Inspired by spectacular photos of the late Kurt Albert and Toni Arbones taken in 2007 during the first ascent of Antro.po.cene, at the start of April a strong international team comprised of Ines Papert, Austria's Lisi Steurer and Switzerland's Patrik Aufdenblatten travelled to Morocco's Taghia valley in the High Atlas Mountains with their sights set on a striking line up the SW Face of Tadrarate.
This massive rock face lies towards the end of the famous gorge, circa 2 hours from the village of Taghia and is reached via the stunning trail originally built by the local Berber herdsmen to lead their sheep through the valley. Much to their surprise, on the first day the three made a chance encounter with the man who had inspired them on their travels, Spaniard Toni Arbones... at times the world really is a small place!
Aufdenblatten, Papert and Steurer set to work immediately and, climbing ground-up over a 10-day period, they established a new route up the sheer face circa 100m yo the right of Antro.po.cene. They used a cave at the foot of the mountain as a temporary home and also climbed capsule style on the upper section of the wall to breach difficulties up to 8a. All the hard pitches were forged by Aufdenblatten and although protected by bolts, the route is certainly no straightforward sports climb. In fact, Papert described the nine pitch line as "a somewhat alpine outing because of the long runouts on all pitches."
All individual pitches were climbed free but unfortunately the team ran out of time for a single-push redpoint attempt. Papert commented "We encountered white-out conditions early on which cost us time and I can imagine returning to Taghia in the near future to attempt to redpoint the route in a day. But the climbing is very varied and steep overhangs are quickly followed by extremely rough slabs and our route is certainly no walkover: the difficulties never diminish and the climbing is demanding, both physically and psychologically, throughout. Topping out in brilliant sunshine with Lisi was a really special moment and the entire area is a true paradise for climbers and trekkers, the gorge is quite simply... breathtaking"
The 400m route is called Azazar and named after the beautiful plant that grows in the High Atlas Mountains.
Reach the village of Taghia.
From Taghia follow the Berber path Akka ‘n Taghia gorge for 2 hours to reach the base of the route. Azazar starts circa 100m to the right of Antro.po.cene.
- Tadrarate SW, 400m, 8a, 9 Pitches
P1: 8a, P2: 7c, P3: 7b, P4: 8a, P5: 7b, P6: 7b, P7: 6c, P8: 6b+, P9: 6b
Abseil down the route