Gorges du Tarn is one of the most important French sport climbing venues. It is beautifully set and is home to more than 400 classic routes of great quality. The whole area is full of fast flowing rivers, steep cliffs and pine forests. The area of Tarn is popular not only for climbing, but is also a favorite summer destination for kayaking, rafting, or canyoning.
Apart from Tarn, the Southern part of France is full of good climbing of various types spread across many smaller crags of great quality.
A great advantage of Gorges du Tarn as a climbing area is its wide range of route lengths, styles and grades. It is a huge area with great potential for new routes as only a small part of the vast gorge has been equipped so far. The rock is often overhanging limestone full of pockets and crimps. Climbing here usually requires more stamina than power, but there are sectors (Gullich) which offer short and bouldery climbs as well.The local specialty are definitely incredible pumpy stamina climbs such as those in the popular Tennessee sector. These are fifty to seventy metres long, mainly mid-sevens.
Gorges du Tarn is world famous not only for the fabulous rock quality but also for its well spaced bolting, which adds a bit of a special feel to climbing there. It is safe but definitely needs more courage than other sport climbing venues. There are not many climbs easier than 6b or 6c, but from 7a upward the place provides a wealth of top quality routes.
A few accidents caused by old bolts led to the whole area being rebolted with the financial help of the local authorities. As a result, most routes are now equipped with with new, solid bolts.
The best time for climbing in Gorges du Tarn is spring or autumn. Summers get too hot and winters too cold. Nevertheless, the crags get both sun and shade during the day, which gives you a chance to get organised according to the weather. Even rain is not such a big problem as some sectors stay dry, and the rest dries out fast.
As a popular tourist destination, Gorges du Tarn offers a s big choice of accommodation in close proximity to the climbing. There are campsites (in the villages Le Rozier, Les Vignes etc.), small guest houses ( called gites), and even a free camping area.