20 June 2010

Climbing in the Drôme

Agrandir le plan

About an hour and a half south of Lyon, just north of the village Saou in the Drôme Department, is a rock climbing site with more than 600 routes of various levels.

Seen from above the rock resembles a massive serpent's head. The photos here show why climber's love this site, with its sheer limestone walls shooting skyward.

While rain fell for a good part of the day in Lyon, the Drôme stayed dry, at least long enough for all of us to climb several different routes.

 Approaching the site. We had a 15-minute walk to get from the parking on the side of the road to the base.

 Looking straight up a 5c (5.9) route. Depending on the year, certain sections of the rock can be off-limits to climbers to allow the falcons to nest undisturbed.

Laurent (in blue), a climbing buddy, gearing-up.

 The highlight of the day was doing my first multi-pitch climb. True, we only anchored into two different belay stations, and the climb wasn't too extreme (except for that one move I couldn't make). But I learned a lot, took a 10-meter fall (although it felt like 30!) and got to rappel on the way down.

 Here Raphael (in yellow) is 'showing me the ropes' about multi-pitching. (Photo courtesy of L.F.)

The view looking the other way (LF).

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