Category Archives: Tafraout

Last Week in Tafraout!

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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

 

 

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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.

 

 

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Categories: Anti-Atlas, Blog, James, Jebel El Kest, Tafraout, Trad
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The Lady in Black, Delirium & Agent Orange… morocco multi-pitch

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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.

 

 

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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.

 

 

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

 

 

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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.

 

 

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James leading first pitch on Lady in Black E1 5b

 

 

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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.

 

 

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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.

 

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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
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Trips and Courses for the Summer and Autumn

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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
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Tafraout / Anti-Atlas – Basic Logistics

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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!).

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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

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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
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Morocco Trad Climbing | Tafraout Guidebooks

 

In part 2 of our mini-series on Morocco trad climbing we look at the latest guidebooks to Tafraout and the wider Anti-Atlas area. If you missed the first, part 1 was a full-bodied taster to the Morocco trad climbing scene in Tafraout, and part 3 rounds the series off on basic logistics.

 

 

Tafraout Guidebooks

 

 

Go-to guidebooks to Morocco trad climbing in Tafraout

 

So as I mentioned previously, Jay and I were keen to get our hands on the newly released guidebooks for the Anti-Atlas, specifically documenting trad climbing. On our first evening in Tafraout we were able to meet up with the books’ author, Steve Broadbent, at the Restaurant La Kasbah. He and a bunch of other climbers were over for the release of the books (published by the Oxford Alpine Club) and after a friendly chat with Steve we secured our copies and spent most of the evening gripped by the endless possibilities laid out in the books. If you are planning a trip to the Anti-Atlas for an amazing Morocco trad climbing adventure then look no further then the two-volume set of guidebooks. They really are a must for your trip.

 

Everything from bouldering to sport climbing and huge mountain routes

 

Steve and the Oxford Alpine Club have really upped their game with this definitive and comprehensive set of books, which cover everything from roadside granite bouldering and sport climbing that surrounds the town of Tafraout to the mammoth quartzite mountain routes that will test even the slickest and most efficient of parties.

 

A lifetime’s worth of Morocco trad climbing

 

Volume 1 covers the south side of Jebel el Kest and the Ameln Valley while volume 2 takes in the north side of Jebel Kest and Jebel Taskra. With this set you are armed with a lifetime’s worth of multi-pitch trad climbing. There are almost 2,000 routes within the pages of the two-volume set.

 

Well put-together guidebooks

 

What I love about the guidebooks:

 

  • Clear maps and directions i.e. the accurate information that will get you in and out of the crags/areas you have selected for your trip
  • Excellent route information including: grades, good topos and concise and clear route descriptions and other helpful route info
  • Crag selector section – I really like this because it gives you all the pertinent information for each crag/area in summary form, including: name and location of the crags/areas, style of climbing (mountain route, single pitch, roadside crag, sport, multi-pitch trad etc.), driving and walk-in times, number of routes at each grade i.e. five E2s, and more
  • The books have a wealth of good information on accommodation, transport, history of climbing in the Anti-Atlas, local culture, restaurants and tourist attractions

 

 

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A look inside one of the books

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Overview of the climbing areas in the Anti-Atlas

 

To purchase these books in the UK see: www.climb-tafraout.com/tafraout-guidebook

 

Or you can buy them for 450 Moroccan dirhams in Tafraout at the following places:

 

  • Hotel Les Amandiers
  • Maison Troc

 

As mentioned in the last post, we at The Mountain People can offer you guiding on multi-pitch Morocco trad climbing routes up to E1 with a qualified Mountaineering Instructor (MIA) who lives in the High Atlas mountains of Morocco and speaks the local Arabic dialect. Contact us at: morocco@the-mountain-people.com

 

All the best to you on your upcoming adventures!

 


Categories: Anti-Atlas, Blog, Guidebook(s), James, Morocco, Tafraout, Trad
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