Toubkal – Photo taken from Toubkal West 9-1-16


Latest Toubkal Winter Conditions Report – January 11, 2016


Well the mountains are looking a lot more wintery, but we still need more snow! I was out for the last 6 days with Martin, a keen alpinist from Germany and we got to do some of the classic ice/mixed and rock lines on Ras and Akioud and summited Toubkal via the North Col route. We had some pretty Scottish like weather with a good 4 to 6 inches of snow being dropped over Friday and Saturday!




North Col route up Toubkal 9-1-16



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Looking out the north cwm 9-1-16


Snowpack and Snow Cover

Snow cover has come down to refuge height and we have had some stronger winds from the west / south west causing some windslab deposits on north/east aspects. We came across some knee deep drifts around the 3900m mark both on Akioud and the North Col route of Toubkal. The temperature is raising today to around the summits and then dropping over the next couple of days, which should help consolidate the new snow and help it bond to the older pack. The snow line will raise some over the next days with the higher freezing level, but we should hopefully keep a good amount of cover overall with freeze/thaw conditions predicted at the 3,500m. Be diligent to avoid windslab deposit and also, keep an eye on the snowpack as it warms and becomes heavier especially on the more sun exposed slopes and gullies.




Peaks: Ras and Akioud 9-1-16


Climbing Conditions

The ice that is around should get fatter with the addition of new snow. Hopefully we will see the big lines on Toubkal West and Akioud start to come in to condition. The route Corredor ENE del Ras, D, 500m (page 72 in Spanish guidebook) route is in great condition. The Afekhoi cascades should start to get a bit fatter as the temperature drops. Chockstone Gully as well as Curtain Call (the ice smear on the left) are ready for action. And there are pitches of ice around the refuge and near Tizi Ouagane that are in descent condition.


Anyone, wanting some good alpine rock ridges the approach slopes should be a bit easier as snow consolidates and hardens.




Martin coming up the second pitch on Akioud, east face 8-1-16




Martin on the Summit of Akioud 8-1-16


Refuge Access

Mules are still able to get as far as the refuge which means no porters are needed currently! Do make sure that you hire muleteers that don’t overload their mules. You are looking to go no more than 80kg per mule!




Leaving the refuge yesterday morning 10-1-16


Winter Conditions Summary

The new snow should consolidate and bond well to the old pack with the temperature raising and then steadily dropping over the next couple of days. The snowline is down to 3200m at the moment, but will creep up over the next couple of days. Due take care to avoid windslab deposits and continue to monitor the snowpack with the warmer temperatures.  The mountaineering routes (ridges and major gullies that have snowcover) are in much better condition with the fresh snow and we should see an overall improvement of the ice and mixed lines and a general topping up of the ice that has been in. We still need more snow for skiing conditions to get good and for the big lines on Toubkal West and Afella to come into good condition, but the long term forecast is showing potential snow for next Wednesday fingers crossed!



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For a personalised trekking, guiding or instruction service and/or logistics for Toubkal and the High Atlas, get in touch with us here at The Mountain People!



James – Full-time guide/instructor for TMP

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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