Latest Toubkal Winter Conditions Report

Things have been busy over the last couple of weeks with a two trips running back to back. We have seen everything from full on Scottish like conditions (on the first trip) to now the temperatures rising significantly over the last couple of days.



Kasheed making the final steps to the summit! Well done on climbing North Africa’s highest peak! 27-3-15


Snowpack and Snow Cover

There is good snow cover in the High Atlas! There has been avalanche activity around the refuges and many of the slopes where big deposits of snow were made earlier in the week are becoming very saturated with the freezing level going between 3,800m up to above the summits early next week. You can see from the photos where the older snowpack (brown) has come through where avalanches or wind have uncovered it. The standard route up Toubkal (South Col) is in good condition with most of the older snowpack being exposed.



Screen Shot 2015-03-28 at 11.41.14 AM

Screenshot taken from 28-3-15




Avalanche debris around the refuge. 27-3-15



More avalanche debris around the refuge. 27-3-15


Please take care and avoid the big gully lines such as the gully to the Tadat col and to the Clochtons. Both are looking very loaded and with warming temperatures will be avalanche prone!



Biguinoussene with the Clochtons (right) and Tadat col (left). These are pretty loaded at the moment! 27-3-15


Essentially the snowpack is (where exposed) old neve (clearly seen as brown and duller looking snow) and drifts of windslab that sit on top of the neve. This is a dangerous combination with the warming that is currently happening. Do take care and choose appropriate routes on the older, exposed snowpack!


Climbing Conditions

The routes on Afella are looking good with Fountain Gully still in excellent condition and the upper ice pitch looking fat. Chockstone Gully is still in good condition and Curtain Call is hanging in. Do take care with the warmer conditions and many of the routes may disappear if the thawing conditions persist.



Afella with its mixed lines 27-3-15


The Afekhoi cascades looked to be in good condition, but may not last long with the freezing level being so high.



Afekhoi cascades 27-3-15


Logistics Packages

For a Logistics Only Package please get in touch with us! Let us sort all the non-climbing and mountaineering aspects to your trip!


Refuge Access

Access to the Toubkal refuge is about the same since my last update with mules only going as far as Sidi Chamharouch (2,350m). Porters are needed for the rest of the trek in. The fresh snow that we had on Wednesday has made it pretty hard going under foot with deep wet snow above Sidi Chamharouch.



Winter Conditions Summary

Winter conditions on Toubkal and the High Atlas mountains are still hanging in there although a big thaw is currently happening. Please take care on loaded slopes especially the big gully lines like that of the Tadat col and the Clochtons. The avalanche risk will be serious wherever there is a build up of newer snow, which is becoming saturated, overlaid on the old neve layer. Many of the ice routes may not survive the thaw!



Let’s hope colder temperatures come soon to refreeze the snowpack and prolong winter!



Looking up at the North Col route of Toubkal (older snowpack darker bits) 26-3-15



Classic shot as we come into the refuge! 26-3-15


For a personalised trekking, guiding or instruction service and/or logistics for Toubkal and the High Atlas, just 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.



This little guy was hanging out on the summit! Made me want to take him home with me! 27-3-15







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