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by Adrian Berry

Crags covered include: Ardeche, Actinadas, Les Branches, Gorge du Tarn, Le Jonte,

Le Boffi, Cantobre, Thaurac, Hortus, Claret, Russan, Seynes, Mouries, Orgon

Published November 2011 by Rockfax

Reviewed by Karin Magog

This is Rockfax's latest guide and is yet another valuable guidebook to France, the third they have produced in recent years. It basically covers the area between the two main auto-routes of the E11 in the west and the E15 in the east. As Adrian points out in his intro the title given for the book is a loose term as some of the crags are outside of this region, but it was chosen to give an idea of the geographical area covered. The guide covers seventeen crags in total with some of the well known areas in the guide being the Ardeche area in the north-east, Orgon down near Avignon, Claret and Russan near Nimes and the famous Gorge du Tarn near Millau..  The area is divided into five geographical regions each of which come with the usual detailed info such as map, where to stay and local guidebooks.  The individual crags then have their own intro giving you an idea of what to expect from the crag, best time to visit and how to find it.  As you would expect each crag also comes complete with clear photo topos, which give an excellent indication of what to expect from the climbing. Some of these can't have been easy to get either. The guide seems well balanced with a good mix of high and low grade venues and routes, therefore offering something for everyone. The action photos are okay, generally reinforcing the nature of the climbing at that particular crag rather than inspiring you to do a certain route.  Although the photo of Jonathan Ayrton on the amazing Le tube neural at Seynes certainly brought back memories, one of the must do routes at that crag. The guide seems well researched and a lot of work obviously went into it. On the whole an excellent, well put together guide and a good effort by Adrian. For a sport climbing trip this area of France should be high on everyone's list of places to visit and you'd get several holidays out of this guide alone.


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