A year after "Sul filo della notte" (570m, 7c+, Larcher, Paissan and Oviglia) Maurizio Oviglia has returned to Morocco's High Atlas Taghia Gorge. This time he left his power drill at home and, together with his wife Cecilia Marchi and Simone Sarti, started to repeat "Les Rivieres purpres" (600 m, 7b+, Petit, Piola, Robert 2003) and "Les Axe du Mal" (600 m, 7c, Petit e Piola, 2004). Unfortunately, the same stomach virus which had affected the Polish team impeded the Italians from finishing the two routes, as fever on the wall forced them to a quick retreat...
Thankfully the virus passed quickly and two days later Simone and Maurizio made the first ascent of "Enfant de sable" on the south face of Jbel Tramazine. The multi-pitch trad route takes a steep line up a series of slabs, cracks and corners, and is predominantly protected with nuts and friends, although some pegs have been left in-situ. Most of the climbing is 7a, with 6c obligatory and some run-outs. The two on-sighted the route, alternating leads
Back in Marrakech the team continued to the Todra Gorge, which has by now become a far greater tourist attraction and is far removed from paradisiacal Taghia. Frenchman Arnaud Petit is currently attempting a new route there, which may be as hard as 8a+. Worth mentioning is a new crag Al Madrassa, established by Michel Piola, just 30 minutes from the village.
Photo Maurizio Oviglia