A week in Provence

As another detour on my way to Spain, myself, Jack, Charlie, Mayan and Dave spent a week in Provence. First we went to St. Leger for a few days, which I thought to be a really cool crag. Coming from Chamonix we were psyched for some sun, but it was actually too hot and ended up climbing in the shade. Saint Leger is perfect for this, being a valley with one side shady and the other sunny.

Then we went to a crag called Lourmarin, which is really cool with unusual rock, but unfortunately we discovered it was banned and went to Buoux instead. I’ve never been to Buoux before, having always thought that it wasn’t really my style. But I actually really enjoyed it. It’s a really beautiful place and I am quite partial to a bit of pocket dragging.

We checked out Venasque after Buox, which provided the perfect counter-style to Buoux. Instead of sharp pocket dragging, we had round jugs on steep terrain. The crag by the road is OK, but luckily we bumped into some locals who showed us a better crag slightly higher up. This crag has a bigger selection of higher quality routes. After warming up we jumped on the classic Mauvaise Limonade 7c+/8a. The route is really good, and I was pleased to flash it, but… half way up I did a rather high heel hook/rock-over and as I shifted my weight on to it, I heard my knee go ‘pop’.

Mayan Smith-Gobat on Mauvaise Limonade 7c+/8a

It was pretty sore the day after and difficult to walk on, but it has been getting better day by day. I’ve been in Spain a week now, and it’s on the mend, but I’m still avoiding heel hooking, egyptianing and deep step-throughs. As a climber who has a slight, if not strong affinity for these types of moves, I am struggling quite a bit. But I’m just really thankful that the injury wasn’t so bad and that I can still climb.

Apart from the knee life is good, and a week in Provence was a perfect start to my stint of sport climbing. It feels good to be on the road and the little car is holding up… apart from a little injury of her own, concerning the gear box. Similar to my knee, I hope she will keep ticking along… at least long enough to get me home!


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