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Cliff camping on a portaledge, the ultimate experience in Les Calanques

Marina ParraNovember 01, 2018

Watching the sun go down over the Mediterranean after an exhilarating climbing day in Les Calanques already sounds like a perfect plan, but spending the evening on a portaledge suspended on a cliff definitely takes the experience to a whole new level!

That’s exactly the kind of adventure that Maxence ―a IFMGA mountain guide from the south of France― likes to share with his clients. Recently, Ali connected him through Explore-Share and joined him for a rock climbing day and evening on a portable hanging tent (commonly known as ‘portaledge’)  in the Calanque de Morgiou.

Here’s what the guide says about their experience:

‘Our day of rock climbing in Morgiou’s cove ended up with a dinner. But a special dinner: unique view, first-class seating, and amazing show. We were very much alone in this fantastic sunset, on our tent (portaledge), mounted directly on the wall. Pure happiness! Atmosphere, view, temperature, light…all right there, at the right time’.

Calanque de Morgiou
Calanque de Morgiou, the chosen spot for this rock climbing & portaledge trip.
Rock Climbing in Les Calanques
Going up, with the Mediterranean as a backdrop. Photo courtesy of Maxence Horvath.

Stretching for over 20 km on the Mediterranean coast, from Cassis to Marseille, Les Calanques are a stunning rock formation in the south of France and one of the country’s top rock climbing venues.

Read more about the best spots for rock climbing in Les Calanques

Maxence knows the area like the back of his hand. Because there are so many climbing routes available, the program he proposes can suit either beginners or advanced climbers. Besides spending an exciting day of rock climbing, the big highlight is watching the sunset while hanging on the edge of a cliff, enjoying a rare mix of adrenaline and calmness. Click here to book a rock climbing trip in Les Calanques with an evening on a portaledge!

If rock climbing is not really your thing but you are thrilled about spending an epic evening up there in Les Calanques, check out this other program offered by Maxence: Evening on a portaledge in Les Calanques.

The trip can be tailored according to your wishes. This could also be the perfect spot for a special occasion, like asking somebody’s hand in marriage or just celebrating a special date. If you want to organize such a thing, feel free to ask me!’, says Maxence. The only requisite is to have no fear of heights!


Rock climbing in Les Calanques
Ali, admiring the sunset from the portaledge. Photo courtesy of Maxence Horvath.




Sleeping on a portaledge is quite common among modern big wall climbers. However, cliff camping is turning into a popular complement of guided rock climbing or abseiling trips, or just as an extreme form of camping, even for those who don’t have any climbing skills.  

In case you are wondering if it’s safe, you should know that you must wear a harness the whole time while you are up there. And of course, you’ll be in the company of an expert mountain guide, who will take care of your safety and all the logistics. Therefore, your only concern should be having a good head with heights!


Frutigen portaledge
Are you ready to rest on the edge of a cliff? Photo courtesy of Peter Frick.

You’ll find on many climbing programs which include a portaledge experience. Here are some of them:

Take your pick and feed your adventurous soul with a unique mountain experience!


Chamonix Portaledge rock climbing program
Mathis Dumas and an Explore-Share user sleeping on a portaledge in Brevent (Chamonix). Photo courtesy of Mathis Dumas

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