This is the first in a short series on the amazing Morocco trad climbing destination of Tafraout, in the Anti-Atlas mountains. In this post we take an overview of the upcoming trad climbing area of Tafraout to give you a juicy taster if you are looking for your next Morocco trad climbing adventure or want some help with planning or logistics. Hopefully this should leave you suitably psyched-up, so check out the follow up posts on guidebooks (part 2) and basic logistics (part 3).

 

I have been back now in Imlil for a few days after my Anti-Atlas recce trip with Jay of Climb Morocco. Great to have a trusted climbing partner who shares my love for Morocco trad climbing!

 

Jay and I had a few objectives for this trip:

 

  • Climb some multi-pitch trad routes in the lower E grades
  • Get hold of the newly-released Tafraout guide book (see my book review in part 2 of this series)
  • Get more familiar with the area (see part 3 for a lowdown on basic logistics)

 

Trad climbing on quartzite under blue skies

 

Ksar Rock: Morocco trad climbing

Ksar Rock

The trip was a success all around and got up our ‘climbing stoke’ for future trips. The Anti-Atlas are well worth the five-hour drive south from Marrakech – there are literally hundreds of trad climbing routes on the quartzite rocks, all very well documented in the available guidebooks. And you can enjoy all this under a near-guaranteed perfect blue sky…

 

Jay and I spent two days climbing on the north side of Jebel el Kest at the high valley of Afantinaz. On day one we were at Ksar rock where the routes are shorter (2 to 5 pitches). They give a really good intro to the style of trad climbing in the Anti-Atlas and only have a 10 minute walk-in! We were also welcomed there by some friendly local Berbers for Friday couscous lunch (an institution in Morocco, as traditional as a Sunday roast in the UK). This was a real treat and testimony to the lovely hospitality that Morocco is famous for when you get off the tourist beaten track!

 

Classic routes, short walk-ins

 

Morocco trad climbing: Lower Eagle Crag

Black Beauty E1 5b – Lower Eagle Crag

On day two we wanted to push ourselves a bit further and go for a bigger route.  We decided to get on the 210m E1 5b Black Beauty, a 2 star route that makes a great day out! The route is just across the road from Ksar rock on Lower Eagle Crag. It has a slightly longer walk-in – a whole 15 minutes! (Make sure you get the right path as there are some thick bushes to push through if you get off route.) The route was what we expected, with a couple of crux pitches which we thoroughly enjoyed. And overall we found the Afantinaz valley rock very good quality with only the odd small section of loose rock.

 

Joe Brown’s legacy in Tafraout

 

Morocco trad climbing: Tizgut Crack

Jay seconding on the first pitch of Tizgut Crack E2 5b

Day three we decided to stay on the south side of the mountains near to the town of Tafraout where we were staying. We headed into the popular area of the Tizgut gorge (a 20 minute drive from Tafraout and a 35 minute walk-in), seeking out the classic routes of the area.

 

The first route we jumped on was Tizgut crack E2 5b (a top 50 three star route). This route was put up by Joe Brown and is worth making time for on your trip. The line is sustained crack climbing on pitch one with lots of hand and fist jams and pitch two packs a punch as well with a couple of steeper sections.

 

From there it is easy climbing to the terrace where you scramble down. The second route we climbed was Tizgut Arete E1 5a. This route felt pretty bold with its thin, small pro placements (also a top 50 three star route). Another great day out!

 

Huge Morocco trad climbing potential

 

We walked away from this trip inspired by the breath-taking views, the overall good quality of the rock and the massive scope for multi-pitch Morocco trad climbing adventures.

 

If any of this whets your appetite for a trad climbing adventure then get in touch for some single- and multi-pitch guiding in the Anti-Atlas. If you want to get some personal coaching and input, challenge yourself on some big routes and enjoy the stunning surroundings of the Anti-Atlas, then we can offer you instruction and training with a fully qualified Mountaineering Instructor (MIA) here in Morocco. Contact us at morocco@the-mountain-people.com for more information.

 


 

Categories: Anti-Atlas, Blog, James, Tafraout, Trad
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