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Adventures / Conquer Summits

Conquer Mount Toubkal (4167m): Winter Edition

With crampons and ice axes, trek up the snowy Atlas Mountains to North Africa's highest peak. 3 days off work.

I'M UP FOR
Conquer Summits
DURATION
4 Nights
DIFFICULTY
Tough
COMFORT
Rough and Ready
LOCATION
Morocco
SEASON
November—April
NEAREST AIRPORT

Base yourself in the heart of the Atlas Mountains as you take on the mighty Mount Toubkal (4167m) in the height of winter. You’ll spend 2 nights in a mountain refuge and enjoy 3 days of guided winter hiking using crampons and ice axes. To make it to the summit you’ll overcome the altitude, steep snowy slopes, ice, and high winds, before heading back to Marrakech to celebrate and explore the vibrant souks and plazas. Your hassle-free long weekend includes:

  • 3 days hiking Mt. Toubkal
  • 2 nights of accommodation in a mountain refuge
  • 2 nights of accommodation with breakfast in a Marrakech riad
  • Expert, Berber, English-speaking mountain guides
  • Ice Axe, Crampons and a sleeping bag
  • Airport transfers and activity transfers
  • Mules and muleteers to carry your luggage to the snowline
  • All meals on the hike

Perfect for:
This is an excellent adventure for fit, regular hikers who want to experience the thrill of climbing Northern Africa’s highest peak in winter. This is a serious adventure and you should be experienced at mountain hiking and be prepared to face steep slopes, snow, ice and high winds if you want to reach the summit.

Need To Know

The following costs are not included in the trip price:

  • Flights to and from Marrakech
  • Lunches and dinners in Marrakech
  • Personal expenses
  • Travel insurance that covers mountaineering
  • Tips for your guides (optional)

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!

This trip will run with a maximum of 14.

Sure can! A lot of people do, it’s a great way to meet like-minded people.

Our Epic Weekends are very social in nature and we’ve seen lots of new friendships born out of them. Expect a mix of solo travelers and very small groups of 2 or 3, all with a shared appreciation of escaping the city for the great outdoors to try something new and meet new people.

Moroccan food has a unique blend of sweet and savory flavours. Local specialties include tajines (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, tumeric and ginger.

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

  • 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 Morooccan tajine, couscous, olives, nuts, fruit

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 is still pleasant for hiking. For the higher parts of the trek you will use crampons and have an ice axe to hand.

For a more detailed look at the weather have a look here:
 https://www.mountain-forecast.com/peaks/Toubkal/forecasts/4167

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 & mules to prepare your meals and carry heavy bags.

Around 500,000 British nationals visit Morocco every year. The vast majority of visits are trouble-free. The country has been affected by terrorist activity in the past, but the UK government does not currently advise against travel here.

BAG

  • 35-45 Litre Rucksack
  • Large lightweight rucksack liner
  • Small stuff sacks, waterproof, various sizes.

CLOTHING

OUTERSHELL

  • Waterproof shell jacket - breathable
  • Waterproof shell trousers - breathable
  • Goretex Gaiters or equivalent

OUTERWARM

  • Very warm insulated jacket; Down, Primaloft or similar

MID-LAYERS

  • Thick Fleece / softshell jacket
  • Wool/microfleece top
  • Mid-Weight trekking trousers (synthetic/thin softshell)

BASE-LAYERS

  • Long sleeved base layer top (synthetic)
  • Light base layer leggings / running tights (optional)
  • Thermal Base Layer Leggings (optional)
  • Long sleeved thermal top (optional)
  • Underwear (synthetic, dries quicker)

HEAD-WEAR

  • Warm hat to cover ears
  • Thin Balaclava (optional)
  • Buff (optional)
  • Wide brimmed Sun Hat or cap with neck veil
  • Glacier glasses cat 3 UV polaroid
  • Ski Goggles cat 2-3 UV polaroid (optional but very useful in windy conditions)
  • Nose shade (optional)

HANDS

  • Thin liner gloves (two pairs are useful)
  • Mid weight fleece or windstopper gloves (optional)
  • Warm insulated Mitts (+lanyards)
  • Warm spare gloves/mitts to be carried in case of loss of first pair
  • Shell mitts (optional but good in wet conditions)+ lanyards

FOOTWEAR

  • Thin liner socks(optional)
  • Trekking socks
  • Warm mountain socks
  • Warm winter mountaineering boots, ideally B1 or B2 crampon compatible, hybrid eg Scarpa Manta/Charmoz (speak to us about other suitable options) Full plastic double boots are not required and are likely to be uncomfortable for most of the terrain encountered.
  • Crocs/sandals/flip flops/down booties (optional but useful at refuge)
  • City / travel clothes & shoes (can leave at guesthouse)

SLEEPING

  • Sleeping bag liner
  • Warm, thick, and ideally thermal pyjamas
  • Hat

ELECTRICAL

  • Head torch & spare batteries
  • Watch with light and alarm
  • Camera, memory card & batteries (optional but strongly reccommended!)
  • Solar charger (optional)
  • Altimeter (optional)
  • MP3 player (optional)
  • Roaming, Unlocked or In-Country mobile phone (optional)

REPAIR KIT (optional but potentially useful)

  • Gaffer Tape
  • Super glue
  • Thick cable ties
  • 4mm accessory cord ~2m
  • Needle + extra strong thread
  • Multitool

EATING/DRINKING

  • 1 litre drinks bottle for lower down
  • 1 flask for hot drinks higher up
  • High energy snacks eg chocolate, nuts, energy drink powder, energy gels, jelly cubes etc (Bring plenty of these, some days we will have a very early breakfast and possibly a late lunch)

OTHER

  • Toilet roll in plastic bag + strong zip-lock bag for toilet paper if used on the trail
  • Ear plugs (very useful at refuge in shared room)
  • Passport & copies, visa, insurance details, money, credit cards, plane ticket no.s
  • Waterproof pouch for documents
  • Books, Cards, Games
  • Diary & Pencil

PERSONAL WASH KIT (optional!)

  • Antibacterial hand gel
  • Wet wipes (optional)
  • Toothbrush with cover
  • Toothpaste
  • Roll on deodorant
  • Microfibre trekking towel

PERSONAL MEDICAL KIT

  • Paracetamol
  • Ibuprofen tablets
  • Antiseptic Wipes
  • Latex gloves
  • Adhesive Plasters
  • Blister Plasters
  • Zinc Tape
  • Antihistamine tablets (optional)
  • Sunblock Cream
  • Lip Salve
  • Water Purification Tablets
  • Rehydration Sachets
  • Personal Medication as required: eg. Asthma Inhalers, Insulin, Epi-Pen etc

Possible Additional Personal First Aid Items

  • Ibuprofen gel
  • Insect Repellent (for Marrakech)
  • Chemical hand-warmers
  • Throat Lozenges
  • Knee/ankle support eg. tubigrip
  • Crepe Bandage
  • Hydrocortisone Cream
  • Prochlorperazine tablets (for sickness/nausea; prescription required)
  • Ciprofloxacin tablets (general antibiotic; prescription required)
  • Acetazolamide tablets (for altitude; prescription required)

Crampons, an Ice Axe and a sleeping bag are included in the price of this trip.

We’ve teamed up with the guys at World Nomads to offer insurance designed for adventurous travellers across 140 countries that includes overseas medical, evacuation, baggage and a range of adventure sports and activities. To get yours sorted, click here. Please make sure your policy covers hiking over 4000m and the use of mountaineering equipment such as crampons and ice axes.

Location

View map

Mt. Toubkal (4167m) is the highest mountain in North Africa. As you trek up through the Toubkal valley you’ll pass through terraced farmland and precipitous villages where the streets seem to be permanently gridlocked by goats and cattle. The Berber people are extremely friendly and always happy to see trekkers. You may even pass through the village your guide is from!

From the summit there are unrestricted views in every direction, from the Marrakech Plain and High Atlas peaks to the north, and as far south as the Anti-Atlas and the Sahara. Pliny, the great Roman scholar, once described the High Atlas Mountains as “the most fabulous mountains in all of Africa” and from your vantage point high above the valley it is easy to understand why.

Marrakech is a bustling city home to mosques, palaces and gardens. The medina is a densely packed, walled medieval city dating to the Berber Empire with maze-like alleys where thriving souks (marketplaces) sell traditional textiles, pottery and jewelry. Every night performers and food vendors fill Jemaa el-Fna, a broad square listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Start point

Marrakech Airport - anytime

Your adventure begins at Marrakech Airport (RAK). Private transfers are included, so you’re free to book any flight. Your guide and driver will be waiting for you in the arrivals area. Day one is yours to explore Marrakech, you’ll meet your guide again and fellow adventures the next morning.

Finish point

Marrakech Airport - anytime

At the end of your adventure, you will be picked up from your accommodation and dropped back at Marrakech airport in time to meet your return flight. You’re free to book any flight.

If you’re arriving in Marrakech early or departing later your host can arrange extra nights of accommodation, simply request this when booking.

What to Expect

Thursday: Arrival and explore Marrakech

Your host will meet you at the airport and drive you to your traditional riad accommodation in Marrakech’s 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.

Friday: Travel to the Atlas Mountains and begin the trek

Wake up early for the 1.5-hour drive through the foothills of the Atlas Mountains to Imlil. There you’ll meet your guide and support crew and begin your trek.

Gradually ascend the Toubkal Valley with your eye on the prize: the mountain looms over everything! Enjoy the stunning scenery, pass through traditional Berber farming villages, and stop for lunch on the trail.

In the afternoon you’ll arrive the mountain refuge at 3200m. Settle in, meet other hikers staying at the hut, 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.

5 hours walking

Saturday: Mountain skills and acclimatisation day

Wake up to an incredible view of snow covered mountains and a hot breakfast.

You’ll learn about crampon and ice axe use, then 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 you’ll see tomorrow!

5 hours walking

Sunday: Summit Mt. Toubkal and return to Marrakech

Wake up while it’s still dark and start climbing up and out of the valley. You’ll soon face steep snowy slopes, ice and high winds on the way towards the summit, but once you attain the ridge, the finish line is in site: the summit (4167m)

Enjoy a moment standing on top of North Africa’s highest peak, grab a quick selfie, then it’s time to escape the wind and begin the long descent back to Imlil. Take as many stops as you like along the way, you’ve earnt it.

Say farewell to the Atlas Mountains and drive back to Marrakech. You’ll arrive at your riad in the early evening. The night is yours to find a restaurant for couscous or a tasty tajine to celebrate, before collapsing into bed.

9 - 10 hours of walking

Monday: Departure

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.

Note: This itinerary and the duration of the activities are subject to change due to group abilities and preferences, weather conditions and forecasts, special events, etc.

Accommodation

In Marrakech, you will be staying in a beautiful riad. Riads are 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.

(The photos shown are Riad Boussa and Riad Dar el Souk. Please note, these are for illustration purposes; you may be in a different riad of similar quality.)

During the trek you will be staying 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. Sleeping bags and blankets will be provided, but the nights get cold so lots of warm, dry layers are recommended.

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Dates & Prices

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These dates are guaranteed to run! As soon as you've entered your payment details your booking will be immediately confirmed. Then you can make your travel arrangements in a state of zen-like tranquility.

Prices include

Accommodation · Airport Transfers · Equipment · Guide · Local Transport · Meals As Described · Happiness Guaranteed · 100% Financial Protection · No Single Supplements

Please note: Flights are NOT included and must be purchased separately.

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Guide Prices

Group size Adults Children
2–14

Please note: These prices may change subject to extra requirements.

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Optional Extras

Make your life easy. Once you have reserved your space, your host can help you arrange the extras you’ll need. Here are some guide prices which can be confirmed with you during booking.

Pre/Post trip accommodation Payable Before Departure
Pre/Post trip accommodation €50.00 Per Person, Per Night
Airport Transfers Payable Before Departure
1 Way Airport Transfer €18.75 Per Person

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