/ A Moroccan Adventure
Morocco, 15. December 2017
Day 7 - We mean business today, were attempting Ouanoukrim again but this time via the East Ridge Tizi n-Ouagane. We knew a team went up recently so planning on following there steps. All started off well, breakfast and out the refuge by 6:20am and made good progress up the valley. Went past my footprints from the previous attempt and didn't really stop until we got to an obstacle, a frozen waterfall only a couple of metres wide but a nasty fall if we were to slip. I went and had a look see if I could carve some steps in but it wasn't working and I decided it would be easier and safer if we just put our crampons on as we were going to need to put them on soon anyway. We made to Tizi n-Ouagane 3730m and finally in some sunlight. It was soooooo cold today, much colder than our day on Toubkal but we had a strong Northerly wind which was piercing through every layer you could have on. We weren't sure if today was our day because the winds were so strong and so cold, even though our planned route was similar grade to Toubkal the ridge was a lot trickier than we expected. Winds and cold led to a decision to call it a day, once again only 200m of the summit. I was gutted and disappointed but the mountain will be there still. I hate being beaten though! I will be back! We headed back to the refuge and got back at a decent time but I didn't want to sit around till morning just to wake up and head back to Aremd, so we decided to have lunch and head back down the valley and stay here the night (also much cheaper than the refuge). After our day 2 hike in which nearly broke us due to our heavy bags, we wanted to see if we can get a mule to take them for us then we can enjoy the trek down as we hadn't been this way yet. We set off knowing it would take between 3-5 hours and legs and feet already hurting from the morning attempt on Ouanoukrim. But we thought we could take our time as there's no way a Mule can walk on the steep rocky paths covered in snow and ice! How I was wrong! The Muleteer hadn't even had his lunch when we left and within 1 hour the Mule was hot on our tails and we had to let it pass. We then had to step up the pace as we didn't know where they were going to put our bags, but also we had no clue where our hostel was as we came in a week ago but from the opposite direction and if anyone has been to Aremd before will know there are alleys that lead to other alleys and is a proper maze! Eventually the Mules stopped for a break and this was our chance to really make some ground before they catch us up again, we didn't even stop for a drink or take pics and we even caught up with groups of people that left the Toubkal refuge way before us. When we got Aremd after beating the Mule. We then had to find the hostel and surprisingly we found it fairly quickly by just going down little streets and alleys. We were greeted in by our hosts with open arms even though we were a day early it was still no problem, everyone is this area is super friendly. Dinner tonight was chicken tagine and we even treated ourselves to bottle of pop which tasted so good after a very enjoyable but hard week in the High Atlas Mountains. I would really like to come back again sometime in the future to attempt a few more peaks but also maybe when it's warmer as the Rock Climbing here looks immense! So much to do. Anyway we head back to Marrakech in the morning just for day and then off to Essaouira for a bit of beach time, well needed after an epic week!