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Climbing trip to Taghia, Morocco

“Gîte Jamal, in Taghia!? What's this, you don't have an address? The airport policeman gets angry.

– No, this is the only information I have about where I will be staying for the next two weeks… Sorry. »

Then, with exemplary kindness, muttering behind his Plexiglas, he stamps the sesame and throws me my passport without an ounce of consideration.

OK, note to myself, if I ever come back to Morocco, I will have some semblance of a slightly more precise address to provide to the cops when I arrive in the country, like an Ibis hotel or something like that. For this trip, I am accompanied by Clem, with whom I have already shared so many adventures. I'm super excited to tackle this climbing trip to Morocco with him to climb and discover the legendary walls of the Atlas.

The rest of the journey towards the Atlas Mountains is much more peaceful. Ali picks us up at the exit of Marrakech airport and we head to Zaouiat Ahansal, 5 hours away. We stop to allow our driver to break his fast because we are in the Ramadan period. On his recommendation, we order a kilo of kofta, beef cooked over a wood fire. Not bad, but it lacks accompaniments! As for my vegetarian diet, I think it will be easier to put it on hold during this trip.

We are received around midnight by Mohamed Amaya who runs a very nice lodge in Zaouiat, but we do not stay long in this village because the next morning we continue the journey towards Taghia, this time on foot, helped by a mule to carry our bags. Perhaps we are among the last tourists to make the journey in this way because a track was just built last year and we can now reach Taghia by pick-up. Making the journey on foot is still quite pleasant because the walls and canyons are revealed little by little and we can finally put images on the mysterious mountain names that we read in the guidebooks, Oujdad, Tuyat, Taoujdad...

Our playground for two weeks, the village at the bottom left


Taghia is a Berber village with perhaps a hundred houses. The houses are made of stone, with roofs of wood and earth that blend into the arid foothills of the mountain. The locals seem to live here in relative prosperity as there are magnificent springs springing up from Mount Oujdad, right next to the village. Numerous irrigation canals allow them to cultivate small plots. On this spring day, the green of the trees and crops contrasts strikingly with the surrounding ocher mountains.

Jamal welcomes us to the beautiful lodge that he built himself. His welcome is warm, the rooms comfortable and the food prepared by his wife Fatima is delicious as well as healthy. Half board with breakfast and dinner costs us 170 dirhams or around 15 euros per person. Jamal doesn't speak French very well, but by taking the time and using translation applications, he responds to our curiosity and talks about his life here in Taghia in the middle of the mountains. He also gives us good advice on the access and return routes. 

The covid years were not easy for him because tourist numbers completely dropped. It has no website and tourists can only learn about it through word of mouth. And only if we contact him on WhatsApp because his wifi only works for Meta applications (Whatsapp, Facebook, Insta). But it hardly affects him, when we ask him if it's not too difficult, he shrugs his shoulders with a smile, telling himself that it will be better tomorrow, inshallah. Sometimes we would like to discuss the development of Taghia in more detail. Are people happy with tourism? Is there something for everyone? 

A chill day on the terrace of the Jamal lodge

At the start of our stay the conditions are not easy at all. There is a very strong wind blowing from the north. Rushing into the gorges that we thought were protected, it freezes our bones and brutally cools the atmosphere. Inevitably, then comes the rain and snow for two consecutive days which confine us to Jamal's lodge. These are the hazards of a trip in March I suppose! We bundle up under the blankets in the poorly insulated common room. There's really not much to do apart from climbing in the village, fortunately, we have packed quite a few books, a set of chess, cards and dice... On a particularly gloomy day, we we even manage to design a backgammon board.


If the sun deigns to show itself, we sit on the terrace. Time then seems to stretch as much as the local mountains and I watch the ballet of donkeys reluctant to cross the river, just below. I can barely see them under the impressive quantity of leafy branches that they carry to feed the sheep. Walking bushes pushed by women. From a distance, they look like the Romans who camouflage themselves in the Asterix comics.

In the gîte, the wifi works very poorly or not at all for Google searches, which is relatively annoying for weather updates. Only Facebook and Whatsapp work correctly. So, every day, Caro plays the role of the weather router by sending us forecast updates by email.

For climbing, we rather want to do sporty classics but we have still planned a little jamming game up to #2 because certain route exits require climbing in mountain-type terrain, like on the Oujdad or the Tuyat.

During the stay we sometimes notice a high number of climbers in certain sectors, some of whom do not seem at all experienced. Taghia then looks more like a Kalymnos or Leonidio type destination rather than a remote mainline site. There are in fact other lodges which attract more people than Jamal's.

On Max's advice, we try to stick to the following rhythm: a long and intense day of climbing followed by a quieter day of climbing, then a day of rest. Of course, this pace will be adapted regularly during the stay depending on the weather and our state of fitness!

The shadow catches up with Clem in the face of the Tadrarate

In terms of ropes, we have a single strand of 60 meters as well as a fine hoisting rope. We did well because most of the routes go down on foot or with a short rappel. This trip is also an opportunity to test a homemade hoisting cover which allows the climber to hoist using their usual bag. I made this cover from cordura, a fabric normally very resistant to abrasion, but the limestone of the Atlas will have really torn it. Perhaps you will have to try the experiment again with another type of fabric.

The reliefs truly invite exploration. On each face, at each summit a different atmosphere, the landscapes are revealed from a new angle, new walls appear. In these wild and preserved regions, it is precisely this diversity which constitutes the true richness of a trip to Taghia. Each path, each Berber passage reveals a fragment of the deep soul of this unique place.

A quick word on the routes completed: 

  • Source wall

Fat guide, 7b+

Zebda, 7b+

Clem enjoying herself in Fat Guide. We can see the sources of Taghia below

These are the routes with the shortest approach and return times that we did during the stay! And yet they are truly superb. You should not let yourself be intimidated by the starting 7b+ which are on relatively slippery holds. Moreover, Zebda means “butter” in Arabic (or Berber).

The lengths that follow are varied and really cool. If we had one more day, we probably would have done the last of the trilogy, Berber susurro We liked the first two so much.

  • Taoujdad north face

The Crimson Rivers, 7b+

This is a completely grandiose, major path. We do it on the second day with a wind that swirls at 80km/h in the canyon. The ropes get tangled at the belays and the bag sometimes ends up horizontal to the belay during hoisting. Sleet of snow wets the holds which the wind dries immediately... In short, difficult conditions but an incredible atmosphere.

We could call this path the purple ocean as we have to navigate this ocher and perfect rock
  • Taoujdad west face

Champion of Morocco, 7a

On the other side of Taoujdad, it is one of the busiest areas of Taghia because of the “easy” roads nearby. And this, despite a long approach through the canyon. 

Champion of Morocco offers two beautiful pitches in 7a and an easier finale. We left the last red wall by the last length of Drink or I kill the dog, a super beautiful 6b. Then, it is possible to reach the summit by pulling some easy pitches, or exit to the right by abseiling on a tree.

Be careful, a recent route has appeared just to the right of Champion of Morocco. Friends have gotten lost there, and the quality of the lengths seems significantly inferior.

  • Oujdad facing south west

Baraka, 7b

The legendary pillar of Taghia, a great classic praised in Arnaud Petit's book. We do the route just after two days of snow. In the first pitch, I have to remove some ice to be able to clip my quickdraws into certain pads!

Then the rest goes well, except 7b which is quite technical, but very well protected. Congratulations to Clem for his sequence.

The descent from the summit of Oujdad to the rappel which takes us to the pass is not so simple and requires careful reading of the route. So it is better to swallow the 680 ascent without hanging around.

  • Oujdad north face

black wolf, 7a+

I had no information about this route before departure and it was the Spaniards who presented it to us as the ultimate project of their trip. so we wanted to go take a look. Indeed, the pitches are superb, the view of the village is incredible, the belays are very comfortable and the orientation allows you to climb if the sun is strong. The only downside is that the atmosphere is diminished a little by the bends.

Waterfall wall

  • Haben oder sein, 6c

One of the busiest routes in Taghia, from what we read. I find it hard to believe it as the wall of the waterfall seems less grandiose than the other faces in the area. But when we arrive at the foot of the route, ten Spaniards are about to equip themselves. Neither one nor two, I ask them as diplomatically as possible if we can overtake them by energetically assuring them that we are going to step on the gas! Nice, the guys accept and we go down the route at full speed. Behind, it's quite a micmac: the seconds climb the ropes of the next team, the “¡Venga!”, “¡Reunion!” and “¡Cuerda!” flying in all directions...

By doing this route, we take advantage of a splendid route on the massif and we spot the corkscrew path which will help us descend from Tuyat.

  • Tadrarate

The axis of evil, 7c

The highlight of our stay. We thought we had reached the climax with The Crimson Rivers but the Axis of Evil proves even more impressive. The wall is a little more confidential, we only discover it at the end of the approach walk, at the bend of a meander in the canyon. Nestled in a seemingly endless limestone cirque, the axis of evil is an incredible route. When you try to decipher the path, it's the kind of path that leaves your palms sweaty while making your heart flutter with excitement. From the first length we see the last, and vice versa. The very definition of verticality!

We can't help but take out the camera when we discover the Tadrarate
In one of the crux lengths in 7c,
The sunset exit, magical!
  • Tuyat

Over there, 7b

We want to make a route on the Tuyat because the large face, visible from the village, seems both austere and attractive. The promise of a hell of an adventure. Our choice fell on Over there because we want to do a sporting route, but less difficult than Fantasy Or Babel.

And we are quite happy with this choice, because we find varied climbing, beautiful slab steps on gray rock, and ferry slopes on red rock, then an end on a jammer in mountain mode. The only downsides are the commitment and exposure of the first 7a and 7b. I take a big flight of 6 or 7 meters in the L1, cold, falling into the gray slabs right in the crux. Apparently this length can be shunted if some people don't dare to go there, which would be a shame because the movements are very classy. 

The North-East face of Tuyat gets a short hour of sunshine in the morning

In the end, we only took magnificent routes that I would recommend without the slightest hesitation. And as these times are about numbers, here are some of them: 3710m of climbing, 108 pitches completed including perhaps 40% at a level 7 and above (totally sketchy estimate). An impressive statistical line for our team, testifying to the joy we experienced every day exploring the nooks and crannies of this massif.

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Caroline Minvielle


Passionate climber, I officially started climbing at the age of 6. The exterior and the mineral correspond to my ultimate aspirations. The playground is endless and the rock always has new subtleties to submit and puzzles to decode. I practice outdoor climbing in all its forms at a sustained level: from bouldering to multi-pitch in adventure terrain.

On the canyon side, my father, Pierre Minvielle, introduced me to it at a very young age around Rodellar, the place of his finest explorations. He gave me a taste for adventure and discovery and above all passed on his love for the Sierra de Guara.

Trained as an engineer, I decided to venture into the world of teaching and the transmission of knowledge by becoming a climbing and canyoning instructor in order to be able to share this passion that drives me and help those who wish to achieve their dreams.

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Maxime Poirier


I grew up far from the mountains, on an island in the middle of the Pacific and if my first ascents were those of coconut trees, I became passionate about climbing when I returned to France. Touch of everything, globetrotter and passionate about outdoor activities on all elements, I became a fan of thrilling sports such as highline, base-jump and canyoning.

For me, the mountains and these activities restore to us this capacity for admiration and wonder that modern existence can so easily evacuate. Live fully the happiness of the moment, the renunciation of living for tomorrow because today is enough.

My meeting with Caro will have finally sealed my destiny, here I am a climber, in love with the Vercors and the Sierra de Guara, ready to share my passion with those who wish.

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