James Pearson - F8b Onsight & E7/8 in Moroccoby Jack Geldard - Editor - UKC Jan/2011
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Pearson, on good form after a recent trip to Spain (where he onsighted the short and steep F8b Photoshot, at Margalef - see photo above), is hitting the granite outcrops around Tafroute and has flashed two F8b routes (both put up by Dani Andrada about a decade ago when a Spanish team developed a bunch of routes in the area) and has just added a new E7/8 7a trad route.
"The [8b routes I flashed] are in Morocco and are both from Andrada, and are fairly bouldery, very technical with small feet...
...Over the last few days I have begun to open up new trad routes, 3 routes so far, up to 7c, all trad, [plus] today I made (what I think!) is the FA of the hardest trad route in the area. Not sure on the grade yet, but around E7/8 7a."
Tafroute is home to the famous 'painted boulders' and is swamped with granite crags and boulders. It also sits at the base of countless large quartzite mountain crags, likened to a desert Gogarth. The granite, whilst visually superb, is actually of quite poor quality in most areas, making hard climbing and bouldering not as easy to find as it may first appear.
British climbers have been extremely active in developing the area, but mainly on the mountain routes at a more reasonable grade spread. Teams have included the legendary climbers Joe Brown and Chris Bonnington.
You can read more about the quartzite climbing in this UKC Article.
We hope to have full details from James when he gets back from his trip.
You can keep up to date with James on his new website: www.realbigpimp.in