Felix on the crux pitch of the SW ridge of Toubkal West 21-6-14


Last weekend, I had the pleasure of guiding Felix on some of the classic alpine ridges in the High Atlas. Felix is a seasoned climber with both summer and winter and single and multi-pitch experience climbing experience, so he was well up for a Moroccan climbing adventure.




View from the NE ridge of Afella 22-6-14


After walking up to the refuge on day one we spent some of the evening going over short-rope techniques that would be useful for the following couple of days. After that, we made our plan for the following day, which would mean a pretty early start (5:00am) to give us plenty of time to enjoy the SW ridge of Toubkal West, AD+.


Alpine climbing is all about efficiency which means quick route finding, dialed rope systems and moving quickly and, with Felix being a strong, experienced climber, we managed to stick to the rules of alpine climbing. After finishing the ridge in good time we managed to summit Toubkal as well. For those of you who want the “hard way” up Toubkal then the SW ridge of Toubkal West is the route for you!




Me and Felix on the summit of Toubkal 21-6-14


On day three we climbed the NE Ridge of the north shoulder of Afella, gaining a height of 3,980m. This ridge is 600m long and an alpine grade of D+. It is a route of commitment and stamina. After a bit of slower start, we gained the ridge and made good time to the summit. The descent is down the main route of the peak of Afella 4,040m. We found the north-facing gully in not the best of conditions with big, weak snow bridges, which meant lowering Felix down 50m rope lengths and me down climbing after him. All was fine, but it did slow down our descent. This gulley line in winter and even into early spring is generally pretty easy going for a descent, but if you are climbing in the area in summer make sure to have the equipment and experience to deal with it in lean condition. This is all part of alpine climbing; you have your toolbox of skills, experience and equipment and you choose the appropriate tools for the situation the mountain throws at you!




Gully descent off Afella 22-6-14


Well done again to you Felix on taking on some of the biggest and best ridges in the Toubkal Massif and good luck to you on your future climbing adventures!


For those with a good amount of rock climbing experience looking to take on some of the great challenges of the High Atlas in Morocco please have a look at our High Atlas Alpine Ridges trips here!


Here is some feedback from Felix from the trip:


“I had a fantastic time climbing alpine ridges in the Toubkal massif. From the amazing logistics help to the delicious prepared food at the hut, everything was in place to make the most of my short time in the area and get as much climbing in as possible. Climbing with James was a treat, and was a perfect mix of professionalism and friendliness. I was able to use and expand my skill set under a watchful friendly eye, and overall had a tremendous experience with some fantastic people.



Categories: Alpine Climbing, Blog, High Atlas, instructional, James, Morocco, Mountaineering, Summer
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