Adelaide, how did you start climbing?
"I have been climbing since I was a child thanks to my parents. They always took me around with them and introduced me to this world. For several years then climbing was my sport, I trained and participated in competitions. I owe my great passion for climbing above all to my father, a mountain guide, who was able to pass it on to me.
What feelings did the world of racing give you?
"For me, competitions were, first and foremost, adrenalin. Moreover, taking part in a competition stimulated me, gave me a great desire to improve and go beyond my limits. Now it is already three years since I changed my approach. I left the world of competitions, which gave me a lot and allowed me to travel all over the world. I wanted to search for a purer way of climbing, free from any judgement or rules.
For many, the crag can be the transition between indoor climbing and mountaineering adventures. How do you experience it?
"When I climb at the crag I try to climb mainly on sight, I climb relaxed, for the sake of it, searching for movement and the beauty of the gesture.
Big walls are a different story. What I like is the aesthetics of the line and the powerful experience that I experience within myself. I admit, however, that I have only been in this world for a short time, I am still discovering it...throwing myself into it!"
You have just come back from your first expedition. Why specifically to Morocco?
"Yes, very first! And I must say that it made me want to leave right away....
With Pietro we wanted to go to a warm land, where the western imprint had not yet taken root. We let ourselves be captivated by the stories we heard from those who had been to Taghia before us: immense walls of fantastic and truly unique rock."
How did it go? Tell us about your trip!
Our goal here in Taghia was to climb everything, simply as much as possible!
We then begin our vertical adventure by climbing two routes on the Oujdad, the great wall that towers above the village and watches over it closely. On the first day we climb Ilha Fatima, a 400-metre route up to 7b+. We arrive at the north ridge of the mountain where we touch the 'summit trunk' stuck in the ground, like a cross.From up there, the village seems even smaller, and we can see in their entirety the rivers of purple, red and yellow earth that colour the valley.
The following day we climb the amazing La Man du Maroc, 400 metres up to 7b+. It is a route that bears Heinz's signature and it shows: sustained grades, exceptional line and fabulous rock. Both of us didn't believe that this rock could be so solid and with such varied and beautiful conformations to climb: open hand holds, giant drops, but also cracks where jamming is a must. In short, there is a multitude of styles that always make climbing varied and fun!
What is life like in Taghia?
"In Taghia you live an extraordinary...routine! After finishing climbing, we return to what has been our home for the entire stay: Said's Gite. He immediately brings us an excellent hot tea with bread and oil. Then we read, write and stretch on the roof of the Gite and wait for dinner time. Said's family prepares delicious tajin every time, almost always different.
And off you go, ready to leave the next day. This is village life: a simple, slow life.
Taghia is a place where time is marked by the braying of the mules and the sun peeking out and hiding shyly behind the Oujdad. A place where time, perhaps, does not exist. Where birds sing and the Assif Ahnansal (the river) flows swiftly, turning everything green. A place where trees intertwine, on desert expanses, forming ever new and majestic figures. And in whose labyrinthine gorges an intoxicating wind blows, carrying you gently towards the village...
So it was time to face the great classic routes.
"Yes! After resting in the cool of the canyon for a day, the long-awaited moment of the 'classics' finally arrived: Les rivieres pourpres and the Axe du Mal!
Waking up very early, we approach between torrents, boulders shaped by the river and over the much-loved and much-feared passages berbères, the exposed wooden ledges built by Berber shepherds to cross steep walls and thus connect parts of the canyon that would otherwise not be communicating.
We climb Les rivieres pourpres, 500 metres up to 7b+, a masterpiece by Petit, Piola and Robert, and immediately understand why it is called The Classic of Taghia: it is a line truly designed with a magic wand. We climb quickly, enjoying every moment of this ascent, and soon find ourselves at the ledge before the last hard pitch. The slope is getting steep, I'm not sure I'll make it, but I set off with conviction...I overcome a physical section of stretches over holes...and arrive at the belay! The last part of the route is an easy corner. We quickly reach the top and realise that we have climbed it all free! To celebrate, we enjoy the mandarin that Said gave us the night before as if it were the tastiest of sweets."
On the Axe du Mal, however, something went wrong...
"In the weak light of the early morning, the Tadrarate wall, on which the Axe du Mal, 500 metres up to 7c, is developed, stands out immense before our eyes. It is truly imposing, we start to climb, fearful, notch after notch.... Everything is going well, but at a certain point the misfortune happens: Pietro's shoes, two pitches from the end, decide to make a beautiful flight up to the base of the wall! Looking back on it now, it was quite an exhilarating situation, because despite this we decided to continue. Obviously it was my turn to pull the last pitches first, while Pietro followed me as well as he could in his approach shoes. We reach the top and are overjoyed! But we don't want to leave our shoes for the shepherds or the next canyon flood. So we decide to do 14 doubles, more adventurous than the ascent, to fetch them.
Luckily, they were waiting for us right at the start of the route!"
At this point you were satisfied with your climbing.
"Not really! We were too excited to climb, in total we climbed more than ten routes. The days passed quickly under our fingertips, but we still had one wall left to climb. A wall that looked at us every day, watching the village across the river. Most of the lines on the Tuyat, face sections so smooth and vertical that they contain sections of artificial climbing. We therefore opt for Fantasia, a 700-metre masterpiece up to 7c.
The length and continuity of that route frightens us: it never lets up, the pitches are always hard. It was opened by a Polish team, and you know, Poles are not exactly generous with grades. When we finish the hardest part, we breathe a sigh of relief: only a few more pitches to go, and finally...the summit! Up here it feels like we're on the moon, a desert expanse looms in front of us, the sun is setting. The light filters through the few clouds in the sky and creates beautiful plays of colour on the mountain peaks on the horizon. Surrounded by all this beauty, we begin to cross the plateau with the darkness advancing inexorably. We feel at peace with the world, it is time to return..."
What do you take home from this journey? What dreams do you have for the future?
Living the Berber life and merging into their culture made me forget the sense of time. Here in Taghia you live in the present, nothing else exists. The past is gone and the future is represented with a phrase: 'in šāʾ Allāh' (God willing). It is the philosophy of the present, of living in a world you create with your own hands, stone by stone, like the houses here in the village.
We left Taghia with the desire to return, to feel those same sensations again, to live that life again and to be one again with the rock and the mountains above the village. If they could hear us, we would really want to say 'thank you' to Taghia and all its inhabitants.
In my future, I would like to enter more deeply into the world of mountains at 360 degrees, between ice and snow. I'd like to gain as much experience as possible, travel a lot and then who knows, maybe one day I'll attempt the selections to become an Alpine Guide!"
✍️ Giovanni Zaccaria