A Morccan Adventure Begins
27
MARCH, 2018
Adventure

Surfing

Rock Climbing

It was August 2017 when the spark of inspiration was born. At the shop in my local climbing gym (The Climbing  Hangar) I uncovered a guide book to Morocco. My mind was encapsulated by the possibilities. I had been on a few climbing holidays so far, around Europe and had travelled to Africa for different trips relating to my Zoology degree and was in love with the continent.
Back during my first year of climbing and University, I had travelled to Ghana for a veterinary internship, at the current time I was unable to climb due to breaking my right arm (the first of many climbing injuries), but kept dreaming of climbing on the continent. With the guide book in my possession the idea began to take hold.

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.

I was going to  Morocco for 80 days,  I had just over a month to prepare.
My mind felt crazy.  What had I just done?  Was I ready for this? The idea felt insane. But I knew for me to ever achieve anything with my climbing I had to  just jump all in.

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.

At the same time I had recently been inspired by a book called Barbarian Days a autobiography of a top class surfer, detailing his life and travels surfing round the world. I have had an interest in surfing  since I was 13 and my family travelled to Cornwall for a two week surfing holiday for me and my older brother. This was probably one of the last truly happy times with my family before my dad was diagnosed with  cancer at the end of this Summer. So knowing that Morocco is known for its surfing I thought I could recapture something from that time. I found a hostel in Rabat where I am going to land, at the hostel they offer surfing lessons whilst you stay there.  So I thought why not learn how to properly surf whilst I’m here. For my first 7 days in Morocco I’m going to be learning how to surf before I head out to climb none stop. Also I intend to finish the trip off by spending two weeks in Safi a town known for great surfing and windsurfing.  

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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