Jebel Toubkal Top Tips
As another Peak Mountaineering autumn trip draws to a happy conclusion, I asked the team to come up with a few top tips for future Morocco expeditioners. Some of these are specific to trekking and ascending Jebel Toubkal, but many are handy tips for any visitor. They came up with quite a lot (!) but, in the interests of manageability, here are their top twenty. I hope you find them useful and many thanks to the team for sharing their new found Morocco knowledge.....
1. When you change money try and get plenty of lower value notes. Paying for a 10 dirham coke with a 200 note never works too well!
2. Once in camp you will take your shoes off and on a lot (in and out if your sleeping tent and the dining tent). The team’s advice is take some easy on/off footwear (Crocs were popular this year).
3. This years team felt walking poles should be upgraded from optional to essential on our kit list and they may be right (although we will actually always leave that one to personal preference). There are a lot of steep ascents and loose descents to tackle and they felt poles really help.
4. Try and do some research before you come. The Cicerone Atlas Mountains Trekking guide was considered a brilliant resource by the group this year.
5. You will be very well fed but some days require a long time between breakfast and a later lunch. Having a little stash of your favourite energy snacks tucked away can be very welcome to fill any gaps.
6. The sleeping mats provided are plenty comfortable enough and you won't need to bring another.
7. Do as much pre departure physical prep as possible - trekking for several days in a row takes its toll if you aren’t prepared for it and, on the flip side, if you are well prepared you’ll enjoy the experience more.
8. There is plenty of wildlife to see and some of the team wished they had brought binoculars.
9. Find a way to ensure your camera can be easily accessed at all times as you are then much more likely to use it. A small pouch on rucksack shoulder straps was popular this year.
10. Plan some stuff to do in Marrakech. Some people were happy soaking up the ambience and others explored the souks - but some wished they had found time to visit the museum or gardens.
11. Learn a few words or greetings in Berber - this will always guarantee a smile and warm welcome. It is also worth noting that French is spoken widely too so brush up on your Bonjours and Au Revoirs.
12. A 35 litre rucksack is plenty big enough but make sure it is comfy to carry for long periods.
13. Drinking bladders were very popular with this team. We discussed the pros and cons of different brands and the Osprey Hydraulics reviewed here was highly recommended.
14. Some people brought tablet flavourings for drinks and loved them (something like Nuun, OTE or High 5 tablets). Another suggestion was those mini super concentrated squash mixes.
15. Bring a swimming costume for lac d’Ifni and a hamman (traditional bath house) if you fancy some water action.
16. If you have lots of gadgets a portable battery pack was considered very useful. On the normal Peak Mountaineering itinerary we have the chance to charge things at the Berber Gite we stay in on night 3, but some team members still found a battery useful in between.
17. Don't forget to bring toilet paper as there won't be any in toilets you visit.
18. On most trekking days we leave early and arrive in camp by early afternoon which leaves plenty of down time - be prepared! Is it time to write your memoirs or paint a picture? Some team members listen to music or play games (cards and Uno are always popular). Others read or bring an iPad with a few downloaded films. There will be plenty of time to chat too!
19. Chat to the locals and the cook team and guides as much as possible - it is great to learn about the country and its culture and people.
20. Be organised with your kit. Having some stuff sacks to store essentials in your main duffle bag makes life in your tent so much easier. The same goes for organising your day to day requirements. Finding simple systems can make your life so much easier and save lots of time.
Of course, if you want to put some of this team’s advice into practice on a Peak Mountaineering trip we have 2 itineraries leaving in 2018 :)
Posted by Paul
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