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Seven Crags for a quick climb before or after work

Published by Jelena Banjac

Although probably best known for its high mountains and long granite climbs at Ailefroide, the valleys surrounding Briancon are home to a plethora of accessible single pitch crags, perfect for grabbing a few routes before or after work.

We’ve been steadily working our way through the guidebook checking out the local crags and these are just a few of our favourites so far. All of the crags described here are reachable in under an hour from door to rock.

Quick hit at Les Salettes

Driving time – 0mins
Approach time – 15 mins
Routes – 31, grades 4-6c
Sun – All day
Rock Type – Limestone


Our closest crag, just fifteen minutes by foot from the front door. 31 routes mainly in the 5s and 6s, South facing, gets any sun going so a great choice in the colder months. For harder routes Rocher Gafouille is 10 minutes by car and practically roadside, with more routes in the 7s.

Best for beginners – Rocher Baron East

Driving time – 30 mins
Approach time – 0 mins
Grades – 35, from 3 – 6c
Sun – Morning to mid afternoon
Rock Type – Quartzite

If you’re just starting out climbing, check out Rocher Baron’s east sector. Tucked away by a tiny hamlet above the valley south of Briancon, it’s perfect for beginners. Lots of friendly routes in the 4s and 5s, well-bolted, on great quartzite. The west sector gets the evening sun and has lots of grade 6 routes.


Get pumped at Paroi de la grotte

Driving time – 20 mins
Approach time – 15 mins
Routes – 26, from 5+ – 8a+
Sun – Afternoon
Rock Type – Limestone

Situated just above Plampinet, a charming village in the beautiful Claree valley. The central section has lots of brilliant steep sustained routes in the 6s and 7s with easier, more slabby routes on the flanks.


Montdauphin Fort & Rue Des Masques

Driving time – 40 mins
Approach time – 10 mins
Grades – 3-7c+
Sun – Morning (south sectors), Evening (north sectors)
Rock Type – Conglomerate

Alongside Briancon’s Cite Vauban, Montdauphin is another of the twelve Fortifications of Vauban along France’s borders. Surrounding the fort, and at nearby Rue des Masques, is a major climbing area The rock is conglomerate, providing hundreds of face climbs with a variety of pebbles and pockets.


Enjoy the view from Bouchier

Driving time – 25 mins
Approach time – 15 mins
Grades – 4 – 8a+
Sun – All day, but the bases of the routes are shaded by trees
Rock Type – Limestone


A great morning option for those climbing in the 6s and 7s, Bouchier is perched high above the valley with a fantastic view down the Durance to Montdauphin.

Escape the summer heat at Puy Chalvin

Driving time – 20 mins
Approach time –  5 mins
Grades – 27 routes, grades 5c – 7c
Sun – Shady
Rock Type – Limestone

A newly developed crag with lots of routes in the 6th and 7th grades. It faces north-west and is in the woods above Puy Saint Andre so is ideal for hot summer days.

Bask in winter sun at Le Ponteil

Driving time – 45 mins
Approach time – 15 mins
Grades – 5+ – 7c
Sun – All day
Rock Type – Limestone

We climbed here in t-shirts in february while everyone was enjoying great skiing conditions at Serre Chevalier! The left-hand sectors, including the aptly-named sector Hot Roc, have tons of long, fun off-vertical technical pitches on perfect limestone. Some of the routes require an 80m rope, check the book and make sure you tie a knot in the end of your rope!


Seven Crags for a Quick Climb Before or After Work
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