Latest Toubkal Winter Conditions Report

Spring has arrived with the apple and cherry blossoms coming out in the Toubkal Massif and Mgoun areas! I was out guiding a father and son team on Mgoun last week and we had a successful summit day – well done guys! The weather was fantastic with warm temperatures, sunshine and low winds but we still needed our crampons and ice axes for the 4km ridge line to the summit of Mgoun (4068m). This 4000m peak is the most remote and committing in the High Atlas mountains of Morocco.

 

Iain and Garvie at the start of the traverse under Mgoun West to gain the ridge to Mgoun

Iain and Garvie at the start of the traverse under Mgoun West to gain the ridge to Mgoun, 10-4-14

 

Ridge to the summit of Mgoun 4,068m 10-4-14

Ridge to the summit of Mgoun (4,068m), 10-4-14

Do get in touch with us at morocco@the-mountain-people.com if you are interested in climbing Mgoun!

 

Recent Weather

Warmer temperatures, with the freezing level around 4,000m, have caused a huge amount of the snow to melt. You will still find snow at the higher altitudes especially on northerly aspects, but the snow cover will continue to decrease with the freezing level going above the summit of Toubkal this week.

 

Walk into the Tarkeddit Refuge

Walk into the Tarkeddit Refuge, 8-4-14

 

Tarkeddit plateau

Tarkeddit plateau, 9-4-14

Snowpack

There are currently freeze-thaw cycles going on at the 4,000m mark which will continue to create a hard, well-consolidated snowpack. You will most likely require crampons/ice axes for the early morning ascents of the higher peaks.

 

Climbing Conditions (Alpine Grades)

There is still a small amount of ice at the higher altitudes but don’t count on winter climbing conditions with the current thaw!

 

Toubkal (if you look closely you can see how thin the ice is at the Afekhoi Cwm  Cascades) today 15-4-14

Toubkal (if you look closely you can see how thin the ice is at the Afekhoi Cwm Cascades) today 15-4-14

There are some great alpine ridges and this would be a great time to get on them. To name a few: SW Ridge of Toubkal West (PD+), SE of Toubkal (D-), West Ridge of Toubkal (D).

 

If the bigger ridge routes of the High Atlas are of interest check out our Alpine Ridges Trip http://www.the-mountain-people.com/alpine-ridges/.

 

Refuge Access

There is good access to the Toubkal refuges with the path being clear of snow and mules being able to pack in equipment and supplies all the way to the refuges! From now through till the autumn expect low-level trekking to be clear of snow i.e. mule support will be ideal for longer treks.

 

Ridge and the summit of Mgoun, 8-4-14

Ridge and the summit of Mgoun, 8-4-14

 

Winter Conditions Summary

To sum up: spring has arrived and a big thaw is on! Snow at the higher altitudes will remain for a while yet especially on the north facing areas. Crampons and ice axes may still be needed for early morning starts, but with the current thaw this may not last into May.

 

For weather forecasts see:

 

 

 

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