I recently returned from almost two months in Morocco where I was working on a gag for American television. The show was a Mark Burnett creation called Expedition Impossible, the trailer is above. Normally I wouldn't watch this kind of TV, but this show will showcase the incredible beauty of Morocco, and could be well worth the watch.
I traveled extensively around the country. Wow, what a great place. The diversity of environments and the rich culture make it a must-see destination.
After the stint of work was over, Elise flew and met me in Marrakech. From there we traveled to the ocean-side surf town Essaouira so I could decompress a little.
The now famous Taghia Gorge was our next stop and it delivered the goods. We cruised classic bolted limestone routes up to 2000' long. Mostly vertical or less, these were the perfect routes to condition our arms for what was to come next. On the local 'chicken run' bus out of Zaoia Ahensale, the town at the trailhead to Taghia, we fortuitously met some Spanish climbers who told us about the Akchour Valley. They described 1000' overhanging sport climbs dripping with tufas in a lush valley a stones throw from the Mediterranean. That's all we needed to hear before making the necessary travel arrangements. We were on our way to check it out.
On the way we spent a few days engulfed in the madness of the medieval Fez medina, a truly crazy place to go get lost. After a day in the ultra-cosmique town of Chefchaouen, we piled into a taxi and embarked on the windy roads north to Akchour.
Our low expectations were shot out of the park by what we stumbled upon: amazing walls lined the valley and Mr. Abdul welcomed us into his centrally-located gite, a cosmic place to hang out after a day of first-class limestone. With only time for a sampler of the routes, we made the most of it, exploring the different sectors and taking note of the great potential of the place.
I highly recommend a trip to the adventurous climber looking to sample high quality Moroccan stone, and maybe add a route of your own!
|Skyler takes a photo of the traffic lines, which are usually ignored anyways. Casablanca.|
|Tony is a tired panda. Pablos feet stink.|
|Digs for a couple nights.|
|Pablo and I enjoying a mandatory Moroccan "Land Cruiser bumper ride". One of many.|
|Voldemort is hanging out in Tinghir... Just kidding, it's J Smith.|
|Abraheim and I chilling in the Todra Gorge. A pure soul.|
|Pablo doing what he does best: consuming sketchy street meat. The sketchier, the better. It's a passion.|
|Why isn't North America this civilized?|
|Our hotel in the Todra Gorge. The bigwall above overhangs the place. I wondered how many times stonefall has demoed the roof...|
|Pablo sampling my nut sack. Almond heaven.|
|Pablo and I climbed the classic moderate of the Todra. Cams were superfluous, it had been heavily retroed.|
|I went skiing in Africa. Stoked!|
|Buff and his horse.|
|Shredding Moroccan gnar.|
|My buddy Kris lent me his sticks. Thanks Kris!|
|The beautiful Tolkein Canyon.|
|The name of this village escapes me, but I truly enjoyed my time here.|
|The village near Tolkein.|
|Our friend Hassan in Ouzoud.|
|Ouidane... I think...|
|Tony and I put up some classic sport pitches on first class Moroccan limestone.|
|Aiding and bolting the steeps is hard!|
|Orange and blue stone, dripping with God's Own Tufas.|
|Tony on "Spicy Mackerel". A reference to the sub-par lunches I was eating with Jimmy and Fish.|
|Rollin' in my djellaba.|