Morocco is only a short flight from Europe, is a country that is relatively cheap to visit and stay, as well as offering something somewhere different and adventurous for a rock climbing holiday. The weather is generally very good (particularly in the winter) and the rock climbing is good on generally solid rock. The three main rock climbing areas are all situated in the mountains, which are Tafraoute, Todra Gorge, and Taghia Gorge, as shown on the map below.
The Todra Gorge is situated in the High Atlas Mountains. The scenery is spectacular with high limestone cliffs that provide bolted sport routes up to 300m long. This area is one of Morocco’s largest and well developed climbing areas with over 400 routes across a wide range of grades, particularly from F6a to F7b, that are easy to reach on foot. The quality and variety of the limestone rock is excellent, and the potential for further new route development is immense.
The best time to visit both the Todra Gorge is in the spring and autumn with late March to early May being especially good. It is possible to climb during the winter though it can be cold, especially at night. The summer is just too hot. The closest airport is Marrakech.
The Taghia Gorge is situated in the High Atlas Mountains, and provides the best big wall climbing in Morocco with routes up to 800m long. The small village of Taghia is at 1900m and is surrounded by overhanging red limestone walls and peaks up to 3000m high. However Taghia village is remote with no tarmac road for access and therefore it requires at least a 4x4 vehicle to gain access to the valley, a truly adventurous experience. There are currently over 100 routes developed with the grades generally starting at F6b and the vast majority over F6c. There is fixed protection though it is advisable to bring additional traditional gear such as cams and nuts. The best time to visit the gorge is from early April to the end of October though it can get hot in the summer, with the closest airport being Marrakech.
Situated around 125km southeast of Agadir, Tafraoute is located in the Moroccan Anti-Atlas Mountains range. Around Tafraoute the Jebel el Kest massif provide some excellent adventurous, traditional rock climbing with miles of solid superb quartzite rock to choose from. There is also a wide variety of climbing from bouldering, single pitch roadside crags to long multi-pitch routes (up to 800m long) on big walls, high ridges and summits. However this beautiful and rugged mountain terrain is surprisingly quick and easy to access; with many of the crags within a twenty minute walk from the road.
The area has only recently been developed and hence still offers excellent opportunities for developing new routes and exploring. The climbing ethics is traditional, which requires the placing of cams and nuts for protection. There is a wide range of grades to choose from particularly in the lower to mid-grade range. The whole area is also scattered with granite boulders, providing an enormous amount of excellent bouldering.
The photograph above shows Dan Donovan climbing Hammer Finger (E5 6a) in the Samazar Valley of the Jebel el Kest Massif. The photograph was taken by Don Sargeant and appears in the Morocco Rock guidebook, which can be bought from our shop.
The best time to climb at Tafraoute is from late September through the winter to mid-April, though the best two months are October and March. November to January is the “wet” season and the summer is just too hot. Therefore Tafraoute provides an excellent alternative winter sun rock climbing holiday along with the enchanting Moroccan culture. With regards to flights, Agadir has many connections to all over Europe and then hire a car to Tafraoute.
There are a variety of guidebooks available that cover the rock climbing at Tafraoute, including Morocco Rock – Jebel el Kest & Taskra North that was published in 2012. Buy rock climbing guidebooks for Tafraoute from our shop.
The South Western Europe & Morocco Rock Climbing Atlas has information about the climbing at Tafraoute, Todra Gorge, and the Taghia Gorge. This useful book describes the different crags, number of routes, style of climbing, how to get there, where to stay, and general information about the area, though it doesn't describe any individual routes. Buy this guidebook from our shop.