Ice and Mixed Climbing in Morocco

Ice and Mixed Climbing in Morocco

Page Type Page Type: Article
Activities Activities: Mixed

Ice Climbing and Skiing in the Moroccan Atlas

In summer the Atlas mountains see a procession of British and European hikers enter the high valleys, entranced by the mysterious Berber villages and drawn to the barren hills by their formidable 4000m heights. The terrain is brown, arid and bleak. A crude iron frame tarnishes the broad scene of the Atlas' highest summit. Parties of 10 or more parade into its shadow and descend as swiftly back to Marrakech stopping for cerveza at one of the huts or kasbahs.

In winter heavy storms burry the range in a heavy blanket of snow and forbid all but a few hardy mountaineers from seeing their upper reaches. In January I packed up my gear and a few kilos of food and hiked/skied into the valley surrounded by Ras, Timesguida, Biguinoussene and Toubkal. Crossing frequent piles of avalanche debris and gazing upon the mountain faces around me, I was surprised to see numerous ice gullies and steep coulouirs reaching from valley to summit. These were to be the target of my climbing and I have compiled a video clip to show some of the best areas.

Ultimately, the more amazing discovery was that during three weeks in the region, I did not meet or hear of a single climber entering the range for the purpose of winter climbing on these exceptional, long pillars and gullies of ice. Clearly these lines were either unclimbed or seldom climbed, and it took me many days to even recce access routes (by ski) to the upper ice and faces.

Andrew Stokes-Rees (2009)


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Viewing: 1-19 of 19

Gattsu - Aug 30, 2009 4:00 am - Voted 10/10

Excellent vid!

Thanks for sharing. Didn't do anything for my cabinfever tho, just made it worse :p


gert - Aug 30, 2009 4:11 am - Voted 10/10

Thanx for sharing

" summer the Atlas mountains see a procession of British and European hikers...."
did'nt know there is a differnce ;-)
Thank you for sharing this excellent video!


climbxclimb - Aug 30, 2009 5:05 am - Voted 10/10

Who would have thought...

Nice to know that you can do alpine climbing there, I knew of some good rock climbing...Great video!


missymtngirl - Aug 30, 2009 6:03 pm - Voted 10/10

Absolutley Amazing!

Your video is awesome!


gimpilator - Aug 31, 2009 12:22 am - Voted 10/10

The Atlas

Thanks for posting this video. I enjoyed it very much. I spent 3 months living in Essaouira. At one point I passed over the Atlas Mountains and found their beauty striking. What an awesome place to climb!


km_donovan - Aug 31, 2009 3:42 pm - Voted 10/10

Oh wow!

I really want to go. That is just an amazing place.


stinkycheezman33 - Sep 2, 2009 8:45 am - Voted 10/10

very nice video!

morocco has always been on my short list, but i think it just became urgent priority! :)
thanks for sharing your awesome experiences.

Liba Kopeckova

Liba Kopeckova - Sep 2, 2009 1:15 pm - Voted 10/10


Who would think about going to ice climb and ski to Morocco? I guess you....Amazing!
Great video shootage. Very artistic. Thanks...Liba


klwagar - Sep 5, 2009 7:15 pm - Voted 10/10


I loved the ending.


woodsxc - Sep 6, 2009 10:19 am - Voted 10/10

Simply Awesome

That was a stellar video. Now I just need to convince my parents that going to Morocco is a good idea... ;) Thanks for posting.


rickford - Sep 6, 2009 5:49 pm - Voted 10/10

Excellent video!

Andrew, great job! Few images have inspired me more. Good job on some of those ballsy free solo pitches, too!

Thanks for sharing this.


jvarholak - Sep 8, 2009 8:37 pm - Voted 10/10

Re: Excellent video!

Amen Rick.....
Great job indeed Andrew.


paulbalegend - Sep 8, 2009 12:10 pm - Voted 10/10


cool! good climbing, too.


skyward22 - Sep 16, 2009 1:47 am - Hasn't voted


what a great video, thanks for sharing. i lived in spain for 5 months while studying and and sevilla, which is very close to morrocco. i always thought about visiting to climb but never made my way down there. how is accessibility?


suddendescent - Sep 18, 2009 2:11 pm - Hasn't voted

Unbelieveable !

The position of the Atlas mountains in being near the equator and in being so close to the Sahara leads to certain typical assumptions which you have dared correct with due consideration for the maximum average elevation of the mountains . Although as is my usual dumb habit may I dare to ask if the desert is actually a stone throw away from all that ice ? !

Great article !

Thank god some people are around to describe such parts of the world which otherwise would be unsuspected as such !

It made me think of the unsuspected mountainous scenery to uncover with Google once doing a close up of south west Cyprus...


dmiki - Sep 20, 2009 3:47 am - Voted 10/10

Cool shots, nice video

You did the camerawork on your own?
Also, nice editing job.


alpinedon - Sep 22, 2009 10:49 pm - Voted 10/10


I wish there were more videos like this. I really appreciate quieter music and the sounds of climbing coming through. Great Job.


suddendescent - Sep 26, 2009 11:23 am - Hasn't voted

Oh yes, I forgot...

What a superb video !

adszhu - Oct 17, 2009 11:45 am - Hasn't voted

Marvellous Landscape

... and video! Congratulations and thanks!

Viewing: 1-19 of 19