Mt Toubkal Winter Climb: Magic

My Mt Toubkal Winter Climb courtesy of Exodus was fab – a really great group, varied but we gelled, and a fantastic local team led by Mohammed (cue Canadian drawl: “Mo – haaam – ed”) supported by Hussein-the-guide and Hussein-the-cook.

After a cloudy/cool Monday morning in Marrakech and travelling on to Imlil and Aremd, Tuesday was similarly overcast and the High Atlas stayed shrouded in cloud. We arrived at the Neltner refuge under gun grey skies, and the snow that started to fall during our afternoon’s crampon and ice axe training continued on into the night…..

…. which meant that our Toubkal / جبل توبقال‎ (4167 m / 13671 ft), Ouanoukrim (Timesguida summit, 4089 m / 13415 ft) and Tizi n’Ouanoums (3684 m / 12087 ft) climbs were over (relatively) fresh snow and under blue skies – beautiful. A cold wind for Toubkal, but hardly a breath for the other two. Crampons (almost) all the way, and although we carried ice axes no one needed to use them. I have to say I don’t think I would have been very successful at self arresting….. I surprised myself with the Ouanoukrim scramble section – maybe I’ve left the Crib Goch fear behind.

All in all, a fantastic three days: venimus, vidimus, vicimus.

Mt Toubkal, Morocco
Mt Toubkal, Morocco

Back in Marrakech / مراكش‎ on Friday evening we had a lovely meal at Chez Joel a few steps along the Rue Loubane from our hotel Les Trois Palmiers. On Saturday morning, Liz and I indulged in an hour or so’s worth of Hammam – Gommage – Massage, before most of us headed off on an afternoon guided tour of the old city…. winding up in the Djemaa el-Fna / ساحة جامع الفناء as the sun slowly sank behind the minaret of the Kouboubia Mosque / جامع الكتبية‎ …. pillar jumping ensued, prompted by a couple of local time lapse photographers.

Koutoubia Mosque, Marrakech, Morocco (DSC04474_small portrait.jpeg)
Koutoubia Mosque, Marrakech, Morocco

Sunday was departure day, so after a whistle stop visit to the Jardin Marjorelle in the morning, the group slowly dispersed until only Liz, Ian and I were left. A late lunch at the Grand Café de la Poste accompanied by a bottle of Le Ferme Gris rosé between three was a good way to end the trip.

EasyJet‘ s evening flight back to London Gatwick landed just before midnight, which made for a late night / early morning journey via Victoria and the N11 night bus, eventually getting home a bit after 2am – time for 5 hours sleep before Monday morning at LW beckoned.

So, team Jagged Edges – thank you!

Photos and notes will follow.