Rock climbing is a sport that is perfect for incorporating into vacations. There are thousands of rock formations around the globe, and conquering different formations can be a great way to see different countries.
Rock climb your way through Morocco! Discover the best climbing areas, grades, and insider tips for an unforgettable adventure in this breathtaking country, just a short journey away from Europe.
Rock climbing in Morocco has become a popular pastime for locals and tourists alike, and the country offers some superb rock face that provides rock climbing for all levels, from beginners to pros.
And, of course, being in Morocco, you get to experience some premium rock climbing experiences and enjoy the cultural and natural beauty of this vibrant North African country.
We will take a look at all you need to know about rock climbing in Morocco:
- Best time of year to rock climb in Morocco.
- The different rock climbing areas in Morocco.
- The range of difficulty you can expect.
- What you need for rock climbing in Morocco.
Best Time Of Year To Rock Climb In Morocco
Morocco’s climate is dry, with rain falling very rarely, which allows for year-round climbing conditions, with climbs in the hot summer months being possible if completed in the shade.
The best time of year for an optimal rock climbing experience would be when the US experiences winter between October and April, so it is a great way to escape the cold. As a Northern hemisphere country, this time of year is also the Moroccan winter, with temperatures averaging at a minimum of 37°F and a maximum of 58°F.
Summer climbing will be hotter, but it is possible to keep to shaded rock faces and ensure that you have suitable hydration. Nonetheless, if possible and for the sake of overall enjoyment rather, stick to the cooler months in Morocco, as it can get incredibly hot mid-summer.
The Different Rock Climbing Areas In Morocco
With two major mountain ranges, the Atlas Mountains (including the High Atlas Mountains and the Middle Atlas) and Anti Atlas Mountains, Morocco offers great rock formations for rock climbers.
Nestled in amongst these two mountainous regions are 3 main rock climbing areas:
- Todra Gorge
- Taghia Gorge
Todra Gorge is Morocco’s most acclaimed rock climbing area. In the Atlas Mountains range, Todra Gorges offers close to 450 routes offering climbs that cover most difficulties. Most climbs can be accessed on foot, and there is something for everyone: a long day on the rock or easy clambering.
Todra Gorge offers several different climbing options, routes where you can combine traditional and fixed gear, and routes that allow for single-pitch and even multi-pitch excursions.
Todra Gorge is well-known for its limestone structures and does provide spectacular scenery.
Taghia Gorge provides more of an adventure experience due to its more remote location, with access being dependent on 4×4 vehicles. The Taghia Gorge area offers more than 100 routes of a more difficult variety, thanks to some great big wall climbs and slabs, with some measuring over 2500 feet in length.
The Taghia Gorge routes are for more experienced climbers, particularly the solid slab climbs. Upon arriving at the breathtaking green oasis, you are greeted by tall, majestic palm trees that stand proudly at the entrance of the awe-inspiring mountain cleft. The towering 300-metre limestone walls create a striking contrast against the lush surroundings, providing an unforgettable visual experience.
Over the last couple of years, numerous new climbing routes have been established, adding to the allure of this stunning location. Many of these are multi-pitch routes, running the full height of the gorge, and cater to climbers of varying skill levels. The combination of challenging climbs and the natural beauty of the oasis and limestone walls make this destination a dream for climbing enthusiasts.
Tafraoute can be found in the Anti Atlas Mountain range. The area is magnificent, with many fingerlike rock formations jutting out of the countryside. Tafraoute offers the greatest variety of rock climbing, from bouldering to crags and multi-pitch route options.
Most of the rock formations in the area are quartzite and granite, with granite outcrops offering some great sports climbing alternatives.
Located in the Moroccan Anti-Atlas Mountain range, the area around Tafraoute boasts the striking Jebel el Kest massif, which provides excellent opportunities for adventurous, traditional rock climbing. With miles of superb solid quartzite and granite rock to choose from, climbers have an abundance of options at their disposal.
The area offers a diverse range of climbing experiences, including bouldering, single-pitch roadside crags, and long multi-pitch routes that can be up to 800 metres in length. These climbs can be found on impressive big walls, high ridges, and summits, catering to climbers of various skill levels.
Despite its rugged and remote appearance, the beautiful mountain terrain is surprisingly accessible. Many of the crags can be reached within a twenty-minute walk from the road, making it a convenient destination for climbers eager to explore the area’s natural beauty and challenges.
Akchour is a stunning region nestled in the Northern Rif Mountains of Morocco, known for its enormous walls and solid rock formations. This area holds immense potential for both existing climbs and new route development, making it an attractive destination for climbers seeking adventure and exploration.
The climbing opportunities in Akchour cater to various preferences and skill levels, ranging from single-pitch roadside crags to extensive multi-pitch sport and traditional routes. Its diverse climbing options provide something for everyone, whether they are experienced climbers or newcomers to the sport.
Located north of the picturesque town of Chefchaouen in the Rif Mountains, Akchour boasts a dramatic landscape that entices climbers from around the world. Its natural beauty, combined with the abundant climbing possibilities, makes it a must-visit destination for those looking to challenge themselves amidst breathtaking surroundings.
As the climbing community continues to explore and develop new routes in Akchour, the area’s reputation as a premier climbing destination is set to grow. With its captivating scenery and extensive climbing opportunities, Akchour promises a thrilling and memorable experience for climbers venturing into the rugged beauty of Morocco’s Rif Mountains.
The Range Of Difficulty In Moroccan Rock Climbing
The three main rock climbing areas provide a broad range of grades. From basic bouldering with a 5.4 YDS (Yosemite Decimal System) to nice wall faces offering beyond even 5.12 YDS grades.
As there is such a wide variety of grading available in rock climbing in Morocco, it is always good to thoroughly research each particular area and always carry the correct kit with you. Due to the popularity of rock climbing in Morocco, many reputable rock climbing companies in the region can provide seasoned guides and equipment.
Morocco is indeed a climbing destination that boasts numerous fantastic developed climbing areas, but it also holds vast potential for further exploration and development. Among the various types of climbing, bouldering has remained relatively untouched in Morocco, providing ample opportunities for climbers to discover new routes and challenges.
Bouldering is a form of rock climbing that focuses on short, challenging routes, called “problems”, which are usually close to the ground. It requires minimal equipment, such as climbing shoes, chalk, and a crash pad for safety. The absence of ropes and harnesses allows climbers to concentrate solely on their movements and technique, making bouldering a popular choice for both beginners and experienced climbers.
Though Morocco is predominantly known for its traditional sport climbing and multi-pitch climbing areas, such as the Todra Gorge and the Taghia region, the country’s diverse landscapes and rock formations offer significant potential for bouldering enthusiasts. Areas with potential for bouldering can be found in the Atlas Mountains, the Anti-Atlas Mountains, and the Rif Mountains, as well as various locations within the Sahara Desert.
What You Need For Rock Climbing In Morocco
Rock climbing has a few equipment requirements depending on the climbing you are considering. Many of the established climbing routes have fixed protection, and many climbing companies work hard to maintain the areas. However, it is advised to take along additional cams and nuts.
One can get away with a 260-foot rope, and if uncertain, hiring equipment from climbing companies is a good alternative as they can advise you on your needs. Helmets are recommended, as there is a lot of loose rock even though the routes are maintained.
Sunscreen, particularly oil-free sunscreen, is a definite must as it can get blisteringly hot in summer, and you can be quite exposed on the rock face when not in the shade. We recommend bringing your own from home as it’s not commonly used in Morocco.
There are several very well-written guideboosk by the climbing community about each climbing area, and these are invaluable regarding climbing information. The books provide you with all the routes and what you should expect so that you can be properly prepared to allow for maximum safety.
Lastly, you do need to consider insurance for your travel and make sure that your insurance will cover rock climbing. Many insurance companies may have specific requirements for your insurance to be valid; the inclusion of a professional guide is a common underwriting in the fine print.
Because of this, we recommend doing a thorough check with your insurance company before leaving and, if necessary, finding an alternate insurance cover for your time in Morocco while rock climbing.
Tops Tips When Climbing In Morocco
As with visiting any place, there are always a few do’s and don’ts when in Morocco.
Rock climbing can be dangerous, so always adhere to safety standards and consult a local guide when in doubt, go with other climbers who know the area. If you go climbing in summer, make sure that you have enough water and other hydration fluids, and stick to the shaded side of gorges and rock faces.
Do not leave your belongings lying below your climb. While one can camp in some of the climbing areas, be sure to have someone stay with your belongings. Otherwise, make sure that you take everything with you.
There are many very reasonable and comfortable hostels and guest houses, but these can become full over the European summer months, so it’s a good idea to book ahead.
During the peak tourist season, prices can soar, so try not to visit over the Festive season and New Year, as you can expect to pay almost 100% more than usual.
Morocco is famous for haggling, so expect a fair amount of bargaining during your trip, and it is a good idea to develop a thick skin.
Morocco offers a wide variety of rocking climbing, including climbs graded from easy to difficult. With three main rock climbing areas within beautiful mountain regions, rocking climbing in Morocco is more than just a climbing experience.
FAQs on Morocco Rock Climbing
When can you climb in Morocco?
The best time to climb in Morocco largely depends on the region and the type of climbing you plan to do. Generally, spring (March to May) and autumn (September to November) are considered the best seasons for climbing due to their mild temperatures and favourable weather conditions.
In the High Atlas and Anti-Atlas Mountains, winter can bring snow and cold temperatures, making climbing more challenging, while the summer months can be excessively hot, especially in desert regions. Coastal areas, such as the Rif Mountains, offer more moderate temperatures year-round, making them suitable for climbing during most seasons.
Where can I climb in Morocco?
Morocco offers various climbing destinations for all skill levels and preferences. Some of the most popular climbing areas include:
- Todra Gorge: Located in the High Atlas Mountains, Todra Gorge is known for its impressive limestone walls and diverse sport climbing routes.
- Taghia: A remote village in the High Atlas Mountains, Taghia offers multi-pitch sport climbing on limestone walls amidst spectacular scenery.
- Tafraoute: Situated in the Anti-Atlas Mountains, Tafraoute features the Jebel el Kest massif, providing a range of climbing opportunities on quartzite and granite rock formations.
- Akchour: Located in the Rif Mountains, north of Chefchaouen, Akchour offers everything from single-pitch roadside crags to extensive multi-pitch sport and traditional routes on solid rock walls.
- Oukaimeden: This High Atlas Mountains location offers bouldering and sport climbing opportunities at high altitude, with granite rock formations and stunning views.
What types of climbing can I expect in Morocco?
Morocco offers a diverse range of climbing experiences, including traditional climbing, sport climbing, bouldering, and multi-pitch sport climbs. The country’s varied landscapes provide numerous opportunities for climbers of all skill levels to challenge themselves and enjoy the stunning scenery.
Where can I find multi pitch sports climbs in Morocco?
Some popular locations for multi-pitch sport climbs in Morocco include:
- Todra Gorge: Located in the High Atlas Mountains, Todra Gorge is renowned for its limestone walls and a variety of sport climbing routes, including multi-pitch sport climbs.
- Taghia: A remote village in the High Atlas Mountains, Taghia offers an impressive selection of multi-pitch sport climbs amidst breathtaking natural beauty.
- Akchour: Situated in the Rif Mountains, Akchour provides a range of climbing opportunities, from single-pitch crags to extensive multi-pitch sport and traditional routes.
What is the hardest climb in the world?
The hardest climb in the world is subjective, as it depends on the criteria used to judge difficulty (such as the climbing grade or the technical and physical challenges). However, one of the most famous and challenging climbs is the “Dawn Wall” route on El Capitan in Yosemite National Park, California, USA.
The Dawn Wall is a free climb, meaning climbers rely solely on their hands and feet to ascend the route while using ropes and gear for safety. It was first successfully climbed by Tommy Caldwell and Kevin Jorgeson in 2015 and is graded as 5.14d (9a) on the Yosemite Decimal System, making it one of the most difficult climbs in the world.