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Lincoln's blog: Days 1-4

DAY 1: Morrocco

Great easy flight for the 4 boys, after a solid hours queuing at passport control we made it through to meet Paul and his pink hat and set off to spend another hour in the van climbing up to our 1700m home for the night Imlil! The lads sat down for a beautiful home cooked Morrocan 3-course meal and headed straight for bed ready to begin the trek bright and early tomorrow morning!


DAY 2:

Up early for a beautiful hearty breakfast, met our guide for the trip Abdul and get ready to set off on a 6 hour trek from Imlil (1600m) to the lodge at the base of toubkal (3200m).

After Paul and John made us an hour late setting off because they were packing hairdryers and moisturiser we set off on the first leg of out journey!

Spirits were high and soon it became apparent that there was no need for all the thermal gear and wooly hats as the sun was beating down something fierce, everybody trekked solidly with no troubles for 3 hours until we hit our first bump in the road, the mules that were carrying all our gear could go no further because the snow was too deep. The boys and the guide pulled together to form a plan: Abdul told us we were stopping for lunch in a small village shortly so we should carry everything to there, then we could strip our bags down to the bare essentials and send the rest back. We had another gorgeous meal (the food here has been incredible) then set to work, all the makeup hairdryers and even Paul’s pink sequinned hat were hailed into bags ready for taking back, and the lads soldiered on with a good 5-10kg each extra in weight on our backs.

The next 3 hours proved gruelling as the heat continued to pour down on us, the snow thickened and the hill steepend. The new added weight hit everybody hardest, especially Paul who was carrying two full rucksacks front and back. Nevertheless the group trudged on and soon enough the sun was hidden behind a mountain, the hill levelled out to a nice incline an we could spy the our lodge in the distance which gave everybody a final push.

There was a nice chill out in the fire lit room another delicious meal then an early night ready for the real deal tomorrow TOUBKAL


DAY 3:

Due to bad weather forecast out trip up Toubkal was brought forward a full day this not giving us our planned time to acclimatise.

6am rise ready to hit the mountain before the weather was due to turn nasty around 1pm. Everybody in the party was feeling seriously crook from the altitude and carrying the extra weight yesterday but most of all Paul. Generally for this trek you would stay at the lodge (3200m) for 3 days to acclimatise to the lack of oxygen and altitude but due to the treat of a storm the next day it was now or never. Paul had complained of headaches and illness last night and this morning claimed they had gone worse, after a thought and a talk with Abdul he made the decision to head back down to Imlil before he got worse, the mountain had claimed it’s first victim!

The rest of the team soldiered on after stripping down to one bag of the bare essentials (crampons, water, camera) we headed out to conquer the beast. Weather was great, clear skies but the snow had come down heavy in the night which meant we were having to dig our own path up to the mountain. The altitude and severe change in steepness was killing everyone and at 3700m Nyle caved to the altitude tiredness and couldn’t continue and turned to his bum to slide back down to the lodge, victim number 2!

The three musketeers trudged onwards up towards their goal, all was well until around the 4000m mark when Lincoln’s insides couldn’t adjust to the altitude and decided to leave his body via the mouth. He insisted that he felt better and wanted to keep going but Abdul advised against it saying that if he had more problems at the top there’s no way to get him down, Linc decided to trudge on until after 3 more vomits he couldn’t continue and called it a day, victim number 3!

The gruesome twosome Jason and John powered on, determined not to let the team any MyLife down and conquer the beast that had slain three of their brothers and after another hours slow, painful walking they finally reached the summit!

I am writing this from a freezing bedroom where everyone is in full winter gear inside sleeping bags, absolutely exhausted but safe and sound ready to strap on the 15kg bags again and make our way back down to Imlil hopefully before the storm gets any worse!


DAY 4:

The wind was howling and it had been snowing all night, there was at least three feet of new snow outside the lodge and drifts of six feet. Everyone in the refuge was wondering wether or not we would have to stay put until the storm abated. Around 10 all the guides got together and decided to get all hikers together and head down in one big group. So, thirty minutes later we wrapped up and set of in unbelievable conditions.. it was snowing and blowing like you wouldn’t believe with gusts up to eighty miles an hour knocking you off your feet and with the wind chill factor it was a frosty -30 degrees. Everyone’s eyebrows and eyelashes were frozen and John even had an icicle coming out of his nose! At several points we thought we would be turning around and heading back to the refuge but the guides kept us trudging on. People were falling over every 5th step and we could hear tempers flaring up and down the line as the conditions got worse.

About the halfway point one of the hikers got hypothermia and you could see him in the distance being supported by two guides. Eventually we made it to a little Berber hut with a nice fire burning and tea which have everyone chance to warm up for 10 minutes and the guy with hypothermia to potentially save his life. Eager to get down our group volunteers to leave the warm first and continue on in the blizzard, after another 2 hours of similar conditions we saw Imlil in the distance and knew we had made it. Abdul took us for another fabulous lunch, we shared photos and videos with him and said our goodbyes, but not before he took us to the new hotel which was a significant upgrade including heated floors! Just what you need after 6 hours in -32! Another meal was had, then everybody jumped into bed to get ready for the next part of the quest, the desert…

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