Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Morocco #5 - the last few days.

Morocco - favourite things:

1. - 7. The outrageously belligerent braying of the valley donkeys.

8. The wide variety of good climbing.

9. The ridiculously sooky skinny black cat at the Kasbah.

10. The Berbers wandering around in their pointy-hood wizard robes.


The last third of our trip was spent in the alternative Anti-Atlas climbers' basecamp of the Kasbah Tizourgine. This is considerably closer to the Northside crags, and is a partially converted hill fort of great character, squinty corridors, an authentic feel and a welcoming and friendly communal restaurant. It also has only small communal bathrooms and bloody cold rooms with no heating. This was a bit of a shock after the regular heated bedroom lounging in Les Ammaniers that took the edge off the chill nights, but tactical overheating at the lounge stove has helped. There is also no wi-fi hence a late update and summary of the last few days thusly:
  • We climbed the Finger And Thumb pinnacles, the former by a brillant route, two get two good summit ticks. This was in the shade all day and the thick frost patches beneath the crag didn't melt at all.
  •  We drove down to Dragon Buttress and although the 4-pitch Firesword was very substantial, the real challenge of the day was the 50 minute drive down the disintegrating patch of rubble that masquerades as a dirt track, when we returned to the main single track road I kissed it and praised merciful Allah.
  • I befriended the skinny black Kasbah cat with pancakes and omlette and couscous and got a lot of nudging and nuzzling in return. Apparently it eats scorpions. I only saw it eating moths, albeit with great determination.
  • The donkeys have become increasingly entertaining and are almost making up for the lack of guidebook-promised trees full of goats.
  • After two days in the icy shade, we basked in the sun at Ksar Rock. Despite feeling very used to the sun after 11 continuous days of it, I still managed to burn my fucking love-handles. We then retreated to the shade to do the well-named Breaking Strain which almost broke me but somehow I managed to fall upwards quicker than downwards and thus did one of the hardest climbs I've done in the last full year.
  • And on the final day we went to a nice wee area, did a couple of cool routes, went to explore a recent new route down in the eerie Tassila Gorge, backed off it due to relentless thuggery, escaped up a weird dynamic polished slab deep water solo, and finally, to punctuate the trip, put up maybe the area's first "official" boulder problem up a funky compression prow. Rad, dude. 
Back home now. Final reports up soon...

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