… or Saint Bo’ for short, is another significant crag in L’Herault that we’d never heard of before, let alone visited (thanks Keith and Fiona for the tip off). It’s about 45mins from Thaurac, and like all the drives around here, that’s no great hardship. You pass Pic Saint Loup and the mighty Hortus (now that’s a crag we have heard of, and still haven’t been to – yet!)
Glorious vineyards all the way…
Saint Bo’ (or Puech des Mourgues to give it its proper title)…
… is slightly less imposing and a more leisurely approach (5 to 15mins depending on which sector), and a perfect suntrap. There’s climbing along the full length, but the best seems to be concentrated at either end, and the path immediately adjacent to the crag gets a bit prickly between the two (better to take your pick and head directly there).
The area was subject to a major wildfire about 10 years ago, and was closed for a while afterwards. There’s since been a major tidy up, new bolts throughout and carefully made paths, so it’s almost as good as new (must have been a huge effort!) I say “almost” as it has to be said that many of the routes are a bit shiny in places.
I warmed up on Premier de Cordee, a 6b with a very stiff, crimpy, polished crux (not highly recommended)…
… and Mangeur de Lune, 6b+ and more sustained with big moves up very steep terrain. Great fun!
Over towards the far left of the crag, Sector Lezardeux has a bunch of more amenable routes, which have have rhyming names. Helen enjoyed Sa Roule ma Poule, Facile Cecile, and Penard Bernard, although the fact that they are set up with intermediate loweroffs for “initiation” routes does mean the risk of tiny kids and the passage of many scrabbling feet.
Further left again, Sector Leda Atomica has some newer and less polished routes. Zebda, 7a, looked to be the pick of these, but it was in non-stop use by a young couple. I pondered a polite enquiry as to whether I could have a quick go, but then realised they were prevailing in the face of two tiny daughters plus an even tinier baby strapped in the belayer’s papoose, and overhead the very recent mum explaining to her eldest that this was going to be “La premiere sept a pour sa mere”.
Kudos for perseverance against the odds, so I settled for an attempt on the adjacent Topo Copieur, also 7a but tougher I was told (too tough for me anyway).
Plenty to come back for, and another stunning outlook, with the Med just about visible, twinkling on the horizon. We’ll be back!