April Climbing in Jbel Kest

An open weekend in April led us (TJ & Candice) to explore a new area that matched our preferred climbing style; adventurous trad routes. We left Marrakech late in the morning on a Friday and arrived to the Kasbah Tizourgane about 4.5 hours later.

Since we didn’t have much time, the goal for this trip was simply a brief introduction to a new-to-us climbing area. The first climb on our ticklist was Black Beauty on the Lower Eagle wall. It was listed as a classic and at E1 5b (5.10a) and 5 pitches (210m) it fit the bill of what we were looking for in a 1/2 day climb at a moderate difficulty.

As one of of the largest walls in the area, Lower Eagle was easy to spot from the road. A 30 minute approach with a small amount of bushwacking led to the base of the climb. A late morning start still gave us shade for most of our climb, and light jackets were necessary until we reached the sun at the top of the climb. We pitched it out at 5 pitches. Route finding was fairly obvious for both the climb and the descent. We were the only climbers on Lower Eagle that day and coming from Colorado where finding yourself at a crag of this quality free of other climbers is unheard of, we were more than happy to be alone here.

The next day we decided to head to Ksar Rock, which we spotted while climbing Black Beauty as it’s just across the road from Lower Eagle. Another late morning start coupled with a long drive home meant that we only had time for 2 routes. Kingpin (HVS 5a) looked wide and intimidating from the ground, but was very featured and protectable. Solar Event (E1 5c) began on p1 with a steep crack to a well-protected short traverse underneath a roof (crux), and a more mild p2 above.

Jbel Kest didn’t disappoint, and we’re planning to return as soon as the temperatures cool off again!


  • Distance from Marrakech: 4.5 hours
  • Type of climbing: Trad (you’ll be hard pressed to find any bolts here)
  • Seasons to visit: Fall/Spring
  • Recommended Guidebook: Morocco Rock (www.moroccorock.com)
  • Lodging: Kasbah Tizourgane (www.tizourgane-kasbah.com)

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