|The Ameln Valley, Anti Atlas of Morocco|
We flew in to Agadir, and picked up a hire car. After much angst we shelled out for a 4x4 which turned out to be a good call as not only are there lots of rough tracks to negotiate to get to the crags, but while we were out there they were also digging up pretty much the entire stretch of main road from Agadir to Tafraout. Tarmac was in short supply.
The climbing is situated on either side of the Jebel L' Kest escarpment, giving distinct north and south regions. We headed south to start with, and a rented apartment in Tafraout, giving us easy access to the crags of the Ameln Valley. We don't climb hard, but there was plenty to go at amongst the easy routes. Highlights of this part of our trip included the fabulously alpine Sun Ribbon Arete (S) on the bizarrely shaped (and named) Bunny Ears at Robin Hood rocks, and some superb cragging at Cheshire Cheese Crag and Tizgut gorge.
|Bunny Ears, Robin Hood Rocks|
|Blacksticks Blue Slabs (S), Cheshire Cheese Crag|
On non climbing days we wafted around the hills and scrambled on remote peaks on the edge of the Sahara. On a particularly gentle day headed down south to the oasis at the Gorge D' Ait Mansour. Here actual water sloshes along the bottom of a spectacular palm filled sandstone gorge. The towering walls here are hundreds of metres high, with villages perched on their lower slopes to avoid the occasional flash flood. A clamber to the summit of Jebel L'Kest (2359m) was quite literally the highpoint of the holiday. We approached from the precarious vilage of Anergui (the drive is an experience in itself), and negotiated a maze of rocky alpine valleys to locate the South Ridge, a great wee scramble to the top with stunning views that stretch accross Morocco from ocean to peak and desert.
|The Summit of Jebel L'Kest 2359m|
|Wally feeling the heat on Desert Man (S) Ksar Rock|
|Getting some exposure on Wild Country (V Diff)|
|Suspect belay (cairn- but the base was good...!)) summit of Adrar Asmit.|
There have been a lot of new routes put up in a short time, and as a result many have seen only a handful of ascents and although we found the grading to be fair, if even quite friendly, stars seem to have been awarded quite enthusiastically so take these with a pinch of salt. However, for us the destination was a superb choice, with lots and lots of rock, at grades to suit all comers. The objective dangers and need for self reliance combined with good mountain sense served mainly to heighten the sense of adventure rather than detract from the experience.
More info and guidebooks: http://www.climb-tafraout.com/