A lot of you have been asking about my Mount Toubkal climbing challenge: how hard it was, current weather conditions at the summit, how did I prepare, costs etc I'm still on the road this week and I'll be writing more once I'm back in London, but here's a quick Q&A:
How long did it take?
Two days which involve walking from Imlil (or in my case from Aroumd) to the refugee at 3200m. It's a 9km walk which took me just under 5 hours (let's say 4 hours if you don't count the teas on the way). I stayed the night at the refugee and started the hike to the summit at 6am the next morning and reached the top around 10am. Then it's a long walk down...I arrived absolutely knackered in Marrakesh in the evening.
How hard it was?
It was my first proper mountain climbing adventure (I'm not counting the minor hikes I've done in my life) and for a reasonably fit person, it's a moderate climb (though my legs are still hurting 2 days later!). You definitely need a lot of stamina, which I think is the most important thing of all, especially if you're not an overly experienced climber (like me).
First of all, remember that most things are negotiable in Morocco. I didn't pre-book the hotels (that's a big word..) in this case. The hostel in Aroumd cost 150DH / 15euro per person (with breakfast and a bonus tea before bed). A place in the refuge (remember, you sleep in a room with 10 or 20 other people) is 150DH/15euro per person , with dinner and breakfast that comes to 250DH/25euro.
I also bought some gear for the climb at Decathlon, which came up to 160euro (sleeping bag, trekking shoes, thermals, hat, gloves, proper wind proof hiking trousers)
Then there's also the cost of getting to Imlil/Aroumd from Marrakesh (at least that's where most people come from). I had a hire car, but from what I've heard from other climbers the taxi from Marrakesh is around 400DH / 40 euro one way.
November is winter time round here, but I was pretty luckily that it was sunny, only a few degrees below zero at the summit and I barely saw any ice. No snow whatsoever. Saying that, the weather conditions change day to day, so make sure you check that before you head out.