Rob Johnson
Mountaineering Instructor (MIC)
& International Mountain Leader
Photo: Enjoying summit success and views of the Sahara on Toubkal

Toubkal, Atlas Mountains, Morocco

Location: Atlas Mountains, Morocco - 4167m
Price: £900 per person excluding international flights
Ratio: 1:4 with a group of 8 clients and two instructors
Length: 1 week

 

Introduction
Jbel Toubkal (4167m) is North Africa’s highest mountain and is situated in the Atlas Mountains in Morocco. This is an ideal "first big peak" as it is a trekking peak that requires no climbing or mountaineering experience and has no technical climbing. This is a 1 week trip in a small group to ensure the maximum chance of summit success.

If you have no winter experience then we will provide two days of winter skills training prior to our ascent of Toubkal. If you have experience of using an axe and crampons then the 1:4 ratio allows other summits to be tackled during the week and for staged summit bids if necessary. In 2011, 2012 and 2013 this meant we climbed three 4000m peaks in the week and got every client to the summit of Toubkal. In 2014 we didn't climb any summits as there was an exceptional amount of new snow (4 metres) in the week that we arrived and we judged the avalanche risk too great. Instead we enjoyed snowshoe journeys from the hut and taught winter skills on avalanche safe slopes.

Summary of the Trek
We will fly to Marrakech which is an exotic, colourful and mysterious city buzzing with life, charm and character. It is a place which floods the senses with colourful and overwhelming sights, sounds and smells.
From Marrakesh we will then head to the village of Imlil and begin our trek towards the summit of Toubkal. At over 4000m high the mountain is comparable to those of the French Alps but requires no technical climbing. We will be accompanied by local muleteers who will transport our main baggage to the refuge for us. At the end of the week we will enjoy a night in Marrakech to celebrate our trip and soak up the vibrant city culture.

Weather
A winter ascent will involve snow and ice on the ground from the hut to the summit. We will have several acclimatisation days to practise and refresh skills and to get used to the layering system that we will need on summit day. The path to the summit is a good one with little steep ground and we will be climbing the mountain in the stable sunny season. Temperatures can be expected to vary from lovely and warm in the midday sun to extremely cold in the early hours of the morning!

The Programme:
Day 1: Transfer from the airport to the village of Imlil (1740m).

Day 2 to 6. We will meet the mule team and make our way upto the Refuge Toubkal les Mouflons. We will spend each night in the hut and during the day will climb local peaks as we acclimatise in preparation for our ascent of Toubkal itself. The ascent will be on snow and ice for the entire route under normal winter conditions. This is is many ways easier than slogging up scree in the summer months and the cooler temperatures are also in our favour at this time of year.

The beauty of a hut based trip such as this is that we will have time to acclimatise properly, refresh and practise skills, climb nearby peaks and rest properly in readiness for our summit bid. The 5 days allow for proper acclimatisation and provide opportunity to make the most of weather windows.

We will use the low 1:4 ratios to split the team into two groups. Those that have done a winter skills course with us will aim to climb Toubkal and two additional 4000m peaks during the week. Those that have no experience of using axe and crampons will receive two days of winter skills training looking at:

- Choice and use of equipment for the winter environment
- Movement skills on snow
- Use of the ice axe
- How to fit and use crampons - when to put them on and take them off

You will then use your new skills to ascend Toubkal.

Day 7& 8: Night in Marrakech and departure for home.


The cost includes:

Leadership: I will lead the trek myself and will be accompanied by another British instructor to offer you a ratio of 1 British instructor (MIC) to every 4 clients. We will also use local muleteers to take equipment and bags upto and down from the mountain refuge. (The MIC is the highest instructional qualification in the UK)


Accommodation: We stay in the Refuge de Mouflons which is a lovely hut, built about 12 years ago and with roaring log burning stoves and good food.
All Meals: breakfast, lunch and dinner included (except meals in Marrakech)

Transport: minibus or 4x4 for transfers to / from High Atlas and airport transfer

The cost Excludes:
International Flights (Less than £100 return)
Personal equipment
Tips
Drinks and items of a personal nature
Travel and medical insurance
Evacuation by helicopter

Flights & Bonds
My business is not set up as a tour operator and so I don't book flights on clients behalf. The advertised price is a fixed price, it won't deviate due to local costs changing but I may ask you to pay a portion of the price to local operators rather than to me.

When you book I will forward details of the flight that I will be on. You can choose to book the same or you can choose a different flight that arrives at a similar time from elsewhere in the UK.

Cancellation & Insurance
This trip is classed as an overseas expedition and is subject to our terms and conditions of booking so please make sure you read them before committing to the trip. Once you book an expedition I will reserve that space for you, hire local and UK staff and make arrangments in the country we are visiting. Hopefully you will have no need to cancel but if you do I will try and re-sell the space for you. A deposit is required to book the course and is non-refundable. If you cancel less than 16 weeks before the course starts I can only offer a refund once I have sold the space on your behalf. Please take out cancellation insurance at your time of booking in case the unexpected happens. (Travel insurance is mandatory for the expedition anyway)

Each course member must have with them and show proof of insurance for the duration of the course on the first evening ie personal accident, rescue and public liability. Our approved insurance contractors are:

BMC: 0870 0104878 www.thebmc.co.uk

Kit List
We will send you a detailed kit list when you book. Some of the specialist kit that you will need includes:

Four season sleeping bag
Ice Axe - I can lend you free of charge
Crampons - I can lend you free of charge
Helmet - I can lend you free of charge
Harness - I can lend you free of charge

Leadership & Staffing
I will be guiding the trip myself and will be supported by another British instructor. As on any of my trips and courses the first consideration will be the safety of the whole team, closely followed by having fun and reaching the summit!

Fitness & Health
It is worth pointing out that this is a remote mountain adventure. That has many positive points but on of the downsides is that if you become ill or injured then evacuation is very difficult. I therefore need every trip member to be fit and healthy before we leave and stay that way! For that reason I will send everyone that books a medical declaration that I need completed and returned to me ASAP.

The fitter you are, the more you will enjoy this trip. It is essential that you do some training in advance to prepare yourself. The sooner you can start a training programme the better, but its never too late.

To enjoy the trek you need to be happy walking all day with a rucksack on your back for 5 days in a row. An ideal training programme would be to spend as many weekends as possible walking in the mountains prior to the trip. If you can bag one or two summits on each day that you go out your fitness will soon improve.

Additionally you should aim for three sessions a week of aerobic exercise to get the heart pumping. I find swimming particularly good as it is a low impact all round work out but cycling and brisk walking are equally suitable.

Whatever exercise you choose start off very easily and slowly increase the duration of the exercise. Make sure you warm up before hand to avoid muscle pain and warm down slowly at the end. Vary your weekly routine or you will soon get bored.

Expedition Dossier
Once I recieve and confirm your booking I will send you a complete dossier that provides full and detailed information on the program, health preparations, kit list, accommodation etc. You can view photos of previous trips on the gallery page.

Dates:

See the diary page.

We have 1 space remaining for our 2014 trip from the 29th November to the 6th December.

 

Book this Course

I need a £200 deposit or the full course fee to be paid to secure your space. I will ask for the balance to be paid 8 weeks prior to departure. The initial deposit is non refundable and your booking is subject to our terms and conditions.

Deposit: Click here to pay a deposit.

Course type Location Price Quantity  
Toubkal Expedition   £900 per person
 

 

Useful Links

Refresh your winter skills with Rob & Trail

 

Blog

Check out conditions and where I am now with my Blog

 

Choose an axe and crampons

Read how to choose the right boots, axe & crampons

 

Request a Brochure

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Instructors Tips

Instructors Tips

Instructors Tips

View Photos of this course

Testimonials

Hi Rob -

Hope all well and your course in Tignes is going/has gone well.

Please don't think, for a moment, that the delay in my getting this note to you has in any way diminished my memory of our stupendous expedition to the High Atlas mountains that we completed with the 'Toubkal Gang' a fortnight ago. The excursion had to be experienced to be believed and whilst we weren't able to tackle Toubkal I thought the trip was perhaps, in some ways, better than had we summited given the exposure we had to such extreme snow conditions and the use of snow shoes and crampons.

As you know, other than my introduction to winter mountaineering via your Scottish skills course last January, it was my first real outing in 'full-on' winter conditions and the experience at altitude did not disappoint. I had a fabulous time, with a great crowd of people - Yorkshire contingent aside - which coupled with the 'snow science' - love the expression - sessions, snow hole building acclimatisation exercises and your and Bryn's safety first approach ensured that there was never a moment of concern and enjoyment was the name of the game.

A couple of relaxing - and warm - nights in Marrakech was the icing - no pun intended - on the cake; my thanks know no bounds and I look forward to being with you in the mountains again soon.

Best regards.

Bob - Morocco 2014

Hey Rob, hope you and your family had a nice Christmas. Have you had much snow up in Snowdonia?

I know it's almost a month late but I just wanted to email and say thank you for the Morocco trip. I thoroughly enjoyed, even though we didn't get to summit anything. It was great to finally get some crampons on and get an axe in my hand - I can't wait for Scotland now!

Please pass on my thanks to Bryn also.

Anyway, enjoy the rest of your Christmas break, and I'll see you soon!

Many thanks,

Dan - Morocco 2014

Hi Rob, just a quick message to thank you for a great trip to the Atlas mountains.
Thanks also to everyone who was involved in looking after us and keeping us safe and well, especially to Paul also. Once again, you managed to arrange the perfect weather, you seem to be getting pretty good at that now, well at least on the trips I have with you, he he. Hope you and your family had a good christmas and every bit of good fortunes for the New Year too. Oh , n less of this atrocious wet weather. Stay safe n well - Ed - Toubkal Dec 2012

The expedition to high the Atlas Mountains of Morocco was a truly awe-inspiring experience, made all the more so by the excellent company and leadership of Rob, Paul and my fellow 'mountaineers'. If spectacular landscapes, contrasting climate, varied climbing/scrambling and downright good fun excites you, then this is an expedition I would wholeheartedly recommend! - Steve, Toubkal 2011

Hi Rob - A dull Preston does not compare to the glory of the mountains or the manic Marrakech. When I booked this trek, It was with a view to giving me something to look forward to and so expectations were high. These expectations were met and far exceeded. The trek was fantastic, with stunning scenery and occasional solitude which allowed me to re-connect with the outdoors again. The company was great, with all of us getting along and supporting each other throughout the week. (despite my snoring). The accommodation and the people were superb. There are many memories etc that never made it to camera, such as the markets and aromas of Marrakech which will live with me for a long time. I now also have a different attitude to bread!!
Thanks for making it a more than memorable experience. Cheers,
Vic - Toubkal 2011

I've been in some groups in the mountains in my time. To date, that was the best & most balanced group I've been in: woo hoo. What is life if not for sharing memories. Thanks to all for the company n good cheer & thanks Rob for the organisation. My care all & play on safely. Mikey - Toubkal 2011

Hiyi all,
Having fnally found a computer to use in Orkney, I hope you all got got home at a more reasonable hour than me! I had a fantastic time with all of you, even when the weather didn't cooperate. :) The mountains and high passes in the Atlas were like nothing I'd ever seen before and I'll remember them for a long time to come, the views from the summits were something else. Coming down to Marrakech after the tranquility of the hut was something of a culture shock but it was the perfect way to end the week (after all, there were wizard suits needing to be bought!) A fantastic trip and I hope to see you all again for future adventures.
Slainte mor! Naomi - Toubkal October 2011

 

Read more testimonials here.

AMI UMILA MTC

 


 


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