Mount Toubkal Winter Trek

Trip Code: XMXOW

Why we love it

Experience the High Atlas Mountains with a wintery twist – expect snow-capped peaks, icy groundcover, refreshing mountain air and clear skies that lead all the way to the ocean., Summit the highest peak in North Africa, the majestic Mount Toubkal, with an experienced local guide to lead the way., Hike through the rugged mountains with spectacular scenery at every turn and a trusty pack of mules heading up your crew., Enjoy traditional Moroccan cuisine, freshly cooked each day, to fuel you for your epic mountain adventures., Embrace the vibrant souks, sights, sounds and smells of Marrakech on a guided walking tour of the Medina., By travelling on this trip, you’ll directly support our Intrepid Foundation partner, Education for All. Donations help them support girls in the High Atlas Mountains through secondary school, bringing a generation of women out of the cycle of illiteracy, poverty and early marriage.

Is this trip right for me?

High Atlas Mountains can be very cold in the winter, with feel-like temperature reaching -20⁰C (or more on extreme days!), so you must have the appropriate footwear and clothing. To be fully prepared, please follow the recommended clothing list closely. As your luggage will be carried up the mountain by mules, we ask that you have no more than 1 bag (duffle bag or rucksack) weighing no more than 16 kgs and a small rucksack for trekking essentials.

Winter weather can be unpredictable in high mountains so we may need to make itinerary changes to keep the group safe and well at all times. If this occurs, we will do our best to find comparable activities and experiences

Important information

1.This is a Winter trekking trip, so the physical demands are higher than on any other trips. While no previous experience is necessary, a reasonable level of general fitness is required and will certainly help increase the enjoyment of the trip.
2. Parts of your trip go above 2800 meters / 9200 feet where it is common for travellers to experience some adverse health effects due to the altitude.
3. A single supplement is available if you’d prefer not to share a room on this trip. The single supplement applies to nights in Marrakech only and excludes nights spend on the approach and in the Basecamp (Days 2-5). Single supplement is subject to availability and there is limited number available per departure. If you would like to book a single supplement please speak to your booking agent for further information.

What to bring/pack

The following items are required for your trip unless otherwise noted. When packing, think layered clothing systems that work together and can be easily added or removed.

ESSENTIAL TREKKING EQUIPMENT
Daypack – You will be required to carry some essentials by yourself, so your daypack must have the capacity for several items: rain jacket, trousers, warm clothing including hat and gloves and extra layers, water bottle/thermos, camera equipment, sun cream, sunglasses and all other items you may need during the walk. You should consider day packs of at least a 30 to 40 litre capacity. Your main luggage will be carried by mule (16 kgs weight limit) all the way up to the refuge and items like sleeping bag, spare clothes, etc can be stored in there.
- Winter Hiking Boots/Shoes – insulated, lug-soled, waterproof and ideally well broken in. (Note: buy your boots/shoes 1/2 size to 1 size larger than your street shoes to allow for feet swelling and thicker socks). Your boots must be B1 crampon compatible, which means they are suitable for general winter hiking, with semi stiff mid-sole and more supportive upper ankle part. If in doubt, please check with your local outdoors store. Please note, there is no need for B2 crampon compatible boots on this trip, however, you may bring them if you already have a pair.
- 3-4 season sleeping bag. While blankets will be available in the refuge, they can be used for extra warmth and comfort, but bringing your own sleeping bag is essential.
- Expedition Socks – 2-4 pairs of padded hiking socks, mid-to heavyweight wool socks. No cotton socks please!
- Gaiters – waterproof and mid-ankle to just below the knee in length
- Insulated gloves – waterproof/breathable, insulated gloves
- Warm Hat & Fleece Gloves – fleece lined beanie and light-to-mid weight fleece or wool gloves
- Balaclava, neck gaiter and/or face mask – mid-weight fleece or wool balaclava or neck gaiter for windy days
- Base Layer/Long Underwear – 2-3 pairs of wicking tops and bottoms that are lightweight to midweight, synthetic wicking materials such as polyester, polypropylene or merino wool
- Fleece Pants – mid weight fleece pants or leggings for warmth
- Warm Tops – mid-weight sweaters or pullovers of wicking material such as merino wool, fleece or polypropylene
- Mid Layer Insulating Jacket – down-fill or synthetic-fill insulated “puffy” jacket or warm, heavy weight fleece jacket
- Insulated ski pants – waterproof/breathable pants insulated with a synthetic material
- Down Jacket – mid to heavy weight down filled jacket for summit push. Sub-zero temperatures with added wind chill can create a feel-like temperature reaching -20⁰C (or more on extreme days!)
- Hard-shell jacket – Waterproof/breathable Gore-Tex® or coated nylon jacket
- Casual Clothing & Footwear – comfortable clothes and shoes for evenings off the trail
Important Note: Please, no cotton hiking clothes

GEAR CHECKLIST
- Trekking Poles
- Insulated Water Bottle/Thermos – 2+ liter capacity, needs to be insulated to avoid freezing (Note: bladder/hose style hydration systems will not work for this trip due to extreme freezing temperatures). Please note, you will be able to refill filtered water on daily basis
- Headlamp – preferably with an L.E.D. bulb that works with AA or AAA batteries (Note: always test your headlamp before trips, travel/pack without batteries in device, and for longer trips (4+ days) consider a spare bulb and 1 set of spare batteries)
- Ski Goggles
- Contact Lenses and Glasses – if you wear contact lenses, please also bring a pair of glasses – your contacts are likely to become dirty and may be difficult to clean
- Sunglasses, Sunscreen, Lip Balm
- Toiletries
- Prescription Medication – please inform your trip leader of any medications you are taking
- 2-3 Face Masks, 1-2 Over-the-counter Rapid Antigen COVID-19 Tests

OPTIONAL ITEMS
- Support Braces – consider bringing any joint braces that may be currently needed or from past injuries, DRONES IN MOROCCO
Please note that drones are not permitted to enter or be used in Morocco, neither for personal nor professional/commercial use.

Physical rating

5

Snowshoeing and/or hiking in winter is naturally more strenuous given the additional physical effort required when hiking through snow, especially on steep terrain and when gaining altitude. To enjoy this trip you should be used to walking in the mountains on rocky terrain and on reasonably steep slopes. No previous experience is necessary and all equipment will be provided, but a reasonable level of general fitness is required and will certainly help increase the enjoyment of the trip and allow you to make the most of your treks around the High Atlas Mountains and to the top of Mount Toubkal, which is sure to be the highlight of the trip.

Please note that as the climate continues to change it is becoming more difficult to predict when and where snow will fall, and there may be times you are hiking rather than snowshoeing (or vice versa). As such the leader will adapt the trails taken according to the weather conditions and the physical condition of the group if required.

Joining your group

Hotel Gomassine, 71, 40000 Bd Mohamed Zerktouni Gueliz, Marrakech, 40000, MOROCCO, Phone: +212 524433086

Hotel Gomassine is located less than 2 miles from Bahia Palace, and only half a mile from Majorelle Gardens. Rooms are equipped with a flat-screen TV, satellite channels, air conditioning and a minibar. Free Wi-Fi access is available in all areas of the hotel. Small outdoor swimming pool is available for all guests of the hotel.

Alternate Joining Point


Joining instructions

Intrepid can assist with pre-booking an arrival transfer from the airport - enquire with your agent. Please advise your flight arrival details at least 14 days prior to your departure.

For your confirmed arrival transfer, you’ll be met outside Marrakech Airport (RAK) by a transfer representative holding an Intrepid sign. The driver will wait a maximum of one hour from the time the plane lands. In case of flight cancellations, changes, if you experience severe delays at immigration, baggage collection or customs, or if you are not able to find the driver, please contact the transfer operator directly: +44 20 4576 9838.

Alternatively, you can take a taxi from the airport to your hotel. The price should be agreed before entering the vehicle and should be approximately MAD250 during daylight hours and MAD300 at night.

Finishing your trip

Hotel Gomassine, 71, 40000 Bd Mohamed Zerktouni Gueliz, Marrakech, 40000, MOROCCO, Phone: +212 524433086

Hotel Gomassine is located less than 2 miles from Bahia Palace, and only half a mile from Majorelle Gardens. Rooms are equipped with a flat-screen TV, satellite channels, air conditioning and a minibar. Free Wi-Fi access is available in all areas of the hotel. Small outdoor swimming pool is available for all guests of the hotel.

Alternate Finish Point


Intrepid can assist with pre-booking a departure transfer to the airport - enquire with your agent. Please advise your flight arrival details at least 14 days prior to the start of your trip.

If you have a confirmed departure transfer your leader will advise your pick up time the day before your trip ends. If your driver has not arrived within 30 minutes of the scheduled pick up time, or your departing flight is cancelled or changed, please contact the transfer operator directly: +44 20 4576 9838.

Taxi fare from your hotel to the airport will cost approximately MAD100 - MAD200 to prebook. If hailing a taxi on the street, the price should be agreed before entering the vehicle. Please ask your leader or hotel staff for assistance in arranging a taxi.

Meals & dietary information

Breakfasts included: 6

Lunches included: 3

Dinners included: 4

While travelling with us you'll experience the vast array of wonderful food available in the world. Your group leader or local representative will be able to suggest restaurants to try during your trip. To give you the maximum flexibility in deciding where, what and with whom to eat, generally not all meals are included in the trip price. This also gives you more budgeting flexibility. As a rule our groups tend to eat together to enable you to taste a larger variety of dishes and enjoy each other's company. If you have dietary requirements and/or food allergies, please let your booking agent know prior to departure.

Moroccan food is, generally speaking, excellent though not particularly varied. Breakfasts usually consist of bread and jam with coffee or tea. Meals eaten out are reasonably priced - kebab and bread cost only about MAD 30. In main towns, it is possible to find very good French and Moroccan restaurants where a meal and French wine will cost anything from MAD 220 upwards. Generally, dinner is likely to cost between MAD 80-120 depending on what you drink - so an estimate for food would be about MAD 150-200 a day. Soft drinks are available at very reasonable prices, but generally speaking, alcohol is not widely available in Morocco due for cultural and religious reasons. Still, in some hotels and restaurants, you will be able to purchase beer, wine and spirits, but you will pay foreign prices or more for imported alcohol. Please be aware of local laws, believes and traditions, and be very sensitive and respectful while consuming alcohol. Your leader can help recommend restaurants each evening. Vegetarians can be catered for but there is a fairly limited choice of vegetarian couscous and tajine or omelets. This is particularly the case in rural parts of this itinerary. Please note that if you have any special dietary requirements you should inform us prior to the trip. Vegans and those on gluten-free diets may find this region very challenging and may need to supplement meals with their own supplies from supermarkets and markets. Wherever possible we will cater for dietary needs for any included meals, but there may be times when those with special requirements may need to provide their own.

Climate & seasonal information

EID AL-ADHA
Eid Al-Adha (Sacrifice Feast) will take place in Morocco 16 – 17 June 2024 and 6 – 1 June 2025. This festival honours the sacrifice Abraham made of his own son. In commemoration of this, an animal is sacrificed and divided into three parts: one-third of the share is given to the poor and needy; another third is given to relatives, friends and neighbours; and the remaining third is retained by the family. Please expect delays or complete suspension of public services during that time which may be disruptive to the trip schedule. For some, it may also be disturbing to see animals being sacrificed, as this can take place in public.

RAMADAN
The important month of Ramadan will be in progress 10 March to 08 April 2024 and 1 March to 30 March 2025 and  and the Eid ul-Fitr festival will be held directly at its conclusion for 3-4 days. Ramadan is a festival of sacrifice where the devout refrain from eating or drinking during daylight hours. During Ramadan, business hours are shortened, including opening hours at some tourist attractions. Alcohol is not permitted during daylight hours and many restaurants will be closed. While you should expect some delays and inconveniences during this period, the month is a fantastic opportunity to travel in a Muslim country and witness this unique period, particularly the nightly celebrations when the sun sets and the fast is broken. Please note that although the Eid ul-Fitr festival can also be a fascinating time to travel it's a period of national holiday. Most government offices and businesses will be closed and some tourist site opening hours may be affected.

CLIMATE:
Please note that as a desert country, Morocco can have extreme weather with winter (approx November to March) being usually very cold and summers hot. However, on this trip you will spend most of the time in the mountains, which means you can expect all season’s weather within 24 hours. Days are usually mild or even warm if there is no overcast, but nights are cold with sub-zero temperatures. Up in the mountains you should expect snow to come at any time, however, you also need to be prepared for rain. Days are often windy too. Sun, when it’s out, is usually strong. Good pair of sunglasses, sun cream, sun hut, rain jacket and extra layers should be on hand at all times.

In case of emergency

While we always endeavour to provide the best possible holiday experience, due to the nature of travel and the areas we visit sometimes things can and do go wrong. Should any issue occur while you are on your trip, it is imperative that you discuss this with your group leader or local representative straight away so that they can do their best to rectify the problem and save any potential negative impact on the rest of your trip.

We recognise that there may be times when your group leader or local representative may not be able to resolve a situation to your satisfaction - if this is the case, please ask the group leader or local representative to speak to their direct manager.

You may also choose to provide details in your online feedback, which we ask you to complete within 30 days of the end of your trip. Please do be aware that it is very difficult for us to provide any practical help after the trip is completed, so informing us while still travelling will give us the opportunity to resolve the issue in real-time.

For general contact details please use the following page: http://www.intrepidtravel.com/ourtrips/contact/

In case of a genuine crisis or emergency, you can reach our local office on the numbers below:

Intrepid's Local Operator: +212 661922693

Accommodations

The style of accommodation indicated in the day-to-day itinerary is a guideline only and may change. On some occasions, alternative arrangements may need to be made due to the lack of availability of rooms in our preferred accommodation. In these cases, we will use a similar standard of accommodation.

Throughout the trip, we request that our properties prepare rooms in time for our arrival, especially if we're arriving prior to normal check-in time. However, this isn't always possible which means we won't be able to check-in immediately on arrival at some hotels. Instead, we can store our luggage and explore our new destination or on some trips, have use of shared day rooms until all rooms are available.

We've sourced our accommodation very carefully and picked the best possible hotels in line with the Intrepid style of travel, but please note that service and accommodation in Morocco may be different to western standards.

OCCASIONAL ALTERNATIVE ACCOMMODATION
The style of accommodation indicated in the day-to-day itinerary is a guideline. On rare occasions, alternative arrangements may need to be made due to the lack of availability of rooms in our usual accommodation. A similar standard of accommodation will be used in these instances.

TWIN SHARE / MULTI SHARE BASIS
Accommodation on this trip is on a twin/multishare basis. Please note there may be times where facilities will be shared rather than en suite (even if you paid for single room supplement!)

MOUNTAIN HUT
Accommodation in Base Camp is simple but clean and atmospheric. You will be sharing a room with other trekkers and bedding is similar to a large bunk bed platforms, however, it is spacious and comfortable. Dining rooms and other facilities are also shared with other climbers.

HEATING
Mountain Huts on this trip have very limited heating options as this would be a major financial and environmental strain. It's also a case of energy supply and timing provisions, which is limited in some places. Please be prepared for cold nights and cold showers.

HOT WATER:
Similarly as with the heating, hot water is sometimes sporadic in mountain guesthouses. Please be ready for cold showers.

CHECK-IN TIME
Throughout the trip we request that our hotels prepare rooms in time for our arrival, especially if we're arriving prior to normal check-in time. However this isn't always possible which means we won't be able to check-in immediately on arrival at some hotels. Instead, we can store our luggage and explore our new destination.

PRE/POST TRIP ACCOMMODATION
If you've purchased pre-trip or post-trip accommodation (if available), you may be required to change rooms from your trip accommodation for these extra nights.

Transportation