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Fabian Buhl about “La Grande Rouge”: it’s not all about what you do, but much more how you do it!


One year after their first visit, La Sportiva athlete Fabian Buhl and Alexander Huberbuam went back to the beautiful and remote valley of Taghia, Morocco, in order to redpoint "La Grande Rouge", an 8b 500m multi pitch route able to solve the mystery of the big overhang in the Tadrarate wall.

Text by Fabian Buhl

I have heard a lot and throughout just positive things about the remote Berber village Taghia, Morocco, defined by many as "one of the finest limestones in the world". Always looking for new places and projects, the deep and impressive gorge of Taghia immediately caught Alexander's and my interest. Especially, I was struck by the Tadrarate, a clean and polished 500m high wall, extremely steep in its central part. Surely, the best red rock I had ever seen, and exactly what we were looking for.

The central bastion of the Tadrarate holds an unfinished project of Arnaud Petit, of which we have chosen to follow the line of least resistance, a winding path which follows all the weaknesses the wall offers to us.
Bolting the way up the Direttissima would have destroyed the challenge which this wall holds for the future generation.

We decided to climb our route “La Grande Rouge”, a first ascent that required us four days of climbing. While leaving the existing project, the bolts get spare and long free climbable passages become obligatory.
The following days we spent checking all the pitches, finding out that if we wanted to continue on the project we would have had to start really early in the morning in order to climb all the crux pitches in the shade, before the hot sun kills our plans with its sheer heat. We knew our chances of success should be quite high if we had been able to avoid stupid mistakes.

Alexander climbed the first 8a, maybe not the easiest but almost a featureless pitch which connects the crux pitches. Here we traversed for roughly 25m to the left that, with only one friend as protection, it is on lead as challenging as seconding the pitch. Once finishing this part, is possible to rest a bit in order to focus on the main deal ahead.
Personally, I have been a little nervous during my try, even more enlightened I was, that I pulled it of on the first go.

After that, only one more difficult pitch with long runouts and, in the middle of the pitch, a dynamic move which is not easy to control and therefore again exciting. Alexander worked his way up and he did the jump, giving me the chance to finish what we started 4 days before.
But actually, it was not totally over... Although the upper six pitches are no more difficult then 7b, we have to stay focused during the more serious parts: two bolts, that’s all we had as fixed protection while the sky began to darken. We couldn’t believe that, after all those days of sun, exactly on the day of our redpoint has start to rain! We had to hurry up, there was no time to waste!

 Finally, we reached our goal, the exit of the wall, at three in the afternoon and in a moment when the showers were over. And we are as proud about “La Grande Rouge” as we are happy about the amazing time which we were privileged to spend in the mountains of the High Atlas.

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