Saturday, June 26, 2010

A high point.

At the summit. 'Twas my hippie-chick idea to summit the morning of the solstice.

Four other volunteers and I hiked Mount Toubkal last week. An hour or so up a winding mountain road from Marrakech, Jbel Toubkal is the highest peak in North Africa, 4,167 meters or just shy of 14,000 feet.

We hiked a pleasant trail from the mountain village of Imlil several hours up to a refuge at the foot of Toubkal, where we spent the night. With the sun rising the next morning, we set off over craggy black rocks and a formidable, moonscape-like trek of thick, loose, gravelly rock that later made the descent even more difficult than the climb. Only one brief slot of snow to pass through; though there were plenty of white patches to be seen, most of it was dissolving into the cold, clear streams we could hear rushing past us at various points.

The summit, topped by a bizarre metal graffiti-covered pyramid, offered dizzying views straight down the other side of the peak. No photograph can do justice to our journey, as the mountain cannot be viewed in full, but here are a few snapshots of our experience; if you want to see more, go here.

Sunrise at the refuge.

The trek up Toubkal starts with a scramble via large rocks over a rushing waterfall.

Toubkal's moonscape surface.

As we neared the summit, Eric's pants buzzed: We have cell reception!

Snow, and mountains as far as the eye can see.

A guide at the top.

Beginning the trek. (Damn, I really am short, ain't I?)


william said...

Very nice pictures. Did you happen to ask what the graffiti said? Did you eat any snow?

Matthew said...

whoa congrats on Toubkal! It feels good to be up there, no? But even better to go down...