Ascent of Jebel Tidirhine on 2017-04-15

Climber: Rob Woodall

Date:Saturday, April 15, 2017
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Jebel Tidirhine
    Elevation:8058 ft / 2456 m

Ascent Trip Report

Half day with a local guide but logistically tricky. Two summits, west is the usually accepted summit but east is 3-4m higher determined by careful hand level sightings both ways.

Driving through Ketama was quite exciting, being tailed or overtaken by Mercedes drivers waving bags of cannabis, trying to flag us down. Adrian was having none of it; once past the last village centre they gave up, seemingly at the end of their territory, and we enjoyed a peaceful scenic drive to the Azila turnoff, where we followed a small new looking car to where the surfaced road ended above the village. A couple of young lads came over, Yunis and Mohammed: they spoke some English, could find us a sofa for the night and guide us up the mountain the next day (and of course provide cannabis - a service we didn't require). They explained the women were away but they produced some simple food and the inevitable Moroccan sweet tea, not the mint tea of the Atlas but just as sweet.

Away next morning 0815, up thru terraced fields being prepared no doubt for the cannabis crop, a nightingale the first I've heard for a few years, then a trail thru forest, crossing a dirt road, a higher field then up a wooded ridge. The upper part of the mountain was quite snowy, but soft enough not to cause problems in trail shoes. Reaching the west ridge we join a well engineered path which leads to the far west top with fine views especially south with rows of dark peaks set against a light haze.

Short drop then past a tin hut to a cosy summit shelter just below the west summit, which is a rock outcrop (N34.84043° W4.51653°). My hand level indicates the east summit is however higher, so Adrian and I head over there while our two young guides collect snow for their favourite occupation of tea making. A nice scrambly descent (YDS3, not exposed, possibly all avoidable) leads to a saddle (N34.84224° W4.51202°, 2392m: the GPS indicates the lower west summit is c.54m prominence) then an easy ascent through scattered cedars to the east summit, a nice easy scrambly pinnacle with a clear view back to the west summit. I repeat my hand level sightings in the other direction, confirming this east summit is higher, by c3-4m (the gable end of the hut on the W summit is a usual reference, as it is 3m high). I omitted to record a waypoint for the E summit, but Richard Mclellan's waypoint (N34.84323° W4.50913°) matches my GPS track at the HP.

We return to the west summit to find Mohamed and Yunis chatting from a small party who have come up from the village to the NW. I repeat my hand level sighting, now I know the exact HP location, confirming the previous sightings. Eventually after some cajoling and tea making we head down using some snow patches at first on a line a bit further west than our upward route.

2h10 up, 2h40 at summit, 1h05 down. Back at the village we pay our guides / hosts (haggled) and enjoy a wonderfully scenic drive north, despite the fact that just about everyone we pass hisses, whistles or shouts at us, a fairly small price to pay for being foreigners at large in the Rif.

Jebel Tidirhine photo album

Overnight at a cheap hostel (Borge) in the coastal resort of Martil, planning the easy Jebel Mussa before tackling the tougher near-ultra Kelti on Monday.

Overall reflections: Northern Morocco:
Driving pretty easy but best avoided at night; roads can be uneven as can others' driving!
Police checkpoints frequent but never stopped us foreigners (except a ticking off for violating a one way sign)
Hotel beds easy to find (low season)
WiFi by no means universal
Alcohol not easy to find
Money: cash mostly; credit card rarely
Food: cheap and good; service can be slow
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:2876 ft / 876 m
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Unmaintained Trail, Open Country, Scramble
    Gear Used:
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:2876 ft / 876 m
    Distance:4.4 mi / 7.1 km
    Start Trailhead:5182 ft / 1579 m
Descent Statistics

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