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Cliffs of Vingrau

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Falaises de Vingrau
Re-opened very recently (2015), the Vingrau cliffs offer sporting routes and a few long routes (2 or 3 pitches). These sectors are part of the Route de la Grimpe project with Tautavel and Opioul. The place is wilder than the Gorges du Gouleyrous, the access is longer and the equipment more uncertain, especially as the site has now been classified as an adventure playground. However, the view is still splendid and aerial over the region, and the rock fantastic. The equipment here is pretty good, with sealed pins, but beware of belays not always equipped for rappelling. A number of routes are also rated as adventure terrain. So it's a good idea to bring a bit of extra gear, even if you're just a sports climber: a few stoppers, slings, quick links and ropes. In this case, we tested a long route, and the way back up proved to be long and confusing. Then a tough sporty section to finish off.

Technical summary

Access to the place

The village lies to the north-west of Perpignan, on the border between the P.O. and Aude departments. From Perpignan, take the freeway exit signposted Opioul, Tautavel and, after a few kilometers and a small pass, enter this splendid valley via Vingrau. In the village, follow the signs for Opioul. Leave the village and, after a few hairpin bends, you'll see the huge rocky outcrop. Park on the last hairpin bend at a mini parking area with an approach path (otherwise further up).

Map & topo

Itinerary description

Hiking to the start 10′ ou +

Climb the fairly well-marked path that follows the cliffs below. Go up to the height of the target area and climb up a little bit, without any marked path.

Course Les voies

They are generally facing west or south-west, so in the shade all morning, in the sun in the afternoon and it's hot (great in winter). The announced levels are indeed there, and given the distance from the nails, it's best to be in the right level to pass without getting scared...

LES CARCASSONNAIS SECTOR

Climb quite high, the cliff is a little hidden behind a pillar. Facing north-west, the sector stays in the shade longer. We were going to do Massacre au Burin, the name having made us trip, but when we saw the 6b+ slab on the first pitch, we switched to the more affordable Caracassonnais route next door.

Les Carcassonnais (75m, V+, n°5)

The start is unclear, so we may have gone for La Cidalle L1 and Four Spits. V pitch 1 is relatively easy and the R1 belay is in the slab. Pitches L2 and L3 are easy to follow, and the climbing is very pleasant. After the tree, on the small ledge (no belay seen?), continue to finish and reach the summit. The hardest section is climbed with a V+ step.

Abseiling down the route is probably the best solution (but be sure to bring quick links and a rope). Alternatively, climb back up and descend through the southernmost gully, but this is long and rocky.

ANABOLIC SECTOR

One of the first sectors above the small parking lot. A pretty pillar, getting harder as you go left.

The Rose (27m, 6a+, n°7)

Exposed start, but a small friend can be placed for protection. A wall with holes before the simpler finish.

L'Erreur est Humaine (27m, 6b+, n°6)

Very hard. The first 5 metres are on hyper-thin slab before a big step with finger holes and no feet. The 2nd part is less hard.

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