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Posted on: March 1, 2004
Rolando Larcher on the ninth pitch of Sul Filo Della Notte (7c+ [5.13a], 12 pitches, 570m), Tadrarate, High Atlas Mountains, Morocco. The route was established ground up. [Photo] Maurizio Oviglia
From October 6 to 27, Rolando Larcher, Michele Paissan and I opened a new route in the mountains of the High Atlas. Our goal upon arrival in Taghia was to establish a modern free route in ground-up style, and we chose the smoother walls more suitable to this style, locating a possible line on Oujad and laboriously carrying the gear to the base. However, Alain Bruzy, a Frenchman from the Pyrenees who had spent much time in Taghia, suggested we have a look beyond, in the throat of Akka n'Taghia. One hour later we were in front of the huge red wall of Tadrarate. It was love at first sight.
We began the route under a summery sun. It appeared difficult, but we had enough time to at least make an attempt. With the passing of time, the wall became more difficult, and the weather was extremely variable. Days began at 5 a.m. and ended at 8 p.m., followed by an extraordinary nightly return to the village. Twice we were surprised high on the wall by deluges that tried our psycho-physical energies.
We made slow progress on the upper part of the wall. The route proved continuously difficult, revealing its beauty on every pitch, always on wonderful rock. After five days of hard work, we finally finished the route: twelve pitches, 570 meters completely bolted, with nearly 450 continuous meters harder than 7a (5.11d).
After two rest days, we tried a continuous redpoint. I climbed the opening pitches not wanting to make a mistake and with the added stress of long fall potential. It was up to Rolando to continue. Rolly led well, freeing the hardest pitch at 7c+, but fell again and again on the next pitch (7c). We had no more skin on our fingers and no morale to try another time; it was necessary to renounce the continuous redpoint.
After twenty-four hours of rest we were ready to try again, but it had been raining without stop for fourteen hours. The day after was our last possibility, and despite threatening clouds, we decided to go to the top of the mountain and descend to complete the redpoint on the 7c pitch.
It began to rain again. Rolando redpointed the pitch like lightning, achieving a redpoint of every pitch—and just in time, as the deluge caught us once more. The return to the valley had never been so adventurous. After numerous fords through muddy torrents we arrived completely soaked to knock on the doors of the mud houses of Zaouiah, hoping that someone would open. As it had time and again, the hospitality of these wonderful people surprised us: they received us with open arms and the warmth of mint tea, the so-called Berber whisky.
We called the new route Sul Filo Della Notte (On the Thread of the Night, V 7c+ [5.13a], 570m) to commemorate all those passages in the gorge that we ran with anxiety as the thin thread separated the day from the night.
I wish to thank my friends, Rolando and Michele, who supported me during the more difficult moments with force and loyalty. And finally, to Said and Ahmed and their families who accommodated us in their houses and adjusted to our impossible timetables.
— Maurizio Oviglia, Cagliari, Italy
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