Ascent of Jebel Toubkal on 2017-11-18

Climber: Alex Lennon

Date:Saturday, November 18, 2017
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Jebel Toubkal
    Elevation:13671 ft / 4166 m

Ascent Trip Report

Duncan, Molly, Evan and I inadvertently celebrated Moroccan Independence Day on the summit of this amazing peak. This was a special climb in several ways, of course due to the spectacular and exotic setting through which we hiked, but also because it was Molly's first big mountain climb and we were just thrilled to get to be a part of it. And on one of the great peaks of Africa, no less!

We started from Imlil, as most climbers do. We found Rob Woodall's trip report to be extremely helpful in the lower portions of the climb, particularly finding our way out of Imlil. Refer to this report for very detailed directions. I'll reiterate here perhaps his most valuable advice: all cafés and restaurants in Imlil stop serving dinner extremely early- try to find a place to eat by 6, just to be safe. the restaurants, refuges and riads in town are all quite nice.

Hiking from Imlil to the Toubkal Refuge proved to be quite pleasant, with only a brief road walk past some construction before entering the long, beautiful valley leading to the Refuge. We passed through several small mountain settlements, accessible only on foot or by mule. Goat herders were seen tending to their flocks, and as we drew closer to the Refuge the towering, rugged peaks of the High Atlas materialized before us. how amazing to be in this striking place so far from my home mountain ranges! While in many ways it bears resemblance to parts of the Rockies, in some sense the Atlas was like no place I'd yet been. We arrived at the Refuge, checked in and got settled, and waited for the morning's climb. After nightfall, I went outside to shoot some dark sky photography before heading to bed.

We had a quick breakfast before hitting the trail. we had a deliberate pace as it would be Molly's first time above 12000 ft, yet we were still on the summit by 10:15. It was very crowded up there when we arrived, but soon cleared out and we had some 30 minutes of solitude. At 11:15, we started down and made the hut in two hours. A speedy hiking pace back to Imlil put us back to Marrakesh by nightfall. After what was a truly memorable adventure, we now prepare to venture out to the Sahara proper to spend some time in the dunes of Erg Chebbi. Keep the adventure going!

**Update -- January 2019**
As of the end of December 2018, following the killings of two trekkers en route to Toubkal, it appears that hiring a guide is now mandatory in order to summit Toubkal, or even to stay at the Refuge. Read more about these new rules and regulations here.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:8071 ft / 2460 m
    Total Elevation Loss:100 ft / 30 m
    Route Conditions:
Road Hike, Maintained Trail, Scramble
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:8071 ft / 2460 m
        Gain Breakdown:Net: 7971 ft / 2429 m; Extra: 100 ft / 30m
    Loss on way in:100 ft / 30 m
    Route:west cwm
    Start Trailhead:5700 ft / 1737 m
Descent Statistics

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