Greetings and Salutations - Just back from a two week trip to Morocco's high Atlas.

Nelter Refuge

If you’re into your into your ski mountaineering then book your flight out to Marrakech NOW!!!!!. The snow is stunning, snow line is about 300 metres above Sidi Chammharouch and there's lots of it. Routes down from peaks that haven’t been skied for a few years are getting done. I met a fellow Austrian guide who had been on a 10 days tour, finishing at the Netler refuge.

Anyroad enough waxing lyrical, most unlike me. My first week was with Metta from Denmark and Peter from the UK. We drove straight up to Around, where we did a short acclimatisation walk up to Tizi Mzik at around 2930mts, great views of the Tazaghart Plateau with the face looking in great condition, all gully lines looked complete.

Tazaghart Plateau

Next day we walked up to the Nelter refuge, did a spot of skills in the afternoon. Tuesday we walked up the valley to the Tizi Quagane and then onto Ras 4083 mts and returned the same way. Wednesday was Toubkal day, which went without any problem, snow, snow all the way and a slightly different way down with a spot of scrambling. Thursday, Akioud, great little peak, snow not bad, had visions of a post holing fest, plenty of skiers following us and then the other way round, Metta and Peter took over at the col and lead their way to the summit, with me and Mohamed keeping a watchful eye.

Friday was spent climbing a two pitch snow/ice climb about 50 mts left of the chock stone gully on Afella – it’s close to the hut, on the right as your walking up valley. The idea was to get the team to sort themselves out up the route and down, which they did without problem and in good style. We returned to the hut for lunch and then the 3 and half hour walk back to Around and then eventually back to Marrakech.

Looking down from below Akioud towards the refuge

The second week was with Simon, Gemma and Ian, we did pretty much the same as the previous week, but with a bit more ice climbing than last week, as Gemma had not done much before. She climbed her nemesis with good style on her second attempt, well done Gem.

Weather on both weeks was fab: light to strong breeze in morning, sun comes out, warms up, and then repeat the next day. We did have some cloudy afternoons, some looked more threatening than others, but never amounted to anything.

The refuge has now got two log burners in the dining rooms, which makes a massive difference to the comfort levels whilst eating in the evening. Still a busy place, especially with skiers.

There’s not much ice about this Spring, either it’s buried or just not formed. There a two shortish flows below the track to Toubkal, giving an hour or so of sport. Much further up the valley towards Tizi Quagane there are some good flows/falls on your right, which are very good sport and varying grades. Get there early as once the sun hit em, your screws will be melting out. Easy walk off to the left as your looking at them.

 The South West ridge (Quanoums ridge) was climbed whilst we were there, by a British team. The falls and flows on your left as walking up to the Nelter are starting to show through a bit more, more so on the right hand side.

We had a great couple of weeks - good weather, good company, FANTASTIC conditions, more ice would have been nice. On the whole a very, very good time. THANK YOU Morocco.

I would like to say a BIG Thank You to Mohamed id Belaid who was working with me for the two weeks. Also the mountain blog people who’ve written some excellent conditions updates which kept me inform prior to the trip.

Guide books used:
Mountaineering in the Moroccan High Atlas. Des Clarke Cicerone Press
Toubkal Guia De Ascensiones y Escaladas . David Taura Riera. Spanish guide book and very good photo's, well worth getting.

So there you go, I may have another trip out there early June, and then a return to the Alps for a summer of fun and frolics. Also hoping for a drying track and sun sun sun.......bike fever. Hope you’ve all had a good winter whatever you’ve been up.

Stay safe out there.