Climbing guidebook of Presles
Presles, Grandes voies faciles – The digital climbing guide for easy multi-pitch routes
This selection of 30 of the easiest routes in Presles has been developed by members of VTNO*, the association that maintains the Presles multi-pitch route cliff (equipment, re-equipment, marking, discussions with landowners, authorities, etc.). They have developed a climbing guide of progressing difficulty with very precise information. Thanks to some new ‘’short’’ multi-pitch routes, you can progress step by step on this cliff still considered elitist.
Thus, the historical route Les Buis, for long considered the easiest, is ranked 9th in this climbing guide. From Point trop n’en faut (route 21) you enter the real long routes of Presles.
* VTNO uses 100% of climbing guide revenue for cliff maintenance and equipment.
And after the 30th route… to go further:
Escalades à Presles. Authored by Dominique Duhaut and financed by the Promo Grimpe association. This comprehensive climbing guide presents 340 multi-pitch routes and 8 sport crags.
Multi-pitch rock climbing in Presles
Overlooking the village of Choranche, the Presles cliff stretches over nearly 6 km. We should rather say the cliffs of Presles because it consists of several sectors with their own personality.
These 6 km of verticality and more than 350 listed routes make it the most important multi-pitch cliff in the Rhône-Alpes region and the second in France, and that’s saying something.
Characterised by Urgonian limestone, the walls are steep and impressive, adding ‘’LE Gaz’’ (very airy feeling) to the technical difficulty… This little excitement, is euphoric for some but paralyzing for others.
The rock, white, grey, or ochre, is generally of very good quality and quite sculpted.
There are all forms of grip, from overhanging tufas to “goutte d’eau” on the few slabs which, sometimes, break the dominating verticality. And then there are of course the cracks and chimneys, preferred by the pioneers.
The history of Presles, like the other French multi-pitch cliffs (Verdon, Calanques..), is closely linked to the development of techniques (and technology). Pitons and aiders were used in the first routes (Les Buis was the first route opened in 1953), a few nuts were added a little later, then came the first friends, but above all the expansion bolts (put in place with a hand drill). Finally came the arrival of the battery-powered drill that erased the last limits.
Thanks to this last evolution climbing styles and grades evolve together. We move away from the cracks to overhanging walls, we can protect along the tufas and on slabs… Presles reinforce its image as a cliff with physical and sustained routes.
The re-bolting of many classics and the more recent first ascents at moderate grade tones down the elitist crag aura. But be careful, Presles remains, even in its easiest routes, a demanding cliff for experienced climbers.