Mount Toubkal Summer Ascent
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 Mt Toubkal trek allows us to enjoy the sublime surroundings and historical culture of the Berber life and there is time on this trekking holiday to acclimatise properly to the altitude by climbing a series of high passes and lower peaks.
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 and gardens. 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.
"This was my first trek and first time away on my own so as you can imagine I was pretty nervous about coming on the trip but I had such a brilliant time and met some amazing people. Speaking with Adventure Alternative prior to booking really reassured me so all that was left for me to do was get excited and gather the gear.
The trip itself was well organised, the staggered ascent allowed for acclimatisation as well as getting a great insight into the Moroccan way of life and culture. I can honestly say I have never had holiday quite like it and now that I have the bug to see more and do more treks I could not think of a better company than Adventure Alternative to do it with."
Mount Toubkal summer itinerary
|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 a 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.|
Staff on Mount Toubkal
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.
How fit do I need to be to climb Toubkal?
You do not need to be super-fit for this trekking holiday, 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 as well. If you have any re-occurring 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.
Do be careful of the heat, in summer it will be hot in Marrakech and even up in Imlil. Up in the mountains, even the fittest person can struggle with the hiking under a hot sun. Do take sun cover. Check out our trip prep page for more info.
The terrain on Mt Toubkal Trek
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.
Summer 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 packing list on this page which shows what you need on this trekking peak in both winter and summer.
- BAGS - Large duffle ~90L (carried by mules) + medium daypack ~25L (carried by you)
- SHELL - Top and bottoms to keep off the rain
- 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 - sleeping bag and camping mat
- EATING/DRINKING - Water bottles & favourite energy-snacks for during the day
- WASH kit & MEDICAL kit
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 sunblock 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/base layer 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 midday, 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/windproof 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.
If you do not have all of the equipment that you might need for the trip, you can rent most items in the villages before going on the climb.
- We offer small scale, authentic trekking holidays, which can also be tailor made.
- 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 bonded.
Mount Toubkal ascent - detailed itinerary
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.
|1||450m||Arrive on international flight into Marrakech where our team will meet you and transfer you to your accommodation in Marrakech. Depending on your arrival time there will hopefully be time for you to explore the city before meeting for a team dinner and introductions in the evening. We spend the night in a comfortable and traditional city riad.|
|2||1700m||2hr Drive 4hr Walk||After breakfast transfer to the village of Imlil at 1740m, which is a 2 hour drive through wonderful scenery. We'll spend 2 nights here in a Berber family run guest house. 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 hillside to help our acclimatisation and gain an insight into the culture of the region.|
|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. Overnight in guest house. B,L,D|
|4||3000m||5-7hrs||After breakfast we load the mules and commence our trek to higher altitude. Our initial target is to ascend and cross the Tizi Mzik 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, we 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||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'll travel back to Marrakech and depending on your fight time we can either drop you at the airport or pop back to town for some lunch in the main square, or you could visit Richard Bransons amazing Kasbah for a cup of mint tea, or there's a really interesting museum, which is worth a visit. If you plan on extending you time in Marrakech we can help you organise a Riad or travel to your accommodation. B|
Mount Toubkal Summer cost from £545.00
- All food and hot drinks on trek
- Mules to transport main bags
- Local Moroccan Guides
- All accommodation (tents & Lodges)
- All transportation and airport transfers
- Group equipment
- International Air Fare
- Personal travel Insurance
- Meals in Marrakech (meals cost an average of about £10-£15, depending on the exchange rate)
- Mineral water/ soft drinks/ personal expenses
- Hot Showers at Refuges (10-20 dirhams each)
- Single room supplements
- Tips for Moroccan Staff (~£30+)
A deposit of £100 is required on booking to secure your place and we ask that the remaining balance (trip price minus the deposit) is paid in full 6 weeks prior to your departure.
Choose a scheduled date or contact us to set up private dates or a bespoke itinerary. The minimum deposit is £100.00 and the balance is due six weeks before travel.
- Duration 8 days
- Numbers 2 minimum
- Altitude 4167m
- Distance 40 kms
- Challenge Moderate
- Comfort Camping & Lodges