Latest Toubkal Winter Conditions Report

I finished a five-day trip for a mountaineering club from London yesterday – a group keen to climb the Toubkal and have a bit of an intro to ice climbing. Even with the big thaw on we managed to get out on some ice early one morning at the back of the valley heading towards Tizi Ouagane. There has been a significant loss of snow and ice but there is still enough to do as winter seems to be determined to hang in for a bit longer.

 

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The guys on the summit enjoying the sunshine! 31-3-15

 

The normal route up Toubkal is still in good condition and has a low avalanche risk with most of the route being clear of the last snow and the old snowpack being hard and good underfoot in the morning.

 

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Descending down from the south col of Toubkal 31-3-15

 

Snowpack and Snow Cover

The snowpack is generally very good in the morning to early afternoon, but once the temperatures rise the snowpack becomes very saturated and heavy. It would be good to avoid the bigger gully lines and any significant build up of the newer snow in the afternoons and, for the moment, stick to the golden rule of alpine climbing of setting of early and returning early to the huts! There is a progressive drop in temperature starting on Sunday, though, and the freezing level is due to get to as low as 2,600m on Tuesday. This should really help the snowpack to turn to good neve and keep some of the ice lines around a bit longer!

 

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Crown wall of an avalanche near the Toubkal Hut 31-3-15

 

At the moment winter is hanging in, and the colder temperature and little dustings of snow that are predicted this week should ensure good snow cover for the next couple of weeks!

 

 

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weather forecast for 3 April 2015 – www.mountain-weather.com

 

Climbing Conditions

The routes on Afella are again hanging in there. I soloed Chockstone Gully on Monday and it still has enough good ice on it and should stay good with the colder temperatures along with Curtain Call (the ice smear on the left). The Afekhoi cascades are surviving and with freezing level dropping will be good for climbing next week! And, finally, the lines on Toubkal West look thin but just about doable.

 

 

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David enjoying the ice near the Tizi Ouagane 1-4-15

 

 

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Ice pitches near Tizi Ouagane 1-4-15

 

 

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Afella and its ice/mixed lines 1-4-15

 

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

Mules are now able to get much higher (two thirds of the path in) with the big thaw that has cleared much of the snow off the path getting into the Toubkal refuge. Porters would be helpful for the last third of the route into the refuge.

 

 

Winter Conditions Summary

Winter conditions on Toubkal and the High Atlas mountains are still hanging in there and with the colder temperatures and little dustings of snow predicted things are looking on the up for winter to stick around for a while longer! It would be good to get out and off routes early over the next couple of days as we wait for the predicted drop in the freezing level. As the freezing level drops expect the snowpack and ice lines to firm up and become stable.

 

Again it would be good to avoid the bigger gully lines and any significant build up of the newer snow in the afternoons and for the moment stick to the golden rule of alpine climbing of setting of early and returning early to the huts!

 

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The crew on our way down from the refuge 2-4-15

 

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.

 

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