L’Etrier du Diable

The film

Preparation, Opening and Descent of "l'Etrier du Diable"

Technical Sheet

This descent is rated V-Black

Municipality: Rigaud
Valley: The Gorges du Cians
IGN map: 3641.OT
Departure altitude: 900m
Length: 750m
Altitude difference: 520m
Cascade Max: 158m
Approach: 40mn
Duration: 5H
Back: 1mn
Shuttle service: 11 km
Roche: Limestone

Legend Quotation

Route accessible to the greatest number with abseils not exceeding sixty meters.

Descent very vertical with abseils that can approach 100 meters.

Reserved for lovers of verticals, relays full wall and large commuters.

Descent very impressive. DO NOT engage in it without being certain of its technical capabilities and perfect vacuum control.

Warning !

Beware of the falls of Stones. Thoroughly purge the starting surfaces before installing the ropes and make sure to take cover as soon as you get down.


Open the 09 April 2017 by Dany (Le Lion), Christophe (Cactus) et Dominique (Dom)

Origin of name

Po reach the great pendular of 158m, we must progress along a vertical wall from the anchorage of "Les Angles". For this, we have installed a fixed handrail cable equipped with horse stirrups to serve as pedals for the passage of each anchorage. This mini Via Ferrata has then become (after some aperitifs) a "Via Etriata". As for the relationship with the devil, it becomes quickly obvious as soon as we engage on it.


(See "The MOV Access")

"L'Etrier du Diable" is a variant of "Les Angles". They both have a common departure: "The Apero Area No. 1". It can be accessed by 2 paths: -Either by passing through the "Ravin des Pyramides".
- Or going through "La Falaise". Access by "La Falaise" is described here. Access by the "Ravin des Pyramides" is described in the topo of "Les Angles".

Downstream : From Nice, take the N202 towards Dignes. At the crossroads of La Mescla, turn left towards Dignes and Valberg. Pass the village of Touët-sur-Var and, 1.5km further, turn right on the D28 going up the "Gorges du Cians". After 1.8km, park on the right on a good car park that can accommodate several vehicles (Photo 01).

Upstream: With the second vehicle, continue on the D28 still towards Valberg. Just after the first tunnel, turn left onto the road to Rigaud. Cross the village and, just at the exit, turn left onto a small asphalt road that goes up to the Dina plateau. Because of its northern exposure, this road can be snow-covered part of the winter. Special equipment may be required. Once on the Dina plateau (sunny all day)we continue for 1.5km to park on the right just after the chapel St Sauveur (02 and 03 photos). At the 188 at the waymark located in front of the chapel, take the path that goes down to the "Canyon de Gilette" (Photo 04). After 100m, at the level of a pine bearing a blue mark, we leave the path on the left to take a small path that goes down between the trees (Photo 05). From there, we will follow the blue marks. Quickly, we arrive at a clearing we cross (Photos 06 et 07) to go up in front following the path that slants to the right (Photos 08 et 09). At the top of this small ridge, we will leave a house on our left (10 photo) and we will continue (11 photo) to arrive immediately on the flat area where the path (little marked) goes to the left (12 photo). It then goes down slightly (13 photo) to join a track that we will follow on the right (Photo 14). 100m further on, in a big left turn, we leave the track to round a big mound of stones on the right (Photo 15). We then follow a small path, on the left (Photo 16), which runs along the cliff (Photos 17 et 18) and leads in 5mn to the double pylon, strategic crossroads for access to different canyons (Photo 19). Here we can:
- Either go to the left between the 2 piles of stones and follow the vegetation towards the "Ravin de la Source" and the "Ravin de la Soif".
-Or walk straight ahead of the pylon and follow the ridge line towards the "Ravin des Pyramides", "Les Angles" (So ​​also the "Etrier du Diable",the "Barring Amont de Ciaudans" and the "Grotte"). So we will pass in front of the pylon (Photo 20) and follow the blue marks around the scree cone (21 to 23 photos). At the end of the ridge (Photo 24), and 50m before the departure of the "Canyon de Ciaudans" (marked with rubalise in Right Bank), we leave on the left the departure of the "Ravin des Pyramides" materialized by 2 pins marked with the painting Red. We continue straight (Photo 25) and we enter the pine forest on the summit plateau (Photo 26). From here, we follow the red paint marks (26 to 29 photos) and we quickly come out on the western ridge of the plateau (Photo 30). There, at the level of a ruin, we will abandon the red marks that continue along the cliff towards the start of the "Barring Amont de Ciaudans" and the "Grotte". We will follow the blue marks crossing the ruin (Photos 31 et 32) that lead us, in minutes (33 to 35 photos)to the departure anchorage (Photos 36 et 37). A mono point (Photo 38) allows us to go down a C4 that leads to the anchorage of a beautiful C30 where the linstallation of a rope guard is mandatory (Photos 39 et 40). At the foot of the C30, we will follow the wall in Left Bank (Photo 41) over a few tens of meters until you find an anchorage on the wall (Photo 42) which allows to descend a C26 (Photos 43 et 45). At the bottom of this C26 we will leave in Left Bank following the blue marks and going down slightly (Photo 46). Arrived at a big pine with a red mark (the only one in the area) we will go down on the right (Photos 47 et 48) about thirty meters then we will follow the cliff to the left on a few tens of meters (Photos 49 et 50) to find an anchorage on the ground (Photos 51 et 52) and get down a C22 (Photo 53). About twenty meters down and on the right is "L'Aire d'Apero N ° 1" (Photo 54).

Return: We arrive directly on the road, 50m from the downstream parking, located on the left.

MOV - Access

The Play Ground

Access in Pictures


(See "The Photo Gallery")

DFrom "Apero Area N ° 1", we go down a C25 (Photo 55) to arrive at "Apero Area N ° 2" (Photo 56).
Note: We advise you not to pull back the rope immediately after arriving at "Apero Area N ° 2". Indeed, in the eventuality where one of the teammates would choose to give up, it will be safer for him going back up by being tied to this rope (See the chapter "Escape").
When first arrived there, we had the unpleasant surprise to note that an ugly scree overhung the departure of the cliff. It was obviously not possible to descend below this scree and we had no choice but to cover the ground with a wire mesh to secure it. Initially, we thought we had to secure a small corridor enough to access the cliff. unfortunately, we quickly realized that we had to secure the entire sector and, in the end, we ended up covering ... not less than 50M² (57 to 67 photos) before we could descend it ... to the ninth outing only. Since "The Apero Area N ° 2" it will be necessary to descend a C6 on our beautiful wire mesh to find an anchorage in Left Bank, immediately at the start of the cliff, which will allow to go down another C6 leading to the anchorage of the C95 of the departure of "Les Angles".

Note: Initially, we have installed this anchorage at the top of the cliff because of friction. Now that the wall is covered by the wire mesh, the friction becomes very negligible and one can directly descend the 12m which separate "Apero Area No. 2" from the anchorage of the C95.

To descend "L'Etrier du Diable" do not descend the C95 but progress along the wall in RIght Bank to go, at the end, seek the anchorage of the C158 (Photo 130). For this purpose, we have laid a mini Via Ferrata of 5.18m long. In order to be able to help the passage of each anchorage, we have installed stirrups of horse as pedals, which had the effect of transforming our "Via Ferrata" into "Via Etriata" (71 to 73 photos). We can say that the installation of the Via Etriata was somewhat ... aerial (74 to 80 photos). After a good apero (81 to 83 photos) we put on warm clothes (84 to 93 photos) and we left "L'Apero Area N ° 2" (Photos 94 et 95). The progression on Via Etriata (96 to 109 photos) is easy enough if you forget you see the road and the Cians between your feet 300m lower. There is a mini cornice to put the tip of the feet and tall people will have little to use the stirrups. But, for the garden gnomes ...

Once at the end of the Via Etriata, 3 choices are available to you:

1-To go back up
2-To descend directly from the anchorage chain. It's less fun because you will touch the wall in the last 40m. Warning ! In this option, you must imperatively put a rope protector at the break of the wall. THIS IS ESSENTIAL ! This is the option we have chosen for the first downhill and, in the "MOV Presentation", we can perfectly see our large yellow rope protector.
3-To put the rope in the 2 fixed deviations (Photos 110 et 113). This is the option that must be chosen because you will be able to take advantage of the spider's thread all the way down to the bottom ... and the bottom is far away (114 to 126 photos). The passage of the second deviation is a little technical and energy demanding (You can see in the "MOV Presentation" that I had to try 3 times but,down the road, it goes okay). We have installed a fixed rope guard at the break of the wall (a car mat) (113 and 121 photos). Be sure to position correctly your rope when passing the break of the wall. And ... have a good trip!

Do not forget the gloves and the ideal remains to wet the rope at the fountain of the upstream parking at Saint Sauveur Chapel.

Once down (Photos 127 et 128), we start in Right Bank and we follow the blue marks during 4-5mn while going down slightly (131 to 140 photos). We then get to a small scree of about 2m wide (Photo 141) that we will descend on a dozen meters. There, the scree comes out of the vegetation and we will leave it in Right Bank still following the blue marks (Photo 142). We climb up a small hill (Photo 143) on which there is an anchorage on a tree (144 to 147 photos), departure point of the C28 (Photos 148 et 149). Then follows a C39 (150 to 152 photos) down to an anchorage in Left Bank (Photo 153). From there, we will go down only 5m (friction requires) to find the anchorage of the C35 (154 to 157 photos). Finally, a C32 (158 to 160 photos) take us to the road that will be followed on the left on 50m to find the downstream parking (161 and 162 photos).

The Photo Gallery

The Synopsis

Aquatic character

S Dry all year.


P For those who would change their minds at the top of the cliff, it is possible to redo, in the opposite direction, the access path through the "Ravin des Pyramides" (see the topo of "Les Angles"). For this purpose it is advisable not to remove immediately the rope which allows to descend the C25 from "Area Apero N ° 1". In fact, we could perfectly go back up without rope but it is safer with. Once you return to the area of ​​Apéro N ° 1 ", follow the contours to the right following the blue marks. Once at the end of the pine forest, you get to the "Ravin des Pyramides". There, you can:
-Either go down it (Max cascade = 80m in pendular)
- Or go back up through the pine forest in Right Bank. It's a little steep but it goes okay. Count approximately 2H to descend or 2H30 to return to the upstream parking.

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