Mountains are funny things. Even if you hate them you can’t easily ignore them. I remember Mt. Ventoux taunting me from afar as soon as I realized what it was I was looking at way back in 2010. Mont Bouquet is similar, although small enough that a ‘wrong turn’ leading to its flanks would not need a few days’ recovery, like Ventoux might.
Still, it’s a nasty little monster that can’t decide what to do with itself once you start climbing it (from my side anyway – the west side just goes straight up). You begin with a testing ramp of 8% that totally flattens out after a couple hundred meters, then winds gently through the fields till you hit another stretch, this time more like 11%. Manageable, you think to yourself. What’s all the hubbub about, you wonder. Then you see a wall in front of you that makes you glad you have the 29 on – this is somewhere around 14% and it’s hard, but just as you get high enough on this ramp to see over it, you realize there’s a piece of tarmac that seems to be totally vertical (it might as well be, at over 20%). No matter how much you try and manage your effort here you are hyperventilating at the top.
And you still have 3 or 4 km to the paragliding ramp on the summit. The climb continues much like this the whole way to the summit, even toying with you once with a downhill. The last ‘mur’ near the top is nearly 20% again.
But unless I move away from Nimes, I guess I’ll be back. I’m not sure why, but I will.