The striking limestone teeth of Les Dentelles de Monmirail

The striking limestone teeth of Les Dentelles de Monmirail

Matt and I headed deep into Provence for my first taste of a crag other than the short, but sweet, St. Montan. Les Dentelles de Monmirail are a parallel series of toothed ridges that rise to the south of Mont Ventoux and provide several hundred quality limestone sport climbs.

 

To our surprise, in the shadow the north aspects, snow lingered from the storm two weeks ago. There had also been recent hard frosts, judging from the frozen ground and ice on small puddles in the carpark. The wind was also blowing, making the ambient temperature of around two to three degrees distinctly unpleasant.

 

We warmed ourselves on the south aspect, which was nicely sheltered from the wind and cold. Ravens circled and swooped in the eddies calling with their characteristic ‘puk, puk’, and it was necessary to strip down to the t-shirt.

 

We ticked three climbs on the beautifully sunny south aspect, a 5b, 5c/6a and a 6a+. All were good climbs, made us think and employ good technique, but as with many of the sport climbs I have done to date, were rather forgettable. In retrospect, the climbs tended to be reduced to the challenge of a couple of moves.

 

In contrast, there is nothing like having a full-on fight on a trad climb or winter line in Scotland to etch an experience in your memory.

 

Our last climb of the day was a multi-pitch on the north aspect (5b, 5c). We were brought back to reality – that it is still definitely winter – by the cold, wind and chill. I lost the feeling in my fingers and we had to rush to get back home, so perhaps didn’t get the best of that part of the crag.

 

A day of many contrasts once again!

 

More photos on the Facebook page.

Categories: Blog, Matt, Personal, Simon, Sport climbing
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1 Comment

One Response to Sport Climbing, France | Les Dentelles de Monmirail

  1. Jonk says:
    3 August 2018 at 2:36 pm | Permalink

    Oh I can relate with you and Matt’s experience. I have rock climbed in very cold weather; I warmed myself on the south aspect too. I also suggest mixed climbing methods, ice tools with mitts and crampons on rock. Some climbers get very good at that. Most high alpine climbs are mixed anyway, with lots of ice and snow covering rock. You just can’t transition to rock climbing methods fast and easily. It means taking off boots and crampons and mitts, very slow even if it’s warm. So it’s not really about the altitude; any winter climb presents that. Of course there will be super climbers who can do most anything.

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