Friday, 15 January 2010

Toubkal Jan 2010

After a short 3hr flight from the U.K. we touched down in Marrakesh to a perfect temperature of 19c, We then headed straight off for some lunch and then spent the afternoon wondering around the sights and souks of Marrakesh.
A short 2hr drive through stunning valleys we finaaly arrived at out guest house in Imlil.

After meeting our Moroccan guide Rashid the evening was spent getting our kit ready for the climb and a quick briefing before our early morning departure for the refuge.
The forecast for the next 3 days was possible snow on day one and two and and clear skies for our summit day.

The snow line was at 3000mt so things were looking good, our climb to the refuge at 3200mt would be quicker and easier.
As soon as our donkey's were loaded up with all our food and supplies for the next 3 days we slowly made our way to the refuge at 3200mt a climb of nearly 1400mt so a big day at altitude, it took us nearly 7hrs to reach the refuge stopping for tea along the way, thankfully the Moroccans like drinking tea just as much as the us so we were in good company.
Everyone was feeling pretty good with the altitude just a few mild headaches.

Once at the refuge it was tea time once again then we had just enough time to practise our winter skills and play around in the snow.

We awoke early the next morning to a total white out the wind was blowing at about 40kph which would mean we could only spend the day in the valley due to high avalanche risk.
All though we did manage two short walks up to 3400mt to help everyone acclimatise along with playing in the snow, plenty of tea and the odd game of cards.
By mid afternoon two of us headed out to check the conditions on the summit ascent route only to find the snow pack in very dangerous condition and a high risk of avalanche.

We would need a miracle for us to summit the following morning.
After another great evening meal and a birthday cake plus more tea and of course a game of cards we headed for bed praying for the conditions to change.

We woke early to check the weather only to find a foot of snow on the door of the refuge and the wind still blowing strong so we decided for the leisurely breakfast as we couldn't make a summit attempt in such adverse weather conditions.
After breakfast we started to make our way back down to Imlil along with everyone else staying in the refuge. Its was hard going trying to break a trail in over a foot of snow and of course the strong winds.
Finally after 1hr on the trail the weather finally broke and we were rewarded with breath taking views of the High Atlas and only our foot marks in the snow, it was like a winter wonderland and the snow was as low down as 1500mts which was not to common in Morocco.
Once back in Imlil we had time to chillout wounder around the village before dinner and a few celebration drinks.

Another early start back to the airport but to finish off our adventure we found ourselves stuck on the road due to a landslide so it was all has on deck or rocks in this case as we cleared the road and finally to the airport.

Despite not making it to the summit due the weather we had a great trip with alot of laughs and the trail back down after all the snow fall just made up it.