The latest in-depth Toubkal winter conditions report

 

Toubkal winter conditions, 16 February 2014

Mo reaching the summit cairn of Toubkal – well done!

A turn-around: wind, cloud and wind chill

 

A quick hit and success on Toubkal despite the strong winds, cloud and wind chill of -20! Hats off to you Mo for taking in Toubkal in these more challenging and adventurous conditions; great to share time with you on the top of North Africa’s highest peak.

 

Sunshine then clag: very un-Moroccan

 

Mo and I headed up on Friday in lovely typical sunshine and blue skies, which turned to strong winds and cloud for our summit day yesterday. We had an early start in order to give us a good amount of time to summit and get back down for a lunch break before making our way down again to Imlil. All and all, due to Mo’s good fitness level and acclimatisation, everything went smoothly. Typically we recommend three to four days for a Toubkal ascent to ensure success, but we can offer more tailored trips for those who, like Mo, have a limited window to take in this mountain.

 

Now on to Toubkal winter conditions update!

 

Snowpack

 

Things have flipped on their head since my last full update! A week and half ago powder was stopping teams from venturing onto less summited peaks, but now lots of the snow has retreated and consolidated well. This is due to the warmer freeze-thaw conditions we have had steadily over the last week.

 

I dug a few pits around the huts on some off the northwesterly aspect slopes and again there is a pretty good bond between layers. I found a thick 6-inch hard crust that is pretty well bonded to the softer adjacent layer. And I also found a really thin hard ice layer deeper in the pack – but on doing a couple of hand/shear test it seems that the other layers are fairly well bonded throughout the snowpack. The conditions are good at the moment for mountaineering on some of the classic 4,000m peaks, but we still could use some more snow to prolong the winter activities! There is a light covering of fresh snow forecast to come on Monday/Tuesday.

 

Climbing Conditions (all grades Scottish)

 

Toubkal winter conditions, 16 February 2014

Topo of mixed routes on Afella, Toubkal area

The cascades (Grades II to V), en route to the refuge, continue to stay nice and fat! We still need more snow for the mixed gully lines on Toubkal West to come into condition.

 

All the ice near the refuges has gotten fat and the Chockstone Gully IV/V route on Afella is still in excellent condition. Curtain Call VII,7, next to the Chockstone, looks like it might be do-able!

 

The hard mixed lines on Afella look to be working their way into nick. Fountain Gully VII, 7, looks like it might be coming into condition. It would be great if we got some more snow to feed these routes.

 

 Toubkal Winter Conditions reports offline for a bit

 

I will be taking a break from updates for a couple of weeks – will be in Scotland instead on our TMP Community Event! Hoping things settle down there so I can get on the mixed routes in the Northern Corries, Cairngorms 🙂

 

 

Toubkal winter conditions, 16 February 2014

Afekhoi (NW Cwm) icefalls en route to the Toubkal refuge

Toubkal winter conditions, 16 February 2014

Mo on the trek down to Imlil. You can seen lots of bare rock – due to last week’s freeze-thaw!

Toubkal winter conditions, 14 February 2014

Looking up to the North Cwm of Toubkal

 

 

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