Wednesday, 17 August 2016

Exodus - Mount Toubkal climb trip - Day 5 - actual Toubkal day!!!!

4167 metres above sea level! Highest day of the trip, the day I'd been working towards for months!

It was a massive fitness achievement for me and an incredible view. I remember when my biggest fitness achievement was managing to run for 5 mins, then 15 mins, then 5k. And there was the first time I managed to touch my toes. Since then, my fitness achievements haven't felt so massive - going up weights in kettlebells, learning different punches, dashing up 15 flights of stairs with relative ease - these achievements feel smaller than those initial ones. Toubkal felt like a big deal though.

This post is full of joy.


An extra early start on Toubkal day. I think we set off at 6:30 or something. I barely felt I had time to get ready but I did at least manage to use the bathroom. Struggled with breakfast though and only managed porridge and a few bites of now dry bread before we set off. (Learned my lesson the day before though, I was armed to the teeth with snacks.)

As ever, the start was tough. I think because it’s quite intense uphill and it’s like running hard without warming up which usually feels pretty awful. Eley wanted to give up (I’m so glad he didn’t). I think I told him I thought he could do it and to try and carry on but I was so focussed on myself and getting myself up the mountain that I don’t think I said much more. I wasn’t much moral support at all. Both Hobs and Eley were feeling the effects of altitude and Hobs had horrifying blisters and they both dropped back with the second guide (Hamid?). I walked on without them, I wanted to go on and I figured they had each other and didn’t need me.  (I feel simultaneously a bit bad that I didn't hang back for support as well as glad that I did what I really wanted to do.)

After the initial intensity, I felt good again and totally focussed on breathing and walking. Slow and steady. Each rest stop, I forced down snacks (I brought spicy cashews, dates and pumpkin seed cereal bars). 

The further we went, the more confident I felt. I knew we were all going to make it to the top.

As we approached the summit, we slowed down so that we would all get there together. I felt so good. So, so happy. And so glad we had all made it, the entire group.

We sat near the weird metal triangle that marks the summit and I ate my summit Snickers (king of chocolate bars) and stared at how beautiful the mountains are and looked gormlessly at everyone in the group, over spilling inwardly with euphoria.

Then it was group photos at the triangle, selfies, photos, photos, photos. It was only when I looked back at the photos later that I realised how exhausted Hobs looked. All I could think of at the time was the feeling of my own joy.

Poor Hobs - I'm selfishly oblivious of how crappy he feels.

I wandered about slightly, gazing at the view and the goats. Then we all sat down for bread and cheese (or tuna, or just bread if you’re a vegan). A little stripy chipmonky squirrel guy came by and ate crumbs. Lots of black birds swooped by too. And I think I saw a bird of prey in the distance. And there were butterflies.

Heading down (as ever) was longer and harder than going up. Fucking scree! My shoulders were tense with concentration. Too easy to slip on the loose stones. Though there were fun bits where we danced from giant rock to giant rock. Hop, hop, hop.

It took a long time to get down but Hassan looked after us well and I was still pretty overexcited and overjoyed.

When we got back to camp I went straight to the loo (didn’t wee at all on Toubkal) and I guess we probably had tea. I showered. Hobs and Eley napped. I spent time chatting with others in the group. (Everyone was so nice!)

After dinner, I borrowed a coat from Hobs for extra warmth. I really didn’t want to unpack mine as it’s so big and I really had to shove it in one of the sealable bags Hobs gave me to compact it down.
We went to the lodge and played cards for a bit. I was still euphoric and silly and couldn’t take anything seriously and just spent the whole time giggling, which was great fun for me and hopefully not too annoying for everyone else.

As it got later, we finished with cards and a group of us walked down the valley a bit and sat on a rock, hoping to see the stars. But we couldn’t really see them so we just chatted a bit before heading back.

Once back, we found the lodge had closed for the night so I cleaned my teeth with Hobs and Eley and their head torches. 

What's your biggest fitness achievement? What's your next goal?

No comments:

Post a Comment