Spiky crimps, technical moves, burning sun, long pitches, perfect limestone walls, strange soup and funny climbers were the essential elements of an amazing climbing trip in the heart of the Atlas Mountains, in a so called “center of the Universe”, the small village of Taghia.
Since my last trip to Morocco one year ago, when I was part of “Climb Again” Project, I kept alive the idea of returning to Taghia and have a real taste of the big climbing potential of the area. I also thought a comeback would be a great opportunity to give another try to the route called Baraka which we failed to climb last year during the project.
So there we were in Zaouia Ahanesal, a berber village, the place where we loaded all our gear on donkeys and said goodbye to Facebook, mobile phones or other means of modern communications with our friends at home. The first three days were rainy but were perfect for us to slowly get used to the place, the people and the rock. We started climbing at Madrassa on short sport climbing routes and I was wondering how the routes would be like in all the huge walls that were surrounding the place.
Alex and I, accompanied by Dragos, decided to make the most of the next few days and climbed in a team of three first on a warm up route close to the village and then to something a bit more aesthetic and challenging. Cristina and Cosmin formed another team and shared some routes and walls with us. The atmosphere, the views and the climbs were great and when everything started to settle down we turned our eyes to Baraka (7b, 690m). On an early morning, me and Alex fired up on the route, changing leads and carefully free climbing all the sequences. Unfortunately the crux pitch didn’t go entirely free but the effort was good, we kept our motivation high and continued to enjoy the route. From the top of Oujdad we could see the entire place and the stunning landscape.
After Baraka, with the main objective ticked, tired and without much skin left on our fingers, we opted for a rest day.
The following days we returned to the walls of Taghia and climbed probably some of nicest routes around. Everything we did was on solid, good quality rock, on modern sport climbing multi pitch routes and some of them mixed with a bit of trad climbing. After 12 days, 8 multipitch routes, 2620 m of height climbed and 70 pitches, a little bit of sport climbing and an infinity of good holds, the feeling of climbing in this area remains trully unforgetable to me.
Before heading home the thirst for cultural exploration was awarded with two days in Marrakech, a city of colors. The place is an interesting blend of beautiful oriental culture with visible European influences, a sight rarely seen in other Arabic countries.
My Taghia climbing adventure was possible with the support of Alianta