S P O R T C L I M B I N G C R A G S !
|Hills in and around Condroz.||
SPORT: FREE instead of aid. SUSTAINED instead of bouldery. Rather COMMITMENT TO THE SEQUENCE than to protection placement, gardening and spying choss.
(-) Vulnerable crags (ecology, archaeology, legal access,...)
(-) Dangerous crags (risk of rockfall or material failure...)
Nice ones that didn’t make the sport selection: Régissa, Fond des Cris, Bouffioulx, Petit Henet, Ny, Hé Quinet, Comblain-au-Pont, Rideux/Izier & Tabir Sarrail & Sandron, Carrière de l'Abbaye, Maurenne, Rochette, Parc, Grésière, Strivay, Roc à l'Aisne & Coléoptère, Champalle...
In the last decades the offer of accessible sport crags has been wayward. Many we lost, (Chateâu de Mielmont, Dalle de Modave, Comblain-au-Pont, Montaigle, Rocher de Faucons, Se*e Shop, Visé, Heure..) and quite some jewels have been opened..
CSport guides to first hand topo info, free of advertisements, rather than to unauthorized (double) copypastes. CS's recommendations are aimed to contribute to rock community, awareness and protection rather than to heighten figures and statistics.
On the rock we can climb routes, not numbers. We vertically dance up our own way. There's no competition, right beta or obligatory holds. And when we don't reach what we want, we don't always adapt nature, instead sometimes we adapt ourselves and learn.
Yet will our love for these crags destroy them? The US-based 'Access Fund' signals the deteriorating effects of popular interest: vegetation fades away while local opposition grows almost as fast as the cars, cigarettes and toilet paper accumulate.
On the other hand most people don't know anything else than a barren urban environment ruthlessly and dominantly shaped by greedy private accummulation forces that force-feed them diverse lifestyle brands. Rock climbing is one of many ways to escape this. To some degree outdoor promotion can help recognition and therefore propel outdoor protection.
Moreover it’s not unpleasant to share the sport: Imagine introducing your friends and family to rock climbing. Yet the capacity of crags is limited. So should we keep them secret?
In any case it's important that rock crags stay an unpainted canvas to some degree, instead of a thick-lined coloring book for black alcohol markers. There are commercial interests looking to gymify rocks and make them easy-to-consume adventure parks. In the 1980's similar market incentives have brought up businesses that bought and sold the Alps for mass skiing.
Protect, climb and always look for a way to make this ever vulnerable balance work. When you're at a crowded crag you're the crowd too. Don't be loud, the rock sleeps. Smoker? Put butts in a bottle. Visit less crowded crags, go at other times. For now the total capacity of the Belgian rocks fits the community, though sometimes locally not in the overdemanded/undersupplied 4-5th grades.
Last of all, climb safe! A helmet is often great on the Belgian rock. Moreover if you look to climb some Belgian 5th grades, be aware that often they're less steep and are therefore challenging in an alpine kind of way. This also means that these 'more accessible' grades sometimes contradictively require more training and skills than steep lines do. Such crags are indicated:
GUEST AT THE ROCKS - OPEN SAFE CRAGS RELY ON:
|Cooperation of federations(!), local communities, governments, a diversity of people who climb, hikers, birdspotters,..|
|Volunteers investing time and material.|
|You the visitor, for making your interest have a positive instead of negative impact. Get proper training, remain self-aware, actively look up recent info and assess in-situ conditions and gear.|
VISIONS ON PREPARING CRAGS:
|*: Bananas represent sporty limestone crags.|
E D I T
H A L L O F F A M E
|8c+||galaxy freyr al'lègne right|
|2017 Sébastien Berthe,
2012 Kevin Lopata
|8c+||le traversée de kraftio gerlin|
|2020 Mat Pauwels|
|2020 Hannes Van Duysen,
2020 Sven Lempereur,
2020 Mat Pauwels,
2020 Simon Lorenzi,
2020 Anak Verhoeven
|8c+||coup d'état fléron|
|2020 Simon Lorenzi|
|8c||razorblade (ted gilette ext.)
freyr al'lègne right (of the pillar)
|2016 Kevin Lopata,
2016 Sébastien Berthe,
2003 Nicolas Favresse.
|8c||le clou freyr al'lègne right
|2020 David 'Illitch' Leduc,
2016 Jérôme De Boeck,
2014 Sébastien Berthe,
2005 Olivier Favresse,
2004 Jérôme Abraham,
2002 Nicolas Favresse.
|8c||la traction universelle
(the Porche is forbidden since 2006 and can only be accessed with the permission of the local government)
|2015 Simon Lorenzi,
1994 Claude Lorenzi.
|8b+||oufti nenni carrière jaminon
(Porche currently forbidden)
|2007 Werner Hofmans.|
|8b+||l'eau de lune
(mistral gagnant var.)
freyr al'lègne left
(Hold broke in 2018)
|2010 Olivier Favresse,
2009 Nicolas Favresse.
|8b+||bansai xxl freyr pape|
|2013 Lowie Lambrechts,
2008 Peter Taeymans,
2008 Olivier Coenen.
|8b+||carabistouille freyr al'lègne right|
|2018 David 'Illitch' Leduc,
2011 Sébastien Berthe,
2010 Kevin Lopata,
2009 Olivier Coenen,
2007 Sean Villanueva O'Driscoll,
2007 Jérôme De Boeck,
2005 Benjamin Fallet,
2004 Jorg Verhoeven,
2004 Olivier Favresse,
2001 Jérôme Abraham,
2001 Nicolas Favresse.
|8b+||esperanza freyr al'lègne right|
|2019 Siebe Vanhee,
2019 Christophe Henry,
2019 Ben Breton,
2017 David 'Illitch' Leduc,
2011 Eric Rampelbergh,
2011 Kevin Lopata,
2011 Sean Villanueva O'Driscoll,
2011 Olivier Coenen,
2009 Benjamin Fallet,
2008 Klaas Willems,
2007 Jérôme De Boeck,
2004 Jérôme Abraham,
2004 Olivier Favresse,
2003 Nicolas Favresse.
|8b/8c||ode to no one||nasproué|
|8b||alliance||freyr al'lègne left (of the pillar)|
|8b||bansai directe||freyr le pape|
|8b||dsg||freyr al'lègne right|
|8b||fritographie||freyr le louis-philippe|
|8b||jolie promenade||freyr al'lègne right|
|8b||l'empire du soleil levant||freyr al'lègne right|
|8b||la vie est un long fleuve tranquille||freyr al'lègne right|
|8b||masque à gaz||freyr al'lègne right|
|8b||shingen||freyr mérinos nord|
|8b||du glucose pour le moineau||porche de roiseux|
|8b||chevalier arno||trou magritte|
|8b||itinéraire bis||trou magritte|
|8b||la marmaille nue||trou magritte|
|8b||namché bazar||freyr le louis-philippe upper part|
|8a+/8b||polymorphisme direct||freyr al'lègne right|
|8a+/8b||johnny the consumer||freyr le pape|
|8a+||ladyshave (razorblade - slip à clou)||freyr al'lègne right|
|8a+||le spectre de shingen (aka variohector)||freyr mérinos nord|
|8a+||toxic désir (toxic climax - flagrant désir)||bomal|
|8a+||yahoo! - infiniment songe (link-up)||bomal|
|8a+||cool cat||freyr al'lègne right|
|8a+||globalia||freyr le louis-philippe|
|8a+||johnny the wannabe||freyr le pape|
|8a+||jungle boogie||freyr al'lègne jurassic park|
|8a+||vibrato||freyr al'lègne right|
|8a+||quomolungma||freyr le louis-philippe upper part|
|8a+||biggest bang||freyr al'lègne right|
T H E C O N D R O Z R E G I O N
The lands of Condroz open up to deciduous woods waving in the wind. The fertile lands secretly host creeks.. And the creeks tell you the way to dramatic hills with caves and archaeological sites. Climate here is soft, often hosting a cool breeze, providing water for lush landscapes and glowing fields of flowers that jump into action with the first breaths of spring. And on unexpected places, limestone, sandstone and puddingstone shoot up into the sky.
The Condruzian regions couldn't contrast more with the colder spruce-shale-and-grass-dominated Ardennes... Or with the Condroz the Condruzi once knew. While travel came to focus on mass-consumable exotic places, little care has gone to the once lush Condroz garden of Eden, sold out by miners, loggers, barbed-wire-meat farmers, construction companies and trailer park entrepreneurs...colonizing the grant sewers they imagined on beholding Condroz' biblical rivers.
Condroz was a garden, but it became a shop, selling out, mostly to a neglectful densely populated north: the triple brickzilla: the Walloon coal-axis, urban sprawl king Flanders and the Dutch Randstad (see map below). Yet times are changing and Condroz was not just riding down a tragical trend of disdain. The crags might give hints of forgotten Condruzian stories, heritage and the rise of an unparalleled climbing scene.
Looking south over the triple brick-zilla.
1862. Montaigle where Molignée and Flavion join.
1864. Walzin above the Lesse.
Approximately 1900. Château De Bouvignes by Rodolphe Wytsman.
1919. Huy by Sir William Rothenstein.
Freyr University welcomes with steep rocks, deep gorges, ravines, but also with gently sloping meadows. Some say Freyr is Belgium's largest crag (discutable), others say it's the next best thing to sliced bread. Surely Freyr is the place where you can multipitch 80 meter (Le Pape and Merinos) and more (Al'lègne).
Usually most of Freyr's subcrags aren't very well received among unexperienced climbers. The most accessible grades feature unpredictable bolting, unconventional routefinding and limestone that is polished by hard-rubbered shoes of the alpine or unexperienced. It is only when you start to speak the language of the limestone that Freyr slowly reveals.
Abseiling during the weekend poses risks and is therefore forbidden. Access requires membership of an UIAA-affiliated federation (NKBV-members need the extra option for Belgian rocks). And be careful during breeding season (1 Feb - 30 Jun): some spots may be closed or need closure.
Cover: Aeroplane Klaxon on Louis-Philippe.
Old-school limestone crags of Burgundy,...
The domain is owned and maintained by a long lineage of local aristocracy residing among 300-year-old orange trees in the opposing castle. The official owner is ASBL Chateau de Fréyr and part is owned by the city of Dinant. Since 1988 most of the 'chateâu de Freÿr' is in the hands of heir ms. de Lillers.
Club Alpin Belge (CAB) maintains the agreements with all involved actors.
On divergent scales there's policies directly affecting the site. The European government supervises the Natura2000 designation while the Walloon government delineates and the local municipality of Dinant sets concrete conditions and boundaries through environmental permits.
Pierre 'Pico' Masschelein. Marc Bott. Jean-Marie Castiaux. Philippe 'Bibiche' Lacroix, Frans Covens, Arnould 't Kint, Jean-Marc Arnould, Charly Godissard, Serra di Migni, Claudio Barbier, André Focquet, André Capel, Pierre de Radzitzky, Jean Bourgeois, Pascal Hublet, Duchesne, René Maillieux,...
Lots of rebolting since the 2000's by Olivier 'Bigwall Olli' Coenen (owner of a renowned Dutch climbing hall), the Belgian rebolting Team (BRT) and others.
8th grades: God s(h)ave the Queen (Tête du Lion), Shingen (Merinos Nord), Cool Cat (Al'lègne) and 13 Boulevard, du Vol (Louis-Philippe).
7th grades: Welcome to the Machine (La Jeunesse), Lachez les Fauves (Tête du Lion), La Sylvia (Cinq ânes), Manhattan transfer (Al'lègne), Pilier Davaille (Le Pape), Aéroplane blindé (Louis-Philippe), Vive les Femmes (Al'lègne), Ligne de fuite (Cinq ânes), Games Boys (Pucelles), Pilier Cromwell (Cinq ânes), Limaçon défoncé (Cinq ânes), Escargots Trempés (Cinq ânes), Gastropode Hallucinogène (Cinq ânes) and Heroïne (Tête du Lion).
6th grades: Cap'taine coeur de miel (Louis-Philippe), Réalité du zen (Le Pape), Les pavés du nord (Le Pape), Samarkande (Le Pape), La Belle Isa (Le Pape), Les Mots Bleus (Le Pape), Freedom (Le Pape), Torre Molinos (Le Pape), Les Prises Taillées (Al'lègne), Pull Marine (Al'lègne), La Can-Can (L1) (Cinq ânes), Les Taches Rouges (Cinq ânes), Negresses Vertes (La Jeunesse), Liedekerke (Louis-Philippe), Jacquouille la fripouille (Al'lègne: sector Waterside) and La Supergrippe (Al'lègne: sector right of the central pillar).
5th grades: Le Genie des Alpages (La Jeunesse), Les filles du bord de mer (La Jeunesse), La fuite au cul (Louis-Philippe), La direttissima (Al'lègne) and Greenpeace (La Jeunesse).
Freyr gives and takes.
The majority of rocks is oriented to the south:
Rain?: Climb 7th and 8th grades on Merinos nord and Pape: sector davaille.
Burning sun?: Climb 7th and 8th grades on Merinos nord and 'till 1h30pm Pape: sector davaille.
Winter with no rain?: Climb everywhere except on some drippy spots (mostly Al'lègne: sector prises taillées).
a bivouac where you can put your tent between 18h and 10h (€2/night),
a sleeping hut with now unstealable fireplace (€4/night),
a biological toilet (wooden shed),
highline spots and
a fries-restaurant that sells the topo book (Le Colébi).
May also be interesting:
Camp2camp - community-based.
Belclimb - active 1999-2015, not updated.
(English - available in French and Dutch)
The Rocher Bayard three kilometer downstream near Dinant (1920's). The pinnacle was first climbed in 1926. It is now bolted, but only accessible for soldiers who are ordered to maintain the Belgian flag on top.
Freyr (Old Norse for Lord) is a widely attested god associated with sacral kingship, virility and prosperity, with sunshine and fair weather, and pictured as a phallic fertility god in Norse mythology. Freyr is said to "bestow peace and pleasure on mortals." (source)
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