Jbel Toubkal

Date walked: 06/10/2015

Ascent: 4167m

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
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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