Somewhere in the desert I am melting like a candle. Struggling to breathe in such a high altitude in southern Morocco as I slot my stinky 5.10’s on and battle my way up some ancient unrepeated line in the middle of nowhere. A few metres off the ground I am already observing the magical view; but with my other eye I am straining to see the next hand hold on the route. Here you can discover the purist On-Sight options; absolutely no chalk evidence on some fragile rock. Making several trips left and right from the shake out, the crux must be right above onto steep blankness. I am extremely pumped, but the On-Sight only lays once and it would be an awful waste to not get it. One more spaced bolt to the chains from the monster 45meter climb, I couldn’t afford to let go. Somehow I did it on invisible crimps. The challenging 7c+ was now ticked in style. Luck didn’t stay with me as I fell ill the next day. I still managed to keep going although I had some kind of Trilobite eating my stomach away. That’s what happens in Africa.
My restless gene keeps me on the search for rural climbing destinations especially places with a taste for exotic spices. Sadly, it turned out that half a dozen rock explores I know have already been to the Todra Gorge leaving their prints behind. But I was still nearly the only climber in the Gorge with my old man. Using the old sketched topo to identify the routes was a riddle partly the adventure of Todra. To my fantasy, it was like Indiana Jones searching for the Holy Grail using a treasure map.
The climbing here was supreme but it was mainly all about West Africa and the culture that can be alien to us. The locals were the friendliest African’s I have ever met and didn’t seem to want anything but a smile from us. There is so much rock here in the gorge, many new lines to be discovered. Perhaps one day I will return.