After Calanques, Cathy and I climbed and worked in Buoux for two weeks. Buoux is in Provence, in south France, near the town of Apt. Buoux was a cutting-edge sport climbing destination in the 1980's. Where hang-dogging, rap-bolting and Spandex allowed some of the hardest routes in the world to be established. The US equivalent at the time was Smith Rock in Oregon, where American sport legend Alan Watts was leading Rude Boys, and I was a climbing-struck teenager, standing below watching.
Now, just a few climbers a day visit the 80-meter cliffs at Buoux.
Buoux is all about pocket-pulling. The pockets range from big holds, to one-digit finger-rippers.
Here is Cathy climbing L'Aspic, 25-meters of 6a pockets and stemming. Buoux does not have ego-fluffing vacation grades like Kalymnos, Greece. We estimate the Buoux grades were 4-6 notches lower than the equivalent in Kalymnos.
Cathy leading La Derive des Incontinents, 25-meters of 1980's 6a+ with sparse bolts.
Joe leading La Calfouette. This is the best climbing photo from our time in Buoux. I would like to take credit for this photo, but people might not believe me.
Joe leading Partie Gratuitie, a three-star 6a+. Another nice photo by Cathy. Hmm, I'm being outdone by the wiffy.
Pocket-pulling tweaks on the body. Our fingers had partial tears, but no show stoppers.
The bolts of the 1980's have been replaced with chubby glue-ins.
The route names are written at the base of most routes. Notice the French beetle in defense mode.
People have been living among the Buoux cliffs for 50,000 years.
The French sport climbing legend Patrick Edlinger climbed at Buoux. In high school I worshipped Patrick. I had a photo from a Beal catalogue of Patrick looking calm on La Rose et la Vampire (8b/5.13d) at Buoux. RIP Patrick.
Downtown Buoux on a busy day.
Our big night out in Buoux, at Auberge de la Loube. This is the hors d'oeuvre. The wine is from Buoux.
Cathy working at the wifi hotspot at the goat farm were we stayed. The building was built in 1644. The goats slept downstairs.
Herding the goats back to milk for chevre cheese. The biggest event of the day in Buoux. Now we go back to the Great White North.