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Calanques de Marseille

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Calanques de Marseille Rock Climbing 

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Location: 43.2254, 5.4163 View Map  Incorrect?
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Administrators: Euan Cameron, Luc-514, Kristine Hoffman (sitewide)
Submitted By: Pascal Ripoche on Oct 15, 2010

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Calanque de Morgiou

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Les Calanques is one of those places that is difficult to grasp via words. This area offers picture-perfect bullet-proof sun-lit white limestone above the crystal blue waters of the French Mediterranean. Set between Cassis and Marseille, this 12-mile cliff band (with over 3000 routes) shoots shiny white buttresses through various inlets that offer a fantastic, albeit surreal, climbing adventure. The area is open all year round with some restriction during the summer (protected area and fire hazard) which may be really hot. Both remote and short approach wall exist. The routes are mostly sport (2440 single and multi-pitch routes) with few trad (996 routes) and some deep water solo. This place is wild. Known for it's long and committing traverses right above the vast sea, the calanques necessitate technical footwork and a calm mind, plus some route-finding skills on the longer routes. As with most climbing areas in France, Les Calanques has a rich history that includes names like Gaston Rebuffat and Georges Livanos. The area was a playground for these motivated alpinists as they put up numerous classic lines throughout the 1940's! When the wave of sport-climbing arrived in the 80's, Les Calanques became a premier European climbing destination. Today, there are threats to climbing in the area. Stewert Green wrote about the current issues in his blog

If you have ever climbed there or plan on visiting, or just want to help out with the cause, check out his blog and see how you can get involved in keeping one of the most unique and pristine areas in the world open to climbing.

Getting There 

The set of mountain is just South-East from Marseille.

Each area has a different road that accesses the cliffs. The best option here is to get a good map, and follow the signs down the steep roads to the port. The guidebook "Escalade Les Calanques" has a great map and is sold in Marseille and Cassis...though it written in French.

Climbing Season

For the France area.

Weather station 18.3 miles from here

17 Total Climbing Routes

['4 Stars',0],['3 Stars',11],['2 Stars',3],['1 Star',2],['Bomb',0]

Classic Climbing Routes in Calanques de Marseille

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes for Calanques de Marseille:
Saphir   5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a PG13     Sport, 5 pitches, 400'   Calanque d'En-Vau : La Saphir
Browse More Rock Climbing Classics in Calanques de Marseille

Featured Route For Calanques de Marseille
Rock Climbing Photo: The Saphir ridgeline, as seen from the beach at En...

Saphir 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a PG13  Europe : France : ... : La Saphir
Saphir ascends a long ridge just to the right of the Petite Aiguille. Its five pitches range from 5.6 to 5.9 (according to the chart in the Rockfax book about the Côte d'Azur). The climbing is generally moderate and varied. The decidedly alpine second pitch can be done in two pitches. The next to last pitch is definitely the crux, because it's so polished. But with a little care, it can be handled. Be forewarned, Saphir can get really crowded. So you may find yourself passing or being passed by...[more]   Browse More Classics in International

Photos of Calanques de Marseille Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: Calanque de Sormiou
Calanque de Sormiou
Rock Climbing Photo: Seafood market in Cassis.
Seafood market in Cassis.
Rock Climbing Photo: One of many cliff lines above the sea.
One of many cliff lines above the sea.

Comments on Calanques de Marseille Add Comment
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By Eric Can
May 7, 2013
I am planning on traveling to the Calanques soon and was very interested by the deepwater solo opportunities. So far, it seems that many such sites require a small kayak or dingy, does anyone have suggestions for places that do not require this or on locations to rent a small boat?


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