Latest Toubkal Winter Conditions Report

After a quick hit of mountaineering in Scotland over the new year, I’m now back in Morocco and can update you on Toubkal Winter Conditions. I headed up this morning to the Toubkal refuges to check out the current conditions and was pleased to find consolidated, firm snow. The stable weather over the last couple of weeks has really done its job and conditions under foot are brilliant.



Looking up at North Col route up Toubkal 8-1-15

Snowpack and Snow Cover

I found very stable, consolidated snowpack due to the freeze/thaw cycles. There is good snow cover and with the firm snowpack and current weather there is a very low risk of avalanche at the moment but keep an eye on things especially during the warmer periods of the day and if temperatures make a big jump.



South Col route of Toubkal 8-1-15


With the current weather forecast there will be a couple dustings of new snow and SE winds, so look to avoid patches of wind slab collecting in N and NW slope aspects.


 Screen Shot 2015-01-08 at 3.35.49 PM


Climbing Conditions

The classic mountaineering routes are in great condition due to the snowpack being firm. The ice routes on Afella and Toubkal West etc need more time to form properly, but may be doable.


Fountain Gully looks a bit fatter and doable. Other ice heading towards Tizi Ouagane seems to be forming on smaller cliffs.



Mixed routes on Afella – Fountain Gully far left in shadow! 8-1-15


Chockstone Gully looks to be in about the same condition as the last time I reported. And Curtain Call to the left is still in condition. The Afekhoi cascades are in condition and the mixed lines on the left-hand buttress look to be in good nick.



Curtain Call (left) & Chockstone (right) 8-1-15


Afekhoi cascades 8-1-15


Mixed crag in the Afekhoi cwm 8-1-15


So, to summarise the climbing conditions: the classic gullies and rock ridge lines are in condition and some of the big mixed/ice routes on Afella and Toubkal West etc might go but are probably on the thin side. Hopefully with the couple of dustings of snow that are predicted tomorrow and next week the routes will fatten up a bit.



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Refuge Access

There is good access to the Toubkal refuges as the path is clear of snow to Sidi Chamharouch (2,350m) and from there the snow has been packed down and a well-worn path has been established (crampons needed for early mornings and late afternoons).


Winter Conditions Summary

Toubkal and the High Atlas mountains are currently in great condition for general winter trekking and mountaineering with a good cover of firm snow. The overall avalanche risk is low at the moment and should stay that way with the colder conditions. Just watch the dusting of snow which is predicted for Friday with SE winds. With the winds there will be some pockets of windslab on N to NE aspect slopes, so look to avoid these by choosing scoured slopes!



Buttresses of Toubkal West 8-1-15


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Tizi Ouagane 8-1-15


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