More Moroccan Adventure

The adventure in Morocco continues…

Friday – Tizgut Gorge
Little Jon, Rebecca and Mina left Tafraoute early on Friday morning to drive to Todra Gorge – long before we got up. The day was looking like it was going to be hot, so we stayed close to Tafraoute and went to Tizgut Gorge hoping for some shade – we didn’t really get it.
We climbed Tizgut Arete in three pitches, carefully avoiding the prickly Euphorbia en route.

After we got back to the sacks, we considered another route, but we were being roasted so decided to call it a day.

Prickly Euphorbia - to be avoided at all cost

Pete on Tizgut Arete
Laetitia on the final pitch of Tizgut Arete

Saturday – Napoleon’s Hat, Painted Rocks, and Gorges Tizerine
Today was even hotter and we were still drained from yesterday’s route so we decided a day off was required to do some sight seeing.

Just south of Tafraoute we found Napoleon’s Hat(!) and continued on to look for the Painted Rocks. For some strange reason an artist decided to paint some granite rocks in the desert a few years ago. Now they seem to be a tourist attraction and they are being repainted.

Napoleon's Hat apparently?
Painted rocks
Rocks being re-painted
Mixing the paint

We had an exciting adventure off roading, despite the inappropriate car…

Adventure off road

We then drove on and found a beautiful oasis (Ait Mansour), before leaving the tarmac road for another off road adventure as we headed cross country back to Tafraoute via Gorge Tizerine. The road went through dry rocky ground, through another oasis or two and back to terraced land. Luckily there were a few signs so we knew we were on the right road.

Palm trees at Ait Mansour
An oasis in a dry country
More off road adventure
The road to Tafraoute

On the way we saw lots of beautiful flowers…

Spring meadow flowers

Flowers in the granite desert


Sunday – White Dome and a Flying Carpet for a Watch
On Sunday it was even hotter, but we went climbing. We went to the north side to try and find shade at White Dome, which is also quite high – we were hoping for a cool breeze, but we didn’t get much of one. We did a a couple of easy enough routes and headed back.

Leatitia leading a tasty little slab
More spring flowers

After we got back to Tafraoute I decided it was time to get down to the serious business of buying a rug. I know just the spot where a genuine Moroccan rug could go, so I was a woman on a mission. After spending a bit of time deciding on the type (Beduin, Nomad), material (Camel Wool, Silk) and colour (any you can imagine), I made a choice, but was of course flabbergasted by the initial price. I had a budget and was quite prepared to walk away. But Pete started the art of haggling. He started low, very low…. and after 20 minutes we still hadn’t gone higher. The low was actually my budget, so I couldn’t go any higher. The salesman wasn’t so happy… and then he saw my watch, my old battered and scratched Swatch watch which I’ve used climbing over the past decade! Within minutes a deal was done. My budget plus the watch – thank goodness I wasn’t wearing an expensive watch!!!

A fair exchange?!?!

Monday – Black Groove
Another hot day, so we decided to climb Black Groove. The groove is on the south side (Crag U), in full sun, but Claude was sure it would be shaded as the groove is so deep – he did write the guidebook so he should know. It was a mere (!) one hour walk up a steep hill. I thought I was going to faint with heat exposure, but luckily the start of the climb was in shade, so I was able to cool down. This crux of the climb was a very traditional style pitch – 50m of bridging, back and footing, and a little dirty in places with a few loose stones – but 250m later we made it to the top, exhausted and dehydrated.

Walking up to Crag U (Crag W can be seen in the background)
Pete on the first pitch of Black Groove

And now we are sitting in the hotel, listening to the call for payer… I think that means it’s time for a G&T.