Category Archives: Anti-Atlas

Last Week in Tafraout!

IMG_1707

 

Last week I had the joy of being back in one of my favourite places –  the Anti-Atlas Mountains of Morocco. Such a fantastic multi-pitch trad paradise with hundreds of routes and still so much room for development!

 

 

I was out there guiding Lindsay from Washington DC, who is a keen climber and was up for proper multi-pitch adventure!  We had just three days there to get in as many classic routes as possible.

 

For those of you interested in the details, here’s the breakdown:

 

South Side – Tafraout

Day 1 – Tizgut Gorge

  • Tizgut Rib VS 4c
  • Ahmed VS 4c
  • Tizgut Corner HVS 5a
  • Right Recess VS 4b

 

North Side – Jebel Kest

Day 2 – Afantinzar Valley – Lower Eagle Crag and Ksar Rock

  • Pink Lady VS 4c, 230m
  • Sahara MVS 4b / Jedi Groove HVS 4c

 

Day 3 – Samazar Valley – Waterfall Walls

  • Above the Water HVS 5a, 400m

 

 

IMG_1736

 

Our last day was pretty full on, as we left Tafraout for the more remote walls of the Samazar Valley. The walls here are massive, with routes up to 800m. We chose a top 50 HVS called ‘Above the Water’ on Waterfall Walls. This route has some sick exposure and isn’t to be underestimated as there are sections of loose rock… proper adventure climbing. From door to door we took about 10 hours with about eight and a half hours of non-stop climbing – a brilliant way to finish off the trip.

 

If you are up for an Anti-Atlas adventure or looking for an introduction to multi-pitch climbing in an exotic location with great sunshine then get in touch for this autumn, winter or spring as this is the season to head to Tafraout!  And for a review of the brilliant guidebook produced by Oxford Alpine Club check out my blogs here.

 

 

IMG_1735

 

IMG_1704

 

IMG_1726

 

IMG_1728

Categories: Anti-Atlas, Blog, James, Jebel El Kest, Tafraout, Trad
Tags: ,

Leave a comment

Top Guidebooks for Mountaineering, Climbing & Bouldering in Morocco

The Essentials Guidebooks for Morocco!

 

Good guidebooks are an essential piece of gear for the climber and mountaineer. Ideally, a solid guidebook will have great concise route descriptions, clean photos with routes clearly marked, a bit of beta on protection, and the necessary information for approaches and descents. Good information on local accommodation, transport, supplies etc. are some of the other elements that make up a good guidebook.

 

Below are guidebooks we recommend for your mountaineering, climbing and bouldering adventures in Morocco.

 


Screen Shot 2015-08-27 at 12.35.58 PMFor a comprehensive mountaineering guidebook for the High Atlas Mountains we suggest getting Des Clark’s Mountaineering in the Moroccan High Atlas – Walks, Climbs and Scrambles over 3,000m. Des, our senior guide, has lived in Morocco and guided all over the High Atlas Mountains. In this guidebook he brings together his local knowledge and his many years of experience as a guide to give you a great resource for your adventures in the High Atlas.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Screen Shot 2015-08-27 at 8.50.27 AMFor a guide to more technical rock and ice routes in the Toubkal Massif we recommend Toubkal Guia de Ascensiones y Escaladas by David Taura Riera. While not everyone will be able to understand the text in Spanish, the book is worth it just for the topos of the routes. It does also give you good beta on the technical equipment you will need for your chosen route. Be sure to google translate the equipment list to ensure you have the right kit for your trip.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Screen Shot 2015-08-27 at 8.47.33 AMMoving on to pure rock climbing guides, we would recommend the two volume set for the Anti-Atlas mountains: Tafraout – Rock Climbing in Morocco’s Anti-Atlas. These two books contain a life time’s worth of trad climbing and give excellent information for your trip logistics. There are now also mini-pocket guides of the best areas, giving you the top starred routes, and they are also conveniently small enough to shove in a jacket pocket.

 

For more information on the guides and the Anti-Atlas check out www.climb-tafraout.com

 

 

 


Screen Shot 2015-08-27 at 8.44.09 AMNow we come to one of my favourite places in Morocco: the big wall limestone area known as Taghia! This gorge has earned a top spot in the international climbing scene with climbers such as Alex Honnald and Arnaud Petit making repeated trips.

 

For this area we would recommend getting the guide Taghia Montagnes Berberes by Christian Ravier. This book is written in French but again the topos of the routes make it well worth its price. You can also find hand-drawn topos of other routes not included in this guide in the local gites in Taghia, so be sure to have a good look around. The Taghia area primarily offers sport climbing with many well-equipped routes. However, it is worth bringing a set of micro and standard cams and a set of nuts to pad out protection and belay stances for the less well-equipped routes.

 

For a great article in English for logistics help check out: http://www.ukclimbing.com/articles/page.php?id=2008

 

 


Screen Shot 2015-08-27 at 8.56.44 AMWhat about a bouldering guide for Morocco? 2015 saw the launch of the excellent digital guidebook for low to mid level bouldering for the amazing Oukaimeden area of the High Atlas. This guidebook app is available for both android and iphones. All the routes have a topo, grade and GPS co-ordinates so all you need for locating and selecting your route is your phone! We like this guide for its features such as grade selection: choose a practical grade and the slick filtering system will bring up all routes in the area you are in. The guide is published by Rakkup and put together by Imik’sImik Bouldering and Climb Morocco.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Categories: Alpine Climbing, Anti-Atlas, Blog, Climbing Information, Guidebook(s), High Atlas, James, Morocco, Mountaineering
Tags: , ,

Leave a comment

The Lady in Black, Delirium & Agent Orange… morocco multi-pitch

IMG_0343

Jeremy coming up on pitch one of the Lady in Black E1 5b

 

Last week I headed down to the Anti Atlas mountains with Jeremy from Climb Morocco, to an area also known as Tafraout/Jebel El Kest for some multi-pitch trad climbing. Temperatures are rising now here in Morocco (thankfully still not too much here in the High Atlas) but we managed to fit in this one last trip before it gets really too hot.

 

And what a trip it was! We headed to the valley known in the guidebooks as Samazar Valley which is on the north side of the Jebel El Kest area and set up camp for our three-day trip below The Waterfall Walls.

 

 

IMG_3836

Waterfall Wall (left) and Aylim (right)

 

Our main reason for choosing this valley was the fact that it boasts some of the biggest walls in the area with a number of the routes, such as Labyrinth Ridge on Aylim (the Great Rock), reaching up to 800m.

 

It is also an area that sees much less climbing traffic than others due to the access being only via a dirt road but even despite this, it’s so worth a visit for a trad climbing adventure. Once you have negotiated the road, there is still great access to the routes themselves from the piste with walk-ins as short as 10 minutes, along with a plethora of high quality quartzite walls.

 

After arriving around 1.00 in the afternoon from Marrakech, we started on The Flatiron buttress, climbing First Up E1 5a, a 230m route. The top pitches were brilliant – good, clean rock and incredible views of the valley.

 

 

IMG_0337

View from the Flatiron buttress – route First Up E1 5a

 

 

IMG_3803

The Flatiron

 

Then after a night under the stars we tackled The Pimple buttress the following morning, climbing Lady in Black E1 5b, 200m. The route was fantastic with a steeper section in the middle that was good fun However, the descent was not so straightforward.

 

 

IMG_3815

James leading first pitch on Lady in Black E1 5b

 

 

IMG_0346

Jeremy leading on pitch two of Lady in Black E1 5b

 

The guidebook warns about vegetation on the eastern gully descent, and we found it impossible to descend through the deep, thick vegetation without cutting ourselves to pieces on the thorny bushes. So for a better descent follow the guidebook’s instructions for the 20m abseil off the top and then go down the opposite gulley (western) which leads to the trailhead. Go right at the trail, which then leads you along and below The Pimple buttress back down to the road!

 

After a short rest in the afternoon we got on the massive Aylim buttress (The Great Rock) and climbed a 3 star E1 5b route called Delirium, 325m. The route was awesome as the crux pitches came in the middle and top of the route… serious exposure.

 

 

IMG_0349

View from the top of Delirium E1 5b

 

The next day we went back to The Pimple, glad to know the safer descent route, and we climbed Agent Orange E2 5b, 140m. The crux pitch on this route was the one off the ground – technical and strenuous climbing but well worth the battle.

 

IMG_0350

Jeremy leading the crux pitch on Agent Orange E2 5b

 

The guidebook we used from our trip was the two-set volume Tafraout – Rock climbing in the Anti-Atlas by Steve Broadbent, published by Oxford Alpine Club. Take a look at my review of the books here. Also, in the last year the publisher has released pocket guides with selected top routes for the areas, which are definitely worth purchasing for weight saving whilst climbing the classics!

 

The heat of the summer sun in the south of Morocco makes this area out bounds for the next few months but from October to the end of April, it’s a climber’s paradise. Contact us for more information about our multi-pitch guided trips and let us introduce you to the awesome rock.

Categories: Anti-Atlas, Blog, Jebel El Kest, Morocco, Tafraout, Trad
Tags: , , ,

Leave a comment

Trips and Courses for the Summer and Autumn

Screen Shot 2014-06-07 at 7.18.20 PM

 

Quick update on some of the trekking and climbing trips and courses we are offering over the summer and autumn! The High Atlas still has so much to offer outside of the winter season: great scrambling and trekking, stunning views of colour-filled  landscapes and ancient villages, and epic multi-pitch routes offering hundreds of metres of adventures. Our summer and autumn season lasts from the end of May to late October.

 

Please click on the links below for more details:

 

Drop us an email at morocco@the-mountain-people.com for more details.

Categories: Anti-Atlas, High Atlas, James, Mountaineering, Summer, Tafraout, Trad, Trekking
Tags: , ,

Leave a comment

Tafraout / Anti-Atlas – Basic Logistics

IMG_4548

Morning drive into the beautiful Anti-Atlas mountains

Since my Tafraout recce trip I have been pretty busy getting things ready for this winter season, but I did want finish the mini blog series by passing on the basic logistical things you need for your trip! Most of the information that follows was taken from the new Tafraout guidebooks or from personal experience.

 

Airports

The closest airports to Tafraout are the Agadir and Marrakech Airports – once you’re there you won’t have too much in-country travel! Tafraout is roughly five hours form Marrakech and two and a half hours from Agadir. So it is worth considering Agadir first if there isn’t too much of a price difference in flights…. what you might save on your flight to Marrakech you might spend in petrol or coach costs on arrival and, of course, you’ll also save yourself some time.

 

Flights

Top tip: have a good look at all your flight options! Easyjet, Ryan Air and British Airways are a few of the airlines that fly into either Marrakech or Agadir. Another thing to consider is the checked baggage. If you book well in advance on British Airways sometimes it works out cheaper or not much more and you get 23kg instead of 20kg checked baggage! They also give you two carry-on bags, so you can get your laptop and potentially all your clothes into your carry-on baggage: more room for your climbing rack in the hold luggage J Flights vary a bit pricewise but you can get flights as cheap as £150 return!

 

Hire Cars

You can get hire cars in both Agadir and Marrakech. It will cost you roughly £150 to £200 for a week.  Book in advance and check the opening times of the hire company to make sure your arrival and departure flights will allow you to pick up and drop off your hire car!

 

Accommodation  

This depends on which side of the Anti-Atlas you are going to be climbing on! Top Tip: I would get your hands on the two-volume guidebook and plan where you want to stay based on where you want to climb (and of course your budget!).

IMG_4560

Kasbah Tizourgane… pretty atmospheric place!

 

North Side – Not much on this side of the range:

 

South Side – There are a plethora of places to stay:

 

Food & Drink

IMG_4545

Proper coffee… ahhh!

There are loads of choices of places to eat – here are a few recommendations:

  • Coffee! If your like me and want real coffee then I would recommend Restaurant/Hotel Tanger. I got a proper Americano… a big glass (not a little espresso shot) and the food was great and inexpensive! It is located in the centre of town.
  • Restaurant La Kasbah is a great place if you have a bit of extra money to spend on food, and beer and wine is available.
  • Hotel Les Amandiers is another place if you are looking for a cold beer and they also have a restaurant.

 

Supplies

There are loads of little shops called “hanouts” were you can purchase snacks, water, fizzy drinks, etc.

 

Climbing gear

Gear shops don’t really exist in Morocco! So bring everything you need kit wise for your trip.

 

More Information

 

If you are interested in guiding or instructions from a qualified MIA (Mountaineering Instructor) who lives in Morocco please contact us for our guiding prices at morocco@the-mountain-people.com

 

All the best you on your trad adventures in the Anti-Atlas/Tafraout!

 

Peace!

 

 

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

1 Comment