Brand New Ice/Mixed Route in Morocco: First Ascent

These brand new photos come out of Morocco on a ice/mixed route on the (somewhat) legendary peak on the south-east face of Afella (4,015m). As a 4,000m peak Afella is one of the most frequented in the area, with an easy, though circuitous, ascent that involves crossing a col on the main ridge and finishing up the west flank.

Afella lies in the southern half of the Ouanoukrim Chain, which rims the west side of the Mizane Valley opposite Toubkal (4,167m). The base here is the popular Neltner Hut (3,207m) below the Normal Route on Toubkal, accessed from the Berber village of Imlil.

The crux of the route comes after 40m of mixed climbing in a corner-chimney system on the usual less than perfect High Atlas rock. This went at around Scottish 7, the crux section probably equating to VS 4c (5.7 Yosemite rating) rock.

A steepening ice ramp leads through the crux. The vertical crux led into a deep gully.

A final 25m of Scottish 4 leads to the end of the route at a large snowpatch, from which you make a rappel descent. Due to water just below the surface in the upper part, it has been appropriately named Fountain Gully.

Final Rating: (Scottish 7, WI5, with aid).