Latest Toubkal Winter Conditions Report

Toubkal and the High Atlas have seen some pretty wild weather over the last week! I got back yesterday from a five day Alpine Ridges trip.

 

On three out of the five days it felt like we were in Scotland as we faced strong winds, low visibility, severe wind-chill and wind slab build-up on leeward slopes.

 

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Walk into the Toubkal Refuge 15-1-15

 

Snowpack and Snow Cover

There has been a lot of fresh snow over the last week and, with the strong N to NW winds, lots of the S to SE slope aspects have a pretty heavy loading of wind slab. I found that the fresh snow in places was moderately bonded to the snowpack, but again lots of wind slab is weakly bonded.

 

It would be wise to avoid deep pockets of wind slab that have accumulated on S to SE aspects. The snowpack should start to consolidate over the next week as we enter into a more stable and less turbulent weather period.

 

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The guys coming into the corrie that leads to Akiode (one of the classic 4,000m peaks) 18-1-15

 

Climbing Conditions

The routes on Afella for the most part still need to fatten up, but Fountain Gully looks to be in really good nick. Chockstone Gully and Curtain Call both looked in better condition than the last time I was up. There are small ice pitches around the refuge and some of the other ice lines heading towards Tizi Ouagane are in pretty good condition and should get fatter with the added snow. The Afekhoi cascades are buried, so a good thaw is needed, but again the mixed lines on the left-hand buttress are in good condition!

 

With all the new snow, the big lines on Afella and Toubkal West etc. should benefit if good freeze/thaw conditions materialise!

 

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Toubkal West 17-1-15

 

So overall the climbing conditions are pretty good, but the big ice/mixed lines will need more time to come into good condition. As the snowpack consolidates the mountaineering routes will become a lot more accessible but at the moment it will be hard work to access them.

 

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Afella – mixed and ice lines still need more time! 17-1-15

 

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Curtain Call (left) and Chockstone (right) 16-1-15

 

Logistics Packages

For a Logistics Only Package please get in touch with us! Let us sort all the non-climbing and mountaineering aspects to your trip, so you can focus on what’s important!

Refuge Access

Access to the Toubkal refuge is pretty hard going at the moment with lots of fresh snow but as the snowpack consolidates good conditions underfoot will return. Porters are needed from Sidi Chamharouch (2,350m).

 

 

Winter Conditions Summary

Toubkal and the High Atlas mountains have seen a lot of fresh snow and there are some big deposits of wind slab on S to SE aspect slopes. It would be wise to avoid any slopes where these bigger deep deposits of wind slab have accumulated and there is a considerable risk of avalanches on these slopes.

 

Access to mountaineering routes and ice/mixed lines is going to be hard going until the snowpack consolidates a bit. The smaller ice pitches heading toward Tizi Ouagane are coming into good condition and routes around the refuge such as Curtain Call are beckoning ascents!

 

We should see the snowpack consolidate as we enter a more calm and stable weather period.

 

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

 

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Looking back at Tizi Ouagane 17-1-15

 

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Toubkal and Toubkal West 17-1-15

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