On Monday our adventure in Morocco began.
We landed in Marrakech shortly after 9am and fairly quickly negotiated our way through passport control and luggage retrieval. We picked up the car hire, got some Moroccan cash, met up with Rebecca and Mina, squished the luggage and us into the tiny car, and we were on the road by 10.30.
We had decided to take the scenic route over the pass which runs to the west of the Atlas Mountains. It was very long, but gave us great views of snowy mountains, tiny mountain villages, and kasbahs. The contrast of the blue skies, red earth, green trees, and snowy mountain tops in the distance was beautiful.
At the highest point we stopped for mint tea.
Leaving the Atlas Mountains behind, we headed further south into the Anti-Atlas Mountains, negotiating river crossings and more long and twisting roads. Finally we arrived at our destination, Hotel Les Amandiers in Tafraoute, at nearly 8pm. It had been a long day, but we were greeted by our other friends who had already been there for a few days.
On Tuesday we took advantage of our friends knowledge of the area. They have been coming here for that last 15 years or so, developing the area, every day only climbing new routes. Mike and and Marj took us to an area north of the main climbing area to test out our abilities on the Moroccan rock. We made the second ascent on Perfect Arete which was a lovely three pitched E1.
In the mean time Rebecca and Mina had a mad day on some hired bicycles and met up with Little Jon.
On Wednesday we all climbed together on a crag near Anergui. We all opted for Naseby, 250m of lovely climbing with a couple of pitches of 5a. The crux was stepping off a large (unstable looking) pinnacle with a massive void to our left. The guidebook doesn’t exactly give you much detail, basically you just have to follow your nose and instinct, which adds to the excitement.
Driving up to the village was exciting in itself as we climbed up a very very steep road, breaking through the low hazy clouds into glorious sunshine.
That night, over a feast of Moroccan lamb, we discussed the route with Chris and Derek, who explained why they called it that… the altitude is the date of the Battle of Naseby.