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Mount Toubkal Charity Trek

Mount Toubkal Charity Trek

As part of our commitment to charity, we invited a group of clients to join a fundraising trek to the summit of Morocco’s Mount Toubkal.

Audley charity trek to Mount Toubkal, Morocco

Audley charity trek to Mount Toubkal, Morocco

In May 2007, seven Audley employees and 15 Audley clients trekked to the summit of 4,167 metre-high Jebel Toubkal in Morocco, raising over £8,000 for the Audley Charity Portfolio.

Jebel ToubkalThe Atlas Mountains are three distinct ranges that extend some 500 kilometres through Morocco, dividing the interior of the country into strips of lower lying land. The Middle Atlas are the furthest north, whilst furthest south are the Anti-Atlas that almost cut the desolate Western Sahara off from the rest of the country.

It is the High Atlas that is the most dramatic, containing North Africa’s highest peak, Jebel Toubkal (4,167 metres), as well as countless Berber villages, terraced on to inaccessible ledges and perfectly preserving a tenacious culture. The trek took the group through steep valleys, rocky peaks, and past these traditional Berber villages as they made their way to the summit. Once there, they were rewarded with spectacular views of the High and Anti-Atlas ranges as well as the Sahara.

The High Atlas are easily accessed from Marrakesh, about 40 minutes away, and also offer wonderful mountain retreats, rustic but full of local character and set amidst stunning scenery.

Mountain comparisson chart

Personal view

I couldn’t remember who to blame for having had the original idea. I couldn’t remember how I had been roped into this. But I can tell you I was cold, tired and grumpy at 4.30 in the morning in the Moroccan High Atlas Mountains. I had been forcibly separated from my warm sleeping bag by one of our energetic and good-humoured Berber guides (all seemingly named ‘Mohammed’), as we were about to embark on the trek to the summit of Mount Toubkal, the highest peak in North Africa at 4,167 metres.

Trekking up Mount ToubkalI knew we needed to be at the top for 10am, if we were to leave enough time to retrace all our steps of the previous day, back down the valley to the small village of Imlil and our luxurious kasbah. This was the final day of the first ever Audley Travel sponsored charity trek. Our group comprised seven of us from the office, 15 guests, quite a few Mohammeds, several mules and Alan Ward, award winning mountain leader and a great friend of Audley’s (Alan is also a hardy porter, medic, pace-setter and raconteur).

A few days previously, after our short flight from London to Marrakesh, we had set up camp at the wonderful Kasbah du Toubkal, breathtakingly situated at the foot of the mountains in the National Park. Over several pleasant acclimatisation treks passing over high mountain cols to discover pretty Berber villages, I nervously eyed up the others, attempting to ascertain if I would indeed be the slowest when it came to the ascent itself.

Then it was time for the long trek up to the Neltner Refuge, a staging post two thirds of the way up the mountain, where we found tents already pitched for us (by a Mohammed) for our one night under canvas. And here we are, 4.30 in the morning and, in my case, a little grumpy.

Ascent of Jebel ToubkalI won’t talk too much about the summit day. I think its fair to say that we all found the final ascent challenging, and some of us suffered from headaches due to the altitude (but nothing more serious) and 48 we all would swear that the distance back down was double what we remembered coming up. But, we got to the top (see above photo as proof!) and, as a group, we bonded somewhere on that mountain.

As a footnote, throughout the trip Alan had sagely advised us to ‘take our time’, to ‘respect the altitude’ and, most importantly, that ‘it’s not a race’. Despite this, for the sake of posterity, I must tell you this; had it been a race, I won.

Mount Toubkal trekking

Mount Toubkal trekking

View of the High Atlas Mountains from Marrakech

View of the High Atlas Mountains from Marrakech

Camp fire whilst trekking in The High Atlas

Camp fire whilst trekking in The High Atlas

Mount Toubkal charity trek

Mount Toubkal charity trek

Audley Travel charity trek at the summit of Mount Toubkal

Audley Travel charity trek at the summit of Mount Toubkal

Mount Toubkal

Mount Toubkal

Mount Toubkal charity trek

Mount Toubkal charity trek

Mount Toubkal charity trek

Mount Toubkal charity trek

Audley Charity Portfolio

As part of our commitment to responsible tourism, in early 2005 we formed the ‘Audley Charity Portfolio’, consisting of five organisations we’ve chosen to actively support. This includes ongoing support such as the sponsorship of specific projects and the promotion of these charities, plus ad hoc fundraising projects and activities.

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