Rock Climbing in Vallorcine and Chamonix
The Chamonix valley has for a very long time attracted climbers and alpinists from around the world. Some excellent sports climbing crags can be found around the valley.
The Vallorcine crag - also known as the "Rocher du Saix" is about a 15mn walk from the Bellevue. The climbing is excellent on compact gneiss. The style is slabs and corner crags. You can do 3 pitches to the top, and descent is either by foot or by rappel.
The Barberine crag - Test your slab climbing skills. Technical slab routes. 4-6 grade. Barberine also sports some of the best bolted multi pitch climbs in the region. The routes like Autoroute Blanche, Sylvie Phobie, Viper au Pied, Barbourine, Bonne Voyage are all great classics.
Gietroz - Very steep gneiss, and considered the best sports climbing crag near Chamonix for climbers who are comfortable at 6th degree. There are different sectors and routes in grades from 6a - 8a.
Falaise de Renard - A great crag in Vallorcine. 30-40m routes of 6a-7c grade.
Le Couteray - Le Couteray: Walking distance from the Bellevue this little site sports some hard crack routes, where some are traditionally protected. Grades 6a - 7b. Only 5 routes.
Les Gaillands - Good gneiss and lots of varied climbing. This is the biggest crag in Chamonix and popular with guided groups, courses and beginners. The site is very big and even when busy you can have a great time. Routes up to 7th grade, but most routes around 4-5.
Other sites such as La Joux, Chapua, Arveyron and la Poya are also worth a visit. The topo "Guide des Ecoles d'Escalade de la Vallee de Chamonix " can be bought online or in book shops and sports shops around the valley.
Bouldering - Around the valley there are different bouldering sites, and a guide book can be bought in Chamonix with explanations about access and routes. The best bouldering site is without a doubt the Col du Montets not far from the Bellevue. Here you have big granite blocks strewn across the pass. The best boulder to start is the "Transat" boulder. You find this across the road from the "French side parking" .
Indoor climbing - There are two possibilities for indoor climbing in Chamonix. Good for rainy days.
Indoor wall in the Richard Bozon center: Fairly small bouldering wall in the same sports complex as the swimming pool.
Mont Blanc Escalade: In les Houches - very good climbing wall. Many routes up to 20m and of all difficulties. There is also a bouldering wall.