Mount Toubkal, nicknamed Jebel Toubkal, ranks North Africa’s highest peak at 4,167m. Located amongst Morocco’s High Atlas Himalayas range, the climb to its peak surely presents both a challenging and demanding trek, mainly suitable for hikers with a certain fitness level. Here we will discuss in detail about Mount Toubkal and try to answer your question, “How Long Does It Take to Climb Mount Toubkal?”
How Does Mount Toubkal Climb Looks Like?
If you are judging the mountain by its lower height, then let us tell you that climb will be much harder than you expected as the altitude of Mount Toubkal consists of 40% less oxygen compared to what it is at sea level. But the rewards of enduring all the challenges will be beautiful when the views of Marrakesh city stretch below you, accompanied by the High Atlas Mountains and the Sahara Desert in the south. The views around the peak after completing the climb are so compelling that it’s understandable if you see the sparkling line of hikers heading toward the top of the peak on year’s mornings.
The goal of every trekker and mountaineer here is to climb the peak before sunrise and slowly return to the base camp via the rocky slope. However, certain rules changed after the tragic incident occurred on the mountain. Having that said, in December 2018, two young trekkers, Louisa Jespersen and Maren Ueland, were brutally killed in a terrorist attack while they were returning down from the mountain of Toubkal.
The Ascent: How Long the Climb Takes
Mount Toubkal climbing generally takes around 4 -5 days to complete. Here we will discuss in detail the climbs and stops we will be making during our climbs below.
The start of Climbing
Your trekking journey starts from the village known as Imlil, which is also famous as the trekkers’ popular hub now. If you are a solo traveler, you can stock up on food, stoves, fuels, etc, in Imlil. Likewise, you can hire a guide or porters to assist you up to the top of the peak.
After getting all stocked up, you will now climb out of Imlil through the dense walnut forest and stop at the several checkpoints for your passport checks. After getting your passport checked, you will further trek toward the village of Aroumd. You can use this place as an alternate stop base for the peak and take a few days to relax after returning from the Toubkal peak.
Reaching Base Camp
From Aroumd, you will begin to trek for a few hours towards the Shrine of Sidi Shamharoush at (2430m). It is a local place pre-Islamic origins, also known as the place of sacrifice for those women who want to get pregnant and be a mother. You will hike past the shrine and reach another police checkpoint, where you will get your passports checked again and continue to climb towards the Toubkal Refuge or base camp at 3207m.
There usually are two mountain Huts at the base camp. One is CAF’s Nelter Refuge, and another is Mouflon Refuge (privately owned). These two huts are operated year-round, providing shelter to the hikers climbing to the top of the mountain.
From the base camp, there are two options for you to choose one to take a hike to Marrakesh in the very early morning to reach the peak of Toubkal Peak and return the same day, or you could just spend the night in the base camp huts and prepare your climb. During your stay at the base camp, you can hike around the nearby areas after resting your passport information with the police.
Climbing in The Morning
After spending the night in the base camp, your climbing journey starts early with an in to reach the top of the peak before sunrise. To reach the top of the peak, you will have to make nearly 1000m of vertical climb over just 3.5km from the base camp, and to make this, you will have to leave the hut at least three hours earlier.
If you travel during the summer months, you will climb the rocky, loose scree route with fewer non-technical challenges. But, if you travel during the winter months, you might have some challenges at the peak cost of the exposed face. You will continue climbing until you reach the pass where the Marrakesh twinkles.
Th Final Ascend to The Peak
Once you reach Marrakesh, the sudden gain in elevation with low oxygen hits you leaving many trekkers gasping for air. From Marrakesh, you will need to make a low but steady climb toward the peak of Toubkal. There is just a final flat stretch to reach the peak summit, where you have to cross the route where the whole High Atlas spreads as you look down. After spending a certain amount of time in the peak, you will slide descend back through the scree slopes to the base camp and then to Imlil.
How hard is it to climb Mount Toubkal?
Climbing Mt Toubkal does not require any technical climb. So trekkers with excellent physical fitness with minimal hiking experience can climb Mount Toubkal, which generally takes 4 to 5 days to complete. However, before the trek, be well prepared and respect the peak’s altitude because it may seem like a small peak at first, but the altitude where the air is generally low compared to the sea level can make your whole trek more complex than you expected.
In addition, Mountain Toubkal climbing requires no technical climb, but still, there may be other risks while climbing, like fatalities and the risk of injuries. Among all the risks and difficulties, altitude sickness is a common one here, especially for trekkers who are very new to trekking. Still, with the proper acclimatization and preparation, climbing Mount Toubkal without any difficulty is an achievable aim.
The Two Main Routes Up Mount Toubkal
Usually, the north and the south are two popular routes to climb Mount Toubkal. Besides these two routes, there are still other versions, but these variations routes will be much harder to complete than the northern and southern routes of Mount Toubkal. If you want to climb the most common way, go for the South side route of the peak.
But why is the southern side of the route popular amongst all the routes? Probably because it’s much easier and commonly used by the climbers compared to the other ones. Also, this route is used by almost 98% of trekkers trekking to reach the peak of the mountain.
However, this does not mean the hill’s northern side route is unsuitable for the trek. It is suitable, but the trek will be much longer and require a skilled trekker with some experience to transverses it. So stick with the southern route during ascending and descending from Mt Mount Toubkal.
The southern route is more suitable to travel during the spring and summer, and the trekking will feel like a normal trek rather than a climb. Likewise, The south route has no technical difficulty during the spring and summer months. However, if you travel in the Winter season, the easier and non-technical south trails become a bit harder to travel with technical difficulties.
With proper acclimation at Imlil and the base camp, climbing Mount Toubkal should take 4-5 days from the south side route.
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