I summited Toubkal the highest peak in North Africa (Part 2)

The ascension from Refuge de Toubkal Les Mouflons to the summit

The thin air at the refuge de Toubkal and the stuffed room made it almost impossible to sleep during the night. We went to bed around midnight, tried to sleep  and got up around 5 a.m.

I was having a severe headache when I woke up, so I took a Paracetamol pill and went to the salon for breakfast. It was bad, the tea was almost cold and the bread crusty. Outside, the groups were waiting for each other to start the climb. Fears of not going for the mountain kicked in, as the guides were afraid of the risk of avalanches from the new snow layer. 

Finally one group decided to go for the climb and everyone followed suite. The guides were full at work, helping their clients wearing their gear, like the gloves, the head torches, and the ice cleats.

The climb from the refuge  to the summit was everything but easy. It was steep and physically challenging due to the thick snow. Every step was an effort on its own, and the altitude sickness symptoms made matters worse. The weather was so cold that the water started to freeze inside the bottles. The forever steep mountain seemed never ending that it took me a huge deal of courage to attain the 4000m landmark. There was a sign indicating the danger of cliffs. I was doing 200 steps at a time then rest. It was around 4100m altitude that the mountain geodesic sign finally showed. That relieved me a lot, I was determined to reach it despite the great physical suffering.

I reached the summit around noon. The sensation I had from successfully climbing Toubkal can not be described in words. I just broke in tears after realizing that a long saught dream has now become a reality. I planted my hiking poles in the snow and headed directly to the pyramidal sign to take  souvenir photos. We rested a bit and ate some dried fruit and tuna. I felt horrible from the altitude that I couldn't digest anything and throwed up everything I ate. 

Me and Ayman gearing up for the mountain

the part of the mountain above the refuge is very steep, exhausting start

Our first pause here

I loved how this group of almost 20 people kept a one rythm, going together at slow but steady cadence till the summit.

Pauses are vital to catch one's breath and eat some dried fruits for some energy.

Stunning views along the way

Ice cleats are a necessary asset in the snowy mountain, it prevents you from slipping by giving your foot a good grip on ice and snow.

The 4000m landmark

This is at approximately 4130 altitude, some meters away from the summit. You can see the pyramidal structure at the summit in the background of this picture.

A view from the summit.

The dearest photo for me from this treck. On the summit with my companions and a flag of my hometown's football team RSB.

The return

We decided it was better to lose altitude as soon as possible. I  didn't enjoy much the treck down from the summit to the refuge de Toubkal. I was physically finished, the giddiness made it dangerous for me to go down alone. It was around 3900m altitude that we had the idea that it was best for my team Ayman and Hamid to help me skate on the snow using my softshell jacket as skating mechanism. I was feeling better after losing altitude quickly. I felt I could continue walking till the refuge, which I did. I took the chance to snap some photos of the beautiful white mountains surrounding me.

Upon arrival to the refuge de Toubkal, I changed my wet socks after a quick half-shower. I then sat at the table with my friends outside the refuge under the sun and sipped some hot tea. This was a much needed pause, before continuing our way down to Imlil. The easy way down was a good opportunity for us to enjoy the surrounding views as much as possible. It was silent, except from the burble of the waters flowing from the mountains. We evolved into the clouds, making sure steps in the rocky mountains, leaving Chamharouch before us in the falling night, before finally arriving to Armed, where a friend of Hamid was waiting for us to drive us to our motel in Imlil.

Ressources :