Still I was hesitant.
Over the next few months my climbing strength and ability grew, I invested more time, leaving my job at Outdoor climbing store Ellis Brigham, to climb full time. I studied more and more on climbing, taking an almost academic approach to the industry, reading books, going to climbing film festivals and events. I wanted to know everything it took to become a professional climber.
After the Kendal Mountain Film Festival in November, my psych was high, I pushed myself hard. Within a week of returning from the festival, I had led a 7 which had been my goal for over a year when I had taken my second injury, breaking my left arm in September 2016. By the end of 2017 I wanted nothing more to push, my belief in myself was an all-time high, I’d been reading Revelations by Jerry Moffatt I was inspired completely. My new goal formulated, 8a lead by the end of 2018. This was a massive goal, but if I was dedicated and kept pushing myself it was plausible. I knew to reach this goal I had to just go and climb constantly. I knew as well just climbing at home in the UK and training wouldn’t motivate me enough. I was already at the point of climbing 5 times a week. On a rest day, I was watching videos on YouTube of all the best climbers in the world. I couldn’t take it anymore. I looked at the cost of tickets to Morocco out of curiosity. That was it, they were bought.
Research began, where could I climb? Where could I stay? Who could I climb with?
Quickly I found three spots that really interested me. Todra Gorge, over 300 sport climbing routes ranging from 4+ to 8b+. Oukimeden the highest altitude bouldering spot apparently in the world located high in the Atlas Mountains. Whilst I’m there the Oukimeden Boulderfest will be going on, the first climbing festival in North Africa. I couldn’t miss the opportunity to take part in that, so I’ve secured my place in the competition. Also here I will get the chance to do first accents of boulder problems, training with the guys writing the guide books for the area. The third area Jebel el Jest known for long multi-pitch trad climbing and painted boulders that were painted in 1982 by a Belgium artist.
I have always had an interest in exploring the culture of the places I travel, so during my time in Morocco I’m going to try and experience as much as I can. Exploring the medieval cities of Rabat, Casablanca, Marrakesh and Tangier. Carrying my camera taking in the sights, architecture, food and people. I want to uncover the stories of local people, how do they live, how does the climbing community compare to home.
From my travels I want to write and share the stories I experience and uncover. Documenting through blogs, photography and film. This expedition is set to finish on the 1st June , however depending on how I am feeling I am considering taking a ferry to Spain and hitchhiking through Europe climbing in some of the best spots Europe has to offer.
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