Summitting North Africa's Highest Peak

Trip Start Sep 06, 2010
Trip End Apr 14, 2012

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Gites Atlas

Flag of Morocco  , Marrakech-Tensift-Al Haouz,
Saturday, August 27, 2011

Michelle, having refrained from Mohammed's food for dinner last night, woke up at 5AM ready to takle Northern Africa's Highest Peak.  Brendan, however, after eating Mohammed's dinner, woke with another bout of gut issues like the day before.  Wen confronted about this issue, Mohammed gave altitude as the reason for our symtoms, however, as we were both taking Diamox, and as Brendan has previously experienced altitude sickness, he know that what he was feeling was not from the altitude.  Not to be beaten, we readied ourselves and headed up the mountain in the early light of day.  The climb to the top took just under 4 hours which is not bad going considering Brendan almost threw in the towel about 70% of the way up, battling with gastro.  However, with a timely vomit on the mountain he was keen to continue and at last we summitted Jebal Toubkal and enjoyed the views over the High Atlas, even if for most of the time Brendan's head was in his hands.  It took us 2.5 hours to decent the mountain, clambering over rocks and scree.  Our guide was obviously getting frustrated at our 'slowness' (there were several people behind us) and spent most of the decent at least 300m ahead of us- good guiding!.  When it started to rain, making the rocks particularly slippery, we thought this would bring Mohammed back, but no, we continued down the mountain showing little concern for his paying customers.  At the refuge there was a great buzz in the air as all the summitters from the morning swapped stories and shared the excitment of the acheivement they had just made.  After picking at lunch, we left the Toubkal Refuge for Aroumd a small village near Imlil.  The walk was very straight forward and well marked as we made ourway back through Imlil Valley.  Dispite this, we were accompanied by our guide for about 10 minutes of the 3.5hour hike, the rest of the time he seemed more interested in chatting to other guides 300m ahead or talking to other trekkers.  Again, the walk was easy, but we had paid for a guide so we expect one.  For the night we stayed at a quaint little gite (hostel) run by Mohammed's some.  The patio overlooked the great mountains of the High Atlas which gave us a nice backdrop for dinner that Mohammed did not prepare so we tentatively snacked on.  After a long and both mentally and physically exhasting day we retired to our comfy beds by 8PM with the blissful knowledge that we didn't have to get up again for 12 hours!

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