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African Transitions

January 21, 2019 3 min read

African Transitions

Despite recently having a child, ioCrew Member Kim Havell is still finding time for adventure in her life. As an avid lover of skiing, mountaineering and just about anything else to do with the snow, she's also loving the change of seasons in the Northern Hemisphere. We recently caught up with her to hear about her trip to Morocco where, believe it or not, she was actually half way through her pregnancy!

Pictures by Kim Havell


Lightweight thermals are Kim's 'go to' when it comes to spending time in the snow, and while there was an usually poor snow fall in Morocco, she still packed her ioMerino layers to stay warm in cool conditions, but also cool (and comfortable!) in warm conditions thanks to the natural MicroMerino® performance. As she says, "minimalism pays in every way," and as you'll see, her ioMerino layers allowed her to pack light, and still be ready for an extreme range of conditions. For more info about the perfect Merino layers for travelling, click here, and if you'd like to hear more about Kim's time in Morocco, then read on!

"It is when the heat arrives that I realize the versatility of my ioMerino layers...

This past spring my work took me to Morocco with the intent of guiding a ski trip in the Central High Atlas Mountains. I had visited this area for a ski expedition in 2011 with Salomon Freeski (see episode here) and was excited to head back with clients and friends to explore more of the area. Due to an unusually poor snow year in this typically snow covered region, we canceled the skiing and decided to go exploring. Packing winter layers for unknown adventures ahead, I included all my ioMerino options (including my most favorite underwear ever) and hopped over the pond.

After a quick stop in the wild and colorful city of Marrakech, we drove into the hills to meet up with the Erickson family (Kris & Cloe Erickson and their daughter, Noor, ex-pats that run a Foundation in the area for the community - AtlasCulturalFoundation.org) in the Berber mountain area of Zaoiat Ahansal. Ironically, we arrived to a massive snowstorm but, even with recent snow, the temps were cold yet the sun was hot. Everything melted quickly. As the gateway to Taghia, a world class sport climbing arena, Zaioat has established some great climbing areas as well (thanks to Kris Erickson and others) so we decided to go rock climbing in the closer areas around the village in which we stayed.

Each day, I put on my ioMerino tops and bottoms to ensure maximum comfort in the fluctuating temperatures outdoors. The mornings were cool in the shade but by midday, up 5 pitches on a route, the sun would hit the rock and things got hot - fast. I often would double the io layers with a long sleeve piece covered by a short sleeve piece as well as longer underwear and briefs to keep the core and legs warm and to wick moisture more efficiently for maximum flexibility in movement. I was also 5 months pregnant for this trip and wanted to be as comfortable as possible. The ioMerino wool pieces are light and effective.

We would make the daily two mile round trip from the Erickson's home on route to different adventures throughout our stay. The hiking was beautifully tranquil: Solitude abounded. Kris is an IFMGA certified Mountain Guide and, having been established in the area since 2010, was a great source of information and direction. Kris took us up to his local crag and on a 10 pitch route that followed a beautiful arete on the mountain-side above his family’s home. It was one of the highlights of our trip.

The Moroccan experience can be one of polar opposites - from the Atlantic Ocean to the Sahara desert to the Atlas Mountains. If you are an adventurer and traveler it helps to be stream-lined in packing, transport and travel. ioMerino is my go-to for global adventures as well as backyard fun. Minimalism pays in every way.

Follow Kim's 2017 adventures at her Instagram, Facebook and official website here.