Page Type Page Type: Area/Range
Location Lat/Lon: 43.20905°N / 5.42398°E
Activities Activities: Hiking, Trad Climbing, Sport Climbing
Seasons Season: Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter
Additional Information Elevation: 492 ft / 150 m
Sign the Climber's Log

Overview

Between Marseille and Cassis the Mediterranean coast forms one of the finest limestone massif of the world, wild and well preserved despite being close to civilization: the Calanques of Marseille. A truly magical place for many outdoor activities, including hiking and climbing. The white limestone of the Calanques overlooks narrow sea coves and blue and turquoise sea with unmatched aesthetics and offers unforgettable sensations. When people talk about "Les Calanques" it actually covers an area that is almost 20 kms long with several climbing sites:

Climbing on Bec de Sormiou, an awesome marine milieu
Climbing on Bec de Sormiou, an awesome marine milieu

 

Calanque d'En-Vau
La Guardiole
Calanque de Sugiton / Luminy
Calanque de Morgiou
CALANQUE DE SORMIOU
Melette
Calanque Les Goudes
Marseilleveyre
La Guardiole


The great thing is that you can climb almost all year long, apart from summer where it can be hot and closed for fire risks.
The landscape is stunning, as you climb right above the blue Mediterranean Sea !

The Calanques are also famous for two of its most passionated climbers :
Gaston Rebuffat and Georges Livanos (known as "Le Grec").

Getting There

Calanque de Sormiou 07


- How to reach the Calanque de Sormiou

From Cassis, take the road D559 west direction towards Marseille. After crossing a beautiful plateau, you will drive down to the East side of Marseille.
When reaching the "Mazargue" round-about, turn left and follow the signpost to "Sormiou" for a few kilometers. You will end up on a on a winding road up to a small pass, then down to the Calanque. About 30 minutes from the camp site by car.


Site Description

Calanque de Sormiou 05


 

Calanque de Sormiou 03


 

Calanque de Sormiou 04


In Les Calanques, the entire rock is limestone.
It's not always perfect as there can be bushes and rotten rock, but usually the rock quality is very good.
Routes can be up to 150m high. A few are long horizontal traverse.
To descend, sometimes you have to abseil, sometimes you can walk down on the other side.


Here is a description of the climbing areas in Calanque de Sormiou :

___Climbing Area___ ____Routes____ ____Pitches____ ____Level____
L'Arenas 11 1 to 3 4c to 6c
Colline de Lun 65 1 4a to 7c+
Col de Sormiou 18 1 4a to 5b+
La Pinède 23 1 2b to 6c+
Le Pouce 25 1 2b to 6b+
Dalle Tarzan 4 2 4a to 3c
Aiguille de Sormiou 10 1 to 2 3b to 6b / A1
Le Baou Rond 36 1 4a to 8a+
L'Arche Perdue 21 1 3b to 6c
Pyromaniaque 17 1 to 5 3b to 6b
Lou Spigaou 29 1 to 2 3c to 6c
Petit Saussois / Oasis 17 1 to 3 2c to 6a
Rumpe Cuou 13 1 to 5 3b to 6b+
Dièdre Guem 8 1 to 7 3c to 6b+
L'ouro 5 1 3a to 4b
Le Conglue 6 1 to 2 5a to 5c
Lui d'Aï 14 1 to 2 4c to 7a+
Archipel 7 1 to 4 4c to 6b
L'Apanaù 12 1 3c to 6a
Ali Baba 5 1 3b to 4c
Falaise de la Tiragne 53 1 to 2 5a to 7b+
Le Bec de Sormiou 27 1 to 10 2b to 7b
Cap Redon 8 1 4c to 6a




Red Tape

The climbing area is situated inside the Calanques National Park; the climate is dry and the winds may sometimes be violent, with a high risk of fires. Starting from June to the end of September the roads leading to the bays of Sormiou, Morgioux and Callelongue are closed from 7h to 19h. Check the park official website to know the prohibitions and permissions for the access during the summer months: Calanques National Park.

Essential gear

Sculpted limestone on Diedre Guèm, Calanque de Sormiou
Sculpted limestone on Diedre Guèm, Calanque de Sormiou

 

 

 

There are several multipitches routes where the usual climbing gear is needed:
2x 50m ropes
Quickdraws and sling
Abseiling equipment
Helmet (highly recommended !!)
Lots of water in summer

When to climb

All year round excluding the summer really too hot and with various access restrictions. An excellent advice for planning a climbing trip: the best season goes from October to May.

Where to stay

Map of Les Calanques
Map of Les Calanques

The main place to stay is located in the small town of Cassis (20 kms East of Marseille). There you can find shops and petrol easily and a good campsite:

Camping Les Cigales
Avenue de la Marne
13260 CASSIS
Tel 04 42 01 07 34

It would be a mistake to stay in Marseille as there can be traffic jams (second biggest city in France after Paris... 1 million people),
and there is no camp site. However the good thing about is that it is only 3 hours away from Paris by train.

Meteo

Calanques Meteo
Meteo France > Cassis

 

Guidebooks and maps

New Guidebook Escalade Les Calanques Calanques Escalade guidebook Guidebook Escalade Les Calanques Alpes du Sud and Provence Guidebook Les Calanques map

 

“Escalade Les Calanques” by Andrè Bernard - Gilles Bernard - Pierre Clarac – Hervè Guigliarelli – Bernard Privat Ed. Nota Bene

"Alpes du Sud - Provence" by Hervé Galley - Editions Olizane

“Calanques Escalade” by Jean Luois Fenouil and Cèdric Tassan – Ed. VTopo

Map: "Les Calanques de Marseille a Cassis" 3615 IGN 1:15.000



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