Jebel Toubkal (4167m) – Challenging trekking in Marocco

Jebel Toubkal, MAROKKO  ||

I love the mountains and I used to do hiking, usually in South Tirol in Italy, where I spend all my vacations with my parents when I was little. But now it was time for bigger adventures. My husband Chris and I are on our dream journey around the world. Right now we are in the middle of Marocco and facing the highest mountain in North Africa, the Jebel Toubkal at 4167 meter above sea level.

Jebel Toubkal Trekking
The view from Imlil up to Jebel Toubkal

Cause I used to climb 2000-meter-mountains quite easily, I am pretty convinced I will accomplish this two-day-trip up to a 4167-meter-summit as well. “Can´t be too difficult”, I guess, but I will be wrong. It´s going to be the hardest challenge in my life.

Jebel Toubkal Trekking
We start our trekking in Imlil (1700 meter)

We are starting our trip in Imlil, a little village on 1700 meter and pleasant 20°C. The path leads through scenic gorges and is pretty stony. The entire way up there wont be shade and the sun is burning mercilessly.

It feels like thousands of people overtake us and fly easily above the path while we fighting the steep trail.

Jebel Toubkal Trekking
Facing the summit already, but it´s still a long way to go
Jebel Toubkal Trekking
Even the sheeps jumping up the mountains easily
Jebel Toubkal Trekking
The locals sell fresh orange juice along the trail and we take every single refreshment we get. Good idea!

But then we realise these sporty seeming people were followed by a gaggle of donkeys lifting all their luggage including heavy suitcases. Although donkeys are really strong animals it is a torture for them. We feel right lifting everything we might need on our own and continue our way more motivated and confident.

Jebel Toubkal Trekking
The donkeys lifting everything for some tourists.

After a exhausting six-hour hike, we finally arrived at the refuge Toubkal which is already located at 3207 meter above sea level. Here we are going to spent the night and share a dormitory with 23 other freaks for about 25€ per person. Included is dinner and breakfast, which is totally fine. The refuge is simple but clean and neat. Although I feel satisfied to reach even this point, I know the main challenge will follow soon.

The Refuge Toubkal
The refuge Toubkal located at 3207 meter above sea level.

One say it takes you between two and four hours to reach the top, depending on your fitness level. So we expecting the middle of 3 hours for us and plan to reach the summit at sunrise, about 6 am. 

Start at 3 am
Well prepared but still sleepy. We start at 3 am in the morning.

That means the alarm wake us up in the middle of the night at 2 am and we get prepared for the big climb. We eat five dates to gain some power, but the real breakfast will follow after return to the refuge. The outside temperature is below zero and a strong wind is blowing when we start at 3 am. 

STart at the refuge
Start at the refuge

But the sky is clear. Billions of stars and the moon are spending a mystery light on the way up. Nevertheless the trail is steep, hidden and the higher we come covered with ice and snow. We need to put on our climbing irons to get slowly further. It is really exhausting. 

Without climbing irons it is even harder to walk up the icefield
Without climbing irons it is even harder to walk up the icefield
Jebel Toubkal Trekking
The icefield is steep and slippery
It gets colder and colder
It gets colder and colder the higher we come
Think you see the summit ?
You think you see the summit, but it is hidden the hole way

While the air gets thinner and thinner, it gets harder to breathe properly. We move slowly, have to concentrate on our last power, but step by step we come closer and closer. Chris is doing better than me, although he is carrying the backpack. Guess he is much fitter than me. 

The last meters are the worst
The last meters are the worst
Almost done
We´re coming closer

With my last energy and motivation I finally reach Jebel Toubkals summit with Chris. We see the cross, where all the other hikers already celebrating their goal of 4167 meters. We are the last ones.

Reached the summit cross
Finally: We reached the summit cross of Jebel Toubkal at 4167 meter above sea level

So how long it has now taken to the summit? Well, to be honest, we needed six hours… I know its quite embarrassing … BUT that is not only caused by my fitness level. We also took lots of photos and videos on the way and one time we went even wrong. So unfortunately we lost 1,5 hours and lots of energy.

The Atlasmountains
The view over the Atlasmountains is amazing
Happy we made it
We made it
The view is amazing
The view reaches even the Sahara

But all this does not longer matter at this point when we touching the summit cross proudly and facing the amazing view around Jebel Toubkal satisfied. The view reaches even the Sahara. “Funny”, I think, “3 days ago I was transpire in the desert at 40°C and now I am freezing at -10°C” on the summit of Jebel Toubkal.” Times are changing fast these days.

Icefield return
The return through the icefield is as much exhausting as the way up
On our return we finally see the way we went up in the dark

Although I regreted my decision to climb Jebel Toubkal on my way up, I feel motivated and proud on my way back to dare this amazing adventure.

And at least I think I need to apologize for all the mistakes I made here.      English is not my native language, I just want to try it out though 🙂

Hope you guys get the point anyways …

If not, watch the german video below about our Toubkal Trekking 😉

What was your biggest challenge so far ? Leave a comment below!

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