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Adventure Travel Company

Overview

This is a wonderful climb of the spectacular Mount Toubkal in the high Atlas of Morocco in North Africa in summer conditions. Mount Toubkal is only around 40 miles to the south of Marrakech and on a clear day it can be clearly seen from the city and vice versa. The summer climb is fairly straight forward and can be achieved by most regular hill walkers.

Our itinerary travels a less frequented route up to Mount Toubkal, allowing us to enjoy the sublime surroundings and historical culture in a more authentic manner and away from the main tourist route. There is time on the itinerary for us to acclimitise properly to the altitude by climbing a series of high passes and lower peaks. Our routes also allow us to enjoy the geographic and cultural aspects of the unique and spectacular High Atlas Mountains.

More Information

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 of the interior.

Our gateway to the Atlas Mountains is Marrakech, the so called red city. We overnight here and have the opportunity to explore this ancient city with its exotic souks, palaces , gardens and heaving mass of dust ,noise and colour. The often snow clad summits of the High Atlas, including Mount Toubkal, provide a wonderful back-drop to the ochre coloured buildings of the city.

Rising out of the haze to the south of Marrakech, the High Atlas ,North Africa's highest mountains offer us an incredible variety of scenery, a superb network of trails, and challenging peaks. Snow capped for half the year, from West to East they stretch from the Atlantic ocean just north of Agadir, until they fade into the desert on the Algerian border a distance of nearly a thousand miles. Centuries ago the famous Roman geographer Pliny described the high Atlas as “the most fabulous mountains in the whole of Africa”.

By the standards of more popular trekking and climbing areas in Europe the Atlas Mountains are still remote and scarcely touched by tourism. On our trek we aim to explore the less well known areas, walk on remote trails and climb to the summit of some of the less well known peaks. We want you to experience an authentic Moroccan way of life, and have an appreciation of what a magnificent wilderness area this is.

You can read more about a past client's experiences on our blog.

Staff

Our treks and climbs in the Atlas mountains are led by a qualified and experienced local mountain guide and supported by a team of experienced staff. This includes logistical backup in the village of Imlil and local muleteers and an expedition cook who is also an experienced guide. All are from the local communities and each has a lifetime of experience of life and travel in this part of the Atlas mountains. We have built up a very close working relationship with our Moroccan staff over the course of many expeditions. Some trips will also be accompanied by an experienced and knowledgeable UK leader.

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 uniques way of life. They will explain the customs and beliefs of the people and also the nature of the wild open spaces of the mountains and beyond.

Testimonials

AA was very friendly, flexible and responsive. We had a super trip and we are coming back for the next one!

Jonas U

Jun 2014

We had the best time ever in Morocco, and so glad that we went with Adventure Alternative! Our guide warned us that we might cry when we got to the peak of Mount Toubkal, and I didn't believe him, but he was totally right! Wonderful memories that will stay with me for a long time.

Stevie G

May 2014

Mind blowing and life changing ! Excellent experience not to be missed !

Rachel W

Sep 2013

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Dates and Itinerary

In addition to the scheduled dates shown here, we are able to arrange treks for pairs or small groups and also to offer slightly amended itineraries. Please contact to discuss options tailored to your preferences.

2015
16th May - 23rd May
24th May - 31st May
30th August - 6th September
13th September - 20th September
27th September - 4th October
Broad Itinerary
Day Summary
1 Arrive Marrakech afternoon. Stay in city Riad.
2 Drive to Imlil. Walk on hill near Imlil. Stay in Imlil.
3 Walk to Tizi Tamaterit. Lunch at Ikiss. Walk to Tizi Aguersioual. Back to Stay in Imlil.
4 Walk to Tizi Mzik. Ascend Ouarzane valley. Camp at Tamsoult Refuge.
5 Walk up to Aguelzim with possible summit of Aguelzim or Buidoudan. Descend to camp at Nelter Refuge.
6 Climb South Cwm of Toubkal. Possibly descend North Cwm. Camp at Nelter Refuge.
7 Optional Climb Ras & Timesguida Ouanoukrim. Lunch at Nelter. Descend to Stay in Imlil.
8 Drive to Marrakech. Drive to airport to Depart afternoon/evening.

Please note that all detailed itineraries are given for guidance of our intended route only. The nature of trekking in the mountains is such that it may be necessary to alter routes subject to conditions and group safety.

Detailed Itinerary
Day Elevation Travel Time Info
1 450m Arrive on international flight into Marrakech. Explore the city and meet for a team dinner and introductions in the evening. Spend the night in a comfortable and traditional city riad. (Please note that you may need to wait at the airport while other members of the team land and clear immigration)
2 1700m 2hr Drive 4hr Walk After breakfast transfer to the village of Imlil 1740m , a 2 hour drive through wonderful scenery and a 2 nights in Berber family run guest house called Dar Tighoula. Imlil is a small village nestling in the mountains and the starting point for ascents of Mt Toubkal and surrounding peaks. After lunch, we take a walk up onto the adjacent hilside to help our acclimatisation and gain an insight into the culture of the region. We pass through a number of small villages and get some great views of the peaks above. Traditional Berber dinner in the guest house. L,D
3 2250m 7-9hrs Today after breakfast we trek a circuit from Imlil, initially with an ascent to the Tamaterit col 2279m with fine mountain views then descending into the valley beyond. We have lunch at a small Berber village then continue our circuit down the valley over another pass and back to Imlil. It is a fine days hiking with great views, which will continue to aid our acclimatisation and fitness and provides an excellent insight into the Berber culture. Overnight in Dar Tighoula guest house. B,L,D
4 3000m 5-7hrs After an early breakfast we help to load the mules and commence the first day of our trek. Our initial target is to ascend and cross the Tizi Mzik a col at 2485m,then continue contouring the valley until we reach a fine lunch stop looking out across the valley. After lunch we continue skirting around the mountain-side then ascending slightly until finally arriving at the Tamsoult Refuge where we will be camping nearby. This area is remote and situated in the upper Azzaden valley dominated by the mighty 650m high cliffs of the Tazaghart plateau. At night we may be able to see the lights of Marrakech. B,L,D
5 3650m 7-9hrs Today is a great days walking through inspiring mountain scenery. Our initial challenge is to climb the "99 zig-zags" out of the valley and ascend toward a saddle on the dividing ridge. If the weather is good and the team is keen, we can ascend to the summit of Aguelzim South(3650m), North(3547m) or Buidoudan(3680m) before we start our descent to the Toubkal refuge (3207m) where we camp for the night. The Toubkal refuge is the most popular refuge in the region due to its easy access to Mt Toubkal the highest peak in the Atlas and North Africa. B,L,D
6 4167m 6-8hrs After an early breakfast, start our ascent of Mt Toubkal 4167m by the South Cwm with the option to return by a less travelled alternative route down the North Cwm. Overnight camp near to the refuge. B,L,D
7 4089m 6-7hrs + 5-7hrs After a very early start we make an optional ascent of Ouanoukrim (4089m) and its twin summits Ras and Timesguida. This is a beautiful mountain in a majestic setting and the second highest in the Atlas mountain range. We can also see across the valley to the South west face of Toubkal where we were the day before. We then descend back to the refuge for lunch. After lunch we continue down the valley to the village of Imlil and spend the night at our Berber family guest house. We have a traditional Moroccan dinner and local music. B,L,D
8 450m 2hrs drive After breakfast we back to Marrakech and drop you either at the airport or at the main taxi rank where we can help you to organise onward travel to your accommodation in Marrakech or elsewhere. B

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Cost

Mount Toubkal - Summer cost: £545.00

Includes
  • All food and hot drinks on trek
  • Mules to transport main bags
  • Local Moroccan Guides
  • All accomodation (tents & Lodges)
  • All transportation and airport transfers
  • Group equipment
Excludes
  • International Air Fare
  • Personal travel Insurance
  • Meals in Marrakech
  • Mineral water/ soft drinks
  • Hot Showers at Refuges (10-20 dirhams each)
  • Single room supplements
  • Optional Tips for Moroccan Staff (~£20+)
  • Additional nights in Marrakech
  • Personal spending money (note Moroccan Dihrams are not available abroad, we can help you change/withdraw some in Marrakech)

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Fitness

You do not need to be super-fit for this trip, however the climbs are moderately demanding with some long days of sustained walking with a backpack. The effects of altitude will also reduce your level of strength. Therefore, you will enjoy the trip all the more if you are in good physical shape having exercised regularly and eaten nutritiously over at least the 6 months leading up to the trip.

As a guide, you need to be comfortable walking on fairly hilly terrain for more than 6 hours with a small pack of around 5kg. You also need to be able to do this for a number of days in a row. It is also important that you are relatively agile and steady on your feet. There are some sections of descent on sometimes loose scree and rubble which will require care and agility to safely navigate.

This trip has some fairly long descents (3-4hrs+) which can be hard on knees ankles and sometimes hips aswell. If you have any re-occuring or previous injuries to any of these joints you need to be confident that they are well healed before the trip. Please do speak to us and/or a relevant medical professional if you have any doubts or concerns.

Using trekking poles can be of great help for balance on loose ground and to take some of the strain off your knees. You do need to learn to use them properly for them to be most effective though. We can help by giving you advice on the trip but it is a great advantage to have used them prior to the trip.

You do also need to be in good health as we will spend some time in locations that are many hours from professional medical care. Any pre-existing medical or dental conditions should be fully appraised by a doctor and their nature fully disclosed to your insurer and to ourselves.

The ascents on this trip are not technical climbs and no need to traverse precipitous drops along the way, no rock climbing or specialist equipment is needed although some simple low-level scrambling, with use of hands as well as feet, will be needed in places.

Type of Terrain

Most of the paths are in good condition, some are steeper and looser under foot than others. On the main ascent of Toubkal the path does include some loose scree, which can add to your energy expenditure, especially on the descent. The trails to Ouanoukrim and Afella are less trafficked than the main path up Toubkal so they are more sparse in places. At some points on these paths you will need to use both hands and feet to negotiate a few rocky steps. If you are uncomfortable with low-level scrambling then it is possible to miss out the ascents of Afella and Ouanoukrim.

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Gear

Kit List
  • The basic idea of the kit we will take is to keep you warm, dry, protected from the sun, able to move efficiently on the mountains and able to be comfortable in the evenings and night. There is a detailed list via the menu below-right but the main points to cover are:-
  • BAGS - Large duffle ~90L (carried by mules) + Medium Daypack ~25L (carried by you)
  • SHELL - Top and bottoms to keep off wind/rain
  • INSULATION - Layered system to keep you warm- body hands & Head
  • BASELAYER - Thin layers to wick away sweat and to strip down to and keep the sun off when it gets hot
  • FEET - Sturdy trekking Boots (not walking Shoes), flip flops or similar, footwear for city
  • SLEEPING - Warm sleeping bag and camping mat to get a good nights sleep at the camp/refuge
  • EATING/DRINKING - Water bottles & favorite energy-snacks for during the day
  • WASHING & MEDICAL - To allow you to wash and maybe stave off a headache or blister
Additional Kit Info

When deciding what to bring it is useful to think about what you will be doing on the trip and what the conditions are likely to be like.

At the start of the trip we will be in Marrakech. Here it is likely to be hot but we will be walking gently around town, not carrying anything. For this you just need comfortable light-weight clothing and general shoes. As Morocco is a largely muslim country it is respectful to dress modestly, covering at least most of the length of your arms and legs. This is especially true for women. Temperatures could be up as high as 35degC in the middle of the day with bright sunlight. Sunglasses, sunhat and sun block are therefore pretty much essential.

On a general day of trekking in the mountains we may be getting up early when it may be cooler, perhaps down to 10degC in the shade. We may therefore start walking with thin trekking trousers, a trekking shirt/baselayer and perhaps a jumper or thin fleece. As we warm up while walking, and as the sun comes up above the peaks we start to get hotter. At this point we will probably be wearing a thin top, thin trousers or shorts, sunhat and sunglasses. By mid day it may perhaps be 30degC, although on high passes and peaks the wind-chill of any breeze will make it feel much cooler.

While we are walking we will be carrying just a small rucksack or perhaps 25-35 litres. In this we will have our water/wind proof jacket and trousers, our warmer top, two litres of water, camera etc and some favourite high-energy snacks. When we have finished the day's walk we will arrive at our camp and probably be keen to get our boots and socks off and walk about in flip-flops or sandals. We may then add a warmer layer as the sun goes down.

 

Rental Items

If you do not have all of the euipment that you might need for the trip, you can save the expense of buying it all in one go by hiring some items. This is a good option if you are not sure whether you will use the kit again. Several companies in the UK rent out gear for this purpose and many offer you the option of buying the kit at the end of the trip at a 'used' price.

Expedition Kit Hire have their own Toubkal kit hire package

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Why Us

  • We offer small scale, authentic expeditions, which can also be tailormade.
  • All our guides and staff are professionally trained and have years of proven experience.
  • We have built up partnerships with local guides and drivers which are mutually beneficial and exist on a fair and open basis so that the host country and its people may fully benefit from tourism without being exploited.
  • We are continually improving our quality service year on year.
  • We are passionate about responsible tourism and our company supports sustainable development worldwide in a real way.
  • Adventure Alternative underwrites the charity Moving Mountains.
  • Financial security is guaranteed as we are AITO bonded.
  • We are members on Interhealth which gives you access to pre-trip health information and on-site assistance by phone in the event of an emergency.

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