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International Mountain Leader, Winter and Summer Mountain Leader

Blog for May 20th, 2015

May 20th, 2015
Morocco, 9 hour walk to check snowline
Tamatert to Tizi n'Tarharat and back

Snow check
I wanted to ascertain the snow height so I headed to Tizi n'Tarharat col which is at 3,460m. This meant a walk close to Sidi Chamharouch before heading off on a much less used path
The initial main path up is very well used by 2 and 4 legged beasts and I saw a green lizard that scuttled off when it sensed the vibrations of my footsteps
Looking towards Imlil in distance from Tamatert with early morning mist
View from gite of terraced fields in Tamatert
Shop in Tamatert. Might be cheaper but not open
Mule drinking trough just outside Imlil
Looking back to Imlil in the north
Approaching Aremd from the north
Quarrying by hand in river bed
On minor eastern path near Sidi Chamharouch, looking south towards Toubkal valley
Lost path
Once I turned off the main path the paint spot markings were hard to follow as the path erosion either suddenly disappeared or several options existed, none of which seemed to have any markings. The route finding wasn't made any easier due to goats grazing and creating their own mini paths
I took a compass bearing from the map. This took me to an interesting area with several large slabs. I was able to step across these but knew I wouldn't have attempted it with the full camping gear weight and size of rucksack

The contours on the map are 20 metres and appeared even across the slope so did not indicate the presence of the slabs and the map didn't use markings to indicate rocks
The route didn't get any better so I decided to down climb a couple of easy sections and contoured round to the stream and later joined up with the path
Upon reaching remains of snow in the gullies, the mist came in
I saw more ladybirds, this time at 2,500m so will be interesting to see what height they get to. Grasshopper at 3,000m (well it looked like one)
The mist came in so a nice atmospheric/moody appearance for the rest of the ascent
First snow appeared in a gully at 2,700m. I decided to see what it was like at 3,000m as I know progress slows for me at that height before I am acclimatised. Snow was still very patchy and progress was OK so I decided to carry on. The scree got worse with ascent but the mist briefly blew away and I could see the gradient easing off
Looking up to Tizi n'Tarharat from the west
Easy scrambling on last section heading east to Tizi n'Tarharat
In the end I got to the col at 3,460m and the mist disappeared at that point
Looking east arriving at Tizi n'Tarharat
Mist arriving at Tizi n'Tarharat
Looking south at Tizi n'Tarharat
The descent was much easier as it appeared the makings had been applied in this direction so there were usually 1 or 2 always visible. This meant the return to the main path was much simpler than going up had been
The whole time I'd been on the minor path both ascending and descending the 1,000m I had been by myself. It was good to find an isolated route on my first walking day of the trip
Evening meal of cous cous