Ben Moon returns to Buoux 30 years after Agincourt was first climbed…
On the 30th anniversary of his ascent of Agincourt, the first 8C rock climb in France, Ben Moon embarks on a trip down memory lane to once again visit the place that played such an important role in the history of sport climbing.
Ben first visited Buoux in 1984 with his good friend Jerry Moffatt and fell in love with the place immediately. In the late 80s and early 90s the South of France and particularly Buoux was the place to be and most of the best climbers in the world were to be found at Buoux. Climbers such as Patrick Edlinger, Antoine and Marc Le Menestrel, Didier Raboutou, Wolfgang Gullich, Lynn Hill, Catherine Destivelle, Jean-Baptiste Tribout, Stefan Glowacz and Jim Kahn. They were all there and they came to test themselves on the hardest routes of the day. Routes such as Reve Du Papillon, Elixir du Violence, Chouca and La Rose et Le Vampire. Buoux in the 1980s was like Margelef in the 2010s.
After that first visit in 1984, Ben returned every year for the next 5 year and over time worked his way through all of the hardest routes. This culminated in 1988 with early repeats of the big three 8b+ routes: La Rage Du Vivre; Le Minimum; and La Spectra. After this, Ben turned his attention to an unclimbed project on the steep wall left of the Mission ledge. Over a number of sessions at the end of 1988 he worked out a sequence and in January 1989, managed to redpoint the route which he name Agincourt after a famous battle between the French and English. The route seemed a step up from all the other routes Ben had climbed so he graded it 8c – the first route of that grade in France.