The town of Taghia
Located in the High Atlas, 200 kilometers east of Marrakech, in the province of Azilal, Taghia is a Berber village of 600 inhabitants dominated by a ring of great ocher limestone walls. It’s located at almost 2,000 meters above sea level in one of the last inhabited villages of the High Atlas reachable on foot, just a two and a half hour walk from the village of Zaouiat Ahenesal. A path under construction is intended to open in about four years.
Abundant springs throughout the year supply fertile fields via a skillful network of channels, giving the people food independence. A hundred houses cling to a land of many colors on a hill facing south. Thus, this town, in comparison with other inhabited places in the High Atlas, enjoys relative comfort. Although winters can be hard there, many young people from the town do not want to leave. The school has 80 students in attendance.
During the last twenty years, the development of rock climbing on the walls that surround the town and its global reputation in the world of climbing have led inhabitants to organize themselves to receive the climbers passing through. Thus, while during the nineties there were only two historic rural houses attached to the GTAM network (Grande Traversée de l’Atlas Marocain), now small rural houses are appearing all over the place.
This oasis in the heart of the High Atlas is a unique place, and up there on the plateaus facing south one can find a shepherd who lives in the caves with his herd of goats. A coexistence may arise between the shepherd and a climber, brief but fruitful… it is due to the beauty of this earth and the great humanity of the people who inhabit it which moves us greatly.
Climbing in Taghia
The exploration of the walls of the Cirque of Taghia has always been a long-kept secret. In the mid-seventies, the French visited the place and started the first major routes. Iberian climbers arrived in the 1980s. But it was from the 2000s on when climbing experienced exponential growth in Taghia. Climbers of all nationalities started beautiful routes of exceptional quality on the great walls of rock.
For a long time, the youth of Taghia have watched these strange tourists, clad in strange tools, climb the mountains. They went up there to look for a lost goat.
Over time, the passion that guides climbers to this rocky Eden has infected the children of Taghia. Today, some of them have become excellent climbers. Clubs from Rabat or Casablanca ask them to participate in competitions. The Mohameds, Saïds and Slimans are very close to their people. They would like to be able to live off their passion, to be full-fledged players in the development of climbing in Taghia.
In 2008, Christian Ravier produced the first climbing guidebook about Taghia. There are 150 routes listed. A second edition was released in 2019 with more than 300 routes around the village. But even beyond that, at the foot of the Akka canyons, there is still more invaluable terrain for tomorrow’s climbers.