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Toubkal 1992

Thursday 16 th April 1992 - 20:01

Dificultat: Alta
Temps: 10 dies
Elevació Màxima: 4.165m
On the 10th of April 1992, Albert, Anna, Angel, Budri, Ermelinda, Jaume and I were preparing in the courtyard of the building of la Salle in the street Lluçanès for a great adventure, the Atlas. We met with each other in the evening. We first had to check our material, food, then try to put it all in our bags and say good-bye to our friends. The journey would be long. 

We drove the whole night. We took turns, some tried to sleep while at the front, two of us tried to be awake and attentive. Our car, the Landrover, was quite good, but you could not go very fast... Somehow Anna managed to make it run at 130 km/h. The Gasoil was a pain, we had two deposits, but the indicator of the second did not work - so we counted the kilometres...

On the 11th, we crossed the strait and we drove for many kilometres in Morroco. When it became dark, we decided that driving in the night once was enough, and we tried to find a path, we climbed it, and when we arrived at a flat surface, we prepared ourselves to bivouac. We put all the material inside the car, closed it, and slept on our mattresses with the stars as our blanket.

On the 12th a chicken shepherd woke us up. We had parked in a stone quarry. It was time to eat breakfast, and we still had a bunch of kilometres left to arrive at Imil. When we arrived at the village it was already dark. We found the parking lot, where we left our car. We asked the parking manager where we could sleep, and he put us in contact with a local guide, who let us sleep at his house. The next day, we found out that his family had slept in the barn to let us sleep comfortably.

The 13th starts with the negotiation on how much we have to pay for porters - they let us use two mules and porters at a good price if we left Ermelinda behind. In the end, we prefered to pay a little more and we all started our journey uphill. We all carried our own backpack, and we carried an extra one with all the food. I shouldn't have to explain the weight of this last backpack - when the porter lifted it, he moaned, and being very considerate, we decided to take a packet of cookies out from the backpack... then he thought it to be a fair deal.

The uphill path usually is done on top of a mule.. but we go by foot, as the mules carry our back-packs. When there starts to be snow, and the path becomes narrower, it is time to carry our back-packs and continue upwards. Yes, we did struggle a little, Albert, Angel and I had to carry the contents of another back-pack, that of Ermelinda I think. Our porter was probably already at the base camp, while we were still putting our boots on.

While we were climbing, we saw about everything, I remember seeing a spanish couple, and the woman could not go further. A porter offered to carry her back-pack, but her husband wouldn't accept having to pay the same amount half-way than down at the village - and the sad part was that we were talking about 50 pesetas at the time, which even for us was not that big of an effort.

Having arrived at the base camp, it is time to plant our tent and have dinner. The first night was cold, but we were so tired it did not take us long to fall asleep.

14th of April - today we must start doing some acclimatization. The day starts difficultly - the gas we use for making breakfast barely works, the propane gas bottle is too cold and our boots are frozen. This day, we climbed our first 4.000 metres, the Aougdal Boutiona (4.040m) and the Afella (4.043m). It was a very warm day, very vertifcal slopes, and very little water. At night we decide to sleep with the boots in our sleeping bag, our back-pack under our sleeping mattress as an isolator, the propane gas bottles between our legs.

15th of April, second day of acclimatization. Today we climb to 3 different summits of more than 4.000 metres. The Akioud (4.030m), the Ras Ouanokrim (4.083m) and the Timesguida Ouanokrim (4.089m). It was an easy day, we started becoming used to the cold, of sleeping on the snow and eating directly from the cooking pot.

16th of april, day of the ascencion. We woke up early to climb the Toubkal (4.165m), I think we climbed to the summit by midday, with fantastic sunlight and impressive views. From the summit, we went to the Toubkal west (4.100m). The descent was quite fast, with a large collection of butt-sledging which put our skill with the pickaxes to the the test. Once at the base camp, we had a good shower with glacier water...

17th of april, we had planned to stay a day longer, but as we had completed everything, we decided to descend, this time without porters. At half-way of teh path, in finding a group of local boys we offer them some cookies, fruit and marmelades that were spare. We then realised that they kept it for later, to share with the family.

Once at Imil, we hear a voice that says 'Catalans'... it was a guy from Mallorca that was with his girlfriend from Morroco that had lost the bus they had to take, and asked us if we could bring them to the next stop. As we were going to Marrakesh, we offered to bring them.

We wanted to eat some couscous, and we asked them where the best place to eat it would be, it seemed a logical question. The girlfriend offered to cook it herself, at her home, in the condition that if we wanted it made from meat, we would have to buy the meat ourselves.

Once arrived at her home, her brother brought us buying at Zoco, where Albert bought himself the typical drums while the rest of us looked at mats, back-packs, shoes, hats, as one must. Once at home, it is time to help peel vegetables. The couscous was delicious, and not because we had spent a whole week eating from conserves....

At night it was time to start our route back, we had 2.000 km ahead of us. When we arrived at Ceuta we risked not paying the bribe, it wasnt in fact hard for us to cross the border. It seemed we were already at home, but no, in arriving at the port, we heard the news that there the ISNASA ferry company had a strike, and they made us park the car in a place - we went to lunch, and in coming back, the car was alone, in the middle of nothing... they had moved the queue. 

Those were two very stressful days, having little money, with the shops closed, without bread, the civil police handing out firewood, with protests against the civil government to demand the dimmission of the politicians. We were on the local newspapers, we slept in the parking lot, we managed to get bread, and in the end we managed to to come back from one of the most exotic and authentic adventures we have ever lived.

More about: africa , difficult , alpinism

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