It has been brought to our attention that climbers have been camping in crag car parks and the surrounding area at Buoux - despite a wild camping ban being in place - once again threatening climbers' access to the crags, which resulted in a complete climbing ban in the mid 80s.
The nationality of the climbers involved is unknown, but nevertheless it is worth a reminder that the wishes of locals should be respected in this sensitive area.
Buoux rose dramatically in popularity in the 80s and attracted climbers from around the world. Wild camping and the sanitary issues that go with it, in addition to disrespect for the locals came to a head with a complete ban on climbing under the authority of the Maire.
Eventually - after lengthy and delicate negociations - the FFME persuaded the authorities to re-open Buoux to climbers, but at the loss of a couple of crags, the Confines and the Face Ouest - the two crags nearest to the village itself. The Confines remain banned but after lengthy negociations the Face Ouest was eventually re-opened over 20 years later.
Other crags in the area have been banned for similar reasons - Menerbes and Lourmarin - and have never been re-opened.
The current situation resonates with the beginnings of the 80s trouble, and Pierre Duret (FFME route equipper) recently posted on French climbing website Camptocamp, describing tents camped in parking areas and in turn a feeling of anger resurfacing amongst the locals.
Whilst not wishing to appear accusatory, Pierre underlined the need for climbers visiting the area to show respect and refrain from wild camping in the area.
Ex-pat British climber Jon de Montjoye explained the alternative accommodation options:
"Please, if you intend to climb at Buoux, do NOT camp or bivvy anywhere in the valley, especially not in the crag car parks, and don't be tempted to wild camp up on the plateau. There's no shortage of accommodation in the immediate area - there are campsites in Apt and Bonnieux amongst others, gites all over the place, there's even a gite, the Auberge des Séguins, almost directly underneath Buoux's most famous route, la Rose et le vampire!"