Latest Toubkal Winter Conditions Report

Today was my first day back out in the High Atlas mountains after my trip to Scotland and it was good to be back! I headed up to the refuge this morning, had a good look around, soloed the first section of Chockstone Gully and then headed back home. It is currently snowing outside our place in the Imlil valley at 1,800m and, if the forecast holds true, we are in for some big dumps of snow overnight and tomorrow and then again on Monday.




Heading up to the refuge this morning – Toubkal 19-3-15



Screen Shot 2015-03-19 at 6.31.11 PM 19-3-15


Snowpack and Snow Cover

The base snowpack is brilliant – well-bonded and pretty cohesive neve as there has been pretty stable weather over the last three weeks. The fresh snow over the next couple of days is due to fall in low winds so the drifting will be pretty minimal. As the SW winds are predicted to strengthen next week, be on the look out for wind-slab build-up on N to NE aspect slopes. Also, be on your guard when the snow is falling heavily and during the first 24 to 48 hours after the snowfall.



Looking up at the south cwm/col route of Toubkal 19-3-15




Tizi Ougane – 19-3-15


Climbing Conditions

Generally the routes have survived the warmer weather over the last couple of weeks. The routes on Afella are looking good with Fountain Gully in excellent condition with the upper ice pitch looking fat! Chockstone Gully is in good condition and Curtain Call is hanging in. Some single pitch ice routes at the end of the valley near Tizi Ouagane seemed to have thinned or disappeared. The routes on Toubkal West are in good nick with the upper slopes looking much more consolidated than a few weeks ago and a good build up of ice on the critical sections. The Afekhoi cascades looked to be in good condition, but the mixed climbing on the left buttress wasn’t in condition.



Toubkal West – routes looking in good condition. 19-3-15




Afella with it’s harder routes! 19-3-15




Chockstone Gully 19-3-15



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 that you can focus on enjoying the culture, peaks and routes of the High Atlas.


Refuge Access

Access to the Toubkal refuge was good today with the snow line on the path being much higher. About two thirds of the route is clear of snow but this will change with the colder conditions and the heavy snow predicted. You will be able to use mules to Sidi Chamharouch (2,350m) but will need porters for the rest of the trek in.


As the new snow on the path gets compacted down, it is a good idea to keep crampons in your rucksack, especially if you are starting out early or arriving at the refuge later in the day.


Winter Conditions Summary

Toubkal and the High Atlas mountains are still going strong for winter conditions! And with fresh, heavy snow forecasted it looks to stay that way late into April. The fresh snow should bring back some of the ice and fatten up existing routes. Be on your guard with the heavy dumps of snow (especially the first 24 to 48hs) and watch the strong winds creating wind-slab and big drifts on more northerly aspect slopes!


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!



Toubkal Massif approaching the refuge – peaks: Ras, Akioud, Afella. 19-3-15


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