We’ve long had our eye on the tempting ridge that connects Jebel Anzig, Jebel Tameksawt, Jebel Erdouz and Jebel Wirezane. The ridge forms a horseshoe with Erdouz centered right at the top. Our senior guide Kris has been dreaming of completing this ridge for most of his 13+ years as a guide in the High Atlas. In spite of abnormally low snow levels this month we chose to go for it. With reports that there was not any snow on the mountain we opted to carry extra water with us making for very heavy packs. Later we found that there would have been enough snow to melt for drinking water!
We got an early start on day one and began slogging up the hill towards the summit of Anzig. We were surprised to discover a very friendly local harvesting grass near the top of Anzig! Leaving him behind we put our heads down and pushed up the tedious ridge of Jebel Tameksawt. We stopped for a break and lunch on the ridge only to discover we were only twenty minutes from the summit! We then descended a gradual slope until the Tizi n’Lwez where the real climbing began. We were excited to discover a long and sustained section of class four scrambling which led almost to the summit of Erdouz. We tagged a minor summit of Erdouz before hitting the high point of the traverse on top of Erdouz. Normally one can see a vast panaoramic of Atlas peaks from Meltzen to Toubkal to Tinergwet from Erdouz. However, we could hardly see one hundred meters ahead due to the heavy cloud that had set in! We tediously descended to a pass below Erdouz where we set up camp for the night.
In the morning we pushed up the easy slope of Jebel Wirezane until the indistinct summit. We had thought the fun stuff was over, but were pleased to find that this Ridge Traverse is the ridge that just keeps on giving! Although mostly easily avoidable, there were a number of distinct, rocky summits past Wirezane that offered short sections of scrambling. We then followed the ridge until it headed east down into the valley again completing our 21 km route in two days and becoming, to our knowledge, the first recorded party (Kristopher Palmer, Kevin Tomalty and Nicholas Koinis) to complete this traverse in it’s entirety on December 7, 2013. The route rewarded us with three named 3000 meter peaks; Jebel Erdouz (3579m), Jebel Wirezane (3396), Jebel Tameksawt (3344m) and one named 2000 meter peak; Jebel Anzig (2623m).
Watch our Facebook page (www.facebook.com/firstlightexped) for more photos!