Conquering New Heights – Claire Mifsud’s Journey on Mount Toubkal
Introducing Claire Mifsud, Sales Executive at AX Hotel Sliema, who fearlessly conquered new heights by reaching the summit of Mount Toubkal.
In 2021 – my life took a complete 360-degree turnaround – with this, came a change in career, and change in status and a change in my whole life. I met a friend who organised weekly treks around Malta – with the goal to do the Camino de Santiago as a fundraising for a charity he supports.
So, I joined this group, some people I knew – some others I get to know. I gelled with them right away and made some amazing connections. Last May – 22 – I challenged myself to get to Santiago from Sarria, which is a 111km walk – and loved every minute of it! It gave me time to think and reflect as well as enjoy the beautiful scenery – and time to get out of my head and see things from a different perspective, after that I came back and started my amazing journey with AX.
This was such a great satisfaction – that kept me looking for my next challenge – as well as our fundraising which contributed to building three schools in Bonga, Ethiopia, which will allow 500 children a year to receive an education. After this I was itching for my next personal/philanthropical challenge, as a fundraising – we thought about empowering women in Ethiopia and made plans to build an education centre which will teach women skills such as creating employment opportunities, reducing migration and uplifting poor women and increase household income of families and hence reduce poverty in the area.
Conquering Mount Toubkal, was the biggest challenge I’ve set for myself and the most gratifying and exciting. The distinctive beauty and unique scenery were already enough for the trip to be the most exhilarating – but the unique climb made it the most transcendent.
Mount Toubkal, a mountain peak that is the highest point in Morocco and in the Atlas Mountains – 4,165 metres high. The peak is situated 60 km south of Marrakech in the High Atlas (Haut Atlas). Juniper forests covering the mountain’s higher slopes are succeeded by alpine meadows, whereas the lower slopes have been extensively overgrazed.
As trekking Mount Toubkal requires your body to be at high altitudes, it is crucial to allow time for adjustment. A rule of thumb is “climb high and sleep low.” It’s important to gain height slowly, about 500m a day once you are at 2,500m. You should be drinking plenty of water as well.
We started with a good night’s rest in Imlil and then stop at one of the refuges to sleep for the night. This allowed your body to adjust gradually, as the walk from Imlil to the Toubkal Refuges is about 12km alone. After spending the night at the Refuge, we woke up very early, feeling somewhat refreshed, and began our trek up to the summit of Toubkal. we began our trek in the early hours of the morning, with a headlamp, to avoid returning too late in and it was also great to get up to the summit for sunrise!
Conquering Mount Toubkal and reaching the peak was an emotional moment, the sky was a deep blue, and the horizon was punctured by sharp, jagged forays into the sky from the deep orange and white mountains below. It was an epic scene, and to look at it you would think the most serene moment.
As we left the peak, we started making our way back down. We had conquered North Africa’s highest peak in some of the worst conditions, and we lived to tell the tale.
Once you conquer a mountain there’s very little else you cannot do, I feel very satisfied, happy and proud I did this it’s a great one for the bucket list – now onto the next challenge!