to parking at the top.

Vieux Chateau

Vieux Château Cliff is part of the Sainte-Catherine Rocks; this granite cliff offers a variety of climbing with dihedrals and overhangs. With around 40 routes up this 30-40m cliff classified as 3b-7c, this is a beautiful climb.

To reach the cliff, take the D954 10km south of Avallon in the direction of Epoisses for 9km. At the Toutry exit head south in the direction of Vieux Château. At the northern entrance turn sharp right on a narrow road for half km then turn left on to a dirt trail which leads to parking at the summit.

Rock climbing in BurgundyFor more on these routes and others in Burgundy, the Topo- Guide 'Bourgogne - Onsight-Sport Climbing Guidebook by Jingo Wobbly has a location map for the 19 major crags, and a good description giving a general overview of the rock climbing area, along with the type of rock climbing to be found there. All the climbs are described with clear Topo diagrams with French grades. The text is in English and French and a fully revised edition is available for £32.50 from climb-europe.com.

 

Research: Julie Moore

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