Turtle, Ecuador

Reviews

Your Words - We tell it like it is! Holiday Reviews by previous Exodus travellers  

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  • Reviewed February 2019
    Robert Earnshaw

    Mt Toubkal Winter Climb

    Really great trip. All the other people in the group were lovely. Scenery and food fantasic. Mountain accomodation basic but more than adequate. Toilets could be better though.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Both main mountain days

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Well organised and concerned for our safety.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Get some ice axe and crampon training and practice before the trip.
  • Reviewed February 2019
    Robert Earnshaw

    Mt Toubkal Winter Climb

    Really great trip. All the other people in the group were lovely. Scenery and food fantasic. Mountain accomodation basic but more than adequate. Toilets could be better though.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Both main mountain days

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Well organised and concerned for our safety.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Get some ice axe and crampon training and practice before the trip.
  • Reviewed February 2019
    Robert Earnshaw

    Mt Toubkal Winter Climb

    Really great trip. All the other people in the group were lovely. Scenery and food fantasic. Mountain accomodation basic but more than adequate. Toilets could be better though.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Both main mountain days

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Well organised and concerned for our safety.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Get some ice axe and crampon training and practice before the trip.
  • Reviewed February 2019
    peter costello

    mount Toubkal winter climb

    The organisation off the trip and arrangements in Morocco were very good. The guide kept us to task which was good and provided a good briefing in preparation for each days activities. The hotel in Marrakech was fine and the staff helpful and friendly. The accommodation on the mountain was poor and shows no sign of improvement in at least 15 years simply not good enough in nearly all respects particularly washing and toilet facilities. Why has this not improved Exodus? The guide should have been more attentive to health and safety considerations eg making sure that all has tied their crampons correctly to their boot the first time this was done independently.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Walking in the mountains

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Room for improvement form a health and safety perspective. He did address many issues eg being careful taking time conserving energy but seem to pay little attention once on the mountain leading from the front does require keeping an eye on what is happening. The guide was friendly and provided good briefings and keep us to task. The practice in using an ice axe was at a very low level. More time should have been devoted to this key area of safety on the mountain.
  • Reviewed February 2019
    Andrew Morris

    Mt Toubkal Winter Climb

    This trek lived up to its description and 'tough' rating. I was looking for experience in Winter Mountain trekking and that's exactly what I got - learning to rely on the security that the crampons brought was second nature by the end of the trip but there were some nervy moments on some particularly steep and icy inclines at the beginning as we got use to using the crampons and ice axe. A rep had explained to me prior to the trip that one needed to be in good physical shape and 'have a reasonable head for heights' and again I would agree that this is a sensible summary of who this might appeal to. The ascent of Toubkal was particularly physically demanding because there were 40-50mph winds which really dragged the temperatures down but the rewards of a sense of achievement and views from the top were worth it - memorable.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Summiting Mt Toubkal - it was physically demanding because of the wind but the 360 views from the top were amazing.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Very serious and disciplined - always felt safe and secure as there were some tougher sections.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Do not under-estimate the potential physical side which will obviously be heavily dependent on the weather conditions.....

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Bring some ear plugs for the dorm.......:-)
  • Reviewed April 2018
    Dave Farmer

    Winter walking

    I went on the winter ascent of Toubkal specifically as I wanted to experience the mountain in winter conditions and learn and practice winter walking skills with crampons and ice axe. I wasn't disappointed. We had excellent training with both bits of kit with plenty of time to practice during the training, and a chance to put the training into practice with an acclimatisation walk before the actual ascent. The itinerary allows for at least one days delay due to weather, and we needed it. The weather in the mountains changes rapidly and our guide was wise enough to know when to call off the summit attempt. The day we summited was pretty much perfect - blue skies, lots of snow and ice and stunning views of this beautiful country. It was harder than I expected - the height gain per day is greater than most other treks and inevitably on a shorter trek, acclimatisation time is compromised. But I have no complaints. We had a blizzard on the day we descended back to the bus, but our guide (Youssef) and assistant guide (Lassan) were both on top of the situation, and we descended safely and together for a welcome mint tea at Imlil. If you are thinking about the winter ascent (and haven't done winter mountain walking before), you have to understand that the weather conditions and the snow and ice add considerably to the difficulty but make for a much more rewarding summit. Marrakech is a beautiful city. I loved the contrast and really appreciated having a full day after the mountains to relax and enjoy exploring the city.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    It's tempting to say getting to the top, and that was a wonderful moment after the effort we had put in. But equally, bonding as a team so that we all got to the top together meant a great deal to me. Getting through the tough descent back to Imlil was, on reflection, an achievement that I was proud of, too.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Youssef was knowledgeable and informative from the start. By the time we'd reached the mountains and completed the winter training, we trusted him so that when he said that we couldn't summit because the weather was likely to get worse, we knew he was right (and he was subsequently proved right). We learnt a lot about the country, the culture and beliefs, and the way the trekking business worked from him.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Make sure you have the right kit. For the winter climb, your boots must be able to take proper crampons and be worn in. Mine were, but I still developed blister as the crampon straps tightened the boots slightly differently. Take plenty of plasters! I wish I'd done a little more aerobic/gym training instead of concentrating on hill walking. I've done Everest Base Camp and Kilimanjaro but this is different again - the ascent comes in short, intense bursts so that extra fitness is worth having so that you can enjoy the trek. In cold conditions, the drinking tube of a bladder system can freeze, as can the bite valve. Blow the water back out of the tube after you've drunk and tuck the bite valve under your armpit or into your jacket. Or take a smaller water bottle and keep it inside your coat. Horde your small change. In the mountain villages and refuge, there is next to no chance of breaking a 100dh note for single bottles of water or snacks. Similarly in Marrakech, I found the shop owners (even the supermarket next to the hotel) extremely reluctant to take larger denomination notes for small purchases. Jemaa el Fna is a fantastic place but is best visited after dark, when the square fills up and the food stalls are out. It's busy, noisy, chaotic and fun and not as intimidating as you may first think. Local families got here. But be sensible with your valuables and watch out for kids who crowd around you trying to sell you little glow sticks - it's a distraction while they go for your pockets. It happened to me and I felt two hands unzipping my jacket pockets. I just managed to stop them taking my camera and phone. Don't let this put you off. Just keep everything in inside pockets and be a little wary.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I found the food in Morocco wonderful. I have a problem with spicy food, which tends to upset my stomach, but this food was fantastic and I didn't suffer any problems at all. The food in the mountains, cooked by our own trek chef, was excellent and always fresh, surprising given the location. I didn't want to rely on bottled water because of the lack of recycling in the mountains, but it was the only practical way of getting enough water. I brought the bottles back to Marrakech with me. Take ear plugs for the refuges in the mountains, and prepare to share dormitories with the whole group. Crocs or waterproof sandals for the showers will make life easier. Go with an open mind, prepared to change plans at short notice, and you will be rewared with an excellent experience.
  • Reviewed March 2017
    Caroline Brown

    My most awesome week of adventure

    I would highly recommend this trip. I had the time of my life. It was a perfect balance of adventure, fun, challenge, teamwork, culture and relaxation. First time using Exodus - very impressed, can't wait to book my next adventure!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Climbing the steep snow/ice slope with crampons and ice axes for a superb view and awesome feeling of accomplishment!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our group leader was THE BEST. He guided us easily, we trusted him fully, he provided us with excellent information and was always available - nothing was a problem! He was also so much fun and easy to get along with - I miss him and everyone on the trip!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    My advice would be do some winter walking if possible, if not walking and I'd also highly recommend a taster ice climbing session just to get used to crampons and ice axes. I did this and felt it was very helpful.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I had the BEST time!
  • Reviewed March 2017
    Gillian McFall

    Mount Toubkal Winter Climb

    Really good intro to high altitude winter walking!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    An hour long picnic at 4,167m, soaking up the sun, sharing time with new friends and taking in the stunning snowy vistas!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Hassan was excellent throughout the trip, looking after us on the hills and in Marrakech.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    I was a bit worried about the grade 7 rating. If your fit, can cope with the cold and some very basic accomodation for a few nights - go for it!
  • Reviewed December 2016
    Michelle Knott

    2 peaks in 2 days!

    It was a tough slog but soooooo worth it! The scenery was exquisite and it's the perfect trip to learn new skills using crampons, ice axes and avalanche transceivers.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    We were lucky with the weather so had the opportunity to summit Ras Ouanoukrim the day after Toubkal. It was tough going up to the pass (the mind and body were still reeling from the previous day!) but then the technical scramble that followed was both exciting and challenging. The view of Mount Toubkal and Marrakech was incredible.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Hassan was knowledgeable and good fun. He set a good pace and knew just what to say to motivate me on my way up to the Ouanoukrim pass. The assistant guide Mohammed was patient and always had a smile on his face.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    You need a good level of fitness and be able to keep a reasonable pace. 2 guides are required to get the group across the ridge for both the Toubkal and Ouanoumrim climbs so it's essential the group keeps together (within reason). Having said that I don't think I'm particularly fast and I made it!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The dormitory experience in the refuge is just that.....an experience! Expect large bunk bed frames with multiple single mattresses laid side by side - it was a laugh but bring earplugs!
  • Reviewed December 2016
    Andrew Smith

    Mt Toubkal winter climb

    Overall had a fantastic time.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Both summit successes

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Hassam was an excellent group leader. He had a tough decision to make regarding 2 clients, bur he made the correct one, due their fitness levels and experience. Any other decision could have put the whole group in danger.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Well worth doing this trip.