Moroccan Gold – trip report to Tafraout, Morocco March 2024

Are you sick of the British winter? Do you love long, adventurous mid-grade trad climbing? If so, nirvana awaits…

Over March 9th-17th, the Club held a first trip of 6 to the Anti-Atlas area of Morocco. We had been hearing a growing number of reports of amazing, sun soaked winter trad climbing, 2 hours south of Agadir, on impeccable Quarzite rock from several club members. The area was originally established by UK legends of Joe Brown & Chris Bonnington back in the 1990’s.  Seb S, Geoff B, Jan & Phil M, Alastair K and Robin L headed out to see what it was all about. 

We started out based in the authentic desert town of Tafraout for the South side of the Jebel-el-Kest range. We warmed up at Palm Tree Gorge crag, where we adjusted to the generally impeccable Quarzite – covered in small incut edges and excellent protection as well as the generally soft grades.  We then looked for something more adventurous and wildly over-compensated by taking on Anergui-Upper crag, completing Eagle’s Beak and Ride the Wild Wind, both 10 pitch HVS’s with a ‘memorable’ headtorch descent for some. Back to Tizgut Gorge the next day, with Seb & Geoff onsighting the 3 star classic Tizgut Crack (E2).

We then moved to the north side of Jebel-el-Kest, where the climbing is more prolific and easier to access, basing ourselves at the idyllic Ksar Rock guesthouse – it’s so close to the crag you can literally gear up in the bedroom.

Great days out were had cragging at Ksar Rock; a team ascent of the classic 5 pitch Black Beauty (E1) on Lower Eagle; and a long day at Tamza Tower in the incredible Samazar valley ticking Centurion+Tower Ridge Original (11 pitch HVS), The Big Grin (E2) and Tower Ridge Original (VS). The final day at Idaougnidif the team started to wilt in the 30 C heat but completed the wide-crack special Jaws (E1), Rock the Kasbah (E1) and Central Pillar on Adrar Iffran (HVS).  A final night out in Tafraout to celebrate and polish the car with toothpaste, and we were home. 

Hopefully, the pictures say it all, but it is easy to see why the area is so popular with British climbers – perfect winter weather (21C average whilst we were there), immaculate rock for mid-grade (VS-E2) trad climbing, particularly for wide crack lovers, providing long adventurous classic days out. The backcountry environment is beautiful, the locals friendly and welcoming and everything is great value.  It is not a climbing destination to push your grade on, clip bolts, or party in the evening – but if you want this – go to Kalymnos!  Thanks to the team for being great company and signing up for something new. Hopefully we will back next year.