My club is planning a return visit to Morocco's Anti-Atlas in Spring 2022. It's a long way off but dreaming about it passes the lockdown time so I've decided to do a ticklist. What would be your "if you only do one route do this" recommendations at VS, HVS, E1 and E2? We plan to stay at the Kasbah Tizourgane so I'm mainly interested in routes in this area rather than around Tafraoute.
A couple of Goldilocks criteria... Knackered knees make long walk-ins a pain, but I'll suffer for my art if there's a three-star adventure to be had...A combination of moral, physical and spiritual defects means I enjoy bold slabbing.
All recommendations gratefully received.
Anything in the Samazar valley, but I thought this was great https://www.ukclimbing.com/logbook/crags/fylde_crag-17878/sez_les-240888
I can find it difficult to bring 'em to mind when dropped on like this but would point out you're in luck with timing info-wise as both the guide teams to the area have published selected guide books in the last couple of months. Nor can I choose just one route! These come to mind:
The Lion King, Golden Compass, Black Beauty, Sez Les, Multiple Pillars of Pleasure, Keep Taking The Pillars, Saladin, Brisingr, Great Corner, Crazy Mushrooms Ridge, Gamma, Goldrush, Braveheart, Scimitar Ridge, Central Buttress, To Teo, Polar Bear, Route 66 . . . and so on.
In random order, sorry, and not necessarily slabby or short approaches, though there are few properly long ones in the region. Don't deny yourself Ameln Valley routes - there are some crackers and the drive's a pleasure. If you're planning to go as soon as it's possible we'll see you around for sure as, having missed last year's usual two trips, I have Anti-Atlas withdrawal symptoms.
It's been a while since I've been but my thoughts are: the grade range with the best routes were e1 to e2.
The style of climbing was generally what I would class as meaty well featured steep cracks, I don't rember much in the way of slabby climbing.
The available guidebooks are very good and if you follow the stars in those you wont go far wrong in terms of quality
Edit: I rember this crag being great for quialty routes and a short walk in https://www.ukclimbing.com/logbook/crags/dwawj_wall-18473#maps
The E3 is soft.
I also rember tramline slabs looking good for slabby stuff, didn't climb on then though just viewed from nearby crags
Ksar Rock should be on your list Andy. Basically roadside. Any of the 3* routes e.g Pelez in to Pour Manger. Just brilliant!
Many thanks for the recommendations. I've built up a really good ticklist.
Voyager on Adrar Iffran is top quality. The last pitch is properly stunning and worth going for on its own, even if a couple of the first pitches are a bit naff. Walk in isn't too bad either.
As others have said, there's a lot of good stuff on Ksar Rock and Dragon Buttress as well - Brissinger is one good one.
I bottled the drive in the hire car. Did u have 4 wheel drive?
From the Fylde trips there, i'd say there's not much need for a 4x4 these days. Correct me if i'm wrong, Martin B, but hasn't the Samazar road been redone this last year or two?
Are you talking Samazar? thats 1 all, first time a very slow drive down and back, second time there had been a lot of rain and we bottled it.
Fylde crag, IIRC we parked in a village by the main road and walked up.
I want to go back.
> Are you talking Samazar? thats 1 all, first time a very slow drive down and back, second time there had been a lot of rain and we bottled it.
Yeah. Drove about 200 meters and bottled it. Did 50 point turn and parked at Rainbow crag I think. Which was good and stress free.
Probably some of the most peaceful climbing I have done.
Yea, when we were there a year ago they were doing the last bits. There wasn't a concrete / tarmac surface down on any of it, but it was a well formed gravel track. No potholes etc and all easily passable in a small 2wd car.
Never ever had a 4 WD hire car and been down Samazar from both directions often over the last 10 years or so, as have many others. Today you'll find it wide and smooth - last time there in Nov 2019 they'd done all the widening and smoothing and by now the surface will be concrete. It'll make for saved time but lost charm. That's progress for you.
Sungold e2 on the Asseldrar Thumb. Really cool buttress short walk in. Has a memorable bold slab by pitch
So many good routes My top picks would be, in roughly grade order...
Scrunchie (S), Hairpin Slabs; Pan's Labyrinth Direct (HS), Taskra East Pillars; Sahara & Jedi Groove (VS), Ksar Rock; Guillotine Direct (VS), Adrar Iffran; Scimitar Ridge (VS), Safinah; White Tower Original or White Tower Direct (both HVS), Tifghalt; Asendrar Welcome (HVS), Asseldrar Thumb; The Marrakech Express (E1), Tramline Slabs; Braveheart (E1), Fig Tree Wall, Aylim; Firesword (E2), Dragon Rock; Game of Thrones (E2), Dragon Rock.
More specifically, if you tend to prefer bold slabs with short approaches then I'd strongly recommend anything at Hairpin Slabs around the HS / VS level. At E1 you'll love Braveheart - a Ben & Marion Wintringham classic that deserves way more traffic. At E2 you really don't want to miss Firesword and Game of Thrones at Dragon Rock - both incredible, bold, multi-pitch lines.
I'd also second what others have said about Ksar Rock - lots of 3-star routes right by the road. And I'd also suggest a day or two on Tafraout granite, as there are some super bold granite slab climbs there - some bolted and some trad.
100 Classic Climbs book might be of interest... https://www.climb-tafraout.com/100-classic-climbs.php
Great stuff Steve. Many thanks.
> Never ever had a 4 WD hire car and been down Samazar from both directions often over the last 10 years or so, as have many others. Today you'll find it wide and smooth - last time there in Nov 2019 they'd done all the widening and smoothing and by now the surface will be concrete. It'll make for saved time but lost charm. That's progress for you.
Sounds much less stressful. Last time I went the nice man at Agadir airport helpfully upgraded my Kango to a Citroen C5 despite our protests. We took most of the plastic off the underside getting to Dragon Rock and my fellow climbers ran behind the car with their rucsacs for the worst bits! We left the plastic in the boot, and didn't get changed for any damage.
The UIAA has announced plans to establish a Mountain Worker Initiative with the aim of supporting people working in the expedition and trekking industry, prompted by the issues of low pay and poor working conditions raised in the documentary film The...