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Thread: Ardeche info please

  1. #1
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    Default Ardeche info please

    Hi all,
    I'm planning a 6 day trip to the Ardeche in late June with three friends. Peter Knowles's book talks about a 6 day trip from Aubanas, through the gorge and ending at the confluence with the Rhone.
    Are there any blogs of the trip on SOTP and does anyone know if it's possible to paddle from higher up than Aubanas? He describes it as an 80km trip which is not really very far in 6 days.
    Any info or links gratefully received....Thanks

    ps. apologies if I've posted this in the wrong place. Let me know if I need to move it.

  2. #2
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    I've paddled with Pete when he was doing a recce of routes for the second edition., although not this particular section. It was not an "early start, crash on down" sort of a trip, and I think it is reflected in the tone of the book. Coincidentally, last spring I drove down from the pass (in deep snow) to the lower reaches and back up a few days later. There is a river, and it does flow, but I don't think it looked all that doable above Aubanas.

    There are other rivers or combination of rivers in the Massif which, combined, might give six days of tearaway paddling. MarkL on here, would be able to advise and might be along soon.

  3. #3
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    Chassezac is the obvious choice for an additional river, joins at St Alban. Gard also nearby

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Impcanoe View Post
    I've paddled with Pete when he was doing a recce of routes for the second edition., although not this particular section. It was not an "early start, crash on down" sort of a trip, and I think it is reflected in the tone of the book. Coincidentally, last spring I drove down from the pass (in deep snow) to the lower reaches and back up a few days later. There is a river, and it does flow, but I don't think it looked all that doable above Aubanas.

    There are other rivers or combination of rivers in the Massif which, combined, might give six days of tearaway paddling. MarkL on here, would be able to advise and might be along soon.

    Thanks for the info. I’ve had a look on google satellite view and there didn’t look like much above Aubanas. We paddled the Tarn (3 days) from Florac then 2 days on the Allier last year. A great trip but we were Looking to do something longer this time. We’ll plan to go from Aubanas and keep an eye on the river levels. Thanks again!

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Adrian Cooper View Post
    Chassezac is the obvious choice for an additional river, joins at St Alban. Gard also nearby
    hello Adrian, know the Cassezac and will bear it in mind if we end up with a spare day. Cheers

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Adrian Cooper View Post
    Gard also nearby
    I found the Gard to be quite underwhelming after the Ardeche, Tarn, Dourbie etc. - but it does have the Pont Du Gard aqueduct which is a mega attraction !
    I like canoes ......

  7. #7
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    We've been out the last few year in September and wanted to start at Aubenas but there has not been enough water. Furthest up we started was Vogue but last 2 years Balazuc. Search on Balazuc and there will be bloggs from last 3 years trips.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by elveys View Post
    We've been out the last few year in September and wanted to start at Aubenas but there has not been enough water. Furthest up we started was Vogue but last 2 years Balazuc. Search on Balazuc and there will be bloggs from last 3 years trips.
    Thanks for this. I’ll check out the blogs and fingers crossed for enough water in June.

  9. #9
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    Hi all,
    we're off to the Ardèche next week. 30C and sunny in Vallon so beats the UK at the moment!
    Anyone know how I can tell whether there's enough water to get on an Aubanas. Is it a visual inspection or is there a level on a gauge somewhere that will tell me?
    Also anyone know where the best launch site at Aubanas is?
    Any advice welcome and a blog of sorts will follow.
    Thanks in advance

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Timtimpeggy View Post
    Hi all,
    we're off to the Ardèche next week. 30C and sunny in Vallon so beats the UK at the moment!
    Anyone know how I can tell whether there's enough water to get on an Aubanas. Is it a visual inspection or is there a level on a gauge somewhere that will tell me?
    Also anyone know where the best launch site at Aubanas is?
    Any advice welcome and a blog of sorts will follow.
    Thanks in advance
    RiverApp is excellent for French river levels (and everywhere else!) but unless you know what's normal, its hard to judge what it means. Looking back over a few weeks/months can give you an idea. Gauges at Meyras, Vogue, Vallon Pont d'Arc are therefore instantly available IF you have a phone signal.

    Its probably not helpful, but they're calling Aubenas-Vogue "empty" right now! To be honest, I find their descriptive terms are based on whitewater fun, rather than touring, so "empty" doesn't mean much and half my paddling has been done at this level.

    Tarn has a low-ish middling level, Montbrun is on 0.62, and I know that means "enough water but plenty of rocks". No idea if the rain in the Tarn area has been similar to the Ardeche, they're a reasonable distance apart. The Allier is further north, and seems very low. I think that's generally the case this year, but then again bits of France have just been hammered by storms!

    Mark L might have a view, he's been running trips all over the Massif Central in the last few weeks.
    Paddler,blogger,camper,pyromaniac: Blog: Wilderness is a State of Mind

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  11. #11
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    Sorry can't help but have a great trip and if you do manage to start at Aubenas please add the detail about put in etc in case we get enough water to start there in September

  12. #12
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    Thanks for the reply Mal,
    I've had a look at the RiverApp which looks helpful. I expect we will go and have a look and get on wherever looks possible. It's wall to wall sunshine for the next two weeks so no more water, but I'm not complaining!
    thanks again
    Tim

    Quote Originally Posted by Mal Grey View Post
    RiverApp is excellent for French river levels (and everywhere else!) but unless you know what's normal, its hard to judge what it means. Looking back over a few weeks/months can give you an idea. Gauges at Meyras, Vogue, Vallon Pont d'Arc are therefore instantly available IF you have a phone signal.

    Its probably not helpful, but they're calling Aubenas-Vogue "empty" right now! To be honest, I find their descriptive terms are based on whitewater fun, rather than touring, so "empty" doesn't mean much and half my paddling has been done at this level.

    Tarn has a low-ish middling level, Montbrun is on 0.62, and I know that means "enough water but plenty of rocks". No idea if the rain in the Tarn area has been similar to the Ardeche, they're a reasonable distance apart. The Allier is further north, and seems very low. I think that's generally the case this year, but then again bits of France have just been hammered by storms!

    Mark L might have a view, he's been running trips all over the Massif Central in the last few weeks.

  13. #13
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    Thanks for the reply and I will post up some details of the trip for others to have a look at. I'm always happy to share info if people want it.
    cheers
    Tim
    Quote Originally Posted by elveys View Post
    Sorry can't help but have a great trip and if you do manage to start at Aubenas please add the detail about put in etc in case we get enough water to start there in September

  14. #14
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    Just as an add on I got an email from Daniel Cummin at Ardèche Experience yesterday regarding water levels and access issues on the Ardèche which I thought other people might find helpful. Looks like we will be starting from Vogue or Balazuc


    Hi Tim,


    Water levels are pretty low at the moment (just above summer levels at about -0.7m) although some more rain is due in later this week and it might spike. I think starting at Aubenas would be too much and this is generally only a kayak section in higher water. At low water you will be scraping most of the way.

    The highest I would suggest to start would be Vogue although I usually put in at Balazuc when doing the higher ‘defiles’ section. You will scrape in a couple of places but this wont be too bad – just be careful when you get to all the canoe shoots from Ruoms to Vallon as you will scrape your boat going over the ledges (especially with fully laden boat).

    Your best bet would be to keep an eye on river levels by using the following link – Vigicrues

    There are various legal restrictions to going on different sections of the river which I have included below for you – these levels are based on the reading at Salavas bridge in Vallon which is the link I included above.

    • A section from Vogue to St Maurice d’Ardeche is closed to non guided groups if this is above –0.30m, and closed to all above +0.10m.
    • St Maurice to Ruoms is closed to all above +0.10m.
    • Ruoms to Salavas Bridge is also closed to non guided groups if this is above –0.30m, and closed to all above +0.10m.
    • Salavas Bridge to St. Martin d’Ardeche is closed to non-guided groups above +0.50m and closed to all above +1.30m

    Please note that if the water levels rise to these levels then they will police it and will stop and fine people breaking the limits These limits have been reduced on the higher sections due to the danger of the weirs and accidents that have happened in the last few years.

    In summary, as long as it stays below –0.3m you will be fine from Vogue down. If between –0.3 and +0.1 then be very careful and you may get questioned on upper sections. Above +0.1 then you can only go from Vallon down to St. Martin.

    I hope all this helps and that you have a great trip. Hopefully I might see you on the river!

    All the best

    Danny

    Daniel Cummin
    Experience Ardèche

    E-mail : dcummin@experienceardeche.com
    Phone: 0033 (0) 4 69 26 52 89
    Web : www.ExperienceArdeche.com

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