Mount Toubkal, The Atlas Mountains
A SUNRISE VIEW OVER THE SAHARA
Morocco is a vibrant country with extreme variety. It has windswept beaches, bustling cities, and jagged mountain peaks. Mount Toubkal, the highest peak in North Africa, is located in the Atlas Mountains and stands at an impressive 4,167 metres above sea level.
The Trek Itinerary
23rd Oct Day 1
Pick up from Royal Palm at 08:00, private vehicle and drive to Imlil at the base of Mt Toubkal. Hike to Toubkal Refuge (3,207m)
Departing from Royal Palm at 8am, you begin your adventure with a 1.5 hour drive along the winding roads through Morocco’s gorges and valleys, to the Berber trailhead village of Imlil. After a quick refreshment of traditional mint tea, you leave your vehicle and set out through the valleys and stark mountain slopes, admiring the remote villages and the impressive sight of the terraced houses perched on the mountains around us. You'll break for lunch next to a waterfall in the sacred village of Sidi Chamharouch, before setting out again, up steep mule tracks to the Toubkal Refuge. You can use the rest of the day to relax or stroll around the surrounding slopes, before dinner and a short night’s sleep in the Refuge. You will be avoiding the dormitory rooms in the refuge and instead have the Family Suite exclusively. 5-7hr trek.
24th Oct Day 2
Dawn start for the summit hike, descend to refuge for lunch. Descend to Kasbah du Toubkal. Overnight.
Alpine start today for breakfast and set out at around 0500hrs towards the summit. The route starts with a rising traverse of a long slope, before narrowing to a broad gully. This first section will be climbed in darkness, and once the sun has risen you’ll get a view of your real objective, the summit of Jebel Toubkal, which will have so far been largely obscured by surrounding peaks. There is a further steep slope, before a final ridge climb and narrow path to the peak. The climb should take 3-4hrs and may be partly on snow. Once at the top, you’ll take photos and a short break before starting the descent back to the refuge for lunch. After a rest, you’ll keep moving and hike all the way back to Imlil, retracing your steps, and enjoying the thick air. Once back at Imlil you’ll be driven to Kasbah Tamadot for a well deserved shower and celebration. This is a long day, up to 12 hours, but we will be well supported throughout.
25th Oct Day 3
10:30am pick up from Kasbah Tamadot to return to Royal Palm, Marrakech.
Temperatures & Kit List
Your adventure in Morocco will see you experience a broad spectrum of temperatures in a relatively short space of time. The first day will most likely be warm, so lightweight clothing is the order of the day. We recommend light colours, a loose fit, and wicking fabrics. As you head towards the summit at dawn the next morning however, it could be below freezing, so it’s important that you’re adequately prepared. We recommend warm gloves, and windproof jacket and trousers.
UNDERWEAR. A merino wool or synthetic wicking layer is best. One pair of long-johns. One long sleeved polo-neck shirt plus one tee shirt. Thumb loops and front zips are useful. Light colours are recommended. It will be hot hiking to the refuge.
WALKING TROUSERS/ LEGGINGS. Lightweight, not cotton. Useful to have removable/ zipped legs so they convert to shorts.
FLEECE TROUSERS. Can be cheap and cheerful. Provide extra protection in cold weather on summit day.
DUVET JACKET. A down duvet jacket or smock is useful to keep warm in the refuge and walking around at night. Optional.
FLEECE JACKET. Polartec fleece or Primaloft jacket recommended. There are numerous fleece jackets to choose from that are suitable.
WEATHERPROOF JACKET. A waterproof and windproof outer shell. Must be breathable, Gore-Tex recommended. Don’t go overboard though, a £400 jacket is overkill! A ski jacket will likely be too hot and heavy, so a simple lightweight waterproof is best.
WEATHERPROOF TROUSERS. Waterproof, windproof trousers preferably with side zips for ease of fitting over boots. Should be breathable, Gore-Tex or eVent recommended, just in case we get some weather. It can be very windy on the summit ridge.
WARM HAT. A fleece hat that covers your ears and the back of your head.
INSULATED GLOVES. Mitts are probably warmer than gloves but they make using hands more awkward and are probably overkill. Gloves should have a weatherproof breathable outer, a reinforced palm and a removable fleece liner. You must ensure that the gloves are big enough, with plenty of extra room around each finger – snug fitting gloves will be cold. Decent gloves can make a huge difference to how much you enjoy summit day. Ski gloves would work well provided they are insulated.
LIGHTWEIGHT GLOVES. Thin fleece gloves are useful if it’s only slightly cold and for dexterity/ getting snacks out of pockets etc.
LINER GLOVES. The ‘one size fits all’ Meraklon variety are extremely useful as you never need to have bare hands. They will also keep the intense sun off your hands and protect them from gravel if you slip/ fall on the trail.
SUN HAT. Peaked cap or wide brimmed hat.
BUFF/ SCARF. For sun protection and insulation on summit day. The Buff is a very versatile bit of kit. They come in a variety of colours, have a multitude of uses and you can even get winter fleece lined versions.
SOCKS. 2 or 3 sets. A set is what you normally wear with your boots, ideally one thin pair and one thick. For the thin pairs; Coolmax, or something similar is good, for the thick pairs; Smart Wool is just the ticket. Try and have your boots with you when buying socks and vice versa.
BOOTS. Comfortable, supportive 3/4 season walking boots. Leather or synthetic but they must be waterproof. Trainers/ running shoes will not be adequate for summit night.
GAITERS. Normal walking gaiters are adequate, to keep scree out and snow on occasion. Cheap and cheerful are all you need. Optional.
SUNGLASSES. One pair with full UV protection.
DAYSACK. About 20 litres. This is what you’ll carry with items you need during the hike. All overnight and spare kit is loaded on to the mules.
SLEEPING BAG. Although you’ll be sleeping in the mountain refuge, it does get chilly so a 3 season sleeping bag is usually recommended. There are usually some itchy blankets, but better to have a warm enough sleeping bag!
WATERBOTTLE. A 3 litre Camelbak is essential for the trek. It will be very hot and dehydration will be tough to avoid. A one litre Nalgene or sports bottle is also worth having, so it can be used to top up the Camelbak and carried on summit night.
TREKKING POLES. One set, telescopic. Useful for walking on low-angle terrain and reducing strain on muscles and joints during the descent. Strongly recommended.
HEAD TORCH. You need an LED headtorch, such as the Petzl Tikka, plus one set of spare batteries.
SUN SCREEN. Should be highest factor available, and apply it to all potentially exposed areas of skin – or cover up.
LIP BLOCK. One stick of sun protective lip block. Also take some lip balm, such as Vaseline to help recover chapped lips at night.
CAMERA, LENSES & MEMORY CARDS. Protective bag essential. Bring spare batteries, memory cards etc as required. The climate is dusty so changing lenses is best avoided.
TOILETRIES. As required.
“DRY” SOAP HANDWASH/ AlcoGel. Brilliant for making sure you hands are kept clean, and bugs are killed and not spread around the team.
PASSPORT. Valid for 6 months post trip.
CASH/ CREDIT CARDS – Make sure you have any necessary numbers in case of loss or theft.
READING BOOK Optional.
PERSONAL FIRST AID KIT
PAINKILLERS. Paracetamol, Ibuprofen, Aspirin.