Paul James, MIC - - Winter and Rock Climbing Conditions

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

17-01-12, Morocco - Ski Touring and Mountaineering

Summit of Toubkal (4167m) in High Atlas Mountains of Morocco.

I have spent the last week in the High Atlas Mountains of Morocco with 8 friends. Our itinerary was to spend a short time in Marrakech (do some haggling and avoid getting ill!), then head straight to Imlil the gateway to Toubkal and do some ski touring in the mountains. Unfortunately snow cover wasn't as good as we had hoped for, apparently it hasn't snowed for 6 weeks! We did ski some of the north facing cwms and ascended Toubkal itself, probably carried skis on back as much as on our feet! One day Kathryn and myself decided to climb Ras (4083m) and Timesguida (4088m) via the central couloir, with hard neve everywhere and a light (ski-less) bag these peaks were very nice!

I would recommend a trip to the Atlas Mountains or even just Morocco. It is very in expensive and feels very different and only 3 hours away by air. A great thing about the mountaineering is the advantage of mules, that can carry your kit up to the snow line (in our case 2 thirds of the way). There are two huts next to each other surrounded by five 4000m peaks. We stayed in the Mouflon Refuge which I would highly recommend. Plenty of logs on the fire in the afternoon/evening, lots of food and a great hut guardian.

I am off to Scotland for work and play for the season. I will be working on Winter Skills / Mountaineering / Climbing courses. Conditions are a bit lean at the moment, but you should never second guess a Scottish Winter!

 Narrow streets in Marrakech.


 Mules with our bags and skis - easily worth £4.80 for 5 hours of uphill walking!

 Dodge the rocks!

 Plenty of walking with Skis!

 Central Couloir, Ras (4083m).

A morning of Ice Cascade climbing in the gorge near the Hut.

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