(ENG) Climbing Mount Toubkal (4,167mt) in Morocco. Everyone can do it

5 May 2019

We travel to Morocco with the specific task to climb Mount Toubkal. With its 4,167mt, Mt Toubkal is the highest peak in North Africa. From its peak, amazing views of the Atlas mountains can be seen. We organised a guided 2-day trek - there are several tour companies in Imlil and the guide are all locals from the nearby villages. Very competent and prepared. Following the murders of two Scandinavian students in December 2018, the area can be accessed only with a guide and we encountered three checkpoints along the trek. The trek is technically easy, but some level of fitness is necessary as you would need to ascent 2,500 meters over a 12 hour period. 

 

All starts in the village of Imlil, at 1,750mt. The first day is a warm-up, it took us 6 hours of walking to get the the refuge (3,200mt) but we stopped along the way for a glorious lunch and various filming and photo sessions.

 

Weather is one of the three main challenges. Weather in the mountains is always uncertain, hence it was important for us to take advantage of the morning, when the sun was shining. Clouds builds up usually in the afternoon in this time of the year. And we got lucky as we got to the refuge just in time before it started raining.

 

The second day is the real interesting one. It all starts at 4am in the dark. The goal is to reach the peak at sunrise, at ca. 7am. Which means that the first part of the ascent is in the cold and in the dark. It's a strenuous walk uphill, with a cold wind blowing and the sun coming out as we approach the peak. The second challenge was the snow and the cold. In late May there is still snow and you have to walk on it, but crampons were not necessary. As for the cold, yes, it's really cold with -5C and strong wind blowing. Need proper clothing and when we stop, we did very shortly not to cool down and keep the warm up. The view from the peak is astonishing: in a clear day you can see from the dunes of the Sahara to the Atlantic Ocean. 

 

On the way back there is a nice detour to nearby mount Tibherine (3,880mt). On its peak there are the debris of a plane that crashed here in 1969. The information you can find on blogs is quite contradicting, but after some researches in the aviation authorities website, we discovered that it was a cargo plane that was bringing ammunition from Portugal to the Government of Biafra during the Nigerian civil war. I heard the name from my parents and always associated with famine. Between 1967 and 1970, Biafra was an independent country, during the Nigerian Civil War. 

As we descend to the valley, we got a small injury which forced Ricardo s to finish the last few miles on a mule.

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