Les Gaillands Rock Climbing


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1 day

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4 climbers per guide

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Alps Advice

Bruce Beaman on the Grand Gailland.

Les Gaillands is a city park, rock climbing cliff, sun bathing locale, and a lovely lake-side mountain admiring gift. Only 2.5 km from the center of Chamonix, bathed in south facing sunshine, this little gem of a rock climbing park is one of the things that makes Chamonix so special.

The local guides and authorities have scrubbed off the cliff, removed any offending loose rocks, and peppered it with about a thousand bolts. They even laid down a nice pebbly base to keep your rock shoes clean.

There are about 140 routes here, mostly single pitch but with a good selection of longer climbs up to about 100 meters in height. The longer routes are 4 or even 5 pitches. Most of the climbing is at a reasonable standard with 60% of the routes graded easier than 5c (5.9 US).

This is THE place to learn how to tie in, belay, rappel and lead climb. The great protection, wonderful setting and immense selection of routes can keep you busy for days. Even though we love the high mountains, we often find ourselves here for a couple hours of fun climbing to "round out the day".

There are several distinct sectors:

  • The Grand Gailland is the tallest and the widest. It has the most routes as well as the longest. There is quite a range of grades here, but perhaps the best are in the 4a to 5c range (5.4 to 5.9 US).
  • The Viperes area is perfect for easier grades, and an ideal place for your first lead. Climbs here are 2 to 3 short pitches.
  • Forestier is a very nice sector with a good selection of climbs in the 5b to 5c range (5.8 to 5.9 US). The climbs are 2 pitches here, though often climbers descend from the top of the first.
  • Chasseurs is steep and usually overhanging, and the home to generally hard routes.
  • The Frendo area is hidden up and to the left. A fairly big sector, with lots of climbs, mostly in the 5b to 6a range (5.8 to 5.10a US). There cliff is high here with routes up to about 3 pitches.


Sydney Coddington on one of her first leads in the Viperes area.
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The Grand Gailland.


You can find climbs of all grades here, though most are not overly difficult. The easiest routes start at about French 3 (5.0 USA). Even some of the longer multi-pitch routes are quite moderate.

This is a great beginners area, and also an ideal spot for learning to lead.

We often see entire families up on the cliff, mom, dad and toddlers too.


Basically none. You'll need only an adventurous spirit!

Sunset on the Aiguille du Midi from the lake at Les Gaillands.
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Sydney on the sharp end.
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Kathy Cosley & Mark Houston
UIAGM Internationally Licensed Mountain Guides

AMGA Certified • SNGM members
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All images, layout and text ©2015 Cosley & Houston Alpine Guides, All Rights Reserved

Looking across the base of the Grand Gailland.
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