Mick Fowler – Climbing in Morocco

Great to end 2011 with a day climbing on the Lion’s Face at Talfroute in Morocco. A new area for me and one that I have wanted to visit for a long time.

Jonathan Edwards and I were engrossed in some family surfing action when, late in the day, the opportunity for a day’s climbing arose. Soon Jonathan was exercising his night rally driving skills for 170km amongst unlit donkey carts, scooters and pedestrians. He was in his element whereas I clung onto the seat quietly.

Arriving in the dark with no previous knowledge of the area a recommendation was called for. Chris Bonington kindly provided one on the delightfully named Crag W. Unfortunately though we didn’t read it until, after a two hour approach, we were roping up below a completely different crag.

We found ourselves on the Lion’s Face, a 300m face above 300m of complex scrambling. A line on a distant photo suggested a route somewhere towards the left side of the face. No more information was necessary. We climbed towards the left hand side, reached the top, descended a memorable shepherds’ track and were back on the coast in time for family New Year festivities. A brilliant 9 hours out on the hill – and back to the surfing fleshpots in time for New Year.

The below photo shows the general view of the Lion’s Face (prominent face up to the right) from the valley.

A great day to end the year we agreed.