1,5 km – with Prasana, Bonnie and Mohammed.
↑ 960m ↓ 960m
The morning after the first night:
As I mentioned before, only the common area is heated. Not the dormitories. F*** it was freezing. I guess it was around 5°C and I’m not exaggerating. You could see your own breath. But we wrapped ourselves in super cosy sleeping bags and 2 big, thick duvets. That’s why getting up became an even bigger problem than usually. There is only one way from your sleeping bag into your 5 layers of cloths. Slip out of your sleeping bag, climb down the loft bed, run to the pile of cloths you prepared the night before, put on thermals, put on t-shirt, put on hiking trousers, jumper, fleece jacket, down jacket, rain jackets, waterproof trousers, hat, scarf, optional gloves. Done within 3 seconds. Not giving a shit about makeup and sprint to the heated common area. Alright, somewhere between dressing and not giving a shit about makeup was brushing teeth involved.
After having breakfast we started the Toubkal climb at 8:45am. The first half was a very steep climb, purely in snow. Mohammed, our guide, gave us advice where to be careful or where to step if there was a difficult part of the climb.
No. of injured: 1 – my hiking pole. I lend it to Prasana and it didn’t quite survived the pressure of his entire body weight when he slipped.
No. of almost-casualties: 1 – the same hiking pole. It escaped and slid down the slope when Prasana tried to steady himself. But its adventure was over 200m down the hill and we could get it back later.
A big thank you to Decathlon, Mountain Warehouse, Uniqlo, Primark and Imodium for keeping me warm and upright.
Highlights: Reaching the summit *woo hoo*. And bum-sliding down 2 slopes *woop woop*. (Both deliberately). You need to take your chance if you’re allowed to be a kid again. I’m just waiting for the bruises though…
Challenges: Snow. Steep slopes. A headache that said “Hello, love!” in the night and was very attached to me throughout the day. Welcome altitude sickness. 20 meters in height before the summit nausea kicked in. I shouldn’t have eaten the nuts 5 minutes earlier. Neither the cereal bar. Nor the bounty. Nor the snickers… So close before the summit…
(If you want to read more about altitude sickness – symptoms, treatment, medication – read on here.)
Bonnie didn’t feel well either but Mohammed you convince her to keep going. But we reached it all. And we were the only ones at the summit. You know these peaks like Ben Nevis, Snowdon or Scafell Pike that are overrun by tourists. Here, there was NOBODY. All others reached the summit before us. The view was breathtaking. Beautiful mountains. And if you’re lucky and the view is clear you can look far into Morocco and the Saharan desert.
What I learned on this climb is that you can’t afford loosing concentration. If you slip or fall, that could be it for you. Every year there are a few casualties at Mount Toubkal. Only a few months ago a young woman died when she took pictures sitting on the edge of a slope and fell, loosing her balance when she got up. Watch every step you do. Be careful. And don’t sit down. Neither on edges nor on the snow to rest. Mohemmed couldn’t say that enough.
Back in the refuge we had Berber whisky. The best drink you can have after such a climb. Oh, it’s Moroccan mint tea by the way. I kind of got addicted to it…