Morocco: Toubkal Region, Afella (4,015m), southeast face, Fountain Gully. By Lindsay Griffin

Crux ice pitch of Fountain Gully (continuation below hidden). Olly Metherell

(Back to: Africa, Morocco)

By Lindsay Griffin, Mountain INFO, from information provided by Olly Metherell

Toubkal Region, Afella (4,015m), southeast face, Fountain Gully.

On January 3 James Mehigan, Olly Metherell, and Andrew Stokes-Rees made the first ascent of Fountain Gully on Afella in the Ouanoukrim chain. After a frantic evening of food shopping in Marrakesh, Mehigan and Metherell had their first scary moment when they were led into the labyrinthine streets of the medieval souk at 11 p.m., £400 of shopping piled on a hand cart, by two mischievous locals “helping” them to find their hotel…(read more)


Chad: Ennedi Desert, by Mark Synnott

The Wine Bottle. Pearson and Synnott stand together below the final pillar during their first ascent. Jimmy Chin

(Back to: Africa, Chad)

Ennedi Desert, various ascents.

By Mark Synnott, AAC

On November 14 we arrived in N’Djamena, the capital of Chad. Our goal was to explore and climb in the Ennedi Desert, which lies in eastern Chad near the border with Sudan…. We spent one night in N’Djamena and the next morning loaded all of our supplies into two Land Cruisers and a Range Rover for the ca 800km journey to the Ennedi. Piero’s crew included four Chadians: a cook, cook’s helper, mechanic, and a driver. For the first 100km we followed the only paved road in the country, which led us northeast out of the city. The landscape was desolate: a flat, gray expanse of sand that stretched as far as we could see in every direction. We were only on the road for an hour before Piero drove over a sand bank on the side and began punching buttons on his GPS. We thought we were stopping for lunch, but Piero simply said, “this is the way to the Ennedi.” We spent the next three-and-a-half days questing, mostly off-road, across nearly the entire country of Chad. One whole day was spent crossing a particularly bleak expanse of hardpan sand flats that Piero called his “shortcut.” … (read more)


Africa: Hand of Fatima, Suri Tondo, by J. Richter

(Back to: Africa, Mali, Hombori Mountains)

Hand of Fatima, Suri Tondo, southeast face, Black and White.

By Jens Richter, Germany

The southeast face of Suri Tondo with the line of Black and White. Jens Richter

Black and White is a great new route on solid rock typical of the remarkable Hand of Fatima. The first time we studied the line from the desert below, it was around midday and the temperature felt like 60°C. Our eyes followed the shadow of Kaga Tondo as it bisected the yellow southeast face of its smaller brother, Suri Tondo. The line looked magic, and also impossible to climb. Some days later we were following black and red stripes on this wall. These ended at a headwall with obvious white “slabs” of guano, produced by the huge vultures that encircled the summit…. (read more)



Mali: Akuna Mata-ta

(Back to: Africa, Mali)

Mata, northeast face, Akuna Mata-ta.

Alberto Zucchetti, Italy

Claudio Mandrini, Paolo Stoppini, Alberto Zanada, and I left Italy on November 28 for Ouagadougou (Burkina Faso). From here we traveled almost entirely on dirt routes 380km to Daari, where we stayed at the campground run by Salvador Campillo and his wife, situated next to the Hand of Fatima. We climbed several established lines on the Hand, which provides a variety of routes. Then, after a couple of days scouting for a new rock wall, we discovered the northeast face of Mata, which was 40km from camp. It took us three days, December 4-6, to complete our route, which we named Akuna Mata-ta (320m, 7b). The route is bolted, but a good selection of cams and micro-Friends is essential. We were pleased with the rock throughout, and the quality of climbing. It’s an elegant line with a high degree of exposure; we couldn’t have asked for anything more. (see more)

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