Latest Toubkal Winter Conditions Report

It has been a few weeks since my last Toubkal Winter conditions report. The weather has been pretty consistent over the last couple of weeks with warmer weather (i.e. high freezing level.) I headed up this morning to the refuge to have a look around. Yesterday it rained in Imlil and snowed on the summits, so I was expecting to see fresh snow about on top of an old neve pack and that is what I found. With some stronger winds the fresh snow has been depositing as windslab on lots of aspects as can be seen in many of the photos (old pack brown and windslab white).

 

 

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Looking up the south cwm/col route of Toubkal 22-4-15

 

Snowpack and Snow Cover

With the warmer weather we have had, the snowpack has consolidated very well over the last couple of weeks becoming hard neve. But with the fresh windslab deposits from yesterday and warmer temperatures forecasted it would be good to be on your guard for the next week or so. Also, keep an eye out during the day for sunwheels on slopes as this is a clear sign of warming and the snowpack becoming saturated and heavy. The deposits of fresh snow seem fairly bonded to the old neve layer when I did some shear tests at a couple of pits but again, as it warms, the snow may slide on the older snowpack so avoid the big deposits of slab and choose scoured slopes.

 

 

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Forecast from today (22-4-15) www.mountain-forecast.com

 

 

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One of the pits and hand shear tests 22-4-15

 

 

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Old avalanche debris 22-4-15

 

 

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Looking north down the valley above the Toubkal refuge 22-4-15

 

Climbing Conditions

I was pleasantly surprised to see routes on Afella still around. Chockstone Gully looks like it still goes and Curtain Call (the ice smear on the left) was still there today (routes visible from the refuge). The Afekhoi cascades are now gone for the season as they are much lower than the refuge (3,200m).

If you are going to get out on the remaining ice it would wise to get on it early in the day as the freezing level is forecasted to be high this week!

 

 

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Curtain Call (left) and Chockstone Gully (right) 22-4-15

 

 

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Afekhoi cascades 22-4-15

 

 

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Afella – still routes to be climbed! 22-4-15

 

For a Logistics Only Package please get in touch with us! Let us sort all the non-climbing and mountaineering aspects to your trip, so that you can focus on enjoying the culture, peaks and routes of the High Atlas.

 

Refuge Access

Mules are able to almost get as far as the refuge and after a couple of weeks and they should be able to get all the way there.

 

Winter Conditions Summary

Winter conditions on Toubkal and the High Atlas mountains are still hanging in there with a top up of snow yesterday! Due to strong winds the fresh snow has been deposited as windslab. With the warming conditions for the short-term (next week or so), it would be advisable to avoid the deeper deposits and take routes on the old neve layer (brownish, hard snow). Also, stay diligent by watching out for sunwheels and the snowpack become heavy and saturated.

 

There is still plenty of mountaineering to do and some of the ice is still around and doable!

 

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.

 

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Tizi Ouagane 22-4-15

 

 

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Ras, Akioud, and more… 22-4-15

 

 

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Toubkal at 12:30 today! 22-4-15

 

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