To be guided or not to beWhen I read about this organized tour to the High Atlas in winter, I got interested.
I saw some pictures. Snow?
I saw the gear list. Crampons?? For Morocco???
And so I signed up, and discovered that above 2500 m or so, it's a true winter wonderland up there!
We had a local guide, and since we didn't know the area, we just followed his lead. However, during the week, we learned that he wasn't too keen on doing his job. He tried to do as little as possible, skipping parts of the original schedule left and right.
On the hike from Tazaghart hut to Neltner hut, it all became clear.
The plan was Biguinnoussene, but as we got to the pass between the two huts, it was a bit windy and the guide said he wanted to skip it and head straight down the other side.
We didn't agree. The wind wasn't all that strong, and in hindsight I suspect he just didn't like the wind chill, but we could easily handle that. After some discussion, I thought we had convinced him to go further, but after a while, it turned out he had lead us to a viewpoint - a nice one, sure, but not the summit - from which it wasn't feasible to go any further, at least not without a rope. I went up a just a wee bit, just for fun.
The next day, we would climb Toubkal West and then Toubkal itself. He tried it again and wanted to skip Toubkal West, but we overruled him straight away. He knew his way around, and was a nice guy to be with, but as a guide, he had lost his credibility for us.
Despite all that, the trip was a big success. Great scenery, fine weather, and good company, but next time in Morocco, no guide for me!
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