Altitude 418m a.s.l
Chouca 8a+ Buoux © Paul Barton
Buoux (pronounced "bee-you-ks") Â is the pocket-pulling capital - a mixture of limestone and sandstone, the rock has a dazzling array of pockets, some tiny, some huge - in Buoux even the pockets have pockets in them! In other words it helps to like pockets if you climb here. It isn't all pockets though since the red and brown rock gives even more variety, especially on the middle section of the cliff.
For a while, the word 'Buoux' was synonymous the golden age of sport climbing, and an icon of sport climbing itself. Sadly though, it became a victim of its own success when sections of the cliff were banned due to cheapskate climbers dossing and polluting the woods around the crag. These access difficulties have now been resolved but it goes without saying that climbers still need to show respect and behave sensibly.Â
Though some sectors get afternoon shade, Buoux is mostly a sunny venue. The fact that Â is in a valley does provide shade at the end of the day, but for the most flexibility aim to visit in the spring or autumn. A sunny winter's day can be perfect, but you may be unlucky and find it freezing cold, or even snowing.
In the town of Apt, follow the D900 east through the town, by the river, until you reach a tree-lined car park just before a large Intermarché supermarket. Turn left here (signed 'Buoux') and follow the signs through the one-way system, past the Gendarmerie, and out on the D113 to the village of Buoux. Pass through the village and continue for a short distance to a left turn on a bend. The first parking area is found up this road on the left, just after a corner. A little further on is another parking area on the right. The first two parking areas are well-placed for climbing at the sectors on the left side of the crag (La Derive to Les Diamants). The next parking area is reserved for visitors to the Fort, but continue up the road and a third parking area is found near a collection of bins, this is good for the sectors on the right side of the crag (Les Diamants to Bout du Monde).
During the heyday of Buoux, in the 1980s, the situation with climbers biviing at the crag, litter and exrement became so bad the crag was banned for a while. Thankfully this was resolved (although some buttresses were lost, possibly forever, to climbers under the revised access agreement).
Following the situation becoming untolerable once again, camping is banned in the valley (a municipal decree, including sleeping in vans), as are stoves/fires at the crag. There are many cheap and comfortable camp sites nearby in the region. Please consider using them, supporting the local economy, even if you're living that dream in your van.
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