We’re just leaving on a trip to Todra Gorge, our favourite rock climbing destination in Morocco…and we thought you’d like to see it for yourself.
Are you up for that?
This is Tinghir, a city of 40,000 people on the south slope of the High Atlas mountains. It’s a delicious 26 degrees Celsius today (perfect conditions – it gets a lot hotter in the high summer) and those palm trees stretch across your view because they’re fed by an oasis that runs for about 30 miles end to end.
On another day, we’d suggest you go exploring and enjoy the company of the oh-so-hospitable Berber (or Amazighen) people who live here…
But we’re heading for those mountains.
What everyone calls “Todra Gorge” (this isn’t it – don’t worry, we’ll get there) is midway along a great, wide cleft scoured out of the surrounding limestone by the Todra River.
Imagine the time it took for that river you can see all the way down there to carve out this canyon system – although it was presumably a lot fiercer than this 10,000 years ago when the Moroccan climate was less desert-like.
However you look at it, this is astonishingly old terrain.
People have lived here for more years, decades, centuries that anyone can remember.
And in some ways, absolutely nothing has changed. You’ll still see locals herding donkeys and goats through here – and you’ll still be approached by people with something to sell.
(The hotels, however, are brand new – and a sign of Todra’s rising popularity.)
Ah – we’re almost here. There’s a 600-metre-long section where the cliff walls squeeze together and rise higher and higher – and that’s our destination today.
Okay. You may want to take a deep breath.
The walls of Todra Gorge aren’t very far from each other. In places, barely ten metres separate them.
They do, however, rise up to 160 metres above the floor of the gorge, almost vertically in places.
That’s why your jaw is on the floor right now.
Hey, it’s ok – that happens to us all. Todra never loses that power, even for those of us who have been coming here for years.
There have been people climbing here since the 1960s – and it’s taken a while for the world to realise what an incredible place this is for rock-climbing. But now, the word is definitely out.
There are more than 150 climbing routes here, rated French Grade 5 to 8 (don’t worry, we’ll explain what that means when we start preparing you for your first climb).
We’ll let you catch your breath, and admire the view for a minute.
That’s Paroi du Levant over there, the “sunrise wall”. That’s the first route ever climbed, over on Arete Nord. That’s Plage Mansour Left, popular because it’s nice and sunny for most of the day (unless it’s the middle of summer and all you want is shade, in which case, we’d recommend the nicely shadowed Aiguille du Gue)…
Anyway, we’re getting ahead of ourselves. This is your first time here, right?
Well, rest easy. We have all the right equipment you need. We have experienced instructors waiting to literally show you the ropes. And we have blue skies, manageable temperatures, and the rest of the day to explore – and climb – one of the most exciting landscapes in the whole of Morocco.
Click here when you’re ready. We’ll wait for you.