Mt. Toubkal

Mt. Toubkal - Morocco

A trip that brought me to places where time stood still for a while.


A trip with confrontational images and experiences, breathtaking views, the meeting of some local

people, an invitation at my guides home, ...


A trip I will never forget !!!!


The planning looks like this :


Day 1 – Imlil to  Azib Tamsoult ( 1800m to 2250m ) with a stop in the middle at 2450m for lunch

Day 2 – Azib Tamsoult to Refuge Toubkal Les Mouflons ( 2250m to 3250m ) with a luch stop at 3600m

Day 3 – Refuge to summit and back to Imlil. (3250m – 4167m – 1800m )


On day one I got picked up at my hotel in Marrakech around 8.30am. After 1u30min drive trough some smaller villages I arrived in Imlil. A rather quiet taxi ride because the gentle driver could only speak a few words

English and French. So I sometimes got a strange answer on my questions. But it was a nice and friendly man.

On my arrival in Imlil, where all the trekking companys are located. I was warmly welcomed at Aztat Treks.


Fresh mint tea and I got introduced to my guide and cook/porter for the next 3 days.

After a small briefing, we packed our stuff and got off.


The first day brought me from 1800m up to 2250m , where my sleeping place was located. The first part of the day we climb trough some locals up to 2400m . Here we will stop for lunch. My second guide/porter took a shorter way to take some preparations for our meal.


‘ Where you want to sit, under that tree of in the sun’, was asked me. Because it’s midday, I choose for a place under a tree. A mat is layed out for me and make yourself comfortable.


Immediatly Rachid brings me fresh hot tea. 10 min later a delicious pasta salad with different types of vegetables, a fried egg with onion. To finish the meal a plate with an orange and some melon.

A luxury picnic in the mountains.


After one hour, it’s time to continue our trip. This time we have to descend around 200 m to reach our overnight place.

After a 2 h walk we reach our destination. A beautiful setting.

It's time to relax with some tea and biscuits. Pack my day bag for the next day. And enjoy my delicious meal.

The next morning I wake up around 6.30am. Because Rachid (my guide) wants to start around 7.30am. He told me the day before it would be a heavy day. We have to climb to 3.600m and back down to 3.250m. The first part of the day is up trough some parts with snow and ice.

At 3.600m we stop for lunch. A great spot with a view on Mt. Toubkal and Imlil.


After one hour we set off. This time down to 3.250m. There are more parts covered with snow ( luckely it's soft because of the sun). With every step you take, it's a surprise. Will I walk over it or will my leg disappear in the snow?

Rachid takes the lead to find a good way, but he will fall trough it sometimes.

Our sleeping place at 3.250m is appearing. Around 3pm we reach this place. The same ritual takes place as the day before. Tea in the afternoon and dinner around 7pm.


After the meal a little chat with my guide (in sometimes confusing english, which is sometimes funny).

At one point I see him looking at a clock, which hangs on the wall in the dining room. The clock has two different times, that keep track of the time of their praying. He told me that he prayed five times a day. And this 10 min.

I asked him, "I didn't see you praying the last two days." Turned out he did this out of my sight.

Early to bed (around 8pm), because the last day I had to wake up at 4am !!


After a short night and with a snorer in the room, it's time to make ready.

When entering the dinning room downstairs (where Rachid and the other guides slept on a coach) and he was doing his fist pray of the day.( later on the climb at 4.00m he was doing his second one). I took a quick good breakfast.


Around 4.30am we started. Packed in different layers, gloves, headlamp, crampons, ... we walk outside with only one goal. Up to 4.167m.

 

Rachid predicted a climb of 2h30min, based on the pace of the past two days. And he was right.

After 2h walking in complete darkness, only with our headlamp.

The sun starts to shine a little bit and we can take off our lights. The summit comes our sight..

And at 7am it's my great moment. I'm on the summit at 4.167m !!!!!!

Just in time to see the sun yet to rise. My highest point so far?!?

His plan was successful, start early to on the summit with sunrise. Thanks Rachid !!


Once you're on the summit, you forget how crazy it sounds to get up around 4am to walk up a mountain.


After 20min on the summit we start our descent. On the top it was below zero, and with sweaty cloths ?!

On our descent we some climbers who started much later to go to the summit. Some suffering,  other in a good mood.


Just before 9am we reach our starting point from this morning at 3.250m. After 15min we got off again for the last part of my trip. Descending back to Imlil at 1.800m. It's a long and easy path along the river.

Halfway this descent Hussain is waiting with my delicious lunch. Near a waterfall.


Rachid asked me earlier these days to have some tea at his home on our way to Imlil. When we are on time.

So on midday I told him I would accept his offer.


This was actually one of my most beautiful moments of the trip. Walking trough a local village, children playing along the river, playing on the street, ... and they were happy.


A warm welcome by his mother with fresh tea on his roof terrace. A few minutes later his wife arrived from a visit to the doctor a few kilometers away. A shining woman, who will have a baby boy a few days later.

These are moments that you will remember forever.  And the thought about how good our life is in Europe.

Or how easy life can be.


Living in small houses, rough enviorment, ... Sometimes my hotelroom is almost that big as their home?

But unfortunately that's life


Overall it was a journey of a lifetime, and I will always remember me my 2 guides of these 3 days.


Thanks Rachid, Hussain and Aztat Treks.