Berber Ridge

The Berber Ridge circuit is one of the hardest treks in the High Atlas in Morroco, following a continuous ridge crest on an 8-day long Cuillin Ridge style traverse. Remote, sustained and serious, this is scrambling at its most exciting.

9 days
height 4167M
grade grade grade grade grade grade
price 1950
Oct
2019

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Expedition Details:

The highest mountain in Morocco is Toubkal, 4167 meters high, in the heart of the Atlas mountains.

Morocco is where we led our very first trips and we know the area like the back of our hands. It is not surprising that, sitting around the maps in the mountain refuges, we started to look at the ridge lines surrounding Mt Toubkal and have come up with a new route through the High Atlas.

With well-known challenges like the Cuillin Ridge or the Bob Graham Round in the back of our minds, we have sketched out a route that is truly remote, sustained and serious. The aim is to traverse 30 peaks above 3,000m and nine 4,000 meter peaks in the High Atlas valley – Munro bagging on grander scale! We are staying up high on the ridge crest for an 8-day long traverse, crossing plenty of Grade 3 scrambling territory on the last few days. One of the highlights of the trip will be a bivvy on top of Mt Toubkal, and most nights will be spent in bivvies or tents on top of the ridge where we wake up to views along the spine of the Atlas and down towards the Sahara.

As we move across the ridge, the terrain gets progressively more difficult, but our coaching allows you to pick up more skills as you go. This trip is a hard and satisfying challenge and a stark contrast to the busy summer Toubkal ascent. As one of our pioneering expeditions, we will go for a first attempt of the Berber Ridge in October 2017 and are putting together a small, skilled team. We are going to take a maximum of 6 people with two Exped Adventure guides. So! If you are after a bit of a mountaineering challenge it’s time for you to join us.

Many companies offer a fast-track service to the top – that’s not what we are about. We offer specific training, skills development and support to prepare you for the expedition and tasks at hand, and help you become self-sufficient in extreme conditions. Check out our section on ‘Training and Preparing’ for more info.

 

In-country support:

The Berber Ridge expedition will be supported by porters and mules, so you will only need to carry a day bag. Having a team of in-country guides, muleteers and expedition cooks look after us is a great relief after a long day. We sleep in tents that have been put up for us and enjoy hot local produce, prepared fresh each night on the ridge.

 

Fitness and Previous Experience:

This is an ambitious and physically demanding expedition, requiring abseils and technical Grade 3 scrambling. Long distances of continuous scrambling require skill and concentration on every step – in bad weather conditions even more caution is required. There are short sections of easy rock climbing involved, requiring knowledge of how to belay safely. Participants should be confident on Grade 1-2 scrambling and have a high level of fitness to be able to complete the route safely. Weather-depending, overnight bivouacs or camping on the ridge is required. There is a great deal of preparation involved and every effort is made to help participants, from training to equipment.

More Info

If you would like more information on this expedition you can download the full PDF trip details or drop us a line with your questions!

Day 1:

Arrive at Marrakesh airport then transfer to Oukaimeden ski resort. 75km from Marrakesh, Oukaimeden village is perched at 2,600m. We overnight in a Gite or Hotel where we enjoy a relaxed dinner.

 

Day 2:

Trek from Oukaimeden to Tizi-n’Tacheddirt via Angour Plateaux. Angour (3616m) is a climber’s mountain, with many routes on its south face. This mountain dominates the view south-east from Oukaimeden. A delightful airy ridge leads us to the summit of Angour. Descending, we reach Tizi-n’Tacheddirt, the oldest Berber village in the Toubkal massif. Clustered on the north side of the valley on the lower slopes of Mount Angour,it is the highest settlement in the Rhirhaia valley (2,314m). We set up camp for the night.

 

Day 3:

Ridge traverse from Tizi-n’Tacheddirt to Tizi n Likemt via Bou Iguenouane peak (3,800m). The name Bou Iguenouane means ‘the skies belong to the mountain’. We will be following the river up a narrow ravine until it opens up, with the head-wall of Bou Iguenouane directly ahead. A steep climb takes us to the top of the ridge, which leads to a straightforward ascent of the final summit. Apart from notorious screes upon reaching Likemt, it is an enjoyable scramble and you are virtually guaranteed to have the place to yourself. – camping

 

Day 4:

Trek from Tizi n Likemt to Tizi n Taghrat Via Aksoual (3,912m). We follow the main crestline south-west over three tops. – camping

 

Day 5:

Ridge traverse from Tizi n Taghrart to Toubkal Summit. We will be approaching the Tizi n Toubkal Pass at 3950m. From the pass, the trail traces a dramatic ridge to the summit. It is an easy scramble set well back from the precipitous drop of the ridge. With good visibility, the summit of Toubkal offers stunning views over the surrounding High Atlas Mountains and out to the Sahara Desert in the far distance. We set up camp on top of Northern Africa’s and Morocco’s highest mountain.

 

Day 6:

Trek from Toubkal Summit to Ouanoukrim peak (4,089m), Morocco’s second highest peak. We take the descent via Western Toubkal. This is when the ridge starts to become very technical and ropes will be required. From there we make headway to Ounoukrim peak, passing between two vertical cliffs to ascend in zigzags to a 3750m pass, the Tizi n’Ouagane. We ascend the rocky ridge to reach a broad plateau beneath Ouanoukrim’s twin summits. Reaching those, we have magnificent views of the southern High Atlas, dropping away to the desert plains of southern Morocco.– camping

 

Day 7:

Trek from Ounoukrim to Agelzim plateau. This section requires abseils and technical Grade 3 scrambling. Ticking off a further 3 4000m peaks finishing over the Angelzim mountain pass (3,560m) – camping

 

Day 8:

Today we head across and up and over Biiguinnoussene our last 4000m of the ridge. Below this, there is a chance for one final rope challenge up Tizi n’Taddate, a 100 foot pinnacle, plonked in the middle of the col. From here the scrambling terrain eases off to Grade 1 scrambling all the way down the ridge to arrive at Imlil. (1,740m) and transfer to Marrakech.

 

Day 9:

Flight back to the UK from Marrakech.

Training and Preparation:

Many wonder how to prepare best for an expedition. This will vary from trip to trip and for each individual. We are contactable at any time to give individual advice on training and preparation. Our usual support includes talking through any questions on the phone, and we will be in regular contact with you in the build-up to the expedition to supply you with information, updates and reassurance where needed.

If this training expedition is part of your preparation towards a more technical mountaineering goal, we recommend having a look at our Training Consultation. The Training Consultation day gives you the option to assess in detail where you are at in terms of mental and physical capacity and skill, from where we can move on to putting together a personal training plan. For a higher level of support, we also offer a Mountaineering mentoring programme.

We aim to equip you with the skills, confidence and experience to go on to higher goals and become self-sufficient in extreme conditions.

 

Training Weekend:

There are many ways in which you can train and prepare by yourself – but the best way is to come to our expedition training course which we organise as part of the trip. The dates are flexible, arranged to suit you, but the course generally runs 1-2 months before your expedition to allow you to get more training in and put the things learned into practice. The aim is to go through all the skills and equipment needed beforehand to be as well prepared as we can. It’s also a good opportunity to get to know your team mates, as operating closely as a team will be important on your expedition.

Where our training courses are based depends on the kind of skills we aim to teach: the Lake District, North Wales and Scotland are our usual locations.

The training course is free of charge, but you will be required to cover your transport, food and accommodation.

More information on the training course will be given once you’re signed onto the trip.

 

Equipment

Equipment is one of the areas we get the most questions on. Being well kitted out for a trip into extreme conditions is essential. Once you are signed up to a trip we will send you a kit list which explains thoroughly what you need. Why and how you use the equipment will be discussed on the training course. Our pre-expedition training course is designed to help you get familiar with the essential kit.

For our trips we supply most of the specialist equipment that is not easy for you to get yourself, either as part of the trip package or for rental. For your personal equipment we are able to offer advice on choosing the best kit, most of which we can order in for you at good discount prices. We are affiliated with Cotswold Outdoors, which means that our clients get 15% discount at all Cotswold Stores.

 

Food:

We provide nutritious expedition food for each participant for all the days scrambling. It will be enough calories for the trip, but if you feel like having some extra snacks, please feel free to bring it. Fresh food will be prepared each day by our team of expedition cooks.

Please let us know if you have special needs or concerns regarding food or nutrition, we will do our best to help.

 

Safety

Guide-Client ratio is maximum 1:3. This enables for everybody in a team to be connected to the same rope and the guide to offer a high level of support. The training weekend will be very important in preparing you physically, mentally and technically for the route. An expedition support team will service our camps and will be there to add further support if needed. Sat phones and comprehensive medical kit will be carried by the guides. Our experience of running over 40 trips to the High Atlas mountains means that we know the area inside-out and have great connections with our in-country agents.

 

ADD A REVIEW

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You will get to know your guides in person on the training course. Mark is the main guide on most expeditions, but he has teamed up with a handful of other guides who form part of the Exped team. All of our guides are capable and dedicated. They have the right attitude – both towards reaching the goal and towards their expedition teams. We strive for safety and mutual support in our teams, as well as having a bit of banter. All of us love adventure, but most of all we want to pass on our knowledge, share amazing experiences, and inspire others to be ambitious.

MARK WALKER

Mark is the director of Exped Adventure and the head guide on many of our expeditions. Mark is a highly experienced Expedition Leader and Mountaineering Instructor with over 20 years of mountaineering experience. Mark grew up in the English Lake District and has been climbing, running and walking in the mountains all over the world since he was a small child. He knows the Lake District, North Wales, Scotland and the Peak District like the back of his hand.

Mark has led a variety of expeditions to the far corners of the globe. He specialises in technical mountaineering and remote trekking expeditions. Mark grew up in the English Lake District and knows the area inside out.

Mark has put up new routes in the Lake District, Scotland, and Kenya. Climbing in all disciplines remains his passion.

Mark’s Expediton experience is broad and vast, including expeditions to Ethiopia, Malawi, Morocco, Jordan, Egypt, Israel, Peru, Kenya, Tanzania, India, Nepal, Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, Norway, Svalbard, Russia, and more.

Marks high altitude climbing experience includes; Kilimanjaro, Mount Kenya, Mount Elgon, Ama Dablam, Aconcagua, Kyajo Ri, Elbrus, Tharpa Chuli, Singu Chuli, Mont Blanc, The Matterhorn, Monte Rosa, and much more!

Mark lives in Windermere in the Lake District with his young family.

Mark is a certified ML, WML, IML and MIA.

MATT STAPLEY

Matt is an experienced outdoor instructor and has been in the industry for 12 years. He has worked with clients all over the UK, Peru, and Europe and has mountaineering experience in America, North Africa and Western and Eastern Europe. Matt’s personal interests include multi-day mountain marathons, ultra marathons and triathlons.

Matt is a certified ML, WML and MIA.

RICH MAYWHORT

Rich has 30 years experience of climbing and mountaineering, with 15 of those years as a professional Mountaineer and Climbing instructor. He has climbed and led clients extensively over the breadth of the UK and in the Alps.

With climbing and mountaineering experience over Italy, Switzerland, France, Austria, Canada, Slovenia, Greece, random islands and North Africa.

GARY FLETCHER

Gary has been working as Group Captain and Training Expedition Leader in the Royal Air Force for 25 years before taking on his current freelance work as Outdoor Instructor. He has led numerous White Water Kayaking expeditions to the French Alps and New Zealand, as well as Sea Kayaking expeditions in Scotland. He has been on expeditions to the High Atlas Mountains and Nepal, including Gokyo Ri (5357m).

 

TRACEY WRIGHT

Tracey is a highly experienced International Mountain Leader and also holds the Mountain Instructor Certificate. She has Alpine experience on touring and cross country skis, including summits of Weismeis, Pigne d’Arolla, Grand Paradiso and Mt Leone. She has lead mountaineering expeditions to Mt Kenya, including ascent of Diamond Couloir, Kilimanjaro, Bolivian 6000m peaks and Mont Blanc. She has extensive personal snow and ice mountaineering experience in New Zealand, the Alps and Scotland.
Currently, she is working as a maths teacher at an International school of Aiglon College, Chesieres, Switzerland where she assists with the Outdoor Ed programme throughout the year.

Outdoor national qualifications British Assoc of Snowsport Instructors Alpine Level 2, Cross Country Ski Leader; Mountain Instructors Certificate (winter climbing instructor); International Mountain Leader.

 

Start DateEnd DateDaysPriceAvailability
12th Oct 201920th Oct 20199£1950

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What is included:
• Guiding on a max. 1:3 ratio
• Accommodation – 2 nights hotel/gite, 6 nights mountain tents • Meals – 8 breakfasts, 7 lunches and 8 evening meals
• Park fees as appropriate • Medical safety equipment • All scrambling equipment (Ropes, harnesses, helmets, tents, stoves)
• All in-country transfers throughout • Access to our RMS team of doctors (For more information, refer to our Safety Standards)

What is not included:
• Travel to and from UK airport
• International flights and taxes
• Personal equipment and personal scrambling equipment
• Travel insurance

Booking – What happens next:
• The deposit reserves you a place on the trip. It is non-refundable according to our Booking Conditions. You will receive a confirmation of booking and further details about the trip.
• We will also supply you with more information on the training weekend and a complete equipment list.
• If you require a payment plan, get in touch with us as soon as possible so we can discuss the options.
• We will need you to fill in a Client Booking form for our records, regarding any health issues, your experience, insurance and next of kin details.
• The remaining balance will be due 8 weeks prior to departure (unless you arranged a payment plan). Any cancellations at this point are subject to our Booking Conditions.

Bespoke option:
We can organise this expedition on a ‘tailor-made’ private basis for groups of friends, families, clubs, charities or any other group. Please contact us to discuss the itinerary and your preferred dates. We will then send you a quote, with no obligation.

Insurance:
You will need a travel insurance policy that caters for the activities you will undertake on your trip with Exped Adventure. It is a requirement of our booking conditions that you have such a policy. For advice on best policies get in touch.

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