3-day Jebel Toubkal ascent

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Bagging Toubkal, the highest mountain in north Africa, is within the reach of most people of a reasonable level of fitness and with some experience of hiking and mountains. At 4,167m it is high enough that altitude sickness can be an issue for some, but for the majority it is still manageable as a 3-day trek.

Your first day begins in Imlil, where you meet your guide, porters and mules. Setting off up towards the distantly-visible Toubkal, the road takes you to the village of Armoud, after which you take a zig-zagging mule path that hugs the side of a small, forested river valley up to Sidi Chamharouch. Here you’ll see the shrine of the eponymous saint, and shortly beyond the village is a small set of waterfalls, the ideal spot for your picnic lunch. You then follow another river valley for most of the afternoon, just beneath the ridgeline, before the outline of the Neltner Refuge becomes visible on the skyline. It takes another hour to reach it, where you’ll be glad to eat the great trail supper prepared by the cook and fall into your tent.

Day two begins with an early start and you head out of camp to tackle the steep climb over streams and scrambling up rock faces into one of the cwms on the southern side of the summit. Depending on the time of year, it’s about now you’ll begin to encounter snow. You trek along the base of the cwm before putting in one last big effort to zigzag your way up the scree slope to the summit ridge. From here it’s a relatively short hike to the summit cone, from where your view stretches way across the desert valleys of the south almost towards the Sahara, and looking northwards over the High Atlas and the route you’ve just come. After enjoying the views and a restorative snack and drink, you begin the descent, covering the same trail to the village of Armoud, where you spend your second night camping.

Your last day is a short one, requiring just a one hour walk back to Imlil where you meet your vehicle. Total 15hrs walk over the three days at a demanding level with fitness and mountain experience required.


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