Category Archives: Mountaineering

Trips and Courses for the Summer and Autumn

Screen Shot 2014-06-07 at 7.18.20 PM

 

Quick update on some of the trekking and climbing trips and courses we are offering over the summer and autumn! The High Atlas still has so much to offer outside of the winter season: great scrambling and trekking, stunning views of colour-filled  landscapes and ancient villages, and epic multi-pitch routes offering hundreds of metres of adventures. Our summer and autumn season lasts from the end of May to late October.

 

Please click on the links below for more details:

 

Drop us an email at morocco@the-mountain-people.com for more details.

Categories: Anti-Atlas, High Atlas, James, Mountaineering, Summer, Tafraout, Trad, Trekking
Tags: , ,

Leave a comment

Toubkal Winter Conditions #23

 

Latest Toubkal Winter Conditions Report

 

Here are some photos I took yesterday morning of the current snow cover! As you can see winter is officially over. This will be the last winter conditions update from us at The Mountain People. We will start posting the Toubkal Winter Conditions update in the autumn at the first sign of winter!

 

If you are interested summer trekking & mountaineering or rock climbing get in contact with us to find out more about the trips and courses we offer.

 

 

Traverse into the south cwm of Toubkal

Traverse into the south cwm of Toubkal

 

Looking up at the Clochetons and Tadat Col

Looking up at the Clochetons and Tadat Col

 

Last third of the trek into the Toubkal refuges (middle peak Akioud)

Last third of the trek into the Toubkal refuges (middle peak Akioud)

Peak on right Ras, 7-5-14

Peak on right Ras

 

 

Categories: Blog, Conditions, High Atlas, James, Morocco, Mountaineering, Summer, Trekking, Winter
Tags: , , ,

Leave a comment

Toubkal Winter Conditions #22

Latest Toubkal Winter Conditions Report

I was out the other day with Jeremy from Climb Morocco exploring one of the biggest ridges that High Atlas has to offer: the WNW Ridge of Toubkal. This ridge has a well-earned alpine grade of difficile with challenging route-finding, exposed scrambling and rock climbing!

 

IMG_6065

WNW Ridge of Toubkal, D! 25-4-14

IMG_6079

Cheese…. Jeremy trying to replace some calories on the summit of Toubkal after 7 hours on the ridge! 25-4-14

Recent Weather

This last week there was a cold snap that lasted a few days and we had a dusting of snow down to Imlil (1,740m) on Monday night to Tuesday morning. That small drop of snow has all disappeared with the warmer temperatures and Imlil has had temperatures in the mid to high teens since then and the freezing level has been fluctuating at around 3800m to 4200m.

 

Snowpack and Snow Cover

The snow is retreating as expected! See the photos below for current snow cover.

 

IMG_6040

Looking at Toubkal and the south col route from Afella! 24-4-14

 

IMG_6068

South Col of Toubkal (photo taken from WNW Ridge), 25-4-14

 

IMG_6088

A returning party on the traverse into the south cwm on Toubkal on the sol col route, 24-4-14

 

IMG_6082

Looking back at the traverse before the summit of Toubkal, 25-4-14

 

Climbing Conditions

The classic mountaineering routes on peaks such as Afella and Akioud still require both an ice axe and crampons, but more sun-exposed routes like the south col of Toubkal are for the most part clear of snow and can be negotiated without crampons, but an ice axe, to cut a few steps and plunge on a few of the snow-covered traverses, would see an experienced walker through with no problems.

 

IMG_6049

Peaks: Ras, Timesguida n-Ouanoukim, and Akioud. All of them 4,000m peaks! (photo taken from the top of Afella,  24-4-14

Refuge Access

As mentioned in the last conditions update there is good access to the Toubkal refuges with the path being clear of snow and mules being able to pack in equipment and supplies all the way to the refuges!

 

Winter Conditions Summary

Toubkal and the High Atlas mountains continue to shed their snow base! Some of the classic routes on the more northerly aspects still require crampons and ice axes, but routes such as the south col of Toubkal are for the most part clear of snow and doable for the experienced mountaineer/trekker with just an ice axe for the snow-covered traverse sections on the route.

 

With winter on its way out, it is time for some summer scrambling and rock climbing! As mentioned in the previous post we run scrambling and multi-pitch rock trips in the Toubkal Massif. So if you are looking to experience the more vertical world the High Atlas has to offer please get in touch with us at morocco@the-mountain-people.com and have a look at http://www.the-mountain-people.com/alpine-ridges/.

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

1 Comment

GSM Mobile Phone Coverage Mgoun Region

Mgoun

Mgoun 4,068m

Mountain Mobile Phone Coverage Mgoun

As mentioned in my previous blog post I was out guiding on Mgoun last week. I wanted to give a quick update on mobile phone coverage in that area.

 

Mgoun is the most remote of the 4,000m peaks in the High Atlas and is a serious undertaking. Generally speaking you must be self-reliant in this corner of the world and the mobile coverage is very limited if not non-existant once off into the mountains. After speaking with the refuge guardian I was delighted to find that he had marked a spot of GSM coverage about 500m NW heading directly towards the peak of Aghouri (3,536m). The peak connects to the Tizi ‘ Tarkeddit (3,400m) the pass you typically come over to access the refuge.

 

Here is a photo taken on the left side of the Tarkeddit Refuge (2,900m) if you are looking up toward Aghouri peak. It is quite hard to see the spot but it is marked at the moment with a white bag covering a stone sitting on a boulder that has a very large boulder behind it. I have marked it in this photo with a red arrow.

 

GSM Coverage Tarkeddit Plateau

GSM Coverage Tarkeddit Plateau

 

I also took a GPS grid reference at the point:

N 31.53521

W006.51919

 

If you have any issues finding the coverage point get the guardian at the Tarkeddit refuge to show you the spot. It is worth checking that your service provider works on the Maroc Telecom network before heading out because that is the mobile service that covers the spot described above.

 

Also, if you are heading into this area, I would get rescue insurance that covers helicopter rescue services. There is a good private helicopter company called Heliconia based in Marrakech who can do a helicopter rescue from the Tarkeddit plateau where the refuge is situated. Contact them through their website for further details on helicopter rescue services at http://www.helicoptere.heliconia-maroc.com/

 

The Eastern Atlas is a beautiful area that is well worth a visit but you need to go prepare if heading into more remote areas. If you are interested in the trips we run for Mgoun please see get in touch at morocco@the-mountain-people.com.

 

Categories: Blog, High Atlas, James, Morocco, Mountain Information, Mountaineering, Trekking
Tags: , ,

Leave a comment

Toubkal Winter Conditions #21

Latest Toubkal Winter Conditions Report

Spring has arrived with the apple and cherry blossoms coming out in the Toubkal Massif and Mgoun areas! I was out guiding a father and son team on Mgoun last week and we had a successful summit day – well done guys! The weather was fantastic with warm temperatures, sunshine and low winds but we still needed our crampons and ice axes for the 4km ridge line to the summit of Mgoun (4068m). This 4000m peak is the most remote and committing in the High Atlas mountains of Morocco.

 

Iain and Garvie at the start of the traverse under Mgoun West to gain the ridge to Mgoun

Iain and Garvie at the start of the traverse under Mgoun West to gain the ridge to Mgoun, 10-4-14

 

Ridge to the summit of Mgoun 4,068m 10-4-14

Ridge to the summit of Mgoun (4,068m), 10-4-14

Do get in touch with us at morocco@the-mountain-people.com if you are interested in climbing Mgoun!

 

Recent Weather

Warmer temperatures, with the freezing level around 4,000m, have caused a huge amount of the snow to melt. You will still find snow at the higher altitudes especially on northerly aspects, but the snow cover will continue to decrease with the freezing level going above the summit of Toubkal this week.

 

Walk into the Tarkeddit Refuge

Walk into the Tarkeddit Refuge, 8-4-14

 

Tarkeddit plateau

Tarkeddit plateau, 9-4-14

Snowpack

There are currently freeze-thaw cycles going on at the 4,000m mark which will continue to create a hard, well-consolidated snowpack. You will most likely require crampons/ice axes for the early morning ascents of the higher peaks.

 

Climbing Conditions (Alpine Grades)

There is still a small amount of ice at the higher altitudes but don’t count on winter climbing conditions with the current thaw!

 

Toubkal (if you look closely you can see how thin the ice is at the Afekhoi Cwm  Cascades) today 15-4-14

Toubkal (if you look closely you can see how thin the ice is at the Afekhoi Cwm Cascades) today 15-4-14

There are some great alpine ridges and this would be a great time to get on them. To name a few: SW Ridge of Toubkal West (PD+), SE of Toubkal (D-), West Ridge of Toubkal (D).

 

If the bigger ridge routes of the High Atlas are of interest check out our Alpine Ridges Trip http://www.the-mountain-people.com/alpine-ridges/.

 

Refuge Access

There is good access to the Toubkal refuges with the path being clear of snow and mules being able to pack in equipment and supplies all the way to the refuges! From now through till the autumn expect low-level trekking to be clear of snow i.e. mule support will be ideal for longer treks.

 

Ridge and the summit of Mgoun, 8-4-14

Ridge and the summit of Mgoun, 8-4-14

 

Winter Conditions Summary

To sum up: spring has arrived and a big thaw is on! Snow at the higher altitudes will remain for a while yet especially on the north facing areas. Crampons and ice axes may still be needed for early morning starts, but with the current thaw this may not last into May.

 

For weather forecasts see:

 

 

 

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

Leave a comment