Les Calanques – December 2010

I had a three day weekend in Calanques in December 2010 with Jari Uusikivi. Everything went quite smoothly despite our luggage being lost in Frankfurt. We were wise enough to pack most essentials in hand luggage. We got our luggage back at the airport on our way back home. We had some clothing, underwear and camping gear among the missing items but all essentials such as ropes and quickdraws were with us.

If someone is wondering the answer is yes. You can carry ropes,  quickdraws and belay devices in hand luggage. Pointy objects such as friends and camalots are not allowed, though.

Grande Chandelle: Armata Calanca (6c, 320m) – December 11th, 2010

I’ve always been a bit sceptical about Calanques and the quality of long routes there but now that I’ve actually been there I must admit there are some really good routes worth climbing. Especially considering that during the winter time the selection isn’t really that good if you want to climb long multi-pitch in Europe. The best long routes in Calanques are in the Devenson cliff right next to sea. The commitment is quite high in Devenson since you need to get up everything you’ve abseiled. Walking out is no option and swimming is rather uninviting – especially during the winter time with colder temperatures. The setting is something really spectacular, though. For less committing start I’d suggest Armata Calanca (6b+, 320m) on Chandelle, which we climbed for our first route.

Devenson: Pour la memoire de nos enfants (6c, 330m) – December 12th, 2010

On our second day we climbed something what I believe is the crown of the whole massif on this difficulty level. Don’t let the numbers fool you, though. This route is way more committing than anything else with these numbers. The day is a lot longer since you have abseil down first. The approach from the car is close to five ours if you count the abseils. And the last rappel before you get to the start of the route is… let’s say interesting. In addition, the route itself is also longer than the numbers say. It’s only 250m in height but the first two pitches traverse only few centimeters above the sea. The atmosphere can be rather intimidating with the noise of the sea if you’re not accustomed to such.

All in all this is a super magnificent route. It has it all, chimneys, awkward oldschool climbing, pumpy overhangs and delicate slabs. Everything is in pristine condition – no polished holds at all. And the exposure is something really exceptional. This is a superb world class route and thus, it is highly recommended!

Cap Canaille: Bourreur de rousse (6a+, 130m) – December 13th, 2010

For our last day we needed something shorter in order to catch the plane in time. We’ve both done our fair bit of running to the airport in the past and it’s actually never been too much fun. We decided to do something easier with decent approach. Cap Canaille had everything we needed – steep 6a+ jugs with one minute approach from the car. It was the most perfect ending for this short weekend trip.

Leave a Reply