20th June 2016 - David Herbert

Mount Toubkal

I am pleased to confirm that I have arrived back safely from Morocco.

Read on for my tale to the top….

We arrived in Marrakech, greeted by temperatures up in the mid 40’s degree C so an afternoon ramble around the bustling souks helped stretch our legs and acclimatise.


Early the next morning a minibus took us south, up into the foothills of the Atlas mountains and we started our trek at the small town of Imlil.  Once introduced to our mule train and Berber guides and set off along winding ravines with granite cliffs towering overhead.


The air was crisp and clear, the sky a perfect blue and the higher we got the more the wind brought colder air down from the high peaks. After seven hours we reached the Neltner Hut, the mountain refuge sitting beneath Mount Toubkal.  A hearty, Berber cooked, Tajine stew was enjoyed by all and we settled down for what sleep we could get in our dormitory.

Most of us didn’t sleep a wink, before the alarms woke us a few hours later at 3am and we headed off into the night – a string of weary figures lit by head-torches.

The trail out of camp crossed a waterfall and then went relentlessly straight up the mountain. After a few hours, the sun came up and we could see the rock strewn landscape around us at last.

We climbed up and over boulder fields and were soon at the snow line with the High Atlas peaks soaring around us and birds catching the early morning breeze.

At 4000 metres, we reached a col – the Moroccan Sahara stretched out ahead of us to the south and only 200m above – the peak.

Stopping to breathe in some more oxygen every 20 paces or so, we climbed along a ridge that winded up before levelling out and the pyramid summit marker came into view.

Needless to say, reaching the top at 4,167 metres (13,671 feet) was a feeling initially more of relief than exhilaration – although after a few minutes we could enjoy the most incredible views across North Africa.

A few priceless photographs recorded the event, including one with me in my Chestnut Tree House T-Shirt and with the temperature below zero and falling we started our long descent back to the mountain refuge.

What was I think the most remarkable thought of all, was not that we had just climbed the highest mountain in North Africa – but that our Berber guides had done so, without any food or water – it being Ramadan.

We left with the utmost respect for those wonderfully hard working and caring people.

I would like to thank everyone who has been so very supportive helping and encouraging me up the mountain – it’s truly appreciated.

If you would still like to make a donation to support Chestnut Tree House, please visit: www.justgiving.com/David-Herbert13

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