Two weeks ago today and we were acclimatising in the Mouflons refuge under Jbel Toubkal. Earlier in the day we had walked in to the Refuge from Imlil and have to admit that the final hour of the walk was tough..... At a height of 3200m and with deep snow all around you wouldn't think heat would have been a big issue - however it was- the lack of wind and the beating sun took its toll!!
A good feed (would love to say a good night sleep too!) and we woke on the Thursday and decided to give Toubkal a bash. The heavy snow from a few days earlier meant we would have been swimming up the North cwm route, so we decided to take advantage of previous footfall and headed up the South cwm route. Following this route and the snow pack on the "path" was well consolidated and the crampons bit well. The weather was good, with blue skies but a stiff breezy keeping the temperature down - we plodded on. Nothing too technical and we arrived on an empty summit which we enjoyed for about 30 minutes before the other party arrived. The hill was quiet as were the refuges. We were lucky at the Mouflons refuge and had a dorm entirely to ourselves. Nothing but good things to say about this refuge, nice large woodburner kept the lounge toasty and the food was excellent, served up by the friendly staff and especially chef Aziz who was fantastic....
The following day we rested at the Refuge - basking in sun with T-shirts on the balcony and planning our trip up Ras and Timesguida!!
So following our rest day we rose in the dark and started the walk into Ras and up to the Tizi n-Ouagane. The weather was perfect with no breeze and blue skies.... Pink cirrus filled the skies to the north as we headed for the Tizi. Once we had reached the east ridge we were pleasantly surprised to find some nice scrambling up the ridge. Although not too technically difficult were we very aware of our situation and location and care was taken as help is a long way away in the High Atlas..... Some great scambling anD we reached the top of the east ridge. From here it was a walk to the summit of Ras with a spectacular snow bridge leading to a final pull to the summit of Ras- the third highest in the Atlas. My friend took this picture of me coming off this snow arête with a spectacular back drop!! A short descent and re-ascent saw us on Timesguida - the second highest peak on the High Atlas. The weather was still cracking so finding the top of the east ridge and descent route was not difficult - something which maybe more challenging in poor weather. Some carefully down climbing down the scrambles and we made it back to the refuge by early afternoon. A fantastic day and I can say this route was probably more enjoyable than Toubkal in my opinion. I have attached a short video of the experience, however working on a longer video diary of the experience which will hopefully be ready in few weeks... The following day we walked out to Imlil and stayed at the annex which was also very good. Then a couple of days exploring Marrakech from a Riad at the Souks (much more scary than 4000m mountains!!)..... Will update the blog when I complete the short film......
Some thoughts and reports from my outdoors activties...