Friday, March 09, 2007
Climbing in Rabat
For years I'd taken up people on any offer to join them on a climb. I never had any of my own equipment, and was constantly taking advantage of the "extra harness" hospitality.
Now, I've coughed up the money for my own equipment, including extra harnesses, and now enjoy getting out for some excercise on weekends and checking out local beauty spots.
In and around Rabat, there are two sites that I know of, and one that I've yet to find. The first, and apparantly best, is about a 45 minute drive to Benslimane. The route I take to get there is a bit tricky, I'm sure there are other better routes, I just haven't figured them out yet.
GPS points for cliffs near Benslimane - N33.39.428 W007.00.544
On the autoroute between Rabat and Casa, take the Skhirat exit.
In Skhirat, turn right onto the main road running out of town and continue for about thirty minutes. The road turns pretty bad, with potholes everywhere, and gets better again.
When you get near GPS point N33.39.428 W007.04.591 - you turn left onto a wide dirt road with a fence running alongside it. There is a sign, but I can't remember what it says, and a gated entrance to some property at the corner.
Take the dirt road a few kilometres, to where it comes out onto another tarmac road, turn left.
About a kilometre away, you round a corner and find another dirt road running down hill on your right. Follow the road to a parking area. On a weekend, it is likely there are a few families picnicing, a guardian for the cars, and locals selling chapati breads, eggs, and tea.
You see an escarpment on your right and left. I haven't found any sport climbing hooks on the right escarmpent, but you can easily see a couple routes if you want to do some traditional multipitching with wedges and cams.
On the smaller escarpment to the left, head towards it from the parking and follow the trail running alongside it. When you round a corner that heads uphill, you will see some bolted routes up a sheer face. You can start on the easier routes around the bend and uphill, or the harder routes at the bottom.
For the second site (the climb between two bridges,) you take the road that runs parallel to the Casa autoroute. Coming from Rabat, you turn off on the road running past the stadium just as the motorway begins. Continue about twenty kilometres to where you approach a bridge. Park just before the bridge. The spot is on a set of cliffs to the right. Expect to be startled by the rumbling trains which race past every so often.
The third site is somewhere up the Bouregreg River. I've yet to find it, but will update this when I do.