|From 6 - 27 October 2003 the Italian climbers Rolando Larcher, Michele Paissan and Maurizio Oviglia travelled to Marocco's Taghia Gorge, deep in the High Atlas mountain range where they established the multi-pitch "Sur le fil de la nuit". The trio ventured into an incredibly beautiful area which, from a mountaineering point of view, has as yet hardly seen any real development. |
After reaching the isolated Taghia village they located a 600m red limestone line and set about establishing their new route. Climbing from the ground up the trio alternated leads to establish 570m of free climbing up to 7c+, with 7b obligatory climbing. On their one-day redpoint attempt Larcher fell after the 7c+ crux pitch, and the three chose to abseil back down for a subsequent attempt. Bad weather hampered plans and in the end the three, in between one outburst of torrential rain and the next, managed to abseil down to their previous highpoint and at least free all the pitches.
The Taghia area was discovered by Spanish climber Manuel Punsola in 1974. The first routes were established a year later by a group of French climbers which included African expert Bernard Domenech and Erik Dechamp. They climbed the most logical lines, 600m high in total isolation. In the 80's and 90's the area was sporadically visited above all by Spanish climbers who, bivouacking on the routes, created a number of big walls.
A fresh impetus and excellent quality new routes came at the hands of the Frenchmen Remi Thivel and Christian Ravier, whose difficult 400-600m routes were protected, only occasionaly, with a few bolts. The first modern day sports routes were established by Spaniard Toni Arbones (from the ground up and with aid) and, in May 2003 by the French trio Michel Piola, Benoit Robert and Arnaud Petit. These three established "Les rivieres pourpres", 7b, 6c obl. 600m and "Canyon Apache", 6c, 300m and a series of single pitches up to 8a+ in the Taghia gorge. Nevertheless, to this day the Taghia Gorge remains almost completely unknown to European climbers.