Scaling New Heights

Judy Wright's triumph on Mount Toubkal

Have you ever wondered what it feels like to climb the highest peak in North Africa? Judy Wright, our dedicated colleague at Moore Stephens, took on that very adventure and came out victorious.

After a stirring expedition to Peru's Machu Picchu last year, she decided to step up her game by summiting Mount Toubkal in Morocco. Here we explore her journey, the challenges she overcame, and what motivated her to undertake this daring feat.

Embarking on an adventure
Last October, Judy experienced the Inca Trail in Peru, walking along an age-old path to reach the ancient city of Machu Picchu. This wasn’t just a vacation; it was a preamble to something even more challenging. Judy and three other people made the decision to climb Mount Toubkal just three months after beginning their trek.

“Why Toubkal? Well, I was keen on catching up with some of the people I'd trekked with in Peru," Judy said. "I had always wanted to do the climb at some point. It was a personal goal, one that I knew would push me out of my comfort zone."

Training for the Big Climb
While some may spend months preparing for such an expedition, Judy's regular walking routines on the island of Guernsey provided an excellent baseline. "I didn’t feel the need to do too much additional training. A few weekends out on the cliffs for 1-2 hours was sufficient preparation," she explained.

However, Judy did have concerns about altitude sickness, having faced it on her Peru trek. To mitigate risks, she dove into literature about dealing with altitude sickness and carefully followed the packing list, ensuring she had all the right clothing, footwear, and equipment for the climb.

The Ascent: Challenges and triumphs
Rated as 'Moderate to Challenging' by the tour company, the trek up to the refuge at approximately 3,200m was labeled as moderate by Judy. "We had a steady climb, and the track was well defined. Our bags were carried by mules all the way to the refuge," she explained. 

The real test lay ahead, as the group commenced their summit climb at 05:30 in pitch-black darkness. Clad with head torches and guided by three experts, they navigated through compacted ice and boulders. "The climb was extremely challenging. My fingers were freezing, making it difficult to grasp my walking poles," Judy recalled. "I was more focused on my frozen fingers than my footing, which made the slippery, uneven terrain even more challenging."

However, the rising sun brought relief and thawed her fingers, leading to the first captivating views from the ridge. "Reaching the ridge was magical; the views were absolutely stunning," she said. The journey continued to the summit, and they eventually made it, conquering the peak of Mount Toubkal.

The descent and a breath of relief
Descending wasn't any less challenging, but it brought its own set of reliefs. Judy revealed, "We heard that a group who had attempted the climb that same morning had to turn back due to high winds. We were just relieved we made it to the top; you only get one chance at the summit!"

Life at the refuge
The refuge served as a comforting pit stop, albeit noisy and cramped. "After a challenging day, it was nice to unwind with the group over a game of cards. Despite the simple accommodations, the refuge provided a sense of community," Judy recounted.

In closing
Climbing Mount Toubkal was not just an adventure for Judy; it was a journey of breaking barriers and pushing boundaries. It is a testament to her willpower, preparation, and courage to step out of her comfort zone. As she triumphantly stood at the peak of North Africa's tallest mountain, she not only achieved a personal milestone but also inspired each of us to take on our own Mount Toubkals, no matter how challenging they might seem.

Bravo, Judy, bravo!