January 2004 was the first time we have spoken with Keoma and Babs from Imiksimik. If we would like to join their boulder pioneer trip to Morocco. Of course, why not. It’s something different than going to an area which is already cultivated and doing boulders who are already written down in a guide book. So yes, we are going to Morocco!

From Marrakech we are heading up to the mountains of the High Atlas. A bit scary car trip from the airport in Marrakech leads us into the mountains. Halfway up to our destination the road is getting worse and the mist is getting thicker. Finally, with sometimes only 2 m clear few, we arrive in Oukaimeden at 2 ‘o clock in the night. The clouds are gone and a bright show from stars is filling the clear sky. After a short hello and goodnight with Keoma and Babs we are going to our room and after a long day of traveling we are falling asleep.

The next morning the sky is as bright as the night before. It appears we are arrived in a Refugio from the French Alpine Club at a height of 2800 m. The CAF lodge offers beds to 163 mountaineers, hikers, horse riders and during the winter months skiers. There is a simple bar and restaurant, a terrace and library to relax and a well cleaned toilet and an area for washing and taking a shower.
In the restaurant we are meeting Imiksimik again. Enjoying the Moroccan breakfast, maybe for some people a bit poor with only toasted bread, butter, jam and honey, but good coffee, we are asking them about the area’s and boulders the discovered till now. Last few days they already have been to 2 areas near the village and they also have found some boulders near the lodge.

After breakfast we prepare ourselves for some bouldering. It’s not that hot but the sun is burning so a high protection sun cream is necessary. We drive to the Bakery an area just outside the small village. Keoma shows us some boulders they done already. The main block for warming up is called The Bread. We do some boulders and immediately opening some new boulders. After that we explore the rest of the area and ends up at a big roof where we spend the rest of our first day of pioneering in a new bouldering area doing first ascents.

The whole day we see the clouds hanging beneath us. So that was the mist we were driving true last night. No wonder we couldn’t see anything. At the end of the afternoon the clouds are coming up and it’s getting chilly but perfect conditions for some climbing.
After 3 days exploring The Bakery we are going to the area the rest of the group already have been. It’s about 7 km and 300 metres down the mountain. This is the place the clouds are hanging all day so today will be a misty day. This area is more flat and with a different surrounding than 7 km up. After a few metres we immediately see so much potential boulders. We are starting on a big slab to warm up. We are doing some cleaning, remove some moss and checking the wall for loose rock. After opening 4 slab boulders and doing some more nearby we go back to one of the 2 big blocks we saw before. We have spotted 2 nice lines. Straight up boulders with small holds and scary top outs. After some tries we climb the first. A 6b+ and we named it screaming donkey, because we heard a donkey screaming. The second one, a 6c and even more scary is later called screaming monkey, yes because we heard a goat screaming. Looking for blocs and new boulders is more fun than expected. You have to use creativity and imagination to find the best lines more than doing prepared boulders.    
The last evening we are enjoying the traditional Moroccan Tagine which the chef specially prepared for us. Together with the last bottle of wine from the bar it is a real feast. The next day we are ending our boulder trip again in the Bakery and are doing some unfinished problems. After the best session in (and after) 5 days climbing we are packing our stuff and driving back to Marrakech.
In Marrakech we are recover from in our luxurious Riad in the middle of the city centre. Walking true the Souks, having fresh orange juice and diner at the big square is a perfect slot after our short week in the mountains. Going to Morocco is maybe not the biggest and best spot to go for everyone. But for us it was like a small adventure.