Bedeilhac Rock Climbing Guide
The village of Bédeilhac is a focal point for climbing in the area, with its 4 crags covered in the 2008 guide book ‘Autour de Bédeilhac’. With over 350 routes up to 7 pitches in length graded between 3c and 8c there’s plenty on offer for all standards. The climbing is bolted Limestone but it is delivered in a huge range of styles to suite all tastes.
220 routes | 3c to 8b+ | Sport
The peak from which we take our name, is one of the most important rock climbing areas in the Ariège and a major venue of the Pyrénées. With over 200 routes ranging from overhanging test pieces to amenable slabs and multi-pitch up to 250m Calames has something for everyone. The variety of rock and climbing styles from one sector to the next is hugely impressive and a week on the crag would just give a taste of what is on offer. Staying here at Base Calamès you’ll be about as close as you can get to the climbing, reaching the first sector within 10 minutes walk and the furthest in about 25 minutes. The majority of the climbing is south facing and gets sun most of the day, perfect for Winter, Autumn & Spring and Summer evenings.
The first 3 sectors provide plenty of mostly vertical and overhanging routes in 6s 7s & 8s with multi pitch routes on ‘La vire aux Chevres’. The hardest and steepest routes are on ‘les Grottes’ a popular sector for those climbing in the mid 6s upwards due to the short walk-in (about 8 minutes!). There are plenty of trees for shady belaying and shady climbing can be found until around 11am in the height of summer with sun leaving the first routes around 4pm. Some of the harder routes have had a little ‘work’ done to them to reinforce and occassionally add a hold or two which may not appeal to the purists out there.
Sector ‘Pilier des Cathares’ is a major attraction with routes up to 7 pitches (250m) mostly in 5s, climbing the full height of the crag. The descent is on foot making for a good venue for adventurous climbing at reasonable grades.
Sector ‘Initiation’ has a good selection of 4’s.
Sector ‘Papy’ has some superb 5’s on highly sculpted slabs, and is a must for anyone visiting the crag.
The ‘Grande Dalle’ & ‘Fronton’ offer more slabby routes on less featured rock than ‘Papy’ with some good multi-pitch outings and a good spread of grades between 4a and 7c.
‘Le Levant’ is the first sector to go into the shade in mid afternoon. The base is steep but it’s worth the scramble for some quality routes in 5s and 7s. The harder routes are relativley new and the grades are yet to be confirmed.
‘Le Col’ and ‘Presse Puree/Sangria’ are mostly 5s and 6s and offer some of the best and most varied climbing on Calames, with a good grade spread. ‘Le Col’ is in the shade until midday making for a great starting point in the summer.
A few of the many routes worth checking out on Calames:
Les Pierres a Feu 6a (more like 6b!) (les grottes)
Homo Plombus 7a+ (more like 7b) (les grottes)
Rahan 7b+ (les grottes)
Arabesque 6c+ (The hardest and the best of the multipitch routes, 5 very different pitches, 160m) (Pilier des Cathares)
Coralie 5b+ (Papy)
Les Instantfataux 5c (Papy)
Theiere de Jardin 5b (Papy)
Art de Rock (Le Levant) 7a
Interdit aux Velos 5c+ (Presse puree)
A la colle 6b+ (Presse puree) with a 7a finish option
Roc de Sédour
70 routes | 5c+ to 8c | Sport
The expanse of rock viewed from the house at Base Calamès, extending over several kilometers between Tarascon and Bédeilhac and containing the famous ‘Grotte de Bédeilhac’. Due to bird restrictions running from February to June there are currently less than 70 routes on Roc de Sédour, with enormous potential for expansion.
Sector ‘Dévers du Sédour’ (Sedour overhangs) is one of the best hard climbing venues in the Ariege and offers shade until mid afternoon. The majority of the routes are in 7s and 8s on steep limestone with plenty of Tufa’s and sections of conglomerate. The routes from F8b upwards generally have quickdraws insitu. The walk-in is around 25 minutes from the accommodation.
Sector ‘La Grande Paroi’ has adventurous multi-pitch routes up to 7 pitches (200m), with a real ‘mountain’ feel. Mostly fully bolted with some trad and aid options. ‘La Fantillou’ is the classic of the crag with 6 pitches and difficulties up to 6a on superb rock with a fabulous outlook. Descents are a mixture of abseils and walking.
All sectors can be reached on foot from the house, however the walk-in to the furthest sector can be reduced with a 5 minute drive to the next village.
There is a climbing ban in operation between February and June due to nesting Peregrines and Vultures.
Roc a Steph
36 routes | 5a to 8a | Sport
A smaller crag hidden in the trees below Calamès offers some afternoon shade with excellent routes up to 2 pitches. The two main sectors have a good range of 6s and 7s, the furthest sector has some good 5s, just watch out for the goat droppings!. Accessible on foot in about 20 minutes walk from the house and a great option for a bit of shade and to escape the ‘crowds’ on Calamès.
For a superb 6c check out ‘Solitude’.
La Roche Ronde
37 route | 4a to 8b | Sport
La Roche Ronde completes the quartet of crags in the Bédeilhac rock climbing area. Accessed in around 50 minutes walk from the house along the highly enjoyable ‘GR du pays du Trois Seigneurs’ footpath or a 10 minute drive and 25 minutes of ascent from a parking area. The crag has a stunning outlook and offers a variety of routes often of a technical nature up to 4 pitches.
The main buttress is slabby at the bottom giving a good selection of 5s leading to harder pitches above. A smaller sector below provides another handful of grade 5 climbs making Roche Ronde a great venue for anyone climbing at this level. The majority of the hard stuff is on sector ‘Pario Rouge’ a big wall with some impressive lines and room for expansion.
One of the best known routes in the area, ‘Pénélope’, offers 4 excellent pitches and with the crux pitch going at 5c, should be a target for most climbers.