Page Type Page Type: Mountain/Rock
Location Lat/Lon: 29.82724°N / 9.05381°W
Activities Activities: Trad Climbing
Seasons Season: Spring, Fall, Winter
Additional Information Elevation: 5021 ft / 1530 m
Sign the Climber's Log

Overview

Rainbow Buttress

The wild and beautiful Samazar Valley is located in the Jebel El Kest Group, a moroccan adventurous range in full climbing development, located in the Eastern end of the semi-desert region of Anti-Atlas. The range began to be explored in the mid-nineties and now has more than 1000 trad climbing routes.  The Samazar Valley, also named Shangri-Là by the climbers and Tamza Valley by the local inhabitants, is one of the most charming destination in this massif, a true mine of big walls and smaller crags, offering plenty of magnificent trad climbing on high quality quartzite.

Crags in the surroundings of Rainbow Buttress
Crags in the surroundings of Rainbow Buttress

 

Upper Samazar Valley seen from above (summit of Jebel El Kest)
Upper Samazar Valley seen from above (summit of Jebel El Kest)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Samazar is a long and narrow valley arranged along the West-East direction, home of some of the greatest rock structures in the group, as the mighty and complex Great Rock of Samazar and the massive Waterfall Walls. Besides these gigantic walls, the Samazar area counts tens of towers and crags, as Rainbow Buttress, Agouti, Igiliz and many others. 

Rainbow Buttress is a sunny cliff of excellent orange quartzite located in the Samazar Valley, at the very start of its Eastern entry and overlooking the village of Ighir.  This crag was explored for the first time in the October 2011 by the Italian climbers Alberto Rampini and Silvia Mazzani, who realized three new routes, Rainbow Bridge, Orange Rocket and Sweet Sweet Afantinzare Dogs. In the following years many other routes were opened by the British climbers. Now on Rainbow Buttress there is plenty of top quality routes on excellent orange quartzite. The climb is middle grading on long mountain routes with a straightforward descent via a vegetated gully. 

Getting There

Jebel El Kest typical landscape
Jebel El Kest typical landscape

 

Getting the Jebel El Kest area 

The most developed town in the Jebel El Kest region is Tafraout, located on the Southern side. The region can be suitably approached both from Marrakech and Agadir. Several international flights run to both the airports. The best choice is hire a car (in the Airports there are many Car Hire Agencies).

- From Marrakech the road to Tafraout involves a trip of 400 Kms and takes nowadays about 5 hours via the new Motor-way connecting Marrakech to Agadir, then by means of a busy road via Inezgane (near Agadir), Biougra and Ait Baha; alternatively you can follow the road via Asni, through the High Atlas range, a trip along a narrow mountain road inside a charming and scenic landscape, and Taroudant (it takes at least 7-8 hours).

- From Agadir the trip is shorter (you can drive to Tafraout in 2 hours on a 170 kms good road), but the flights’ choice is more restricted.

 

Road approach to the Samazar Valley

Peaceful landscape near Ighir
Peaceful landscape near Ighir

 

 

 

 

 

As told, Rainbow Buttress is situated at the Eastern entrance of the Samazar Valley, at its very start. It can be quickly reached from the small village of Ida Ougnidif (Northern side of the Jebel El Kest), located nearby the Kazbah Tizourgane on the main road connecting Agadir to Tafraout. If you stay in Tafraout the approach is longer across the Tizi N’Tarakatine Pass and involves more than 1 hour of driving. 

 

From the village of Ida Ougnidif take the concrete road rising with several bends to enter the Afantinzar Valley. Many cliffs can be viewed on both sides of the road. After the bends and before the small village of Ighir there is a junction sign-posted Aouguenz. Ignore this road branching to the right and proceed on the main one getting another junction in the village of Ighir, near a little mosque. Here ignore the main road leading onto the Afantinzar Valley and take on the right the road to Samazar. Follow it for a little bit (few hundred of meters) and park the car in a pull-out just in front of the obvious orange crag facing South.

Rainbow Buttress
Rainbow Buttress

Rainbow Bridge route report

Rainbow Bridge (British scale)

Summit altitude: m 1600
Difficulty: HVS, 5b (British alphanumerical scale)
Equipment: none, the conformation of quartzite allows conveniently to put down protections along the pitches and on the stops
Route length: 200 m
Exposure: South
First ascent: Alberto Rampini and Silvia Mazzani 2011, October 30th
Starting point: start of the Samazar road near the village of Ighir

An excellent classic route on beautiful quartzite

Samazar Valley, the start of the walk to Rainbow Buttress
Samazar Valley, the start of the walk to Rainbow Buttress

Walking approach

Several poor trails start nearby the pull-out, leading to the crag in about 15 minutes. The starting point is situated on the right of “Sweet sweet Afantinzar dogs”,  below a little wall, between two huge blocks on the left and some trees on the right.

L1 - Climb the little wall, cross a ledge and then climb a fine crack leading to a stance below a big block. F4a, 30 m
L2 - Reach the block and the upper terrace; from here climb a little corner on the left, then a beautiful orange wall with very good holds and finally a short crack. F4b, 27 m
L3 - Another orange wall cut by  some little corners leads to a wide terrace. F4a, 35 m

Rainbow Buttress reddish quartzite
Rainbow Buttress reddish quartzite
Fine orange quartzite on the route Rainbow Bridge
Fine orange quartzite on the route Rainbow Bridge

 

 

 

L4 - Climb directly the fine orange wall cut by two parallel cracks, following the left one.  Reach a wide ledge.  F5a, 30 m
L5 – From the right edge of the ledge climb a smooth corner, then another magnificent orange wall cut by two other cracks. Climb the left one again (crux) and belay on an exposed rocky step. 5b, 20 m
L6 – From the step traverse 2 mt. left, then climb an edge and some little walls reaching the top of a pillar. Scramble down 2 meters and belay. 4a, 30 m.
L7 – Climb easily the ridge on the left, 28 m

Descent: from the summit head to East for a few minutes (in the left direction facing out), then follow on the right the first obvious vegetated gully leading easily to the bottom of the crag (20 minutes from the top).      

Other routes

Plenty of top quality routes on excellent orange quartzite! The climb is middle grading on long mountain routes with a straightforward descent via a vegetated gully. 

Rainbow Buttress topo
A - Sweet sweet Afantinzar dogs B - Rainbow Bridge C - Orange Rocket

 

 

 

- Crock of Gold  HVS
- The Main of light  HVS
- Orange Rocket  VS
- Sweet, sweet Afantinzar dogs  VS
- Crocked Eclipse  HVS
- Route 66  VS
- Rouster wall  VS
- Inverted V  VS
- Hee HAW  E1
- Chocolate Orange  HVS
- Black Peter  HVS

Essential gear

Double ropes, a complete set of friends and nuts, quickdraws and slings, helmet and usual belay devices.

 

Rock climbing scales

 

Rock Climbing Rating Systems
Rock Climbing Rating Systems

 

 

Red Tape

Climbing doesn’t suffer official and established restrictions, but however climbers are urged to respect the ethics of the pioneers, in order to preserve in the area the original adventurous trad climbing. In all the quartzite routes to date, no bolts and a few pitons have been fixed or used. In fact, the quarzite provides ideal cracks to place friends and nuts.

When to Climb

Sundown at Samazar, Jebel El Kest
Sundown at Samazar, Jebel El Kest

The best seasons to climb are Fall and Spring, till April, when the weather is mainly fine and the temperature is pleasant. Late in the spring and in summer the temperature rises up dramatically and climbing is virtually impossibile. Winter (December to February) is traditionally the wet season and rain, cold and even snow, on the highest peaks, sometimes may be a problem. Nevertheless, you can find often pleasant temperature also in winter during the day, though the evening and the night can be quite chilly.

Accomodation

Morocco Rock
Morocco Rock

North-Side – A nice place to stay is the charming and traditional The Kasbah Tizourgane, nearby Ida Ougnidif

South-Side – Different kinds of accomodation in Tafraout. An excellent choice is Hotel Les Amandiers on a hill dominating the town. Other options in Tafraoute: Argana Guesthouse www.argana-tafraout.com, Hotel Salama, Auberge Les Amis and Hotel Tete du Lion

In Tafraoute there is also an equipped campsite.

Guidebooks

OAC Jebel El Kest North guidebook
OAC Jebel El Kest South guidebook
Morocco Rock guidebook
Moroccan Anti-Atlas North guidebook
Moroccan Anti-Atlas North guidebook
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
"Tafraout - Rock Climbing in Morocco's Anti-Atlas" Vol I - The South Side of Jebel El Kest and the Ameln Valley by Steve Broadbent, Oxford Alpine Club 2013 
"Tafraout - Rock Climbing in Morocco's Anti-Atlas" Vol II - The North Side of Jebel El Kest and Jebel Taskra by Steve Broadbent, Oxford Alpine Club 2013
“Morocco Rock – Jebel el Kest & Taskra North, 1000 Rock Climbs in the Anti-Atlas” by Emma Alsford and Paul Donnithorne, Crack Addicts 2012
“Moroccan Anti-Atlas North” by Steve Broadbent – Oxford Alpine Club 2010
“Climbing in the Moroccan Anti Atlas – Tafraoute and Jebel El Kest” by Claude Davies, Cicerone 2004

External Links

- UKC Logbook
- Morocco Rock
- Climb Tafraoute



Parents 

Parents

Parents refers to a larger category under which an object falls. For example, theAconcagua mountain page has the 'Aconcagua Group' and the 'Seven Summits' asparents and is a parent itself to many routes, photos, and Trip Reports.

Jebel el Kest GroupMountains & Rocks