Niaux Rock Climbing Guide
The Niaux area gives 500 routes spread over 5 crags with plenty of shady spots and plenty for those looking for big numbers. Mainly hard single pitch climbing on limestone with a concentration of quality routes in 7s and 8s and the super hard venue of Sabart providing some of the hardest climbing in the Ariége. The superb granite bouldering venue of Laramade is also well worth a visit. Access by car from 10 to 25 minutes.
A popular crag with a number of sectors offering a variety of climbing on excellent quality rock and some much needed afternoon shade in the summer. The first sector is right by the parking, and the furthest about half an hours walk. Sector ‘Le Livre’ is a real highlight and well worth the extra walk with soaring crack lines and some pretty impressive roofs, check out ‘Prelude’ (6b+) for a warm up and move on to ‘Mac en Teuch’ (7a+) for a 3 star classic climb.
Made up of several diverse sectors on the cliffs above the ‘Grotte de Niaux’ one of the famous prehistoric caves in the Ariege and one sector close to the village itself. Most of the sectors offer shade in the morning so can be combined with Alliat to give a days climbing in the sun or shade depending on the time of year. The ‘Sibada’ sector just 5 minutes walk from the parking close to the village of Niaux, gives around 36 routes on vertical compact limestone with a good range of grades from the mid 6s upwards and is well worth checking out.
Another excellent venue with a fantastic outlook. Sunny for most of the day and with walk-ins ranging from 15-30 minutes Baychon is probably the best winter venue of the Niaux crags and has the most on offer to those climbing in the low and mid grades. The rock is generally highly featured, compact and pocketed.
Sunny and with walk-ins ranging from 2 to 20 minutes Génat offers a range of hard and steep routes on compact pocketed rock. The main section of Génat is a gaping opening in the hillside with a fabulous vista over open farmland and forests. A Popular venue with the top climbers due to the concentration of quality hard routes there is a good selection of 7s & 8s and a handful of 6s.
Two huge caves with routes up to 3 pitches scaling the walls and crossing the roofs with multiple link ups possible. Very little here for those climbing below the mid 7s and not somewhere to come for the views. Quickdraws are insitu on the hardest routes and ‘steep’ is the name of the game. Recently in the news for ascents of 8c+ and 9a by local Steevie Haston. The closest of the Niaux crags to the accommodation at around 10 minutes drive with another 15 minutes of walking to reach the crag. Can provide shelter on rainy days.
Two substantial areas of granite boulders provides probably the best bouldering in the Ariege. Halfway between the Niaux & Vicdessos climbing areas, the Laramade boulders are spread amongst the tree just minutes from the parking area. The area is perfect in the summer but can be a little cold and damp in the autumn and winter months. A highly rated area both with locals and those from further afeild Laramade has played host to several competitions in recent years. Most routes are graded with ‘Font’ style colour coding to provide a number of circuits. The boulders are in an open flat forested area making a good venue for families.