Discover the High Atlas with an expert Cicerone author
The High Atlas
Treks and climbs on Morocco's biggest and best mountains by Hamish Brown
Inspirational book packed with anecdotes and insights about the best treks and climbs in the High Atlas mountains of Morocco, in North Africa, and drawn from the author's 50-year experience. Illustrated with dazzling photographs of the mountains and also the mountain people, the Berbers. 48 routes including Jbel Toubkal, Tazekka and Igdat. More...
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Maps are a problem. The Atlas ranges are all covered at a scale of 1:100,000 (maps at this scale are referenced as '100' in this book, with the sheet name, see Appendix B) and some are covered at 1:50,000 (referenced as '50' plus the sheet name), but the mapping is very old. This may not matter for the delineation of the landscape, but all human infrastructure is woefully out of date. These maps are very hard to purchase (but see Appendix B for possible suppliers). Obtain what you can, but go regardless.
Maps may not be as vital as one might presume. Working from a good map of the country (Michelin, Hallwag, World Map/Geo Center, Freytag & Berndt, Rough Guide, etc), the vital Mgoun Massif West Col map (referenced as 'MM' in this book), the more available Toubkal area maps, plus map sketches in Peyron or Fougerolles (see Appendix B), and closely reading texts (including this book), means one can manage quite happily.
As well as any maps, the wise will have a knowledgeable local along (see Appendix E) and/or glean information from muleteers and locals. In addition, good visibility (usually!) makes life much easier – allowing hill sense to make the obvious correct decisions – and is essential for those going into the mountains without a map at all. In all my years in the Atlas I’ve used a compass only twice. (If it is bad enough to need one, you’re just not going anywhere!)
The spelling on maps can vary, as can the heights, so any inconsistencies between this book and published maps is unavoidable. (In the text, the height given for any peak may be followed by a second height in brackets, which is an alternative figure fairly often encountered, so may help to pinpoint the peak.) As long as a mountain name is near enough and recognisable, go with it – Zawyat Ahancal, Zaouie Ahansal and Zawit Ahansal is one example of this type of variation. A height can be different on the 1:100,000 and 1:50,000 scale maps and in books consulted. The 1:100,000 and 1:50,000 maps also tend to show a differing selection of paths – and are decades behind changes to such. Ah, for the good old Ordnance Survey and the simplicity of Gaelic nomenclature!
This book uses metres and kilometres throughout (as that is what is used on the maps) and, to aid navigation, key places and features shown on the sketch maps are highlighted in bold in the narrative.