It’s the end of Day Six of our trip to Algeria and we are freezing. Seriously. All of our clothes on—including long underwear and down jackets! How is that possible? Aren’t we in the Sahara? Well, delete those pictures of sand dunes and palm-tree-fringed oasis from your mind—we are bivied up in the Atakor region of the Hoggar Mountain at 2800 meters and tonight is clear and cold, and yesterday was windy as hell. This zone is so gnarly—just an endless sun-cooked sea of rock-covered plains, except for the sweet basalt towers we are camped below.
[The Tizouyag’s of the Atakor, southern Algeria. All photos: Jonathan Thesenga]
Editor's note: Hot off the sat-modem, direct from Algeria, part three of Operation Algeria with Patagonia ambassadors Jonathan Thesenga and Brittany Griffith.
But let’s go back a couple days—the first ascent on Adaouda… it went south. Brittany sent the techy 12a first pitch and I scratched out the 5.11 second pitch, but then the rock got worse and worse and worse. Brittany ended up having to A0 around a giant detached flake of doom and then sketch past this guano-filled corner and massive, prehistoric-looking bird nest. The next pitch was just as bad and I battled to get gear in behind mud-stacked blocks in a chimney/slot. Once I engaged a hollow flake the size of a door that threatened to slam into Brittany at her sun-baked belay, we knew it was time to bail. Less than a rope-length from the summit of Adaouda we rapped off, leaving our first ascent incomplete and thankful to get outta there with nothing more than frazzled nerves.