Klaas and I met in Marrakesh. We were travelling together with five friends from Belgium. I came from an astrophysics meeting in Grenoble discussing details about the launch of a scientific satellite in the 2030s and Klaas came straight from hospital after a two week antibiotic treatment. For him, as a Cystic Fibrosis patient, it is an essential part of staying alive, let alone being able to climb.
Our destination for 11 days was Taghia, a remote village in Morocco's High Atlas mountains, surrounded by deep orange limestone faces, several hundred metres high. The journey to get there included a chaotic night taxi ride to Zaouiat Ahansal and spending the night outside in the dust, before taking the last stretch on foot, with a mule carrying our bags. By then we felt well and truly detached from the daily routine of our normal lives.
The major motivation that brought us to Taghia in mid-April, was to try and climb the sustained multi-pitch bolted routes on these amazing walls in the best style—onsight. When these routes are close to your personal limit, this increases not only the mental pressure, but also requires a sort of perfectionist approach. In order to unlock each individual sequence on such a long climb, the only way to succeed is to forget about the overall goal and only focus on the next move, while trusting that your instincts as a climber will lead you the right way. Additional icing on the cake is provided by the vertiginous exposure, clinging onto small crimps and standing on tiny footholds.