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This morning everything is silent. A veil of heavy clouds envelops the red mountains around Taghia. We were expecting heat, and instead we’re here admiring this surreal landscape. The village is under a blanket of snow, and all around the silence, broken only by the braying of donkeys, weighs on us. Down jackets end up over fleeces, and in these houses, without glass in the windows, it seems no thought has been given to defending oneself from the cold. This temperature has caught us psychologically unprepared. We’re frozen, and Cedric is eating with his down sleeping bag on as well. Numb and amazed, we study the route reports while it continues to snow outside. The forecasts are good, though, so we’re optimistic.

It’s been three days since we arrived. I’m in the middle of a smooth limestone wall. My harness is beginning to feel tight after hours up here. The air is cool but the sun is boiling. I pendulum to the left to find the right position to take photos, supporting myself with a skyhook; below me Cedric climbs up with elegance and agility, while down in the abyss Fabian holds the ropes. The limestone is very sound on this beautiful route by Rolando Larcher and his companions. On these smooth slabs, the small bumps that allow you to climb seem to have been created on purpose by a “climbers’ God.” The sun, still high, is moving above the wall. Andrea, backlit up there, is already going back up the fixed ropes toward the top. Soon the shadows will fall and everything will be less hospitable. It’s time to get out.

Participants on the trip to Morocco: Cedric Lachat, Fabien Dugit, Andrea Peron.

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