Am going to be in Morocco in January and was hoping to climb Toubkal. Was trying to arrange this with a UK based tour operator but for various reasons this dosen't look like it will work out. Does anyone know of a reliable local tour operator and if it is possible to hire crampons and ice pick locally? Thanks.
It's probably best that you didn't arrange it through a UK operator, as now you'll save quite a lot of money. Climbing Toubkal is pretty straightforward, or so I found out in November last year. Depending on the conditions, we had very little snow, it might obviously be a bit harder. It's no problem to hire crampons and a pick locally. There's two or three shops that sell/rent climbing equipment, but most others shops will often also carry something.
On the road to the start of the trail in Imlil, you'll encounter this shop. While small, it's the biggest climbing/hiking gear shop in town and it will no doubt cater for all your needs. You could already call or mail them, as their email and number is on the sign in the picture.
If you really want a guide or company, I suggest you to only hire them as of the two huts at 3000m. The road up until there is very clear and easy. Take a warm sleeping bag, because even though there's blankets in the huts, it can get very cold at night since they aren't heated. Also, bring some food up, I found the food up there quite bland. I doubt that there is really a need to book a guide in advance. If you arrive in Imlil, I suggest you to stay in the Hotel Soleil, which is a CAF (Club Alpin Francais) hut. Right in front of it, there is a mountain guide hut. They'll be available to climb with you upon request and will agree on meeting you in the hut at 3000m.
If you want you could also read my trip report about climbing Toubkal last year