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Climb Mount Toubkal: The Winter Edition

Don your crampons and trek your way up the mighty Mount Toubkal in the height of winter

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Trip Ref #8548

Climb Mount Toubkal: The Winter Edition

Don your crampons and trek your way up the mighty Mount Toubkal in the height of winter

DURATION

4 nights

LOCATION

Morocco

ANNUAL LEAVE

3 or 4 days off work

SEASON

Nov—Apr

GROUP SIZE

Up to 14 people

MEETING POINT

Marrakech Airport

ACCOMMODATION

Classic

Traditional riad · Mountain hut

OVERALL RATING

4.8

Based on 109 reviews
DIFFICULTY

Tough

This is a serious adventure. You’ll need to be fit, experienced and prepared to face steep slopes, snow, ice and high winds.

Summit North Africa’s highest mountain in the peak of winter. All 4167 metres of her

Fuelled by tagine, hike to the roof of North Africa via traditional Berber villages and scenic pitstops

Cosy down in a mountain refuge and homestay in the Atlas Mountains and a traditional Moroccan riad in the heart of Marrakech

Day 1

Check out the sights and smells of Marrakech

Your host will meet you at the airport and drive you to your traditional riad accommodation in Marrakech’s historic medina. The day is yours to explore the city’s colourful souks, wander the UNESCO-listed main square and indulge in some amazing Moroccan food.

Day 2

Travel to the Atlas Mountains and hike to your refuge at 3200m

Hiking

5hrs · 10.3km · 1540m up · 130m down

Wake up early for the drive through the foothills of the Atlas Mountains to Imlil, where you'll meet your support crew. Gradually ascend the Toubkal Valley, passing Berber farming villages and stop for lunch on the trail.

In the afternoon you’ll arrive at the refuge. Settle in, meet other hikers and refuel with a well-earned dinner cooked by your support crew. Wrap up warm, get in your sleeping bag and head to bed looking forward to the high altitude days ahead.

Day 3

Take a day to acclimatise

Hiking

5hrs · 7.1km · 940m up · 940m down

Wake up to an incredible view of snow covered mountains followed by a hot breakfast. After trying out your crampons and ice axe, set out to summit some of the lower peaks around the refuge in preparation for the final ascent of Toubkal tomorrow.

You’ll be back at the refuge by late afternoon to eat, relax and dream about the views from the summit.

Day 4

Rise early to summit Toubkal

Hiking

9-10hrs · 16.5km · 1130m up · 2530m down

Rise when it's still dark, head torch on and start climbing up and out of the valley. You’ll soon face steep, snowy slopes, ice and high winds on the way to the summit, but once you attain the ridge, your goal is in sight. Once you get there, scope the view from the top, give yourself a pat on the back, then escape the whipping wind as you begin the long descent back to Imlil.

Say farewell to the Atlas Mountains and drive back to your riad in Marrakech, where the night is yours to find a restaurant for couscous or a tasty tajine to celebrate, before collapsing into bed.

Day 5

Time to head back to reality

Relax over your last Moroccan breakfast, explore the town some more if you have time, then transfer to the airport to catch your flight home.

Included

Guides

Expert, English-speaking Berber guides from Imlil

Accommodation

2 nights in a riad and 2 nights in a refuge at 3200m

Meals

All your food on the mountain will be taken care of

Transfers

Both airport transfers and transfers to and from Imlil

Porterage

Mules and muleteers to carry your overnight luggage to the refuge

Equipment

Your crampons, ice axe and sleeping bag will be provided

Not Included

Flights to and from the meeting point

Some meals as described

Tips for your guides

Personal expenses

Travel insurance

Visas where required

Day 1

Traditional riad · Twin share

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Day 2 – Day 3

Mountain hut · Same sex dorm

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Day 4

Traditional riad · Twin share

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Day 5

Departure day

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

What is the food like?

Moroccan food has a unique blend of sweet and savoury flavours. Local specialities include tajine (a stew cooked in an earthenware pot), couscous, and pastilles (flaky pastries stuffed with meat and dusted with cinnamon and sugar). Food is often spiced with cumin, turmeric and ginger.

Meals on the trek are cooked by the Berber muleteers. The food is fresh and healthy. Example meals include:

  • Breakfast: Jam, bread, cookies, fruit, juice, butter, coffee, milk
  • Lunch: Salad, tomatoes, carrots, lentils, beans, rice or pasta, fish (sardines, tuna), seasonal fruit
  • Dinner: Soup, classic Moroccan tajine, couscous, olives, nuts, fruit

Vegetarians, vegans and other dietary requirements and allergies can be catered for - please just request on your passenger info form

What is the accommodation like?

Marrakech

In Marrakech, you'll stay in a beautiful riad - traditional Moroccan houses with an interior garden or courtyard. The exact riad you stay in will be confirmed nearer the time based on availability and group size. All are chosen for their excellent reputation, location, beautiful decor and welcoming service.

Mount Toubkal

During the trek, you'll stay in either the Mouflon or Neltner mountain refuge depending on availability and group size. The rooms are basic shared dorms with bunk beds. There’s a common area to relax in the evening and chat with other climbers from around the world.

Upgrades

For solo travellers looking for their own space, an optional private room can be booked for an extra charge for the nights in Marrakech, see Optional Extras for the price. Please request this at the time of booking (this is subject to availability and they are very limited due to the layout of traditional riads).

The Area

map

Logistics

Starts

Marrakech Airport (RAK)

Catch any flight on Day 1

Ends

Marrakech Airport (RAK)

Catch any flight on Day 5

Transfers

Private transfers between the airport and your riad are included for any time you choose to arrive on day 1 and depart on day 5, or if you have booked additional pre or post trip accommodation with your host.

If you are making your own arrangements to extend your stay in Morocco, private transfers between Marrakech airport and Marrakech city are not included but can be arranged with your host for an additional cost. Please see Optional Extras for details.

Travel options

There are regular, daily flights to Marrakech from airports in the UK and Europe. Day one is yours to explore Marrakech: you'll meet your guide and fellow travellers the next morning.

Enjoy 12.5% Off Outdoor Gear

In need of a few more items? All bookings receive a 12.5% discount to use at Cotswold Outdoor, Snow + Rock and Runner's Need.

What's included?

  • Crampons
  • Ice axe
  • Sleeping bag

What do I need to bring?

  • Backpack (35-45 litre)
  • Rucksack or duffle bag (for the mules to carry overnight kit)
  • Large lightweight backpack liner
  • Small waterproof stuff sacks
  • Waterproof shell jacket and trousers
  • Goretex gaiters (or equivalent)
  • Very warm insulated down or Primaloft jacket
  • Thick fleexe or softshell jacket
  • Wool or microfleece top
  • Mid-weight trekking trousers
  • Long sleeved base layers and thermals
  • Warm hat or thin balaclava
  • Buff
  • Sun hat or cap with neck veil
  • Two pairs of thin liner gloves
  • Warm insulated mitts (with straps)
  • Shell mitts (optional but good in wet conditions)
  • Hiking socks
  • Warm mountain socks
  • Warm winter mountaineering boot, ideally B1 or B2 crampon compatible or hybrid (i.e. Scarpa Manta or Charmoz)
  • Full plastic double boots are not required and are likely to be uncomfortable for most of the terrain encountered.
  • Sandals or flip flops for the refuge
  • Travel clothes
  • Glacier glasses (cat 3 UV polaroid)
  • Ski Goggles (cat 2-3 UV polaroid - optional but useful in windy conditions)
  • Sleeping bag liner
  • Thermal pyjamas and hat
  • Head torch (with spare batteries)
  • Watch (with light and alarm)
  • Water bottle (1 litre)
  • Flask
  • Plenty of high energy snacks (chocolate, nuts, gels etc.)
  • Toilet roll and ziplock baggies for carrying off the mountain
  • Hand sanitiser
  • Toiletries
  • Travel towel
  • Sunscreen
  • First aid kit and any personal medication

Pre/Post Trip Accommodation Double/Twin Room

Payable Before Departure

Pre/Post Trip Accommodation Double/Twin Room

… Per Night

Pre/Post Trip Accommodation Single Room

Payable Before Departure

Pre/Post Trip Accommodation Single Room

… Per Night

Optional Private Room Upgrade

Payable Before Departure

Optional Private Room Upgrade

…

Private transfer between Marrakech Airport and Marrakech City (per vehicle)

Payable Before Departure

Private transfer between Marrakech Airport and Marrakech City (per vehicle)

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- Katie(April 2023)

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- Poppy(March 2023)

Highly recommend this trip! The hiking was absolutely stunning and we were very well looked after by our guide and chef. It was a little easier than expected, but we were fortunate not to suffer with any altitude sickness and had beautiful sunny weather throughout! This is an awesome escape. Definitely bring cards for evenings in the refuge!

- Stephanie(March 2023)

Amazing Experience. We were incredibly lucky and had fantastic weather so made it to the summit with no problem. Our guide was fantastic and we had a small but great group. Highly recommend this. It's a fun challenge and a really different experience!

- Anthony(March 2023)

A truly amazing and exhilarating expedition to Mt Toubkal with a bunch of mates. Scenery was absolutely breathtaking. Cannot praise highly enough our tour guides (Ibrahim and Abdul) for their professionalism and support. We would not have been able to achieve our goal without this. Already considering our next adventure.

- Ian(March 2023)

Muchbetteradventures were excellent from start to finish, The guides are local , so they know the routes well

- Addison(March 2023)

Excellent trip, guides were fantastic and kit list thorough. Your fitness requirement scales are a little vague and I think this might help tailor adventures a little better rather than just a vague sliding scale of this might be tough. We had no issues but imagine there could be.

- Honorine(March 2023)

Excellent organisation, it was a luxury to not have to think of any logistics. Stunning views, and the guides were adjusting the pace according to the group, which was really nice. Really recommend

- Ronald(March 2023)

Great trip! Enjoyed by our whole team. View Point Riad was excellent. The transportations were comfortable and punctual. Our mountain guides Ibrahim and Abdul were top class, very professional, helpful and with a good sense of humour! Our private group of 7 all made it to the summit. MBA's Matt and the Morocco team were also great with helpful advice and always speedily answering questions. MBA's website with booking info and Q&A options worked well. Equipment for this trip provided by MBA (sleeping bags, crampons, helmets and ice axes) were good quality. Food was excellent. Highly recommended!

- Rich(March 2023)

The trip was an amazing adventure. The local host had huge amounts of experience on the mountains, were warm friendly and supportive throughout. It is a hard challenge, be under no illusion, this is a proper mountain with all the challenges, dangers and wonders that brings, so be prepared and train. It really isn't a walk in the park. But, it is an amazing adventure and with a great group who made the whole thing enjoyable and certainly an experience I will remember for the rest of my life. Will absolutely be booking more adventures with MBA in the future.

- Christopher(February 2023)

A serious challenge that was well organised. More needs to be done regarding safety while on the mountain.

We've crunched the numbers to work out the total carbon footprint of this trip, and plant enough trees to suck 2x as much back out the atmosphere.

What's the number?
It works out on average at 221kg of CO2 emissions per person, including all local transport, accommodation, food, activities, guides, staff and office operations.

The only thing it doesn’t include right now is flights and travel to the destination. We do make an overall estimate across all our customers separately, but as we don’t book flights, have customers from all corners of the world, and no way of reliably knowing their travel plans, we simply can’t include an individual number in the figure on display here. We’ve got a goal for 2023 to fix that, so that when you book, there is a way to measure and mitigate the carbon emitted by your flight too.

But what does the number mean?
Yep, hard to picture eh? To give you an idea:

  • Driving 1000miles/1609km would be approx. 281kg of CO2 in an average car (or 140.5kg per person if there was 2 of you in it).
  • A return economy class flight London - New York would be approx. 1,619kg (1.66 tonnes) per person.
  • 10 trees in a temperate forest are estimated to remove approx. 250kg of CO2 from the air in a period of 5-10 years.

What are we doing about it?
Our trips are relatively low-carbon by design, and we're working with all our hosts to develop long term carbon reduction plans. For every person booked with us since 2016 we’re planting enough trees to suck at least 2x more carbon out the atmosphere than is emitted by their trips. All native trees, as part of amazing projects that are re-foresting degraded land, tackling the biodiversity crisis and supporting local communities at the same time. We go further than that too, also funding re-wilding projects worldwide to help protect important keystone species from extinction. See the reforestation and re-wilding schemes we support. See our carbon action plan.

Want to know more?
Amazingly, no international travel company has ever publicly published their carbon measurements before, as far as we know. We believe that must change, quickly. So we’re openly sharing the method we used in the hope that other companies will be able to more easily follow suit and build on what we've done so far. You'll find it all here.

This trek requires a very good level of fitness.

As this trip takes place during the winter, you must be capable of hiking all day up paths of moderate difficulty and be prepared to face rain, snow and high winds. During the lower parts of this trek, the walking is relatively straightforward, but the loose footing and high altitude will make the going quite difficult in parts. You should pack enough personal food and snacks to power you through 3 full days of hiking at altitude. Towards the summit, you will encounter steep snowy sections where crampons and ice axes will be required; Your guides will give you a full safety briefing on how to use these. However difficult it gets, the views along the way make the journey more than worthwhile.

Sure can! Over 70% of our travellers travel solo, it’s a great way to meet like-minded people.

You will be provided with safe drinking water whilst on the mountain. We recommend you bring a flask to fill up with hot water (or mint tea!) at the refuge each mornin, it will help to keep you warm while trekking through the snow and ice later.

On any winter hike in a high mountain environment, you will potentially encounter high winds, rain, snow, ice and steep slopes. The Atlas Mountains are no different and you should be experienced and prepared to face these conditions.

January, February and March are the best months to do winter treks in the Atlas Mountains. January sees the lowest temperatures - average 6 °C throughout the month - but it's still pleasant for hiking. For the higher parts of the trek, you will use crampons and have an ice axe to hand.

Mules will carry your main overnight luggage during the trek and you will need to carry your daypack with your daytime essentials (extra layer, snacks, water etc.). For the welfare of the mules, please ensure your main overnight luggage is in a soft-sided bag and weighs no more than 15kg.

Absolutely! We recognise that you may want to leave some of the kit you bring to Morocco somewhere safe before you start your ascent of Toubkal. When you reach Imlil, you will be able to leave any non-essential items you don’t want to take up on the hike with you at your local guides base there.

Your host works with Muleteers who collaborate with local charity, Spana, (The Society for the Protection of Animals and Nature) on the AMI program (Aid to the Mules of Imlil). The charity provides training, guidance and incentives to mule owners to encourage and support good care for their animals in all aspects of their working lives. The program also provides a monthly clinic which offers free veterinary care to the animals and the distribution of humane tack.

Tips are not included in the trip cost. These are entirely at your discretion but there is an expectation to tip for good service. Your guide will help with advice however we suggest a minimum of 225 - 300 Dirham per person.

Of course, you are free to tip more or less and the amount should be reflective of your perception of service and quality - a tip is not compulsory and should only be given when you receive excellent service.

Your guides are from the local Berber community in the Atlas Mountains and have spent their whole lives hiking these slopes. They will guide you up the main path towards the Toubkal Refuge and use their experience and knowledge to safely navigate you up the steep snowy slopes to the summit. They will decide the best day to attempt the summit and make all decisions based on conditions at the time. You should follow your guide’s advice at all times. You’ll also be accompanied by a support team of muleteers and mules to prepare your meals and carry heavy bags.

Up to date advice for UK citizens can be found here

Ramadan will take place from 10th March to 8th April 2024. The national holiday of Eid ul-Fitr will follow for 2-3 days. Ramadan is an Islamic festival where the religious do not eat or drink during daylight hours. While this is a really interesting time to travel, especially to witness celebrations where the fast is broken in the evenings, you can expect some business hours will be shortened, alcohol is not permitted during daylight hours and some restaurants will be closed during this festival period. Activities for local people tend to be limited during the day and the nights are very active in cities with lots of different foods being sold and consumed. Ramadan will not affect the inclusions on your trip although you should be aware that dinners will be served after locals break their fast in the evenings.

Our recommended travel insurance provider is Campbell Irvine.

Travel insurance is compulsory for all of our adventures and you are required to provide your policy information before departing.

Your insurance should include adequate protection for overseas medical treatment, evacuation/repatriation, your baggage and equipment and the specific activities involved on your adventure. We also strongly recommend it includes cancellation and curtailment insurance, should you be unable to join your trip for specific reasons such as illness.

We fully endorse Campbell Irvine as their insurance offers all of the above, so get in touch with them or call on 020 7938 1734 to get your insurance sorted. We suggest that you book travel insurance as soon as you book your adventure, just to cover you for any last-minute life changes. We know you’re an active lot and injuries do happen!

We automatically convert prices from the local currency that a host receives to your chosen currency. We update our exchange rates on a daily basis so this does mean that prices displayed on the site are subject to currency fluctuations, which is why you may see them change over time.

If you wish to change the currency you pay in, head to the bottom of the page.

All of our group adventures are specially designed for adults to enjoy (18+) as we want these adventures to bring together outdoorsy people who are truly like-minded. Children can be accommodated on some private departures.

You're in good company. Our adventures are typically made up of a mix of solo travellers and small groups of two or three friends who simply love adventure, pushing themselves and meeting awesome like-minded people. See here for more info about our lovely bunch of Much Better Adventurers.

Want to book a private trip? Just tap ‘Private Group’ in the dates and prices tab.

Your trip is led by carefully curated local hosts and expert guides. See here for more info about the guides we work with.

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