Gorges du Verdon Climbing Week

Saturday 17 June - Saturday 24 June 23
Location: a cottage in Palud-sur-Verdon in Southern France
Members Price: £390
Non-member price: 

£490.00

Minimum skills: Top Rope belay (or better)

Out of stock

Join the waiting list and recieve an email when places are available

Climbing Clan members get £25 off the usual price for this trip.

Getting Clan Membership is quick, easy and much cheaper than you think and will pay for itself. Take a look?

How these trips work

Signing up pays for

  • Hire car transport in France
  • Accommodation for 7 nights
  • Breakfast on 6 mornings
  • Packed lunch on 6 days
  • evening meals for 6 nights
  • a 50% non-refundable deposit
  • Plus we’ll stock the kitchen with tea bags, coffee, milk (dairy and non-dairy), loo roll and washing up stuff.

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:

  • Flights and UK travel
  • Mandatory Insurance
  • Alcoholic drinks
This is primarily a climbing, scrambling and hiking weekend, but climbers being climbers there may also be some swimming or other outdoor activities going on.

Everything will be arranged the night before.
We  love dogs, but sadly they're not welcome on this trip

The Hut

We're staying at a cottage in Palud-sur-Verdon in Southern France.

The cottage (or "gîte") is located near the lovely village of Palud-sur-Verdon. Towels and bed sheets are provided. There are common showers and toilets. The kitchen is full of utensils to cook, but there's also a barbecue in the private garden for the warm nights. There is Wi-Fi as well. Best part is the outside hammock.

We'll be well located for climbing, hiking and all types of water activities. The gîte is close to major sport climbing crags and the Verdon river.
Q&A
Kit List
Vague Plans

Q&A

How will we get there?

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:

Getting there

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.

When we're there

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.

Getting back.

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.

What activities will we do?

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:

  • Hiking or cycling up and down along the Verdon river
  • Swimming, ghyll scrambling, kayaking, romantic pedal boat and other water activities
  • Long multipitch climbs with incredible exposure
  • Eat lots of french food
  • Battle for the hammock in the hut and other social activities

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?

 

Climbing

You will need to get your nose into one of the climbing guidebooks or look through UKC

Hiking

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.

Water Activities

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:

Touristy things:

There are many things for rest days, bad weather and chilling:

How fit do I need to be?

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:

  • Find your way to the B29 aircraft wreck in Glossop without using GPS
  • Find your way to the top of Pike of Stickle via Jack's Rake
  • Do the climbers traverse on Bow Fell
  • Do a circular route up Black Hill in the Peak District

The more of these objectives you've done within 6 months before the trip, the more you'll enjoy the trip

What climbing skills do I need to know?

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.

I don't speak French. How is it going to work for me?

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.

How will it work? Do I need to bring a climbing partner?

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:

  • researching where to go
  • figuring out how to get there
  • making good decisions about the group and conditions and deciding when to turn round or back off
  • dealing with things that don't go quite to plan

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.

I don’t have a rope or any trad or sport gear – will I be ok?

Yes.

The minimum climbing gear to bring if you aspire to climb is

  • Harness
  • Climbing Helmet
  • Belay device and karabiner
  • Nut key

There is walking and mountaineering equipment you will absolutely need - for example, hiking boots - see the kit list for the full details.

Who does what on these trips?

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.

What if there's bad weather?

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.

Why do you require insurance?

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.

I have unusual dietary requirements. Will I be catered for?

Yes, you will be fully catered for - simply let us know about your requirements in the sign-up form.

I don’t have any outdoor climbing experience yet, but really want to climb on the trip. Will you be running training beforehand?

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.

I've not been away with you lot before. Is this a good first trip?

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?

Can I come for the day? Can I arrange my own accommodation elsewhere?

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.

Can I sleep in my van or camp?

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.

Can I only stay for 5 nights?

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.

What's your cancellation policy?

Is this a for-profit, professionally guided event?

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.

What is The Climbing Clan?

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.

Kit List

Key:
normal text: things you definitely need
italic: optional things you might like to have

Sleeping things

  • Either a sleeping bag or a warm duvet. This is south France so plan for higher temperature than you're used to.
  • Slippers or flip flops
  • Earplugs and eyemask (other people can be loud, can snore and this may help you sleep better)

Climbing kit

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:

  • Harness
  • Helmet (this needs to be a climbing helmet as kayaking, snowboarding, cycling helmets are designed to protect you from different things and don't work for climbing)
  • Belay device & karabiner
  • Climbing shoes
  • Insurance for climbing in Europe (BMC Insurance for example)

Really helpful things to have, even if you’re not leading

If you have any of these things, bring them:

  • extra karabiners
  • some or all of a sport rack
  • some or all of a trad rack
  • half ropes
  • a 50 or 60m rope
  • Static rope
  • relevant guidebooks (rockfax app works there as well)

If you're an outdoor lead climber, you should know what to bring (everything!).


Outdoor Clothes

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.

  • Outdoor trousers (not denim or jeans of any type)
  • Outdoor pair of shorts
  • comfortable climbing top
  • underwear
  • waterproof top and bottom
  • an extra warm layer for the evenings
  • hiking boots
  • thick socks for hiking in
  • gloves + spare gloves
  • a full change of clothes back at camp (for being around the hut)
  • hat for the sun
  • buff / scarf
  • swimming costume (plenty of opportunities to swim there!)


General outdoor gear

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.

  • Small rucksack (25-40 litre)
  • headtorch
  • water bottle (at least 1 litre)
  • spare batteries
  • suncream
  • sunglasses
  • themos flask
  • midge net / insect repellent
  • first aid kit with plasters, hay fever medication, painkillers
  • phone charger and cable (think of French power adapter)
  • book / cards / headphones
  • walkie-talkies


Washing

  • Toothbrush & toothpaste
  • toiletries
  • all medication you need
  • towel for wild swimming

Food

Almost all meals are included in the trip price, and will be tailored to your dietary requirements - specifically:

  • Breakfasts on Sunday to Saturday
  • Packed lunches on Saturday to Saturday
  • Evening meals on Saturday to Friday

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.


Drinks

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 😉 😉


Maps and Guidebooks (optional)

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:

Verdon Inte'graal

Rockfax Guide

IGN Map

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!


Plans

Times are all subject to change, and are mainly for illustration and to start conversation.

Saturday (that we arrive)


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 a train station. An example on how to get there is listed below:
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
23:00 Lunch Making
15:00 Arrive in Palud-sur-Verdon
22:00 Make Plans for the next day and prepare lunches

The days in between


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
08:00 Breakfast
08:30 Washing Up
09:00 leave hut
16:00 Return to hut
16:10 tea and showers
17:30 Evening Meal Chef Dinner prep start
19:00 Dinner
21:00 Making Plans
22:00 Washing Up after dinner coordinated by evening meal washing up marshalls
22:45 Lunch marshals put out lunch and round people up
23:00 Lunch Making
23:45 Lunch marshals teardown, washup and put everything away
23:45 Breakfast Marshals put breakfast things out

Sunday we depart


We'll have to:

  • Clear all the stuff out of the bedrooms into the vehicles/packs.
  • Clean the Bathrooms, Showers, Hall and communal areas.
  • Redistribute excess food. Any excess food not taken home by someone will be binned.
  • Clean the Kitchen.
  • Take the bins out.
  • Ensure the hut is locked and shut down.

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
08:00 Clear bedrooms
Clear living room, Have cleaned bedrooms
08:15 Clear kitchen, showers
09:00 Leave hut
17:00 Hopefully arrive home, or your next destination.

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