Our trip started off great. Departure "Austrian Airlines" Kiev-Vienna-Marrakesh - on schedule. The connection at the Vienna airport is short, the transit hall is quite comfortable. The only tiny nuance is that in all the numerous airport cafes, the same standard assortment of food: hamburgers and french fries, salads. And so I wanted to taste a fresh apfel strudel with vanilla sauce. Here's a little pokapriznichala, and then continue.
Arrived in Marrakech for lunch. Huge queues for formalities. After an hour of standing in line, they finally broke out into the street. And there the sun, air temperature +25, and millions of multi-colored roses, at the end of November, please note. Roses are the hallmark of Marrakesh, and especially its international airport. They are there everywhere, even on the territory of the airport and around, delighting souls after long flights and formalities.
After going through the formalities, we immediately changed several hundred dollars. for dirhams, in the arrivals hall. Although this could be done in the city center at more favorable rates, in official bank exchange offices. There you can withdraw the required amount of dirhams from the card. It is difficult to pay with payment cards in the city. Everywhere and everyone asked for cash (cash) - in hotels, in cafes, and even more so merchants in the medina.
We took a bus from the airport to the city. The ticket price is 30 dirhams, I don’t know if this is the real price, or we were a little deceived as tourists. There is a bass to Jama al-Fna. By the way, the cost of a taxi from Jama to the airport is 50 dirhams. There are many regular basses circulating in Marrakech. But there it is necessary to understand what, where, and where it comes from. Taxis around the city can be bargained for 30 or 40 dirhams.
In Marrakesh, we again settled in the medina. At 15 min. walk from Jamaa el Fna. I do not recommend staying in the medina. The riad we had was quiet, clean and very beautiful. But behind its walls is complete chaos. A movement of thousands of motorcycles noisy and smelling of cheap gasoline. In addition, they can run into you at any second. Also, from morning until late at night, tens of thousands of people move along the streets of the medina. Among which these bikes and bicycles manage to maneuver. In short, it is better to settle away from the medina. A couple of days are enough to see the sights of the city.
We, after settling in the riad, went to find out where the grand taxis to Imlil were coming from. For a long time they were looking for their camp on the outskirts of the medina. We had dinner with a Berber tagine in a cafe overlooking the bustling Jama in the evening.
By the way, when wandering around the medinas, and especially along Jamaa, be careful. Watch your pockets. We were strongly warned about this by the owners of the riad. Yes, it’s already clear there that you shouldn’t yawn, pickpockets are on the alert. Overall, though, it's pretty safe. Just out of habit, it deafens and strains this oriental farce. It is easy to get confused and become robbed. Therefore, all valuables must be hidden so that it is difficult to get to them. Ideally, leave them in the safe of your hotel or riad.
In the morning we go to the Grand Taxi stand and take the car to Imlil. Ride about 2 hours, for 400 dirhams. The second part of the path winds along mountain serpentines. The village of Imlil is remarkable only for its location in the mountains.
From Imlil we start trekking to Toubkal, the highest peak of the Atlas.
You have to follow the signs for the refuge. Crowds of people and mules and also people on mules fall down this route. So don't go astray.
At the end of November, climbing Toubkal requires crampons and telescopic poles. I do not advise renting them in Imlil. Since you can take them in a refuge, and not carry this weight on your back for two more days. The presence of an ice ax seemed superfluous to me, although the distributors tried to sell us one too. The trekking poles did a great job given the condition of the slope we were on. Although there may be such weather situations when an ice ax is needed. In any case, I advise you to find out all this, and rent Tubkal in the refug (base camp).
A well-trodden, rather good path leads to the refug.
The weather in November is great, a real golden autumn. The trees were all covered with yellow leaves.
The higher you go, the fewer trees, and more snow appears, and it gets colder. From a height of 3000 m everything is already covered with snow. Refuge is located at an altitude of 3100. We climbed from Imlil to the refuge from 10.00 to 18.00.
We walked slowly with an hour and a half lunch in huts, approximately in the middle of the way to the base camp. Lunch was very tasty - tajine with finely chopped vegetables and scrambled eggs, and Berber tea.
When we came to the base camp in the evening, the miner was not yet felt. The camp consists of several buildings. We stopped at the first one that came along the way from below. In the second, they say the prices are lower, but we decided to see the first one, and eventually stopped in it. Here we paid 800 dirhams for a double room. This price also includes dinner and breakfast. If you need to save money, then there is the opportunity to stand in a dormitory room with bunk beds, designed for a dozen people, it seems for 200 dirhams. It's cold in all rooms, except for the diving room. Steam comes out of the mouth. Therefore, we abandoned the idea of taking a shower, although there seemed to be hot water there. But we washed ourselves with napkins, changed into warm socks and sweaters, and went to dinner. The dining room is warm and cozy. Mountain tourists from all over the world gathered here - Americans, Europeans, Moroccans. In the evening we were fed a very tasty Moroccan harira soup and pasta with meat sauce. Plus tea, apples and tangerines (both of those and other fruits are in bulk in Morocco, here they are very tasty and natural, they are offered everywhere, or sold for a penny). Food was offered a huge amount, we have not mastered even half. The number of servings has become the subject of chuckles and jokes. Although this amount can be justified, since in the mountains you always want to eat, and more high-calorie, more satisfying.
It was normal to sleep in a sleeping bag comfortably at +2, even a little hot, since the temperature in the refueling rooms is still above zero. The toilet is inside the building, and the water in it, although cold, is not frozen, which is already good. Since, for example, in Nepalese loggias on trekking routes, toilets are most often located on the street. Imagine how pleasant it is to drag yourself there at night in sub-zero temperatures, and even try to wash it off with pieces of ice from a bucket. There is also a normal sewage system, which is buzzing.
In the morning we get up at 4 am. We're going to have breakfast, just like our fellow tourists. For breakfast, tea, coffee, cheese, and butter, jams, and scrambled eggs. Buried from the heart. Dressed, put on cats and stomped. About 40 Spaniards managed to line up in front of us. The path is narrow, you can't overtake them. It is cold outside, windy, and you have to stand for several minutes, as there are many Spaniards, they walk slowly, often get up. My legs freeze, I don’t feel my nose, tears flow from my eyes. But everything is compensated by the beauty of the bottomless starry sky, and the mystical dark slopes of the mountains illuminated by the moon. The higher we climb, the more beautiful, and the stronger the wind, frost, and nausea.
Yes, this time the miner began to mow me down. So bad I was not even Elbrus. Maybe I shouldn't have drank so much on an early breakfast. Perhaps my body just rebelled, but I felt unwell. However, I can enjoy beauty in any state of the body, which I did, despite the attacks of mountain sickness. And by the way, now I remember only the greatness and mysticism of the mountains, I remember bad health only for the report. To warn would-be followers that in the African Atlas Mountains, one can not only freeze to death, but also experience altitude sickness.
At about 9 am, I reached the pass with a height of about 4000 m. And I already feel a strong weakness, and practically do not feel my legs.
And I decided to move back. With every hundred meters thrown off, the state of health improved, and the mood rose.
At 3500 m, the dizziness was already receding and I wanted orange juice more than life. And this means the body began to slowly return to normal.
And I satisfied this request of his in one of the hut-taverns at an altitude of 2800m. on the way from the refug. There you can drink all sorts of drinks, have a light snack, relax. There, tangerines are pressed on the juice along with the peel. The juice is rich, sour and very tasty, just what I wanted.
As we did not rush down, but the exhausted body was barely weaving, driven only by consciousness and will. In fact, on this day of climbing, we went from 4.30 in the morning. Climbing the slopes of Toubkal to a height of 4000m, and descending to the refug to 3140m, for a short rest. And on the same day, descending to Imlil to a height of 1800 m at 17.00 pm. I confess that the descent to Imlil on the day of climbing Toubkal was too tiring and traumatic for me. The leg muscles were sore for another week after the descent. The descents and ascents of the stairs of riads and cafes became torture, and were accompanied by unimaginable facial expressions and untranslatable puns. But in general, I can say that my personal experience is indispensable, and I don’t regret a bit that I once again went to the mountains. I only regret my not the best physical preparation at that time.
Morocco in November 2016. Marrakech-Imlil-Atlas
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