In Memory of Stefan "kletterwebbi" WeberA note from the SP staff
Stefan Weber, the member we all used to know from his climbing pseudonym kletterwebbi, died on May 28th 2004 in southern France at the age of 37.
Stefan joined SP early on in 2002 and contributed a number of excellent pages and routes to this site. He was an accomplished climber excelling in difficult alpine and technical routes. The Dolomites, especially the area around Gröden / Val Gardena were special to him, as it was his old ancestral home.
kletterwebbi was always willing to share his knowledge and experience with other climbers, mainly here on SP, but also on other sites. He contributed his IT expertise as webmaster of his local section of the German Alpine Club, where he also engaged in leading trips for fellow members. Besides his climbing and mountaineering activities he was a musician, a composer of contemporary music. Stefan will be greatly missed by us all.
This page will be kept in honor of kletterwebbi, one of SP's most talented, knowledgeable members, and without a doubt, one of our greatest fellow mountaineers.
The picture was taken on the summit ridge of Lyskamm.
OverviewThe Dentelles de Montmirail are located at the southern part of france close to the well known villages of Avignon and Orange somewhat west of the Mont Ventoux in the center of the wine area of the Cote du Rhone. They are grouped in some parallel chains of limestone peaks and pinnacles, and this is where the name comes from: Dentelles (fr.) = "little peaks". It's a paradise for rock climbing with a lot of well bolted routes and some adventure areas too. The Dentelles de Montmirail are offering a north and a south side, both are the same steep walls, but in summer the south side is to hot and in winter the north side is to cold for climbing.
There are also good possibilities for hiking and mountain biking at the area. Some marked trails (see the overview map) are going up and arround the Dentelles des Montmirail. Those are very recommended.
For mountain bikers there are some parcours. And a big classic downhill route is going down the close-by Mont Ventoux : from the summit on small forest tracks from 1910 m down to 500 m: 1200 m downhill.
Getting ThereThe Dentelles de Montmirail rise up east of the small village of Gigondas in the Rhone valley. Most peoople will reach the area by car. This can be done from the A7 (Lyon - Marseille, both towns have airports) :
From South: Follow the A7 up to Courthezon, leave the A7 direction Violes / Gigondas.
From North: Follow the A7 up to Bollene and drive to the small villages Rocheguide - Ste Cecile - Cairanne and finally to Gigondas.
There are several parking areas for the Dentelles de Montmirail, see the overview map for details. Most common and best choice for the main area - the Chaine du Clapis - is the parking area numbered P5. From Gigondas/Vacqueyras this parking area is reached via Beaumes des Venise using the D90 until a small, narrow road bends left to the parking area. From there it will take about 20 minutes to reach the base of the Chaine du Clapis.
Red TapeThere are several closed or partly closed rocks, eg. Dent Sarrazine (all times closed), Grand Muraille (closed from march-01 to september-01). Please take a look at the guidebook for the actual situation.
When To ClimbAt the Dentelles de Montmirail climbing is possible all over the year: in summer the north side are offering good possibilities and in spring, autumn and even winter the south side are real great places for climbing.
CampingThere is a campground in Beaumes des Venise and some others in the whole area. At Gigondas there is a Gite d'Etappe which some rooms. There are a lot of hotels at the whole area. An other good possibility is the rental of a holiday flat.
Mountain ConditionsMeteo France
Climbing overviewThere are about 650 different climbing routes at the Dentelles de Montmiraille, so at this page only a quick overview can be done. The main part of the routes can be found at the so called Chain du Clapis, but there are four main areas at the Dentelles de Montmirail:
* Chain du Grand Travers
* Chain de Gigondas
* Chain du Clapis
* Roche St. Christof
See below for a closer description of the areas.
The kind of climbing at the Dentelles de Montmirail is somewhat out of use todays because the climbs are on steep, very sharp fingered slabs most times. The common big overhangs of modern sport climbing areas (at least in europe) are missing. The main part of the routes are well bolted one pitch climbs from france grade 4 up to 8b (UIAA 4 up to 10, US 5.6 up to 5.13c). The rating is often quite hard.
There are some very beautifuly, bolted multi-pitch routes at the mid grades at the Chain du Clapis (e.g. sector Vistemboir).
Routes overviewThe about 650 differnt climbing routes at the Dentelles des Montmirail are distributed over the 4 main areas Chain du Grand Travers, Chain de Gigondas, Chain du Clapis and Roche St. Christof. The most important sector is the Chain du Clapis.
Chain du Grand Travers
This group consists of the Rocher du Cayron and the Rocher du Grand Traverse. There one climbs on sunny S-faces, mostly on slabs with a hight of 30 m. There are about 55 routes at this group. The Rocher du Grand Traverse is very well bolted and a good place for beginners.
Highth: 30 m
Number of routes: 55
Chain de Gigondas
This group consists of a north and a south face. At the north side (hight 80 m) there is some adventure area with multi pith climbs witch have to be proteced by one self. The south face offers the typical limestone slabs with fully bolted one-pitch routes (hight 30 m).
Highth: 80 m
Number of routes: 200
Orientation: north, south
Chain du Clapis
The biggest and most important sector of the Dentelles de Montmiraille. Here we find the highest faces and the biggest formations of the "little peaks". The Chain du Clapis is divided in 4 pars: the Dent de Sarrazine, Dent de Hadamard, Crete des Rapaces and Grand Muraille. These are the inner hard of the climbing area of the Dentelles de Montmirail. We find a north side and a huge south side with a hight of up to 90m. As typical for the Dentelles de Montmirail the climbs are on steep slabs, but in the center of the Crete des Rapaces the are a lot of demanding, overhanging routes. There the most difficult climbs can be found.
The Dent de Sarrazine is closed for climbing due to conservation.
The Dent de Hadamard is a great area for climbs of france grade 4 to 6a (with some hard 6a routes). In times of mistral (a cold, heavy wind) this rock isn't climbable.
The Crete des Rapaces is the most important part of the Dentelles de Montmirail. There are several sectors with many very good routes. In the center of this area there are some multi pitch routes going up the central pilliar. Left of the central pilliar there are some big slabs with stepp, sharp-fingered very good 6b-routes, left of this a somewhat easier sector with 5c to 6a. At the left end there are very good routes from 6b to 7b.
Right of the central pilliar a region of stepp walls with overhangs at theit base is starting. There the most difficult routes of the Dentelles de Montmirail are located. But there are also some superb mid-grade routes about 6b. Right of this overhanging area there are steep slabby walls again with very good routes about 6b. 6c. 7a .... Continuing to the right one finds the sector "Nucleus" with some very nice easy routes (5a). Right of this some longer multi pitch routes from 5c to 6b can be found.
The Grand Muraille is similar to the Crete des Rapaces. But beacause the rock quality isn't as good as there, the number of routes is low. The Grand Muraille is closed from march-01 up to september-01 due to conservation.
Highth: 90 m
Number of routes: 320
Orientation: north, mainly south
Roche St. Christof
This is a somewhat smaller but excellent area. Only 30 routes over all but most of them worth a visit, especially for the grades 6a - 7a.
Highth: 45 m
Number of routes: 30
Orientation: east, south
The Cote du RhoneThe Dentelles des Montmirail are a paradise for rock climbing, hiking and mountain biking. But an other advantage of that area are the wines of the Cote du Rhone. After a hard day of climbing one glass (or more) of such wonderful beverage let return the power to the climbers exhausted muscles ...
At the base of the Dentelles de Montmirail this famous wine-growing region of france is locted. All of the main wine-villages of the Cote du Rhone are close to the Dentelles de Montmirail: Vacqueyras, Gigondas, Chateauneuf du pape, Cairranne, ... There are endless numbers of producers waiting to be visited for some wine-tasting. In general the wines of the Cote du Rhone are red wines often with a lot of alcohol (up to 13 %). There are also some excellent rosè wines and white wines and the special Muscat, a sweet wine with a delicious taste (try a Muscat de Beaumes des Venise together with some peaces of Roquefore and baguette ... mmmmh!!!! I get hungry now).
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