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Climbing Chouca: Classic Hard French Route at Buoux

Tucked into a hidden valley in Provence in southern France is Buoux, a long wall of perfect pocketed stone with over 500 sport routes. Back in the 1980s Buoux was The Laboratory, one of the first pure sport climbing areas in the world. Chouca (8a+/5.13c), an overhanging 90-foot pitch up a swelling wall high on the east side of the cliff. Back in the mid-80s, Antoine Le Menestrel made the first ascent of the line with long reaches between pockets and technical footwork. The figure-4 technique supposedly originated on Chouca. Here is a photograph of Ian Green heading up Chouca in 1994. Josh Morris belays while Brett Green observes. We spent a lot of time at Buoux on that trip cranking pocketed routes, wading in the creek below, and hanging out at the old Roman town of Apt and the village of Bonnieux.

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