|On 24/04/2017 Eduardo Slabofvic wrote:
>can you comment further on the gear to take and what the rock quality
As vwills commented, the rock varies from crag to crag. It's a very big area. The Ameln Valley crags (Tizgut Gorge, Palm Tree Gorge et al) were ok but not perfect, but the higher crags like Robin Hood Rocks, were brilliant. On the north side, again the higher crags of Asseldrar (Tramlines) and Idaougnidif region (Lion King et al) were excellent, but the lower road-side crag of Tizi Gzaouine were just ok. Moss was occasionally a problem on a couple of north-facing routes (Griffin Rock, Pink Lady). Overall the rock was excellent and I gather the north-side crags, which are further away from Tafraout but the current focus for new routers, is still turning up gems up there.
We took double ropes and a hefty full rack, paring it down depending on the route of the day. Most popular pieces were aliens, hexes and nuts. Cams of all sizes and RPs also got used. Least popular were the extra large cams (#5 and #6 friends). Although there are plenty of routes that need 'em, we simply didn't do those routes, and left them in the car most days. We did use them on Flake Quake though!
On the longer, easier routes we did plenty of simul-climbing, leading in blocks and unroped travel. Take lots of extendable draws and long slings, plus plenty of tat for beefing up rap slings. I would also highly recommend a pair of sticky-soled approach shoes, as most descents involved some exposed but easy down climbing.
A climbing pack is necessary to pack a wind breaker and all those pastries. The March-April weather was generally perfect, with cold nights and warm sunny days. At the higher altitudes the breezes kept temps manageable in the full sun. Very dry Saharan air left me guzzling water a lot.
You need long pants and a long-sleeved shirt for keeping the intense Moroccan sun from turning you into a sizzled kebab, also for dressing culturally appropriate when in villages and smaller towns. Ladies may occassionally wish to wear a head scarf, but its not mandatory. The five calls-to-prayer that carry across the valley are useful for calculating whether you're due for a benightment on that all-day mountain route.
You can get by with just English, but French is very useful. It's worth learning a smattering of Arabic for greetings and ordering coffee and making friends. Locals were always keen to teach us words in the local Berber dialect, over endless cups of insanely sweet mint tea.