Climbing guidebook for Saint-Léger-du-Ventoux
The digital guidebook Saint-Léger – Toulourenc valley
This climbing guidebook is the digital version of the hard copy guidebook : Escalades dans la vallée du Toulourenc. It covers nearly 800 routes spread across three municipalities. For 25 years, climbers from all over the world, have visited the valley to enjoy the unique quality of the crags.
In this digital guidebook, you will find the crags of Saint-Léger-du-Ventoux of course, but also many other sites less frequented but offering the same quality of climbing.
This guidebook, published by CT FFME Vaucluse (the local branch of the National Climbing federation), has been produced on a voluntarily basis by the route bolters themselves and 100% of the profits are used to maintain the crags of the valley.
A bit of history…
For climbers, the Toulourenc valley is above all ”Saint Lège”. At the start, the crag was called “la Baleine” (‘’The Whale’’) because of the shape of the rockface when looking from the Andalouse crag.
The first routes were bolted in 1998. For a long time, “la Baleine” remained a crag reserved only for the best climbers because of the high grades of the routes, but above all because of the commitment needed; most of the routes were very runout. The routes at medium grade, more close bolted, were equipped much later and caused controversy and tension. Even more recently, “almost easy” routes have been bolted but Saint-Léger remains a high level crag with many legendary routes.
The history of Saint Leger is made of notable ascents, among others: The first female 8b/8b+ route, Le Mur des six clopes, on-sighted by Caroline Ciavaldini in 2007, the first (and to date only) 9a+ flash, Super Crackinette, by Adam Ondra in 2018, and the first female ascent of Eagle 4 (9b downgraded to 9a+) by Julia Charmoudie.
Like Céüse or Margalef, Saint-Léger-du-Ventoux is today one of the leading crags in Europe. This recognition is, of course, due to the exceptional quality of the climbing, but also thanks to a superb and preserved environment.
Climbing in Saint-Léger…
On this kilometre long crag, the rockfaces follow one another, each more attractive than the precedent with roofs, impressive bulges and fabulous tufas. The sculpted rock offers a very varied climbing mostly on overhanging profiles.
Over sixty bolters have been involved in the development of the crag, bringing their personal bolting philosophy, and consequently creating routes of very different character. Several rebolting sessions have made the routes safer without changing their soul too much.
With a large third of the routes within grade 8, and many in 7b/c, Saint-Léger remains a crag for very good climbers.
There are almost no routes at 5th grade but from grade 6, you will find very nice lines.
The variety of aspects allows you to climb all year round except on very cold days in December and January when the sun hides too early behind the Ventoux mountain.
Be careful, after heavy rains, some sectors seep for a long time… but it is thanks to this phenomenon that there are tufas, so don’t be impatient, let Nature do its job!
and in the Toulourenc Gorges
The Toulourenc valley is not limited to Saint-Léger and several crags provide more “quiet” climbing at various inclination. Although the average grade remains very high, a few rare sectors are easier: Fête du spit in les Basses-Gorges or Le Grand mur rouge at Notre-Dame.
You will therefore have a large choice when climbing in the Toulourenc valley: climbing in very trendy sectors if you are “young, strong and cool” where routes are chalk marked, or discover more quiet sectors, just as beautiful where you will have to ‘’read the rock’’.
It happened at Saint-Lèger…
El Maestro flashes Super Crackinette (9a+).
Julia Charnoudie sends Eagle-4.
There are also normal people…
The Toulourenc valley – A well preserved natural area
“Enjoy the treasures and beauties of Saint Léger, but above all, take care of it! “ (Cyril Ollagnier)
Some climbers have never been to Saint Léger, but very few have only been there once!
If we like to come, and return, to the Toulourenc gorges, it is because of the beauty of the place. We are in the Baronnies, a very sparsely populated mountain region with unspoiled nature. Villages here have a simple and magnificent charm, inhabited by people who have often decided to follow a better way of life.
In the gorges, where the most beautiful river of the region flows, you climb in the fabulous calmness of a car-free place. Let’s avoid turning these places into a gym.