Mt Toubkal Winter
Come with us to a land of enchanting extremes. During the course of a week you’ll travel from the intense city of Marrakesh to the frozen Atlas Mountains where you will climb Mt. Toubkal – highest of the Atlas and in all North Africa.
On the journey you’ll stay in traditional Riads (guesthouses) and be accompanied by a local Berber (mountain tribesman). Having attended our complementary Winter Skills course before you leave the twin peaks of Ouanoukrim, 2nd and 3rd highest in the Atlas, provide an excellent opportunity to acclimatise while enjoying views of the Mizane Valley and Mt. Toubkal itself. Finally, after a straightforward but tiring summit day on Mt. Toubkal, this 4167m peak may provide you with stunning views stretching as far as the Sahara Desert.
To enjoy this trek you will need a good level of fitness, a positive mental attitude and ideally some trekking experience. It is not technically difficult however you should be prepared for adventurous, wintry conditions as well as two consecutive and long summit days.
THE FITWAYS PHILOSOPHY
‘Provide the highest standard of service for our customers, minimise our impact on the environment and support local communities.’
On our Mt. Toubkal expedition we take great pride in using traditional Riads and local porters and Berbers – who are paid a living wage, adequately-tipped and provided with quality equipment – helping to provide for local communities. Our small client-to-leader ratio, an effort to minimise single-use plastics where possible and a litter policy that sees us not just maintain but enhance the landscape helps us preserve this stunning environment. Finally we only use the most reliable and high quality sources and have a qualified Fitways Mountain Leader accompanying our groups throughout meaning our clients can focus entirely on this amazing adventure.
£795 (Land only)
7 (4 Days on the mountain)
Daily walking time:
6 to 10 hrs
Max team size:
30 January – 05 February 2019
To approach this trek, you need a good level of base fitness, a positive mental attitude and ideally some experience of trekking at altitude
Arrive at Marrakesh
Greeted by a Fitways representative we’ll be driven to your Riad for your overnight stay. Introductions, tea and cake and a briefing from your Fitways Mountain Leader will follow.
Toubkal Refuge (4-5hrs walking)
After a pick-up up from our Riad in Marrakesh we travel to Imlil where we will meet the local Berber who will accompany us. A trek along the Mizane Valley towards Aremd village and the fascinating mountain shrine of Sidi Chamharouch. Then it’s onwards and upwards to the Toubkal Refuge – our base camp for the expedition.
Ouanoukrim 4089m (7-8hrs walking)
The twin peaks of Ouanoukrim – second and third highest peaks in the Atlas – lie at the head of the Mizane valley and provide an adventurous winter skills day enabling us to train you in the use of crampons and ice axe. Today you’ll aim for both summits arriving back to the Refuge in time for lunch. This is a good way to acclimatize to the altitude and get used to the conditions ahead of the summit day tomorrow.
Toubkal – 4167m (8-10hrs walking)
An early start begins our summit attempt on Jebel Toubkal – highest peak in North Africa. This frozen peak rewards the bold with stunning views; both northwards across the Marrakech Plain to the High Atlas Mountains and southwards to the Anti-Atlas Mountains and the Sahara.
Day 5, 6 & 7
Imlil & Marrakesh
The first day of our return journey sees us return to Imlil via 4-5hrs of walking and an overnight stay in a Riad, while the second sees us transported back to Marrakesh where you’ll be given the day to enjoy this intense, vibrant city. Finally, on day 7 of our trip, we’ll be transferred back to Marrakesh airport.
Our Service Explained
The Fitways Adventures goal is to provide you with a stress & hassle free trip a cut above the rest. We go the extra mile to organize everything using quality sources so you can sit back and enjoy the trip. We don’t want to be one of the companies guiding trains of people up the mountain, so we limit our group size to 10, giving you a more personal service.
- Transfer from Marrakesh airport to Marrakesh centre
- 2 nights’ B&B accommodation in Marrakesh
- 1 nights’ B&B accommodation in Imlil
- 4 nights’ accommodation (Camping)
- Trip lead by an International Mountain Leader with extensive experience running treks at altitude.
- A local Berber guide.
- All meals during the trek
- Tents and camping equipment
- Porters and mules
- Lunch and Dinner in Marrakesh
- Tips for guides and porters & drivers
- Soft drinks (Coke, Fanta etc.)
- Travel insurance (Trekking over 4,000m)
Your luggage should be in three parts:-
This will be used to carry all your belongings in the plane’s hold and used to store any items you don’t need while trekking. This can be left behind at the hotel in Marrakesh at no extra cost. Standard airline allowance is normally between 20kg and 30kg – you may also want to leave some space for souvenirs.
This will be used to carry all the items you won’t be carrying on the trip itself – this will be given to the porters. Ideally, this is a rugged duffle bag that you don’t mind being bashed around a bit. It is recommended that clothing is kept within a dry bag in a holdall to prevent it from getting wet. The recommended size is 80 to 100 litres and the weight allowance for your bag is 10kg. If you wish to pay extra for a larger weight allowance, this can be arranged.
Daysack / Rucksack
Recommended 30-40 litres – this will be used to carry personal effects during the trek. You’ll be reunited with your duffle bag at the end of each day when we arrive at the accommodation. Your Group Leader will give you a briefing on what you need to carry, but to give you a rough idea, it will include water, waterproofs, warm hat & gloves, sun cream, water, first aid kit, notepad, camera, snacks. Please note that rucksacks are generally showerproof and not waterproof. Therefore, it is advised that you put your kit into dry bags within your pack to prevent your items from getting wet.
Morocco’s currency is the Moroccan Dirham (MAD). As of July 2017 1 British Pound buys you 12.3 Moroccan Dirham (Update the date and exchange rate).MAD is a restricted currency and cannot be legally purchased outside of Morocco nor can it be exported. Therefore, you have get your local currency when you arrive in Morocco The best currency to bring is GBP in a mixture of large and small denominations, and a Visa card for withdrawing money from ATMs. GBP, Euros and USD are
also easily changed. We recommend you bring local currency with you on the hike as this is the preferred currency by the guides & porters when we tip them at the end of the week.
ATMs are widespread in Marrakesh but not in Imlil.
Many restaurants accept credit cards, but in the souks it’s imperative to pay with cash, mostly in the Moroccan currency (Dirham), but occasionally Euros are accepted.
Valid travel insurance is essential in order for you to take part in a Fitways trek.
You will need cover for medical expenses and emergency repatriation in the event of illness or injury, including cover in the event that you need to be evacuated from the mountain by helicopter. Fitways also recommend that your policy includes cancellation protection as deposits paid cannot be refunded.
Before you leave the UK
As with all foreign travel, it is advisable that you check the latest information and advice on your destination. For UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office advice, see www.gov.uk/fco
Booking For booking international flights we recommend http://www.skyscanner.net as an easy and comprehensive flight searching site.
Generally, Morocco's climate is moderate and subtropical, cooled by breezes off the Atlantic and Mediterranean. In the interior the temperatures are more extreme, winters can be fairly cold and the summers very hot. In fact, the further you go from the ocean the more extreme winter and summer temperatures become
The average daily temperature in Marrakesh during the month of February hovers around 20 degrees Celsius, dropping to just 10C at nigh time. The average daytime temperature in Imlil will be around 4 degrees Celsius, frequently falling below zero. During the winter months the mountains are usually snow-covered, and heavy snowfall is a frequent occurrence. On summit day you can expect temperatures as low as minus 15 Celsius.
There are no compulsory vaccinations for visitors to Morocco, though you should check with your local health centre to ensure that your jabs are up to date or visit NHS travel advice
http://www.fitfortravel.nhs.uk/home . Malaria exists but only in rural areas of Chefchaouen Province, which we won't be visiting and where the risk is very limited. Here, insect protection measures should be taken.
The sockets are 220v and you’ll need a continental style 2 pin round socket. There will be no available electricity supply on the trek itself so do ensure you have plenty of spare batteries.
Wi-Fi is available at the hotel in Marrakesh. There is also mobile phone reception. During the trek, there are sections where you will be able to pick up a mobile signal.
Understanding what to wear will greatly impact your experience in Morocco because it affects how Moroccans may treat you. This guide will help a traveller decide what to wear and how to dress during his or her time in Morocco.
Morocco is a conservative nation with 99% of its population identifying as Muslims. Therefore, the first rule to dressing in Morocco is to respect Islam’s emphasis on modesty. Clothes and accessories are not meant to attract attention or excessively reveal the body. Women should ensure that their clothes do not expose the décolletage, shoulders, or thighs. This same principal applies to menswear.
Furthermore, because of Islam’s emphasis on modesty, brand names are not often seen on Moroccan streets. Most households tend to live prudently, and value giving to the community over materialism. So, unless you want to attract attention, it’s best to limit the display of ostentatious jewellery, luxury handbags, and high-end electronics.
Women travellers to Morocco are advised to wear long skirts and dresses, jeans or trousers that cover the knees, draping tunics, polo shirts, and camisoles that can be worn under sweaters and cardigans. Women generally wear sandals or loafers; rarely do they wear heels.
In general, men should wear long trousers with a shirt. Men can wear sandals, loafers, or sneakers – whatever is appropriate for the context of the visit.
Morocco is sweltering in the summer months; however, it’s still necessary to cover the shoulders and legs. For women, a loose maxi dress with a light sweater or scarf over the shoulders is a brilliant way to stay cool and blend in with women who wear jabadors and kaftans
- 1 x base layer (ideally long-sleeved)
- 2 T-shirts (not cotton -light colours are cooler)
- Lightweight fleece
- Heavyweight fleece (or soft-shell)
- Waterproof jacket (breathable e.g. Gore-Tex)
- Medium weight down jacket (The evenings can get a little chilly)
- Liner gloves
- 2 x Warm gloves (Ski or mountaineering gloves)
- Walking Trousers (Medium weight)
- Thermal leggings
- Waterproof trousers (it’s not essential that these are made of a breathable material)
- 3 pairs of underwear
- 2 pairs of warm walking socks (suggest wool – no nylon)
- 2 pairs of lighter weight socks (ideal for use with trainers around camp)
- Lightweight shoes (trainers/trail shoes are ideal) for evenings or lower on the trail as well as in towns & cities
- Walking boots (Minimum B1 Rated and Crampon Compatible)
- NB. It is advisable to wear your boots on the plane so that in the event that your baggage goes astray, you’ll have them with you.
- Buff (great when the trails get dusty)
- Warm Hat (something that will cover your ears)
- Sun hat (ideally a light colour)
- Sunglasses (must be Category 3 rated)
- Ski Goggles
- Rucksack (daypack 30 – 40 Litres)
- Water bottle (2 x 1 Litres)
- Flask (For hot water)
- Walking poles*
- Head torch and 2 sets of spare batteries*
- Ice Axe*
- Sleeping bag liner
- 2 season Sleeping Bag (Comfort Rated 0°C) Please store in dry bag*
- Compeed or equivalent
- Sun cream (minimum Factor 30)
- Lip salve (high factor)
- Nail clippers
- Foot powder or cream (antifungal)
- Camera and spare batteries/charger
- Notepad and pen
- Contact lenses (& glasses as a back-up) – the dust on the treks can be very irritating
- All the contact lens solution you will need for the trip
- Ziplock plastic bags and dry bags (Essential) – perfect for keeping your kit organised & dry
- Kit Bag for the porters or mule (Around 100L). Barrel shaped bags (waterproof) are ideal.
- Small padlock
- Cash (GBP or local currency) for the tip at the end of the climb (small denominations)
- Spare kit bag (small) to leave any excess clothing at the hotel in the storeroom
- Toilet paper & lighter
- Wash kit (including biodegradable soap & shampoo) – please keep any heavy items, including cosmetics, to a minimum; Travel size options recommended. If you are travelling as a group consider sharing these items on the mountain.
- Ear plugs (great for ensuring a good night’s sleep in the refuge)
- Eye mask (Very useful if your room mate wants to read)
- Books or e-reader (there will be plenty of free time most afternoons/evenings)
- Travel towel
- Wet wipes (A great way to freshen up)
- Antibacterial hand gel (excellent for preventing the spread of bugs/illness)
- Small can of deodorant
- Trail food – chocolate, energy bars etc
- Insect repellent – there are mosquitoes in Imlil during the summer months
- Swimming costume (for Hammams/spa)
*These can be hired from Fitways Adventures