Arnaud Petit, Aymeric Clouet and Enzo Oddo, three members of Team Petzl, headed to Taghia, Maroc in April 2011 to open a new route. Arnaud tells us about his wonderful adventure sharing new experiences in this country of breathtaking landscapes.
"The project was to be opened from the ground up by free climbing before hanging from friends and hooks so we could pull out the drill and place a bolt.
We were attracted by a line on a short, diverse wall. It took us four days to open 150 meters of climbing, then two days to try and free it. The biggest difficulty of climbing from the ground up is placing the bolts in the best places for freeing the route. This is mainly because the rock needs a bit of cleaning and we didn"t always know if the line we had chosen would be interrupted by a section without holds.
On top of that, it was only Enzo's second experience aid climbing and he felt at ease with it really quickly. He rapidly gained confidence on the sky hooks and accepted the commitment of some of the sections without being sure of the result. With Aymeric, we showed him a few things that make life easier on the wall. And he showed us that grade 8 on a big wall is a "hike". Another thing that was really nice was that our team really worked well together and the name we gave the route reflects that. "Walou Bass" means "no problem" in Berber. The route consists of four superb, demanding pitches (8b, 7c, 8c, 8a/8a+). The first pitch was opened last year by Jérôme Para and Damien Tomassi.
Unfortunately, we were unable to succeed in freeing the 8c of the third pitch. After an 8a+ start, this 30-meter pitch continues with a bouldery passage that's around 8a that Enzo was really close to sticking despite how tired he was from opening the route.
After that we thought it would be a good idea to find this village that I really like and where I"ve already spent a few months of my life. The people who live in Taghia are mountain people that we always run into in the village or climbing in the area. Friendships are easily made and the relationships between the villagers, shepherds and climbers are often very strong.
Bertrand Delapierre filmed the opening of this route and there will be a short clip posted online very soon."
For more information
- On the Taghia massif, check out Arnaud Petit and Stéphanie Bodet's blog post on the opening of "Babel" in 2007.
- Slidewhow © B. Delapierre and A. Petit :