At first you feel like you have died and gone to heaven, a bouldering heaven decorated with palm trees and coloured carpets; but fairly quickly Tafraoute reveals its dirty little secret.
Very rough, very sandy, and very frustrating is how I would describe the rock in Tafroute in polite terms. My mum told me saying bad words makes baby Jesus cry so I wont stoop to those despicable levels, instead I will use SCIENCE to demonstrate my point.
Utilising some of the most modern and accurate methods of visual guestimation, I was able to conclude that 89.74% of the rock is bad, and of the 10.26% that is good, 2.37% is inaccessible due to its location, and 6.44% is just featureless. This leaves a disappointing 1.19% of good quality climbing which may not sound much, but thankfully Tafraoute is all rock; as far as you can see in every direction, mountains covered in giant orange eggs entice you to explore.
I know that the perfect line is out there, hiding somewhere in the shade is a line of perfect edges and huecos through a big roof, but this on this trip I didn’t find it. However... we did manage to climb every day, for 8 days straight on good quality problems. Sport, bouldering, and trad – we even found time for a mini desert rave. That’s not too bad going when you think about it.
I'm planning on writing something a little more in depth about our adventure in Tafraoute, to be published in one of the climbing rags at some point down the line along with a host of pretty pictures. There is also 60gb of raw HD footage sat on my hard disk waiting for someone with the time and skill to turn it into something cool – if any of you budding film makers fancy taking a look, drop me a message and we can talk some more.
For now, I want to say a quick thank you to Ivan and the rest of the smiley Spanish for the helpful information they gave us – without it we would certainly have climbed a lot less. You can find Ivan’s website here. There is also a lot of useful information about climbing in Tafraoute here.
I just wanted to add, as somepeople seemed to have taken my post the wrong way (probably my fault in the way I write) - I liked Tafraoute a lot, in fact it was one of my best recent adventures and would certainly go back without too much persuasion.