This is a wonderful winter mountain trek to the summit of Toubkal which is also a great learning experience for winter skills. We normally run two or three trips in January and February and our groups average four to six people.
Climbing Toubkal is a perfect non-technical short break in the Atlas mountains, only around 50 miles to the south of Marrakech. On a clear day, the range can be clearly seen from the city. The blue skies, bright sun, and crisp snowy peaks are a wonderful antidote to the winter of northern Europe.
These winter climbs are on snow and ice and require additional mountaineering equipment such as crampons and a walking axe. Mount Toubkal at 4167 meters is not a technical peak to climb but you will learn some basic alpine techniques during the trip, such as walking on crampons and how to use a walking axe correctly and safely movement on snow and ice.
Arrive Marrakech, go to the hotel and explore the medina, dining out in town
Drive Marrakech to Imlil and go to the local riad, acclimatisation walk up to 3000m
Trek from Imlil to Toubkal Refuge, using mules and porters for bags
Acclimatisation and training on snow
Jebel Toubkal (4167m) climb
Trek back to Imlil and riad for local dinner and celebrations
Drive to Marrakech for lunch and then depart for home or optional days in Morocco.
We charge £595.00 for a guided climb which is all-inclusive, no kitties. There are a few extras like snacks you can buy in the mountain hut plus meals in Marrakech.
WHAT TO WEAR ON TOUBKAL IN WINTER?
From Marrakech to over 4000m on the top of Toubkal, there is a big change in temperature. Be prepared for very cold conditions with rain low down and snow up high. Expect as low as minus 15 Celsius on summit day in the morning with the windchill.
Clothing needs to be adaptable and suited to winter conditions, and the best way to achieve this is through a layering system with a good base layer, several mid-layers of fleece, an outer shell, and a proper down jacket. For extremities and your head, you need good quality gloves, mitts, and a warm hat. You will also need sunglasses and goggles because there is a good chance of whiteout.
It could also be very hot and sunny with plenty of UV reflection from the snow, so also take proper sun protection and a sunhat. It is likely that you will leave the refuge for the summit trek with trekking trousers over-trousers, a base layer, a warm mid-layer, soft-shell or fleece jacket, a windproof layer, hats, gloves, and mitts. A down jacket and goggles will be in your day pack along with a flask of hot drinks and a bottle of water for later, snacks, sunglasses, and a camera. The daysack needs to be about 40 liters and your main gear can be carried in a duffle bag with all kit in waterproof sacks.
We have a full, but in summary:
- BAGS – Large rucksack ~80 liters (for a porter to carry) plus a medium daypack ~40L (carried by you)
- SHELL – Top and bottom, quality Goretex or equivalent wind/rainproof.
- INSULATION – Fleece tops and jacket, warm trousers and a down jacket, hats, gloves and mitts, warm socks
- BASE LAYER – Thin layer to wick away sweat and to strip down to when it gets hot
- FEET – Crampon-compatible boots (B2 or B3) and trekking boots, plus hut shoes
- CLIMBING – Crampons, walking poles, walking axe, harness, sling, and some screwgate karabiners
- SLEEPING – 3 or 4-season sleeping bag (the Refuge can get very warm with a full dormitory!)
- EATING/DRINKING – Thermos for hot drinks, water bottles, and favourite snacks
- PERSONAL – Wash kit and personal first aid kit, sunglasses, suncream, lip cream, towel, headtorch, powerpack for electronics
You can rent climbing equipment directly from us in the UK or from local companies in Imlil but the selection there is quite old and limited. Axes and poles are easy to find, but few places rent harnesses, slings, or karabiners.
We definitely do recommend walking poles, they are particularly useful on this trip. However taking a helmet is according to your own preference, there is no danger of falling rocks above you, but there is a danger of a head injury if you slip and fall.
We pride ourselves on very good guides. The ascent of Toubkal in winter is not a walkover and the weather, altitude, and snow conditions can combine to create a situation where you need proper guides and a good acclimatization plan. They bring their innate mountain knowledge, their culture, and a lot of fun to the trip.
Our Moroccan guides and staff provide a wonderful opportunity to understand what life in the Berber mountain communities is like. They will lead us through the areas in which they, and their forebears, have grown up and sustained a unique way of life. They will explain the customs and beliefs of the people and the specific challenges of this mountain.
Situated in the North-west corner of Africa, Morocco is a land of great contrasts from the white-washed houses on the fertile Mediterranean coast to the arid brown mountains, which are snow-capped during winter. Mount Toubkal is the highest peak in the country.
The gateway to the mountains is Marrakech, the red city, and Morocco’s fourth largest with a population of around one and a half million. You can explore this ancient city with its exotic souks, palaces, gardens and heaving mass of dust, noise and colour. We stay in a lovely local riad run by a French couple who moved to Morocco from the Alps twenty years ago. In the evening there are plenty of places to eat and explore.
Morocco will feel a world away from northern Europe, not least because northern Europe is still in the midst of winter. In Marrakech, you will usually enjoy clear blue skies, temperatures of 20-30 degrees, and enough sunlight to sunburn the unwary within the hour. The snow-clad summits of the High Atlas provide a wonderful backdrop to the ochre-colored buildings of the city.
In comparison with more popular trekking and climbing areas in the Alps, the Atlas Mountains are quiet in terms of tourism. You can see something of the traditional Berber way of life and have an appreciation of what a magnificent wilderness area this is. On the mountain itself, we stay in the mountain refuge which has visitors from all over the world to stand on the top of the Atlas range and enjoy the spectacular views.
Our Mount Toubkal trek has been planned by experienced mountain professionals to give you the maximum from your week away in Morocco, including:
- Training in winter mountain skills and techniques
- A good rate of acclimatization to altitude.
- Knowledgeable advice from our qualified staff from the moment you make an inquiry
- Local employment that is fair and responsible
- Financial security is guaranteed as we are ABTOT-bonded