Latest Toubkal Winter Conditions Report – January 31, 2016


I just got back from a 6-day trip with Alex and company! We had a fantastic time climbing some of the great ridges and ice/mixed lines that are in condition. Well done to everyone for pushing on some of the classics in the Toubkal Massif!



Looking back toward the refuge and the Toubkal Massif 29-1-16


Snowpack and Snow Cover

There has been no new snow despite the forecast predicting it on a number of occasions. This and the warmer temperatures have cased a gradual retreating of snow cover. We found the peaks Ras and Akioud still having good cover, but other peaks such as Toubkal pretty patchy!




A winter skills group near Tizi Ouagane 28-1-16


Screen Shot 2016-01-31 at 12.24.12 PM



Akioud 25-1-16


Overall the snowpack was pretty stable over the last week and should continue as the temperature drops a bit over this week. Do continue to watch out and avoid pockets of windslab and as mentioned in an earlier report there is depth hoar in places (weak layer) which could be bad news if a big dump of snow materializes.   The snowpack at the 3,500m mark should continue to turn to neve with the predicted freeze/thaw conditions.



Climbing Conditions

The route Corredor ENE del Ras, D, 500m route is still in great condition. The Afekhoi cascades are fatter and should be good for climbing with the lower temperatures. We climb Chockstone Gully this last week and finished up the route into the big bowl that you enter for summiting Afella. The ice is in good nick but the snow gully above is hard going with the bullet hard ice with 6 inches of snow on top!  Curtain Call (the ice smear on the left of Chockstone) is thin near the top, but is in good conditions up to the smear. The South West ridge of Toubkal has seen a few ascents this week… we found hard neve between a few of the towers so don’t forget your ice axe and crampons for this classic rock ridge!



Anna on SW Ridge of Toubkal West 27-1-16



Looking across at Toubkal West from the exit of Chockstone gully 26-1-16


Overall there is still good ice around but none of the big lines on Toubkal West or Afella are in condition. Let’s hope mother nature has plans for more snow!



Me leading on Chockstone 26-1-16



Ben enjoying some steeper ice near the refuge 29-1-16



Alex and Ishta on the SW ridge of Toubkal West 27-1-16


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!


Winter Conditions Summary

There has been no new snow over the last couple of weeks and we have seen a gradual but significant retreating of snowcover. There is still good cover on Ras and Akioud but a lot of the other peaks are pretty patchy. The dropping temperatures should help the the overall snow pack to firm up as it has been warmer in recent days, but once again due take care to avoid windslab deposits and continue to monitor the snowpack as there are weak layers in places. The snow around the 3,500m mark will start to firm up with the freeze thaw conditions.




Ben looking across at Ras, Akioud and Afella from the summit of Toubkal on 27-1-16


The mountaineering routes such as SW ridge of Toubkal West are in good conditions, but the bigger ice and mixed lines are still not in and are in need more snow! There is still good ice around the refuge and areas where there is good snow cover!


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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1 Comment

One Response to Toubkal Winter Conditions #5 – Jan 2016

  1. Josh says:
    27 September 2016 at 11:33 am | Permalink

    Thanks for these – this one was really useful and it’s clear you know the area extremely well! I wrote up a trip report with some photos here

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