Sunday, February 22, 2009

Climbing and trekking in Morocco

Mount Toubkal at 4167m is the highest peak in the Moroccan High Atlas Mountains and a magnet for those wanting an extraordinary climbing adventure. Getting information about the climb, the weather conditions and available accommodation and guides in the area has always taken a lot of searching, so we sent our own resident mountaineer, Sandy, to check out the best route to find the information you want.
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After struggling through a mass of websites I finally found a couple of places that were packed with information, good advice and some inspiring photographs.

Toubkal Mountain Guides are an outfit with a great reputation in the climbing community. They are a small, independent mountain guiding company whose professional guides are drawn from all over the world. At the present time they employ Irish, English, French, Swiss & Americans.

Most of these guides live year-round in Morocco and have years of combined experience in leading small groups & individuals to some of the most remote and unspoilt areas in this fabulous mountain range.The Toubkal Mountain Guides are headed up by husband and wife team Des and Nathalie Clark.

Des Clark is an (Irish) professional International Mountain Leader and founding director of Wilderplaces Adventure Tours NI Ltd, an Irish company with its offices in the south of Morocco. Outside of the Moroccan High Atlas, he has climbed and guided extensively in the Alps, Pyrenees, Iceland, Bolivia, Chile and Argentina.

NathalieClark is a widely travelled & multi-lingual mother of three children. An experienced French & E.F.L. teacher, she especially enjoys the combination of wilderness travel & diverse ethnic cultures. Nathalie leads a number of cultural village and family adventure trips when not home-schooling! Trying to learn the unwritten Berber language Tashelhayt is just one of her current projects.

What I like about the Toubkal Mountain Guides websites ( they have a blog as well) is the emphasis on safety. Toubkal is not a picnic walk. The minimum time required for a fit individual is 3 to 4 days depending on weather conditions. There are two refuges below Toubkal. One is run by the Club Alpin Francais and the other a private venture called Mouflon. All reports suggest that for comfort, Mouflon is preferable.

Of course Toubkal is only one destination and as the related website NomadicMorocco points out "Both the Western High and Mgoun regions offer superb trekking and mountaineering - "far from the madding crowd"!

Although Ighil Mgoun has the attraction of being over 4000m (it is 4068m), it is far enough away from Marrakech and remote enough from the main valley regions to prevent it being over-run with day-trippers and the like.

The Western High Atlas are even less visited but there are some hidden gems to reward those who venture - Immaradene 3350m and Moulay Ali (also 3350m) being just two.

Incidently, NomadicMorocco is the trading name of Wilderplaces Adventure Tours NI Ltd (a company registered in Northern Ireland) but their office is based in southern Morocco.

Essential info - visit these links.

Toubkal Mountain Guides

Toubkal Mountain Guides Blog ( with weather conditions)

Nomadic Morocco

The View from Fez would like to thank Des Clark for permission to reproduce the photographs in this article.



Anonymous said...

A friend of mine and I are currently translating into Arabic & French a small book on mountain eco-hiking.

Unknown said...

This is very interesting. thanks for that. we need more sites like this.