Climbing Mt Toubkal and the New Mountain on my Horizon!
Without a doubt, climbing a mountain was the most physically challenging experience of my life – in case you don’t know me, I’m not the most athletically inclined!
Back in October 2017 my family and I embarked on a 3-day trek to climb Mt Toubkal, the highest peak in the Atlas Mountain Range in north-western Africa. The mountain itself is located in Morocco, which is where we stayed when we weren’t climbing.
Honestly put, I wasn’t the most excited about climbing the mountain. Mt Toubkal is 4,167m high, but we started at the small village of Imlil, about 1,800m above sea level – meaning we climbed just short of 2,500m. What the guide failed to tell us was that we would be summiting a completely different mountain, the day before summiting Toubkal! Climbing the mountain was not easy. Going up, parts were tedious and long, altitude made me sick and dizzy and coming down was near torture! Let me paint you a picture. We awoke on the last day when the mountains were still completely dark and climbed at least a couple hours whilst still submerged in the night. Across uneven rocks and scree, where the air was too thin so that you couldn’t even drink and walk at the same time because it took too much energy –it was a challenge!
I do feel the need to point out that the mountain itself is not deemed a difficult climb. In fact, in climbing standards, it’s relatively easy, but my family and I were completely new to mountain climbing so even Mt Toubkal was a challenge.
Although it is one of the proudest moments of my life, one that I can confidently say I will never forget, the experience also holds an awful lot of darkness. On the way down the mountain, my boots broke. I tried to complain as little as possibly because there was nothing that could be done, but the break started to rub my feet. I didn’t think much of it until we got back to our hotel, super late that evening, and I took my boots off – some of the skin on my foot came with it.
Somehow, it is one of my worst memories, whilst also being one of my best! I told myself I would never climb another mountain, I had nothing to prove anymore. Yet here I am, a year later, having just booked a brand new mountain with my family – Mt Grossglockner, in Austria.
I am a stubborn person. I don’t really want to climb this mountain, but, more than anything, I really don’t want to be left behind. So I agreed to climb it. Even though at the beginning the thought brought tears to my eyes. Just the idea that parts of it would be as dark as Toubkal had been. But, maybe, parts of it would be as incredible as Toubkal had been – and I’m too stubborn to miss out on that.
Therefore, in this coming May, I will embark to Austria with my family and climb this mountain. I don’t know what it entails, but I know it is physically harder, albeit being smaller. It includes using picks and crampons, parts where we are on all fours and I am actually terrified. But I am not one to give up, never have never will. Toubkal took every part of me, but I did it, and I’ll do Grossglockner too. There were amazing parts, parts I don’t want to forget.
At the end of the day, although it takes physical strength, it takes an awful lot of mental strength too – strength of will, saying that ‘I can do this.’ That will be my mantra when it comes to climbing Grossglockner….because I can do this, I have to.
Stay Perfect, Messy People