VTNO – Managing and protecting the Presles cliffs

Page written by the association VTNO

VTNO is a non-profit organisation and registered charity with the vocation of managing and protecting rock climbing on the cliffs in the Gorges de la Bourne area, in particular the highly emblematic Presles cliffs.
For over 30 years, it has been the first point of contact for administrative authorities and its purpose is above all to ensure access to the rock faces is maintained, without which climbing would not be possible!

VTNO participated in the various phases of re-bolting on the cliffs in the 1990s, and since then has been providing equipment to bolters who are establishing new routes or maintaining existing lines.
After local authorities stopped providing grants in 2018, the association had to find other ways to maintain its financial independence. These are now three-fold: membership fees, donations, and profits from the sale of guidebooks (paper or digital).

All activities of VTNO are carried out on a voluntary basis, and 100% of its budget is dedicated to rock climbing in the Gorges de la Bourne (Vercors massif, France).

Climbers themselves are therefore strongly encouraged to participate, either by becoming a member of the association and/or by puchasing a guidebooketant un topo (paper or digital).

Bolting of new routes on the Presles cliffs:

Bacs Carbone TD, 220m, bolted by Bruno Arnaud. A homogeneous route at 6a/b in the Buis sector. Already a resounding success! Another new route will soon be ready in the same sector.

Simple mortel, ABO, 200m, bolted by Thibault Gaucherant and Hugo Da Roit (aided by G. Trouillas) in the Cirque de Gournier. 7c obligatory and 8c (?) max: clearly a route for the general public!

Qassim, ABO, 200m, by Guilhem Trouillas, Ludo Pin and CREPS AuRA course participants. A fabulous setting for this line which “spirals” up the back of the Cirque de Gournier.

– Four new routes by Ludo Pin: Atlantic City, ABO-, 180m, La Vague, ABO- 180m, Le temps de l’innocence, ABO-, 200m, all three in the Anticrash sector, and The sky above the rain, ABO, 150m, located on the Triangle de Choranche.

Bolting of new single-pitch routes :

An extension of the 7c+ Sanctuaire at Pierrot Beach, graded 7c++, and a variant to the right (7c+++), both by G. Trouillas. A connecting line (bolted by L. Pin) starting from the neighbouring route to the right, L’horreur est humaine, creates an 8a (at last!) named Persevere Diabolicum. A project route just to the right has not yet been free-climbed (Raining stones, also 8a-ish).
A new sector has been bolted below le Fou, near P2 of Dumka, by Vincent Meirieu and CREPS AuRA course participants (on bolts provided by the CREPS and glue provided by the CT38 FFME). La P’tite Beach offers 15 or so short routes from 6c to 8a (mostly around 7b), on very beautiful colonnettes. It is also sheltered from the rain. Access along the via corda, and abseil descent (rope handrails).

Re-bolting and maintenance of multi-pitch routes :

Bruno Arnaud cleaned Kit ou double, and Le culte du champs, two routes by the Rémy brothers that are well worth a visit. He also re-bolted the Pilier Sud-Ouest, which can be continued by topping out up Larmes de Vénus then the voie Beatrix to offer a nice combination at grades around 6a. Nice work, once again!

The CREPS Rhône-Alpes re-bolted L’eau de vie au bout des doigts, supervised by Romain Gendey. A very nice, homogeneous route around 6c, in the shade until 2pm in the summer.

Daniel Weitz, Antoine Pinet and Nicolas Chabert re-bolted and (most of all!) cleaned the Voie du Z on the Cournouse sector, keeping its trad climbing style. Thirteen pitches, with an extra two new pitches at the very top of the route.

Daniel Weitz changed two ageing belays on the Pilier de Nugues and Super Nugues routes.

Romain Gendey led the 3-day course Héritage Ouvreurs de la FFCAM, during which Yin Yang was re-bolted by three motivated and assiduous participants from the local area using glue-in bolts (VTNO). This type of course could be held again in the future.

Re-bolting and maintenance of single-pitch routes :

The Ligue FFME AuRA held a 2-day training course in bolting at Tina Dalle, maintaining and completing bolting of the easy routes on the left, and on the nice wall to the far left. The 8 participants from nearby areas were supervised by J. Breuil, L. Poyol, A. Becker and V. Thomas, under the coordination of Claude Vigier.

Etienne Rigotti re-bolted and cleaned the three routes to the left of the start of le via corda (Le Père, Le Fils, La Sainte Prise), that had become dangerous due to an unstable overhang.

Re-bolting of Série Noire, Legoland and Tonton Maka on glue-in bolts at Pierrot Beach, one expansion bolt in Série Noire having literally broken in two.

Administrative aspects :

Victor Thomas participated in two meetings of the Natura 2000 steering committee, following which we now know that the issue of bats only applies to a very small proportion of the Presles cliffs. The Birds Directive was not applicable to the Gorges de la Bourne zone.

Financial aspects :

The association buys “consumables” but also equipment required for site maintenance. In 2022, this represented €2,500 in total (this is 90% of the association’s budget, with the remaining 10% taken up by management costs):

  • Expansion bolts / hangers: €1,475
  • Batteries / angle grinder / miscellaneous: €543
  • Static ropes: €480