Morocco 2010 - Ras


A cold morning but no wind. Low sun is starting reach the valley floor. A stony path leads upstream past the Refuge as we head towards the fist snowfield that leads to the Tizi n’Ouagane at the head of the valley. The second, steeper 600 foot snowfield slows us down but the views are spectacular; black shadows cut across the snow from the mountains on the east side of the valley. Clear blue sky. The snow crest is sharp and ice crystal clear, dropping steeply on the far side.

We scramble west along steep snow slopes and rock outcrops that form the ridges that lead to Ras. The summit is some way off when the group splits - three head off to the summit, I stay with the the other three and we doze pleasantly on a rocky outcrop in the sun. A false start before we find the path that returns to the pass and the beginning of a long steep descent to the shelter. I lack the ability to ski down on my feet so make a slow descent, partly on my backside. We arrive in good spirits, a superb day in the mountains.

After dinner in the mess tent the crew entertain us with traditional Berber song and dance. Washing up bowls form part of the percussion. Traditional camel skin drums are warmed over a fire to enrich the tone. In an inevitably reserved English manner, we slowly loosen up and join in.  Sadly we fail to perform every trekking crew’s favourite: the Hokey Cokey. Another time.

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