I don't have much experience of winter walking - can I climb Toubkal?

Ok - well that's not going to be a one-line answer! Here are some thoughts!

# To state the obvious - this is a 4165m peak so you will feel the altitude if you go too quick. The only safeguard if you can call it that, is that the two Toubkal refuges are around 3200m so you can sleep there without feeling major effects of AMS. Safe absolute minimum times of ascent are 2 days out and back from Imlil - 3 days better to allow for an acclimatization peak to be climbed.

# The fitter you are obviously the better and the easier for yourself. If you are not used to 6-7 hour days in the mountains and you are trying to climb Toubkal in 2 days or even less round trip from Imlil then you will suffer! Be kind to yourself and get some walking in before you embark on this!

# "Winter" is really end of November to mid-April +/- 2 weeks both sides. This means that during this time you will either have to carry all your own equipment and food up to the refuge or engage porters as mules will only go as far as the snowline which in mid-winter is down at Sidi Chamharouch and sometimes lower.

All of the comments below are based on ascents in Winter!
A. Climbing Toubkal in winter generally requires wearing crampons and using a walking ice-axe. However the ascent (by either the south or north cwm routes -see point 8 below) is not technical and so you do not necessarily need prior experience using an axe or crampons if you are going with a reputable / qualified mountain guide. (We would not recommend you climbing Toubkal in winter without a winter experienced guide if you do not have prior winter walking / climbing experience).
B. The normal un-acclimatised but reasonably mountain fit individual will take around 6 hours walking from Imlil (1750m) to the refuges (around 3200m). The return leg down will take around 4 hours. These times depend on the snowline and depth of untracked snow. I remember early January '08 when it was an epic to descend due to a huge volume of new snow - right down to Imlil in fact. Also if there is any ice en-route it can make for some delicate foot placements.

C. As with all winter conditions, you should have axe / crampons (and know how to use them! - but see point A above), winter boots, a rucsac with the usual safety bits and pieces (down jacket / spare food / water / anorak etc) and be mountain aware! Turn back if in doubt about things, your breathing, the weather etc......