Monday, 29 January 2018
A change from winter, snow and ice for me over the last week, having been in the Anti-Atlas mountains in Morocco. These are a lower, drier range compared with the more famous High Atlas, and over the last twenty years have attracted an increasing number of rock climbers keen to escape the cold, wet European winters and climb dry rock in the sunshine. The majority of the exploration has been by British climbers, thus the predominating ethic is of traditionally-protected climbs, in contrast to the majority of "winter sun" destinations which are bolt protected sport climbs. This suits me just fine! We were based in the oasis town of Tafraout, which is a low-key, friendly, relaxed sort of place. During the week we had uninterrupted blue skies, with daytime temperatures of 15-20 degrees Centigrade.......perfect! We climbed on both the large mountain crags composed of quartzite, as well as the smaller granite crags closer to Tafroaut. Some highlights were the superb flake climbing on High Sierra VS 4c ***, a mountain adventure on the aptly-named Wild Country V Diff ***, and climbing a possible new route on slabs, cracks, chimneys and off-widths which we tentatively named "Wide Sierra" HS 4b. It's fair to say that we only scratched the very surface of what the area was offer. By the second day of the trip we were already discussing when we could come next----the sign of a great place!!