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Sport Climbing in Taghia & Zawiya Ahansal

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Taghia 2014

 

It was great to get out in May to the eastern High Atlas to recce Taghia, a world-class big wall and multi-pitch sport climbing area. The trip was a quick hit to get a handle on the area so we spent just three days there and got on a couple of routes. We are already planning to go back with so much good rock to enjoy. Check out the following article on Taghia to get your climbing stoke up and the basic info you need for your trip!

 

www.ukclimbing.com/articles/page.php?id=2008

 

Whilst out there, Jeremy, Jay and I ran across Alex Honnold and Kris Erickson, both professional North Face athletes. Jay and I went back later in the month to visit Kris in Zawiya Ahansal (ZA), the collection of villages which are the striking point for Taghia.

 

 

Jeremy, Jay, and me with and Alex Honnold

Alex Honnold, me, Jeremy and Jay

 

We spent a day and a half with him to get “the tour” of the single pitch sport climbing venue that Kris has developed. You can see the crag from his village but it’s about a 40 minute approach to get on these quality sport routes.

 

Here are the topos from Kris for the single pitch sport climbing in ZA. As you will see, the routes start at French 5+ and go up to 8b! So plenty to have a go on.

 

 

Secotr Aghanbou-n-Bouarragh, Zawiya Ahansal

Sect0r Aghanbou-n-Bouarragh, Zawiya Ahansal

 

Sector Azrou-N-Sidi, Aguddim, Zawiya Ahansal

Sector Azrou-N-Sidi, Aguddim, Zawiya Ahansal

 

And here is Kris’ blog on the new routing that went on earlier this year:

 

http://neverstopexploring.com/2014/04/21/kris-erickson-sam-elias-new-routing-morocco/

 

Kris and his family are based in ZA full time and for more information on their community development work in the High Atlas of Morocco check out their websites.

 

http://atlasculturalfoundation.org/

http://atlasculturaladventures.com/

 

We do not currently offer trips in Taghia or ZA but if you are looking for a qualified rock guide for your time in the area then look no further than Kris. He knows the area very well and has been climbing there for years. For more information on his story check out these articles:

 

http://adventureblog.nationalgeographic.com/2014/04/03/morocco-climbing-and-cultural-preservation-in-the-high-atlas/

 

For contacting Kris for guiding:

Email: kristofferjerickson@gmail.com

 

Jay on pitch 3 of Belle et Berber, TD+, 300m, 6b+.

Jay on pitch 3 of Belle et Berber, TD+, 300m, 6b+.

 

Categories: Blog, Climbing Information, High Atlas, James, Morocco, Sport climbing
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Toubkal Winter Conditions #23

 

Latest Toubkal Winter Conditions Report

 

Here are some photos I took yesterday morning of the current snow cover! As you can see winter is officially over. This will be the last winter conditions update from us at The Mountain People. We will start posting the Toubkal Winter Conditions update in the autumn at the first sign of winter!

 

If you are interested summer trekking & mountaineering or rock climbing get in contact with us to find out more about the trips and courses we offer.

 

 

Traverse into the south cwm of Toubkal

Traverse into the south cwm of Toubkal

 

Looking up at the Clochetons and Tadat Col

Looking up at the Clochetons and Tadat Col

 

Last third of the trek into the Toubkal refuges (middle peak Akioud)

Last third of the trek into the Toubkal refuges (middle peak Akioud)

Peak on right Ras, 7-5-14

Peak on right Ras

 

 

Categories: Blog, Conditions, High Atlas, James, Morocco, Mountaineering, Summer, Trekking, Winter
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Climbing Guidebook Marrakech Region

 

Climb Morocco Mini Guide Cover for Ain Belmusk

Climb Morocco Mini Guide for Ain Belmusk

 

Climbing Guidebook for the Marrakech Region

 

Over the years, I have enjoyed sport climbing in an area about and hour and half north of Marrakech called Ain Belmusk. The location is pretty remote but is beautiful and boasts some great sport routes from French 4+ to 7a.

 

Climb Morocco has produced a great little digital mini guide for the area, which gives clear directions, good topos, grades and other useful information about the area. It costs no more than £5.00 and will give you a good couple of days climbing.

 

Be on the look out for other mini-guides for climbing areas around Marrakech and the High Atlas region!

 

Contact Climb Morocco directly for purchase of the mini guide at info@climbmorocco.com

Categories: Blog, Climbing Information, Guidebook(s), James, Morocco, Sport climbing
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Toubkal Winter Conditions #22

Latest Toubkal Winter Conditions Report

I was out the other day with Jeremy from Climb Morocco exploring one of the biggest ridges that High Atlas has to offer: the WNW Ridge of Toubkal. This ridge has a well-earned alpine grade of difficile with challenging route-finding, exposed scrambling and rock climbing!

 

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WNW Ridge of Toubkal, D! 25-4-14

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Cheese…. Jeremy trying to replace some calories on the summit of Toubkal after 7 hours on the ridge! 25-4-14

Recent Weather

This last week there was a cold snap that lasted a few days and we had a dusting of snow down to Imlil (1,740m) on Monday night to Tuesday morning. That small drop of snow has all disappeared with the warmer temperatures and Imlil has had temperatures in the mid to high teens since then and the freezing level has been fluctuating at around 3800m to 4200m.

 

Snowpack and Snow Cover

The snow is retreating as expected! See the photos below for current snow cover.

 

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Looking at Toubkal and the south col route from Afella! 24-4-14

 

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South Col of Toubkal (photo taken from WNW Ridge), 25-4-14

 

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A returning party on the traverse into the south cwm on Toubkal on the sol col route, 24-4-14

 

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Looking back at the traverse before the summit of Toubkal, 25-4-14

 

Climbing Conditions

The classic mountaineering routes on peaks such as Afella and Akioud still require both an ice axe and crampons, but more sun-exposed routes like the south col of Toubkal are for the most part clear of snow and can be negotiated without crampons, but an ice axe, to cut a few steps and plunge on a few of the snow-covered traverses, would see an experienced walker through with no problems.

 

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Peaks: Ras, Timesguida n-Ouanoukim, and Akioud. All of them 4,000m peaks! (photo taken from the top of Afella,  24-4-14

Refuge Access

As mentioned in the last conditions update there is good access to the Toubkal refuges with the path being clear of snow and mules being able to pack in equipment and supplies all the way to the refuges!

 

Winter Conditions Summary

Toubkal and the High Atlas mountains continue to shed their snow base! Some of the classic routes on the more northerly aspects still require crampons and ice axes, but routes such as the south col of Toubkal are for the most part clear of snow and doable for the experienced mountaineer/trekker with just an ice axe for the snow-covered traverse sections on the route.

 

With winter on its way out, it is time for some summer scrambling and rock climbing! As mentioned in the previous post we run scrambling and multi-pitch rock trips in the Toubkal Massif. So if you are looking to experience the more vertical world the High Atlas has to offer please get in touch with us at morocco@the-mountain-people.com and have a look at http://www.the-mountain-people.com/alpine-ridges/.

Categories: Blog, Conditions, High Atlas, Ice Climbing, James, Morocco, Mountaineering, Winter
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GSM Mobile Phone Coverage Mgoun Region

Mgoun

Mgoun 4,068m

Mountain Mobile Phone Coverage Mgoun

As mentioned in my previous blog post I was out guiding on Mgoun last week. I wanted to give a quick update on mobile phone coverage in that area.

 

Mgoun is the most remote of the 4,000m peaks in the High Atlas and is a serious undertaking. Generally speaking you must be self-reliant in this corner of the world and the mobile coverage is very limited if not non-existant once off into the mountains. After speaking with the refuge guardian I was delighted to find that he had marked a spot of GSM coverage about 500m NW heading directly towards the peak of Aghouri (3,536m). The peak connects to the Tizi ‘ Tarkeddit (3,400m) the pass you typically come over to access the refuge.

 

Here is a photo taken on the left side of the Tarkeddit Refuge (2,900m) if you are looking up toward Aghouri peak. It is quite hard to see the spot but it is marked at the moment with a white bag covering a stone sitting on a boulder that has a very large boulder behind it. I have marked it in this photo with a red arrow.

 

GSM Coverage Tarkeddit Plateau

GSM Coverage Tarkeddit Plateau

 

I also took a GPS grid reference at the point:

N 31.53521

W006.51919

 

If you have any issues finding the coverage point get the guardian at the Tarkeddit refuge to show you the spot. It is worth checking that your service provider works on the Maroc Telecom network before heading out because that is the mobile service that covers the spot described above.

 

Also, if you are heading into this area, I would get rescue insurance that covers helicopter rescue services. There is a good private helicopter company called Heliconia based in Marrakech who can do a helicopter rescue from the Tarkeddit plateau where the refuge is situated. Contact them through their website for further details on helicopter rescue services at http://www.helicoptere.heliconia-maroc.com/

 

The Eastern Atlas is a beautiful area that is well worth a visit but you need to go prepare if heading into more remote areas. If you are interested in the trips we run for Mgoun please see get in touch at morocco@the-mountain-people.com.

 

Categories: Blog, High Atlas, James, Morocco, Mountain Information, Mountaineering, Trekking
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