AAC Publications - http://publications.americanalpineclub.org

Jebel Tadrarate, Southwest Face, Raum der Wünsche

During our successful trip to Taghia in 2008 (AAJ 2009), we discovered an untouched wall in the Tadrarate Canyon. Situated between the classics La Rouge Berbère (560m of climbing, 14 pitches, 7b, Guillaume-Ravier-Thivel, 2002) and Sul filo della Notte (570m of climbing, 12 pitches, 7c+, 7b obl, Larcher-Oviglia-Paissan, 2003) on the southwest face of 2,803m Jebel Tadrarate, the wall looked simply perfect, yet large and demanding. It was obvious we had to return in 2009.

We had left some of our equipment, including bolts, at Mohammed’s gîte (village guest house) in Zaouiad-Ahansal, so this time we had no problem with excess baggage on the flight. However, reaching Taghia gave unforeseen problems, due to the long, cold winter. Even by April the main pass to Zaouiad-Ahansal was still closed by deep snow, and the river crossings on the trek were difficult. We found much snow in the deep canyons and experienced a cold start to our climbing.

On our previous visit there had been two sheltered bivouac caves in the canyon, only 20 minutes from the start of our proposed route, but we discovered that one had been destroyed by rockfall during the winter. The other was good, but had room for only three people. Tino Kohbach, Michael Petters, and I stepped inside and slept there for nearly two weeks.

We worked on the route ground-up, finding the first third of the wall to be perfect gray, vertical limestone with excellent features. But due to the cold, our progress was slow, and at best we added only two new pitches each day. Once we got higher, the sun hit the wall earlier and stayed longer, motivating us to push hard. In the middle section of the face we followed a thin crack, which gave outstanding climbing at 7a+ and proved to be one of the best pitches on the route. Above, we discovered a good bivouac ledge below the overhanging headwall. Route-finding skills now became important as the rock was loose in places, unclimbable in others. But we found a weakness, traversing the lip of the big roof right, with great exposure. Two more airy pitches through the orange headwall led to easier ground and a system of corners. After 14 pitches, many 60m in length, we reached the top, having climbed nearly 700m with difficulties up to 7c.

After a couple of days’ rest in Taghia village, we returned for the redpoint, adding a few more bolts in crucial areas and establishing a direct rappel line through the headwall to make descent more convenient. Our route name, Raum der Wünsche (Room of Requirements), was inspired by the Harry Potter stories. During our days on the wall and resting in the village all of us found what we were looking for: peace and quiet; friendly people; a great landscape, deep emotions, and an outstanding climbing experience. We hope the next party on our route has the same pleasures. For more information on climbing in Taghia, we recommend visiting the excellent Spanish website www.onaclimb.com.

Rüdiger Helling, Germany