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Jbel Toubkal

Jbel Toubkal


Postby mgmt! » Thu Oct 22, 2015 7:23 pm

Date walked: 06/10/2015

Ascent: 4167m

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Another foreign trip, cant quite remember getting roped into this but all the organising was done by Lisa, so all i had to do really was turn up and go. We were joined last minute by Helen, who didn't know if she would attempt the walk after a recent climbing accident. Flew to Marrakesh on the Saturday afternoon arriving around 9 pm, we eventually got through customs and braved the streets to find our Riad in the maze of the old town. It was a basic travellers joint but served us well. On Sunday we bartered for a taxi to Imlil were the start of the walk begins. The taxi cost us 300 Dirham. Once in Imlil we set about finding a Riad for the night , this was easy as everyone is stopping you in the street offering digs, food and guiding ! Our plans were to start our walk at 8 am next morning as it was still hot in the afternoons, We shopped for some lunch provisions, we needed enough for 2 days walking.

Day 1 Imlil to Les Mouflons Refuge 3200 metres

A path from Imlil takes you steeply through a wood toward the village of Aroumd, there is no need to enter the village, the path skirts the village and brings you out onto a large flood plain ImageDSCN0148 by Michael McAnenay, on Flickr
You continue over the flood plain and the path starts to rise steeply for a bit, there are little shops selling orange juice , water and food. you soon come across a village with a little white mosque.
ImageDSCN0058 by Michael McAnenay, on Flickr
the path rises steeply again out the village and there are plenty shops for juice and mint tea. the angle eases but your still gaining height . we were taking it easy with Helens knee and the heat.
ImageDSCN0064 by Michael McAnenay, on Flickr
path angle

eventually the refuge came into view, the campsite in front of it busy with people setting up camp.
ImageDSCN0071 by Michael McAnenay, on Flickr

ImageDSCN0072 by Michael McAnenay, on Flickr



We arranged our spaces in the refuge which sits at 3200 metres, and sat outside with some more mint tea scouting the route for our accent.
ImageDSCN0073 by Michael McAnenay, on Flickr
view back down the valley
The facilities in the refuge were good , hot showers, good beds and blankets and the food was both good and filling. The majority of people had guides, in fact we were the only ones without one. The general plan was for them to leave around 4am to try and catch the sunrise on the summit. One of our party forgot a headtorch so our plan was to leave at first light which was around 7 am.

Day 2 Refuge to Summit 4167 metres, then back to Imlil

The path starts from the refuge, crossing a river and rises steeply on scree for about an hour to a coll. route finding is easy there are lots of cairns to follow. If you cant see the cairns then look for the horrible graffiti that scours the rocks around the route.
ImageDSCN0082 by Michael McAnenay, on Flickr
graffiti
We were i
n the shade so it was quite cold, but there was no snow or ice on the ground. We kept a steady pace as you do feel a bit sluggish over 3000 metres. Once in the coll the path continues to rise to gain a ridge which leads to the summit. It was here we started to meet walkers who were descending from the summit , all were harped up and looking cold, most had inadequate clothing, denims and training shoes and this included the guides. One young Irish girl i thought showed signs of hypothermia. We continued up hoping the sun would come over the ridge and bring a bit of heat.
ImageDSCN0087 by Michael McAnenay, on Flickr
approaching the summit ridge
ImageDSCN0090 by Michael McAnenay, on Flickr
on the ridge
ImageDSCN0089 by Michael McAnenay, on Flickr
back down the ridge
Eventually the summit came into view
ImageDSCN0091 by Michael McAnenay, on Flickr
ImageDSCN0093 by Michael McAnenay, on Flickr
summit picture
we sat having lunch on the summit, the views were good if not a little hazy, and had the summit to ourselves for a good while, being joined by only 2 other groups.
ImageDSCN0114 by Michael McAnenay, on Flickr
ImageDSCN0115 by Michael McAnenay, on Flickr
ImageDSCN0116 by Michael McAnenay, on Flickr
ImageDSCN0120 by Michael McAnenay, on Flickr
ImageDSCN0122 by Michael McAnenay, on Flickr
ImageDSCN0126 by Michael McAnenay, on Flickr

We eventually started to head down as a front started to get closer.

ImageDSCN0127 by Michael McAnenay, on Flickr
ImageDSCN0131 by Michael McAnenay, on Flickr

we got back to the refuge at 2.15 pm, 7 hours from when we left. we had a bowl of soup and some more mint tea, we decided to try get back to Imlil before dark, we left the refuge around 3pm and began our slow slog back down.
ImageDSCN0138 by Michael McAnenay, on Flickr
ImageDSCN0141 by Michael McAnenay, on Flickr

We got back to Imlil just as it got dark, about 8 pm, we found a riad that had hot showers, had some dinner and a well deserved long lie. Headed back to Marrakesh next day. I found the walk quite easy and well worth doing if you ever plan going out to Morocco. There isn't much choice of decent maps, we just had the rough guide to trekking in Morocco and the description in it was fine as were the diagrams and drawings. Think it would be more interesting in winter .
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Re: Jbel Toubkal

Postby Alteknacker » Fri Oct 23, 2015 12:01 am

Great stuff! The ridge you see from the summit looks really interesting - surely so in winter, as you suggest.

I'm surprised we don't see more reports on the Moroccan mountains in WH. A colleague of mine many years ago used to go to the Atlas mountains regularly for weeks at a time, and thought it was brilliant. He also told me that there were always a good few Brits around wherever he went.
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Re: Jbel Toubkal

Postby Mal Grey » Fri Oct 23, 2015 9:20 am

Nice one! I love Morocco, fantastic combination of amazing scenery and a great culture.

Interesting to see Aroumd has grown quite a lot since 2002, and has a big new mosque. The little village with the white mosque and white painted rock is Sidi Chamharouch, a shrine to a saint who is buried under the rock.

The Atlas are superb mountains. Whilst Toubkal is rightly the main draw, some of the other mountains are even better (by the look of them). For me the main joy was trekking through the valleys and high passes for a couple of weeks, staying in village houses (or sleeping on the rooftops under the stars mostly), time spent in the area is well worth it.

I'm quite surprised you didn't suffer more from altitude issues on such a quick "in and out" trip, quite a few folk seem to. Luckily we had been walking for 10 days before we did Toubkal, so were well acclimatised.

I strongly recommend getting to the top for sunrise. The sun comes up over the distant Sahara, tinging the peaks with red light, whilst this enormous shadow of the mountain lies across the plains of Marrakech. Something I will never forget.
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Re: Jbel Toubkal

Postby ChrisW » Fri Oct 23, 2015 5:42 pm

This outside Scotland section is becoming positively exotic :lol:

Great hike Mgmt, if that's your idea of 'taking it easy' (for the sake of Helen's knee) I wouldn't want to be with you when you decide to go for it :shock: I am astounded that you managed to find the jeans and trainers brigade all the way up there....wonder why they were cold :roll: Fantastic report of a place I suspect I'll never see. :clap: :clap:
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Re: Jbel Toubkal

Postby mgmt! » Fri Oct 23, 2015 6:54 pm

thanks for the reply guys, the Atlas range looks to be a very interesting place with no ends of peaks and trails to do. Helen had a book detailing loads of stuff to do. Helen had previously done Toubkal before and in winter a long time ago. My only concern would be the lack of any decent maps , the one we had didn't have any contours or show any finer details. I think we might have suffered more with the altitude had it been more alpine like, it takes more effort on snow and ice than on a well worn path. If i went back i would spend all my time in the atlas, wasn't too impressed with Marrakesh.
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Re: Jbel Toubkal

Postby Mal Grey » Fri Oct 23, 2015 10:47 pm

mgmt! wrote:thanks for the reply guys, the Atlas range looks to be a very interesting place with no ends of peaks and trails to do. Helen had a book detailing loads of stuff to do. Helen had previously done Toubkal before and in winter a long time ago. My only concern would be the lack of any decent maps , the one we had didn't have any contours or show any finer details. I think we might have suffered more with the altitude had it been more alpine like, it takes more effort on snow and ice than on a well worn path. If i went back i would spend all my time in the atlas, wasn't too impressed with Marrakesh.


Meant to say that there are a number of maps available, I found some 1:50k maps through Cordee, in a set of 4.

Now it seems there are newer versions available from Stanfords;

http://www.stanfords.co.uk/Countries/Mo ... F0bGFzZXM=

or

http://www.stanfords.co.uk/Countries/Mo ... F0bGFzZXM=


They're not OS map standard, but they are more than adequate.

Marrakech was a wonderful, exotic city when I first visited in 2002, but even 6 years later it was more sanitised and full of tourists. The first time I went, walking through the souk on my own, I was constantly hassled, and it was almost intimidating at times. The second time, the police had been cracking down on such hassling, so it was much less intimidating, but somehow lacking something. We did, though, have a very interesting evening in a "Muslim drinking den", off the tourist track!!! Some interesting characters...
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Re: Jbel Toubkal

Postby falling monkey » Sat Nov 07, 2015 3:01 pm

Great report done this in September 2013 and was very hot mid to high 30, s but didn, t feel to unbearable for a couple of pasty scots :D , we certainly never had a dusting of snow but was very cold when we set off at 5am, could certainly feel effects of altitude by the time we got to the top of that initial scree slope above refuges. Only one person in our group from KE never made it as they struggled on next section and had to turn back and youngest guy on our trip very nearly gave up 10 mins from top with altitude sickness which affected him all the way back to Imlil, certainly something to be said for taking an extra day to acclimatise as we were on the weekend trip.Would love to go back and do this in winter.Even won a pair of socks after I sent my pic into Trail mag, worst part of trip was picked up bug in a food hut on way down not great fun having having the old delhi belly before flying home need to remember next time I go away to check box of imodium as when I opened mine I thought it was a new box only to discover 2 tablets left :shock:
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Re: Jbel Toubkal

Postby jonathan - norfolk » Mon Nov 16, 2015 8:16 pm

A very interesting report. Did this one in 2006 and actually stayed in Aroumd overnight. Splits the walk up to the hut nicely and helps you to acclimatise a bit, especially welcome if you've had a long drive in (which we had). We actually did the same thing the following year in 2007 when I returned to climb some of the peaks nearby. Great photos. I enjoyed your report. :D :D :D
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