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Toubkal in Winter. February 2015

By February 23, 2015Courses, Current Trips

Course report: Rob Wills
Course: Walking Toubkal in Winter and Winter Mountaineering in Morocco

During February we have five separate groups out in the High Atlas Mountains of Morocco, all trekking to Toubkal’s summit and some participating in expert tuition in Winter Mountaineering skills from our UIAGM guide. Some clients have chosen our short winter Morocco trips as training trips for more challenging expeditions later this year, such as Denali and Everest North Ridge.

14 – 21 February summary
Three clients enjoyed a good week with our local guide, Mohammed, as they trekked in from Oukaimenden to make an ascent of Toubkal at the end of the week.

21 – 28 February summary
We have two separate groups this week, one trekking in to Toubkal and a second group heading straight  up to the mountain refuge at 3200m for some Winter Mountaineering skills training with our guide, Rob. Rob reports pleasant warm weather in Marrakech on Saturday and yesterday (Sunday) along with local guide Mohamed, Mette and Peter they were enjoying a picnic in the sun at 2500 on their acclimatisation day before heading up to the refuge today.

23 February – leader update
Rob, Mette and Peter have arrived at the Toubkal refuge at 3207m. Everyone is feeling good despite having tired legs after the 5 hour walk up to the refuge. This afternoon they will be practicing ropework near the refuge. There is a massive amount of snow up in High Atlas this year  – so much that the ice falls near to the refuge (usually used by us to practice ice skills) are buried!

24 February – leader update
Rob, Mette, Peter and Mohamed have today made an ascent of the twin summits of Ouanoukrim (Ras and Timesguida), so ticking off the second highest summit in Morocco (4089m). Rob reports that the snow was very deep on the walk up to the col of Tizi Ouagane, so much so that if you step off the trodden track you will be in up to your waist.

26 February – leader update
Over the past two days the team have made successful ascents of Toubkal and Akiod in good sunny conditions. They had the summit of Akiod entirely to themselves yesterday! They have been practicing crevasse rescue and today will make an ascent of a short snow gully before returning to Marrakech in the afternoon.

2 March – leader update
Rob sent a message in to say that he his now back at the Toubkal refuge with his second group on the mountaineering course, Simon, Gemma and Ian. Her reports the sun is shining and everyone is happy to have arrived at their base for the next few nights, now resting their tired legs after the 1300m ascent from the valley up to the refuge.

4 March – leader update
Rob and his three clients made the ascent of Toubkal yesterday, enjoying a lovely sunny day with just a light breeze. Today they will take it easy and practice some winter skills near to the refuge, leaving an ascent of Akiod or Ouanoukrim for Thursday.

5 March – leader update
Simon, Ian and local guide Mohamed made it to the top of Ras today, with Rob and Gemma turning back a bit short of the summit. Everyone enjoyed the day out, especially after ‘re-fueling’  back at the refuge. On our Winter Toubkal group Nick and Shane reached the summit of Toubkal with their local guide (another Mohamed!) yesterday and today have set off back to Marrakech.

Rob Wills

About Rob Wills

Rob is a highly experienced IFMGA Mountain Guide and mountaineer. He has been an instructor at Plas-y-Brenin and Glenmore Lodge. With a list of ascents that would be the envy of many, including the North Face of the Eiger, Mt McKinley, a solo ascent of the Walker Spur and hundreds of Scottish Winter ‘big mixed monsters’. He has climbed in Jordan, Israel, Alaska, The Himalaya, Yosemite and the Alps. He spends his summers working as an Alpine Guide in the mountains above the Chamonix Valley, France and the Arolla, Saas Fee and Zermatt valleys in Switzerland.

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