Ascent of Jebel Toubkal on 2019-03-22

Climber: David Darby

Others in Party:Abdo Bezeddi
Date:Friday, March 22, 2019
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Car
Peak:Jebel Toubkal
    Elevation:13671 ft / 4166 m

Ascent Trip Report

Toubkal in a day

First, I tried to do a lot of research on this peak with regard to needing a guide, or not needing a guide. I was lead to believe that since I was hiking this in 1 day, I would not need a guide. Wrong. You need a guide, and you need your passport. The good news is, guides were available at the trailhead and it seems the going rate is $500 dirham (~$50usd)/day.

To begin, I drove from Marrakech to the trailhead (Around). I picked up a rental car at the airport for ~$20/day the day before. I left Marrakech early in the morning to drive to Ismil, and hopefully all the way up to Around. Be prepared that you may hit some police roadblocks on the drive close to Ismil. They are security checkpoints and they will ask where you are headed. I had no issues with them and they quickly waved me through after telling them I was hiking. Many people stay and begin the hike in Ismil, but the road (single lane) continues on up to Around and is easily driveable (even in my tiny little rental). I parked at: 31.122754, -7.921047. There is room for ~8+ cars here, and it is safe. The trailhead and first passport control point are right across the street at: 31.122420, -7.921191. When I arrived, I tried to convince the officer that I didn't want a guide and I was only hiking for 1 day (up and back). He didn't care. There were ~3 guides sitting right there so I talked to the next one that was up (Abdo Bezeddi, Email:, Phone: +212643977824) and we were ready to go. I showed my passport to the control officer, signed the book and away we went (~9:15am).

Other trip reports had mentioned passing through "villages" on the way up. I wouldn't call them villages. There are ~4 locations with a "building" or a small number of buildings on the way up to the refuge. At each one, you can buy bottled water, Pringles, snacks, fresh squeezed orange juice, t-shirts, etc. Don't overpack food and especially water - buy supplies on the way and down (help the locals). I'm not kidding. It's like hiking right through a gas station/quick-stop - right on the trail.

There are two more passport control points along the hike. At each one, Abdo took my passport and told me to continue hiking while he did all the paperwork. He quickly caught up each time.

Prior to reaching the refuge, Abdo took me on the cutoff/direct route to the summit. This ascent climbs up a parallel valley to what most people ascend/descend from the refuge. You can see it in my GPX track. After stopping to view some old helicopter parts from a crash in the 1970's, we arrived at the summit just after 3pm (~6 hrs from the start). It was a beautiful day - maybe 40 degrees, slight breeze, a few puffy clouds overhead. When we left the summit, we descended the normal valley people use to/from the refuge. We made a quick stop at the refuge, then descended the long valley back to Around. We finished the hike around 6:30pm.

On our descent, we passed a number of groups heading up to stay overnight at the refuge. This climb is usually done in 2 or 3 days. On the 2nd day, people rise early at the refuge and try to hike to the summit to catch the sunrise, then return to the refuge and/or all the way to Around/Ismil.

The round trip was ~16 miles, with almost 7,500' of vertical.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:7683 ft / 2341 m
    Total Elevation Loss:7683 ft / 2341 m
    Round-Trip Distance:15.2 mi / 24.5 km
    Route Conditions:
Snow on Ground
    Gear Used:
Ski Poles, Guide
    Weather:Pleasant, Calm, Clear
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:7533 ft / 2296 m
        Gain Breakdown:Net: 7383 ft / 2250 m; Extra: 150 ft / 45m
    Loss on way in:150 ft / 45 m
    Distance:7.4 mi / 11.9 km
    Route:Toubkal trail
    Start Trailhead:Around, Morocco  6288 ft / 1916 m
    Time:6 Hours 
Descent Statistics
    Loss on way out:7533 ft / 2296 m
        Loss Breakdown:Net: 7383 ft / 2250 m; Extra: 150 ft / 45m
    Gain on way out:150 ft / 45 m
    Distance:7.8 mi / 12.6 km
    Route:Toubkal trail
    End Trailhead:Around, Morocco  6288 ft / 1916 m
    Time:3 Hours 15 Minutes
GPS Data for Ascent/Trip

 GPS Waypoints - Hover or click to see name and lat/long
Peaks:  climbed and  unclimbed by David Darby
Click Here for a Full Screen Map
Note: GPS Tracks may not be accurate, and may not show the best route. Do not follow this route blindly. Conditions change frequently. Use of a GPS unit in the outdoors, even with a pre-loaded track, is no substitute for experience and good judgment. accepts NO responsibility or liability from use of this data.

Download this GPS track as a GPX file

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