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Chapeau de Gendarme
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Chapeau de Gendarme

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Chapeau de Gendarme

Page Type: Mountain/Rock

Location: Ubaye, France, Europe

Lat/Lon: 44.33720°N / 6.66570°E

Object Title: Chapeau de Gendarme

Activities: Trad Climbing, Sport Climbing

Season: Spring, Summer

Elevation: 8809 ft / 2685 m


Page By: AlbertoRampini

Created/Edited: Sep 19, 2011 / Feb 1, 2017

Object ID: 747527

Hits: 3226 

Page Score: 90.13%  - 31 Votes 

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Chapeau de Gendarme 2685 m

The Ubaye Valley is an area belonging to the French Alpes de Haute-Provence, situated in proximity of France - Italy border. The two main climbing areas of Ubaye are quite unlike; the Maljasset area shows some beautiful peaks, as Aiguille Large de Mary and Aiguille Pierre André, built in by quartzite, while the Barcelonnette area is dominated by two awesome limestone towers: Pain de Sucre and the close Chapeau de Gendarme, both located along the road rising from Barcelonnette to the Col de la Cayolle and crossing the little village of Villard d’Abas.

Le Chapeau de Gendarme
Le Chapeau de Gendarme
Pain de Sucre
Pain de Sucre from the approach path
Sonnez et Montez chimney
Sonnez et Montez chimney

From here each climber’s eye is inevitably attracted from the stunning triangular face of Chapeau de Gendarme, meaning "Cop's hat", a surprising and coloured wall offering a limestone of exceptional quality, the best one of Ubaye.
The first route – “Accloche-toi Jeannot” - was realized in 1993 by R. Chevalier, G. Fiaschi and J. Golè. At present the peak has eight routes.

Chapeau de Gendarme
Chapeau de Gendarme

Getting There


From Barcelonnette follow the narrow road rising toward Col de la Cayolle as far as the village of Villard d’Abas (14 km. from Barcelonnette). Parking after the village in a road pull-out (bridge, Equipment House, mt. 1530).

Ruins of an ancient alp along the approach
Ruins of an ancient alp along the approach
Eaarly morning fogs on the approach path
Early morning fogs on the approach path
Along the ledge
The ledge


The path is starting nearby the bridge and it’s quickly rising to the small village of Vèsinat; with several hairpins the path rises inside a nice wood and reachs a fork after walking for 45 minutes. Turn to right, reaching the ruins of Petite Cloche, rising towards left along meadows, little woods and a steep grassy slope leading to the grassy horizontal ledge cutting the wall 80 mt. over the base. Follow the ledge towards right, reaching a wide gully. Up the gully; a fixed rope leads to an other ledge. Follow the ledge skirting the wall towards left and reaching the bell at the starting point of the route.

Red tape

No particular restrictions in climbing and hiking.

Sonnez et Montez overview


Summit altitude: mt. 2565
F6a max, 5c+ obbl.
Length: 240 mt.
Exposure: S
First ascent: R. Chevalier – J. Golè 1995
Starting point: Villard d’Abas

A superb logic line, direct and aesthetic; an homogeneous climb on excellent grey limestone. Good belays and equipment. Before climbing...don't forget to ring the bell!

The sculpted slab
Sonnez et Montez, the sculpted slabs

Towards the chimney crack
Sonnez et Montez, the chimney-crack

L1- Climb a short slant corner, a flake and a grey slab surrounding a huge overhang on its left-hand side. Belay on a terrace over the overhang. 5b, then 5c.
L2 – Rise along two subsequent little pillars on their left side, then climb a short grey wall. Climb a fine slab on the pillar's right-hand side. 4c, 5b, 6a+, 5c.
L3 – Climb a shallow corner, reaching a little ledge, then a compact slab. 5b, 6a
L4 – Climb a big flake, leave the flake on your right-hand side and then up a slab, alternating compact rock and thin cracks. A little corner slanting left leads towards left to a steep slab. Climb the slab to the belay. 5c, 6a.
L5 – From the belay head to left to reach a chimney-crack. Climb it, then a corner, overhanging in its upper section. A new easier chimney leads to the belay.
L6 - Traverse 5 meters to right, climb a wall lightly overhanging, then a grey and pleasant slab. Short pitch, belay on the left. 5c, A0
L7 - Great pitch. Climb directly a superb slab, steep and sculpted. 5c+, 5b

Sonnez et Montez (Ring and Climb), the little bell
Sonnez et Montez (Ring and Climb), the little bell
Sonnez and Montez, on the best limestone of Ubaye
Sonnez et Montez, on the best limestone of Ubaye
A beautiful limestone
Beautiful water-drops limestone

Two choices for the descent:

- the best one is abseiling the route by seven "gazeuse" abseils
- another chance is a scramble down along the very steep East grassy slopes

Other Routes

- Serpent d’etoile TD+, 6c max, 6a obbl., 300 mt.
- Boulevard des choucas TD+, 6c max, 6a obbl., 280 mt.
- Accloche-toi Jeannot TD+, 6b max, 6a obbl., 280 mt.
- A cloche-pied TD, 6a max, 5+ obbl., 350 mt.
- Les frères chamois ED-, 7a max, 6b obbl., 200 mt.
- Gags à gogo TD+, 6b max, 200 mt.
- Les jeans heureux D+, 6a max, 5b obbl., 300 mt.

"Gazeuse" abseil

Belay on Sonnez et Montez
Belay on Sonnez et Montez

When to climb

Best season goes from June to October

Where to stay

In Barcelonnette there is a wide choice of different kinds of accommodations: hotels, appartments, campgrounds and gites d´etape.


Meteo France

Guidebooks and maps

Chapeau de Gendarme map

- Guidebooks

“Alpes du Sud, Provence” by Hervè Galley, Editions Olizane, Geneve
“La grimpe en Ubaye” by Colin Michel CAF

- Maps

Barcelonnette 3540 OT


Water drops limestone on Chapeau de GendarmeRuins of an ancient alp along the approachLe Chapeau de Gendarme (Gendarme Hat)On Sonnez et MontezChapeau de Gendarme, beautiful slabs on Sonnez et MontezEarly morning light fogSonnez e Montez, a light fog lifting over the chimney-crack - Chapeau de Gendarme
Pain de Sucre seen from the approach pathChapeau de Gendarme, the ledgeScenery from the approach pathChapeau de Gendarme approach ledgeAlpes du Sud and Provence GuidebookChapeau de GendarmeChapeau de Gendarme
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