The altitude, the heat and the rough barren lanscape made this a very special trek
Our flight arrived in the morning at Marrakech airport and we
In glorious morning sunlight, we started fairly early in the morning on our 5-6 hour walk towards our overnight stop at the mountain refuge. As we walked, the temperature increased and so did the gradient which meant it was a hard slog. Our path took us around the outskirts of Imlil and up toward the mountain valley that would lead us upwards following the river. At first, crossing an enormous stony plateau and then up onto the valley walls, the path crisscrossing the river. We had donkeys to assist carrying (what little gear we had) which we were very happy about with the heat. Wonderful rest-stops were waiting at many of the river crossings, using the fresh running water to cool the drinks. We expected it but were surprised how the walk was made more difficult because of the temperature and the altitude.
We arrived mid-afternoon at the Toubcal Refuge, a grand stone building at the head of the rising valley. Plenty of time to relax and rest, ready for a very early start and a long day tomorrow. The refuge was basic but clean and perfectly adequate.
After a pretty good sleep in the refuge, we woke to get ready for breakfast at 4.30pm. We struck out very early, a few hours before sunrise at 5am and the sky was starting to get lighter. We were all a bit apprehensive because we knew it would be a longer day today to get to the summit and then all the way back down to Imlil. We arrived at the peak at around 9am and enjoyed the moment being at 4,167 metres high. Due to high winds, we decided not to hang around on the summit and so headed back towards the refuge for lunch.
We had a well-deserved lunch by the river near to the refuge and decided that our legs would make it back to Imlil that afternoon. Some will have struggled with the pace we took to complete the summit so quickly, with the heat and altitude and will prefer to perhaps take 3 days for the round trip. That evening we sleep near to the river under canvas in a Berber tent. We were tired, aching and sun sore, but enjoyed this first experience of our Moroccan adventure.
More of our Morocco adventure to come…