Signing up pays for
The trip relies on 15 people being in the same place for 7 days, all travelling at the same time - so there isn't flexibility for discounts for anyone wishing to self-organise their own thing.
What's not included:
Please bear in mind plane or train tickets are not included in the price. We'll let you book your own tickets and inform us of how you intend on arriving. We'll be hiring cars so we can get around to the crags, so it's possible that we pick you up from a place like an airport or train station. An example on how to get there is listed below:
There is an early plane from Manchester to Nice. Upon arrival at Nice, you can board a train to Castellane where you can be picked up from.
Alternatively, there are other airports, trains from Paris you can arrive from or even drive all the way. This will take longer however.
On Sunday -> Saturday, we'll make plans, pack lunches and self-organise plans the evening before, on the day, we'll have breakfast and head out in little groups.
In the evening, we'll return for a home-cooked communal meal and make plans for the next day.
On the Saturday, if you're leaving again from Nice, you might have to leave very early, and it might be better to plan well ahead. There's a plane leaving later but that will require you to change in Paris. Alternatively you could take an extra night in Nice and fly back to Manchester on the Sunday.
If you don't drive - that's ok! We will be sharing hire cars for the drive to crags and/or activities. Different people bring different skills – you will contribute to the trip in other ways.
Gorges du Verdon are unique with their dramatic landscapes, blue water, classic Provence architecture and of course world renowned cliffs. This gives us plenty to do there:
We'll make plans the night before. The big exciting days need preparation and early morning departures, so making plans on the day will not be possible.
Ok, but what actually is there to do? Give me examples?
You will need to get your nose into one of the climbing guidebooks or look through UKC
There are a few hikes to do around Palud-sur-Verdon and more generally in the national park. Some are easy, some are hard but all are spectacular. AllTrails has a good list of trails available.
Gorges du Verdon are a brilliant place for water activities. As a disclaimer however, there are many rapids along the river so it is better to have a guided tour if you wish to kayak or raft outside of the lakes. There is also a dam upstream that can release water, hence we need to be careful.
With that said, here's where we can start safely however:
There are many things for rest days, bad weather and chilling:
In short: those with the most skills and stamina will get the most out of this trip, but everyone is welcome and will get something out of this trip.
The only minimum is that you should be able to top rope belay. There is a lot to do for any fitness level.
Skills of walking up hills, scrambling, abseiling and cleaning sport routes are extremely useful in the Verdon, and you're encouraged to make use of it as much as possible.
The more experience you have had sport climbing and being in the mountains, the more you will get from this trip. Although the terrain is quite different from the UK, this is something you can and should work on before the trip. Below is a list of suggestions of things you could do that would help:
Do some classic sport climbs:
Climb a classic scramble:
Navigate up and down some classic hills:
The more of these objectives you've done within 6 months before the trip, the more you'll enjoy the trip
There isn't a set minimum, but the more you know, the more you'll get out of this trip. This is not the location to learn them from the start, and you should be taking the opportunities to get more days out on rock before you come on this trip.
The truth is you probably are plenty good at climbing for this trip. Your outdoor sport climbing and abseiling skills are probably where you should focus your energy (see below).
In summary, here's what you should learn, in order of importance:
Although reading the literature is important, it does not replace first hand experience. In order to confirm your skills, you will need to climb using these skills.
The trip itself is organised by a French resident in the UK who will be there and some people will speak and understand enough to order food and basic things.
This is also a touristic area where it is expected there will be English speakers. However, it is greatly appreciated before coming to learn some basic sentences so you have some autonomy. Here's a handful guide.
You don't need to bring a climbing partner, but a greater degree of self-sufficiency and self-direction will be required compared to other Climbing Clan trips you may have been on.
Gorge du Verdon have awesome simple single pitch climbs all the way to very committing multi-pitches with some of the highest grade in the sport. Groups will need to be self-sufficient in things like:
It's not expected that everyone has all these skills, but everyone will need to take responsibility for what they want to do.
People in the Clan support each other and usually climb with more than one person exclusively.
Generally plans for the next day tend to be made the night before based on the weather, and how people are feeling.
The minimum climbing gear to bring if you aspire to climb is
There is walking and mountaineering equipment you will absolutely need - for example, hiking boots - see the kit list for the full details.
Climbing Clan trips work because everyone contributes in some way.
Everyone helps make the trip a success. Some people drive. Some cook. Some organise. Some wash up.
In truth, lots of people do lots - and everyone is expected to do what they can to support the trip.
The best forecast is the "out the window" forecast. Provence, where the Gorges du Verdon are situated has a Mediterranean climate, warm and dry. So it's more likely we'll be too warm rather than cold and wet. With that said, bad weather can happen around there, or worse, forest fires. This is why we'll monitor the weather there:
In general, prepare for warm weather and keep plenty of water with you as well as suncream. With that said, it's a good idea to get a waterproof tops in case it does rain. If it does, we'll look into doing Touristy things.
In France, Mountain Rescue is not a voluntary free service like the UK, but can incur costs to the casualty during evacuation.
Rather than finding yourself ££££ in debt, we require everyone coming on this trip to have European health insurance suitable for climbing, for the Duration of the trip. The BMC, and Snowcard are some insurers, but many others are available.
Your EHIC card (or BMC membership card) is not sufficient.
We will require proof of insurance 3 weeks before the trip leaves.
If someone gets injured while climbing over in France, practice first aid and call 112 immediately.
Yes, you will be fully catered for - simply let us know about your requirements in the sign-up form.
This will 100% not be the opportunity for you to get your very first climbing outside. We run many other opportunities to outdoor climb - come on those.
You are unlikely to roped-climb on this trip without lead belaying skills, so focus on learning that.
A week abroad with a bunch of strangers in one of the most committing climbing area in France? Probably not ideal.
We have quite a lot of other events scheduled - come on one of those first so you know what we're like and know a few people?
This usually doesn’t work.
All plans are made the night before, usually changing 3-4 times during the night and changing at least once in the morning. This makes it extremely difficult to tell anyone where to be and when. It might be possible to come for the day, if you were prepared to arrive at the hut at ~6am and were prepared for mountains of faff and uncertainty.
You also won’t be able to stay for any social bits in the evenings, where the group really gets to know each other.
Yes, but no discounts will be available for doing so.
However, the trip is planned with the assumption that everyone pools together and supports each other by doing the same thing. Therefore, you won't be eligible for any discounts on the trip cost on the basis of your sleeping location etc.
Yes, but no discounts will be available for doing so.
Organising a trip like this is a logistical challenge. One of the things you're paying for is the certainty that it will happen. The Clan has to prebook and pay everything months in advance.
By spreading the costs across the whole group, and helping reduce the faff and uncertainty, we make the trip work at this scale.
As our costs are fixed, anyone seeking a discount would mean that everyone else had to pay more.
The Climbing Clan is fully run by volunteers. No-one is compensated for sharing their climbing and rope skills amongst the group. Nobody is using or assumed to be trained to professional qualifications unless they tell you otherwise in writing.
Everyone that comes to Climbing Clan events recognises that:
“that climbing, scrambling and hill walking are activities with a danger of personal injury or death, and by taking part acknowledge they are aware of and accept these risks and be responsible for their own actions and involvement.“
An BMC affiliated group of supportive, friendly people who like to encourage each other to climb and eat cake. Sometimes at the same time.
We support an open, inclusive and accepting atmosphere for all members, whatever their ability or ambition.
If you’re hoping to climb, you’ll need your own gear - there isn’t anywhere to hire it from. At a minimum - you’ll need:
Really helpful things to have, even if you’re not leading
If you have any of these things, bring them:
If you're an outdoor lead climber, you should know what to bring (everything!).
Although this is South France in June, we'll need to plan for varying types of weather
The hut does not have a washing machine, so bring plenty of clothes.
There is often a walk to any climbing, maybe even a bit of a hike. It’s good to be equipped in case we’re outside longer than expected.
Almost all meals are included in the trip price, and will be tailored to your dietary requirements - specifically:
We already have your dietary requirements from the signup form, and everyone will be catered for. If the chefs on this trip have any questions or queries, they'll be in touch directly.
Food that you may want:
There is a convenience store in the village near the hut, as well as a boulangerie. However there is a large supermarket about 50min away in a car, and we'll be going there to shop for the week, should you want something more specific.
Tea & Coffee (and dairy/non-dairy milk) is included, but most other drinks are not.
French wine is not included...but can be bought from producers close by 😉 😉
You don't need to bring any guidebooks or maps and various people will bring guidebooks they already have, but having more never hurts.
Some guides and maps are available in the uK though:
A good shout is to look at GéoPortail (an equivalent to Britain's OS Maps online). They even have an app you can download for free!
|06:15||Plane from Manchester to Nice|
|09:35||Arrive in Nice|
|11:00||Arrive in Nice centre, board a train to Castellane|
|13:30||Arrive in Castellane, someone can pick you up and get you to the hut|
|14:00||Lunch marshals put out lunch and round people|
|15:00||Arrive in Palud-sur-Verdon|
|22:00||Make Plans for the next day and prepare lunches|
We'll have breakfast, and then head off outside. Exact plans for the day will be decided the day before.
We'll return to the hut for food together, and drinks... and to make lunch and plans for the next day.
|07:30||Cold breakfast things available|
|16:00||Return to hut|
|16:10||tea and showers|
|17:30||Evening Meal Chef Dinner prep start|
|22:00||Washing Up after dinner coordinated by evening meal washing up marshalls|
|22:45||Lunch marshals put out lunch and round people up|
|23:45||Lunch marshals teardown, washup and put everything away|
|23:45||Breakfast Marshals put breakfast things out|
We'll have to:
We'll have breakfast, clean and empty the hut, and head off:
|05:30||Cold breakfast things available|
|06:00||People leaving from Nice on the direct flight need to be gone by then|
|Clear living room, Have cleaned bedrooms|
|08:15||Clear kitchen, showers|
|17:00||Hopefully arrive home, or your next destination.|