Hard British Ascents in the High Atlas

© Dave Pickford
Jack Geldard Seconding on Les Rivieres Pourpres
Jack Geldard Seconding on Les Rivieres Pourpres
© Dave Pickford, Oct 2005
A strong British and Finnish team have just returned from the Taghia area of the Atlas mountains in Morocco. Dave Pickford, Mike 'Twid' Turner, Jack Geldard, Steve Mayers and Juha Saatsi (Fin) managed the first British ascents of many classic hard routes in the area.

They climbed as two independent teams with Jack, Dave and Juha free-climbing Fantasia (F7b+/7c 700m) almost onsight (1 pitch redpointed) and onsighting Rivieres Pourpres, an Arnaud Petit route from 2003 (F7c, 500m).

Steve and Twid teamed up to make fast alpine-style ascents of Les Rivieres Pourpres and L'Axe du Mal (F7c+, 600m), another Petit route.

The climbing area is remote, requiring a day of off-road driving and donkey trekking to reach the base of the mountains, but the teams found the rock to be of Verdon quality, only twice as long. Most of the routes had been bolted on lead, so include very steep climbing and runout sections where natural gear is needed. For more information on Taghia, see

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