Latest Toubkal Winter Conditions Report – November 30, 2015

Well winter is finally upon us, but the white stuff seems to be taking its time to arrive for the 2015/2016 winter season! We will now be starting our regular winter conditions updates, so watch this spot for up-to-date winter mountaineering and climbing information for Toubkal and the High Atlas!

 

Today, I headed up to the Toubkal refuges to have a look around to get a feel for the general winter conditions. A few weeks back we had a good drop of snow which has retreated to around the 3500 to 3700m mark. The snow has been going through freeze/thaw cycles ever since and has consolidated into hard neve! Great for mountaineering although due to the snowline being so high you will have to go through some of the scree slopes to get to it!

 

 

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Ras, Akoide in great condition! 30-11-15

 

Snowpack and Snow Cover

Snow cover varies from 3500 to 3700m depending on how exposed it is to the sun! As mentioned the snowpack is well consolidated and great for quick travel with the aid of crampons!

 

 

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Neve hiding from the sun! 30-11-15

 

Screen Shot 2015-11-30 at 7.11.06 PM

Taken from http://www.mountain-forecast.com/ on 30-11-12

 

Climbing Conditions

We need some more snow to top up all the major gully lines! The Afekhoi cascades look to have a few doable pitch but very thin. Chockstone Gully looks like it goes as well as Curtain Call (the ice smear on the left). The other lines on some of the other peaks such as Toubkal West and Afella aren’t in conditions, but the main couloir on Ras looks good as well as some of the other lines on the face! The freezing level is predicted to fluctuate between 3650 to 3900m with a colder day Wednesday (down to 3,330m) which means the lines that are in will stay in. There is a dusting of snow due to come in on Tuesday night which hopefully top things up!

 

 

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Afekhoi Cascades 30-11-15

 

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Chockstone Gully and Curtain Call 30-11-15

 

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Afella 30-11-15

 

Refuge Access

Mules are able to get as far as the refuge which means no porters are needed currently! Do make sure that you hire muleteers that don’t overload their mules. You are looking to go no more than 80kg per mule!

 

 

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Toubkal ridgeline from the south col 30-11-15

 

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Tizi Ouagane 30-11-15

 

Winter Conditions Summary

The snowpack is good solid neve and well consolidated but the snowline is pretty high at the moment, around the 3500 to 3700m mark. Crampons and ice axe are need for these higher areas on routes. Due to the snow being well consolidated the avalanche risk is low (but continue to monitor the weather forecast as a big dump would changes things!). The mountaineering routes (ridges and major gullies) are in good condition and a few of the ice routes look to be in, but most of the ice and mixed climbing needs a lot more snow to get good!

 

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James: full-time instructor/guide for TMP

For a personalised trekking, guiding or instruction service and/or logistics for Toubkal and the High Atlas, get in touch with us here at The Mountain People!

 

Disclaimer: as a mountaineering instructor I have had avalanche risk assessment training and have a good level of experience but am by no means a professional avalanche forecaster. These reports aim to give you a general idea of the winter conditions for a few days ahead and the risks involved but please be diligent in checking weather forecasts yourself and monitoring the conditions when you are out in the High Atlas.

 

 

Categories: Blog, Climbing Information, Conditions, High Atlas, Ice Climbing, James, Mountain Information, Mountaineering, Winter
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