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Africa, Morocco, Taghia, Tagoujimt n' Tsouiant, La Bas

Tagoujimt n’ Tsouiant, La Bas. Climbing has been a wonderful vehicle for seeing and enjoying some of the planet’s less-known nooks and corners. There are experiences that leave one gratified and richer from the journey. The Atlas Mountain village of Taghia is three hours’ walk from road, electricity, plumbing, and phone. During our month in Taghia we, a group of climbers steered by Cloe Erickson, established a multipitch 5.12 route, but that wasn’t all. The union between North Face and Global Giving means that the former includes a charitable component in each trip we propose. So as well as climbing, we built a new roof for the only school in this remote village (materials portaged to town by mule) and attempted to bolster local trails with handrails. Conrad Anker, Kris Erickson, Renan Ozturk, Heidi Wirtz, and I climbed La Bas (5.12b) on Tagoujimt n’ Tsouiant; the route name is a local expression meaning “no harm.” Our newline had 12 pitches of bolted 5.10 to 5.12, leading to several meters of easier, traditionally protected terrain, which we simul-climbed to reach the top of the 800m cliff. On October 3 we redpointed it ground-up with no falls. Others with us in Taghia included Roman Gackowski, Josh Helling, Jeff Hollenbaugh, Ken Sauls, and Jim Surette.

Many European climbers have visited the Taghia Cirque over the past 20 years but new-route activity has increased recently. From our climb we could see the school roof and watch goats being herded through steep trails recently reinforced with chain and rebar. No more drips in the school room, hopefully no more fatal tumbles from precarious trails, and together with a fine new route, these made for a fine experience.

Kevin Thaw