Our three peaks challenge would see us attempt to scramble to the top of Mount Toubkal (4167m) and reach the double summits of Mount Ouanoukrim - Timzguida (4089m) and Ras (4083m). With fresh socks and some waterproof gear, we were ready to hit the trail.

The weather was grey and wet on the first day but considering it would be all uphill, that wasn't necessarily a bad thing. Our guide Ibrahim was great at pointing out things of interest along the way, and on entering the park, in front of the layering mountains, we stopped at this sign written in Arabic, Berber, French and English for a photo opportunity:

Hikers and their guide at the Toubkal National Park sign in the Atlas Mountains.

I'm still in the process of putting together a full wardrobe of outdoor gear, but after this trip, I’ve definitely bumped waterproof trousers and gaiters to the top of the list. The rain meant that some of us had to dry out before having mint tea - with a mandatory sugar cube - in one of the various teahouses we passed on the way up.

Emer and two fellow hikers resting in wet weather at a tea house on the way up Mount Toubkal.

That said, the weather turned on our second day for the ascent up Mount Toubkal, and the sunshine broke out over the mountains. We followed it up the climb, and before we knew it, we were high. It was actually the highest altitude I'd ever reached, and Ibrahim set a good pace, with lots of stops for bread, cheese and snacks, which I absolutely was not sharing with the local birdlife, as beautiful as it might have been, soaring in front of the fierce mountain faces.

A bird approaches Emer high in the Atlas Mountains.

As well as being an excellent guide and photographer, Ibrahim was a great singer. When I'm in the mountains I sometimes get the urge to shout 'McGregor!' (probably from watching too much Braveheart), but in the Atlas Mountains, Ibrahim told us that they're singing for joy and thanks across the peaks. It's truly wonderful.

The group at the summit of Mount Toubkal.
The 3 Peaks Challenge in Morocco | Much Better Adventures
Tackle 3 summits over 4000m on this traverse of the High Atlas, including the highest point in North Africa, with a group of adventurers and an expert guide.

Day three saw us head into the ascent of Ras and Timzguida. We started at 4am with head torches lighting the snow and the stars sparkling above. There are always lovely people on Much Better Adventures trips and this trip was no exception: my new pals and I hiked through the snow with a beautiful sunrise backdrop.

Emer and fellow hiker ascending the snowy slopes of Ras and Timzguida at sunrise.

We climbed the two peaks, which are also above 4,000m, in one morning. As we got nearer to the top, there were some really fun and dramatic parts to the climb and some rocky scrambling - as well as improvised skiing on the way down.

I try to take the big camera that I inherited with me whenever I go to beautiful places, even if it takes up more space and weight in the rucksack. It makes the photographs even more special. I'd never been anywhere in Africa before, and judging on the views, I reckon Morocco was a great place to start.

Emer with her SLR camera high in the Atlas Mountains.

We hiked back to the refuge for another excellent lunch and more mint tea, then continued out the valley. We were grateful to be going downwards in the heat and relieved to find shade in the beautiful walnut groves on the outskirts of Imlil. As always, I finished the trip wishing it could have gone on for longer.

Lush green groves at the foot of the Atlas Mountains.


Inspired? If you too want to take on three of the biggest peaks in the Atlas Mountains, check out our 3 Peaks Challenge in Morocco.