winter adventures in the high atlas mountains
"My experience of Paul is that he’s very much a safe pair of hands; someone who pays meticulous attention to detail, and who remains supportive and sensitive to the needs of the individual as well as the group. I’ve walked/climbed at altitude over many years but have never before experienced a group leader who has nailed down every issue concerning acclimatisation, hydration and necessary nutrition as well as Paul does. The trip was a resounding success and good friends made along the way. I’ll definitely be joining more of Paul’s trips..."
SO WHAT'S IT
The High Atlas Mountains in North Africa are simply stunning, a long mountain range that separates the Atlantic Coast with the Sahara Desert. There are a number of 4000m peaks, the highest being Jebel Toubkal at 4167m, this whole area has a real Alpine feel to it in the winter with traditionally very good snow conditions. The High Altas are very accessible from the UK, indeed I can arrive at the foot of them quicker than travelling to parts of Scotland! The aim of this week is to refresh our winter walking skills, ascend a number of 4000m peaks, immerse ourselves in the traditional Berber and Moroccan Culture and most importantly have a fantastic experience!
As with all these trips, the weather is the determining factor and may allow us to follow our plan or force us to change. I’ve started walking in the snow from the valley with knee deep snow for most of the week and also on other occasions the snowline hasn’t started until the hut and therefore a little easier on the legs! It’s always an adventure, but the key factors are that we stay safe, enjoy the week and hopefully summit. I prefer to keep the plan very open to allow us to make decisions compatible with the conditions on the ground.
Here's a very broad outline of the 8 days...
Fly to Marrakech, tranfer to Imlil
Acclimatise / refresh winter skills
An easier hill day after yesterday’s big summit, focusing on furthering our winter skills
Descend to Imlil and tranfer to Marrakech for the afternoon / evening
Walk to the Mouflons Hut at 3200m
Make an ascent of Toubkal Summit
Maybe another 4000m summit!
Normally the morning is spent in Marrakech and fly home in the afternoon / early evening
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS...
DO I NEED PREVIOUS EXPERIENCE?
Ideally you will have some basic winter walking experience behind you, however we will refresh all the required skills once we arrive. We will be affected by the effects of altitude during the week and whilst we’ll discuss how to manage this, walking in the mountains in winter can be quite physically tiring, so combined with the effects of altitude, it’s a fairly challenging environment.
To give yourself the best opportunity to enjoy this week, prior fitness training in the hills and mountains is essential.
WHAT EQUIPMENT DO I NEED?
This trip is in a winter environment so, crampons, ice axes and plenty of warm clothing will be needed.
I will send you a detailed kit list when you confirm your place.
WHERE DO WE MEET?
I don’t book your flights, rather once they are released I will confirm the flight I’m flying on and you book your own. Then we will meet centrally at the UK airport. If you wish to fly from another airport then you will need to ensure it arrives and departs in a similar timeframe to mine.
Myself (and another UK instructor if the numbers are more than 6)
All accommodation inc Imlil, Mouflons hut and a night in Marrakech - located a few hundred metres from Jemaa el Fnaa
Arrival and departure airport transfers and transport to Imlil
Mules/porters for getting our kit to the hut and back down
All food except for all lunches and the evening meal in Marrakech
WHAT"S NOT INCLUDED?
Visa - (not currently required) & vaccinations
Transceiver, Pole, Shovel (this will need to be hired for the week if the conditions require it)
Drinks/food in addition to the above
A £250 deposit* will secure your space and the balance payable 90 days prior to the start date.
On receipt of your deposit, I will send you a detailed itinerary, equipment list and a packing tick list. This will provide detailed information/advice on flights, accommodation, food, health and hygiene, environmental responsibilities, walking at altitude, fitness, insurance and currency.
*Non-refundable deposit please see Conditions of Booking