Restraunte at the end of the universe, and F Z at The Hamersmith Odeon 1975.

 

Oh and Morocco mountaineering  Jan /Feb 2013.


So folks here once more are the scores on the doors, and still no sign of the Lizard king.

I’ve just spent the last 2 weeks in Morocco, based at the Toubkal Refuge, working for Ambleside based company Adventure Peaks. The team for the first week were Frances, Freddy, and Julian Zappa. We all met at the Hotel Imillichil, which is located in the Hivernage area of Marrakech, a central location for all the fun and monkey, snake charming, antics of the Fnaa square. Well that’s what they tell me, dam those scary snake things……………..

 

Any road on Sunday 27th we drove to Armed, which is just up the road /dirt track from Imllil,were we met our local guide and good friend Mohamed, we stayed the night, ate tagine and contemplated the next few days. Monday was a 5 hour walk up to the Toubkal refuge, not so much  snow this year as last, don’t think the ski tourers are going to have much success this year.

Got to the hut, ate light lunch (NOT) prepared by our cook Hussein, then headed out to local ice falls, about 10 mins  away from the hut. Good mix of grades to be had here, short and steep, flowing and easy, it’s all there folks.

The Refuge was quite quiet; we managed to have a room to ourselves all week.

Tuesday 29th Jan: We had a stroll up to the Tizi N Quagane at 3753 metres, which was good acclimatisation for the team, the snow once off the main track was a bottomless mess of sugar with a thin crust; suffice to say we didn’t venture much from the main drag. On the way down from the Tizi (col) we did some fixed rope work, as the team were thinking of getting on some bigger peaks at some point, Frances in fact quite soon, heading for the North Col on the big one.

On the way up to the Tizi, I was spotting many an ice fall, at least 2 good long lines within an hour of the hut, and some 2 pitch big falls further up the valley. There are good ice falls and flows to play on close to the hut, and about an hour below the hut almost opposite a drink stop the are some VERY obvious falls which go up in steps for a very long way, and sorry to the 2 brit lads who though they had done the first ascents of them, there are pics of French guides on them in the mid 90’s, but you were the first this season if that helps.

 

>Wednesday 30th Jan: Ascent of Akioud 4030 metres. Long testing day, in some awful snow conditions, but in absolutely stunning surroundings, with a great little finish to the summit, at around Alpine PD. Akioud is rarely visited in the winter and we were the first in this winter, so we felt well chuffed at getting to the top. Good effort by all, from the col it would have made a great ski descent if there had been more snow, especially in the initial gully of despair. Weather was fantastic, blue skies and light breeze.

Thursday 31st Jan: Rest day and skills, top rope ice climbing,

 

Friday 1st Feb: Toubkal day. Steady ascent of Morocco’s highest peak, went without a hitch, very straight forward, not much snow, but definitely ice axe and cramps on the way down, got to the summit in good time, not a soul in sight, awesome views. Well done one and all.

 

Saturday 2nd Feb: Pack up and go, Marrakech, shower and food.

 

The following week was pretty much the same as the previous, with Ludmila on a 1:1. Lots of skills and ice climbing, which took it toll on Ludi’s poor toes, so much so we had to call it a day on the ice climbing. 

However we got ourselves up Ras 4083 metres, and at the end of the week Toubkal, the classic line on Ras was unfortunately not complete, with a rock band at about three quarters height ,but you could always shoot out right and get round it. Well done Ludi, I can imagine it was a bit painful on the descent, with your toes.


 

 

There are tons to do here folks, check it out, and have a look at the Spanish guide book as well as the English one, better pic’s in the Spanish. I thought the ice climbing potential was great, and if you get over to the other refuge, the Lepiney, there’s just as much and at a more amiable height.

 

I had fantastic 2 weeks and am chomping at the bit to get back next year for more Moroccan Action.

Thanks go to Frances,Freaddy,Julian moon unit, and Ludmila for your company, laughs and enthusiasm, also Mohamed for keeping us on track.

THANK YOU ALL.

Rob