Toubkal is the highest peak in Morocco and North Africa. The ascent of The Toubkal summit is a fulfillment of oneself. You will go beyond your physical limits.
Also, this hike is an opportunity to see the magnificent landscapes of the Atlas Mountains. Indeed, It is one of the most beautiful hikes in Morocco.
How to climb Toubkal? What to expect? And how to organize and prepare?
This article collects all the information you need to succeed in your ascent of Toubkal. Either you choose to go by yourself or through an agency, you will find the details of a good organization.
- Starting Point: The Berber Village of Imlil
- From Imlil To The Feet Of Toubkal
- Toubkal Summit Base Camp
- From The Base Camp to Toubkal Summit
- Way Back: From Toubkal To Village D’imlil
- Equipment For The Ascent To Toubkal
- Physical Preparation For The Ascent Of Toubkal
- Hiring A Guide For The Ascent Of Toubkal
The Ascent Of Toubkal Is "Easy"
Toubkal is probably one of the most accessible peaks of its latitude (4,116 meters) in the world.
The ascent of Toubkal is a great adventure that takes place on a 2 to 3-day hike. The ascension is not technical and does not need a lot of mountaineering experience.
Although, good organization, minimum physical condition, and a lot of motivation are necessary.
Are there some risks in climbing Mount Toubkal? Of course, yes!
Hiking Mount Toubkal
Despite the ease of this ascent, the risks are not absent. There is a history of fatal accidents during the ascension of Toubkal. Unexpected natural elements or a lack of preparation can explain these unfortunate incidents.
You have to know when to go, what equipment to bring and how to organize yourself.
Above all, you have to keep in mind that this is a glorious summit. Toubkal is a mountain to be considered, like all the others, with great respect and humility!
Toubkal Ascent Route
The excursion to Toubkal National Park often starts in Marrakech. The village of Imlil is most easily accessible from the ocher city.
Starting Point: The Berber Village of Imlil
The Berber village of Imlil, the starting point for the ascent of Toubkal. It is one of the most beautiful Moroccan Berber villages. Nestled at the foot of Toubkal at 1740 meters, it alone is worth the trip. We highly recommend you to read our complete guide to visit Imlil.
In Imlil, you can rent hiking equipment. Local lodges and guides offer the necessary equipment for the ascent of Toubkal for hire. Shoes and snowshoes for the snow, sleeping bags, or even more suitable jackets for the cold.
You can also hire a hiking guide in Imlil. It is easier to find a local guide and to negotiate the price.
From Imlil To The Feet Of Toubkal
This ascent is the last stop before the summit.
From the village of Imlil to the Toubkal refuge, a pleasant hike awaits you. A nice 6-hour walk when you take your time, and you have to. The landscapes are impressive, and the drop is gradual. The hike is accessible to all!
Right in the middle of this mountain path, you will cross an unusual place: The court of Chamharouch.
According to legends, Chamharouch is the king of djinns (spirits invisible to humans).
Chamharouch is also considered the guardian of the Toubkal mountain. Here, you can see Moroccans of different ages arriving breathless and legs shaking. People go there to seek healing from sterility, rheumatism, and other incurable diseases.
For hikers instead, Chamharouch is an unexpected stopover for a good lunch break or to cool off. You can eat good tagines while watching the unusual spectacle.
Toubkal Summit Base Camp
Toubkal Summit Base Camp
Before the final ascent to the summit, the base camp is the last stage of the first day of the Toubkal hike. From here you will need about 4 hours of walking to the famous summit.
Toubkal Summit base camp offers two accommodation options: Toubkal Refuge and The Mouflons.
Toubkal Refuge was built by the French Alpine Club of Casablanca in 1938. The infrastructure is basic but comfortable and clean. You can shower and dine there. Furthermore, the price is reasonable (15 euros a night).
The "Mouflons" is more recent (only a few years ago), more expensive, and less popular. The reasons are hospitality, cleanliness, and maintenance.
You can choose to spend the night in a bivouac next to the two lodges. Yet, it is not very comfortable before starting the climb.
Just remember that you are here to sleep a few hours before the very early ascent to the summit.
From The Base Camp to Toubkal Summit
I highly advise you to get up early to prepare for the ascent (set your alarm to 4 am or earlier).
Next, give yourself a good boost of energy by taking a full breakfast before the ascent.
The ascent is the time when you most need a guide or to join a group. In the dark, even in the light of the flashlight, the path is not easily identifiable. As you approach the summit, it is a zigzag path with a more steep rise.
The ascent itself is not technical or tedious. Yet, you will need to take short breaks to acclimatize to the altitude.
After 4 hours of walking on average, you will reach the summit: the highest peak in North Africa. From the top, you will admire the splendor of the Atlas mountain range. You are now touching the clouds: it is a magical moment.
The euphoria of success should not make you forget the most important thing: your safety. So beware of strong winds and do not venture too close to the cliff.
The descent is the hardest part of the ascent of Toubkal. In summer and winter, the decline can present risks. In summer, the terrain is rocky, steepy, and slippery.
As for winter, the snow can sometimes hide large crevices. So you have to go down in slow motion. And you need to pay close attention to where you put your feet.
Mountaineers will tell you: It’s not enough to reach the top, but you have to know how to descend safely!
Way Back: From Toubkal To Village D’imlil
It takes, on average, eight hours to climb to the top of Toubkal and come back down to the base camp.
You will need to start the ascent very early. Going ahead before dawn will grant you two advantages. You will avoid the strong winds in the morning at the summit. And also, it will let you descend without suffering too much from the powerful sun.
When you return to the base camp, it is time to take a long and well-deserved rest. To regain your strength, think about having lunch there (as early as possible). Now It is time to start the second part of the way back to Imlil.
The Return to Imlil is simple: follow the same path you took during the going. This time the walk is faster because it is going downhill. You have to make arrangements to get to Imlil before nightfall anyway.
Between the ascent of the summit and the return to Imlil, it takes more than 12 hours of sustained walking.
Congratulations, you have completed your ascent of Toubkal. The moment of celebration is not at the top of the summit but on arrival in Imlil safely.
This second day is a very long day of walking. You can celebrate your exploit with another night in Imlil or a glorious return to Marrakech.
Remember: it is not enough to reach the top, but you have to know how to descend safely!
Essential Tips On Preparing To Climb Toubkal
Equipment For The Ascent To Toubkal
Road To Toubkal Summit
The equipment for climbing the Toubkal does not differ from general hiking equipment.
Make sure that you have suitable shoes for the nature of the terrain. Also, consider the right hiking equipment in the snow: snowshoes and waterproof clothing.
You can rent everything in Imlil village or even at the base camp.
Physical Preparation For The Ascent Of Toubkal
The ascent of Toubkal is not technically challenging. Yet, good physical condition is a must. And, by no means do not make the ascent of Toubkal your first hike.
Weeks before the ascent, consider taking several short hikes to prepare your body.
Hiring A Guide For The Ascent Of Toubkal
These rules also applied to the Armed road to the summit of Toubkal. Hiring a qualified local guide is now mandatory.
Before any ascent of Jbel Toubkal, check with the office of mountain guides of Imlil (tel +212 524 485 626). They will inform you of the availability of a professional mountain.
When To Climb Toubkal Summit?
Toubkal In Winter
You can ascend the Toubkal summit in either winter or summer.
Yet during winter, the ascent is not a walk in the park. Snowstorms make the ascension pretty challenging.
Best time to climb the Toubkal summit: From April to October is the ideal time to climb Toubkal. However, It is necessary to inquire about the period of the summer thunderstorms in August.
Periods to avoid: In winter when there is heavy snowfall, and in summer when there are rainstorms.
Climb Toubkal On An Organized Excursion
Climbing Toubkal With A Guide
Many agencies and associations of hikers organize ascension to the Toubkal summit.
If you are a beginner hiker, this is a good option for the ascent.