Discover the High Atlas with an expert Cicerone guide author - Maps and Photos

Cover of The High Atlas
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Published
Published
17 Apr 2012
ISBN
9781852846718
Edition
First
Size
24.0 x 17.0 x 1.6cm
Weight
640g
Pages
224
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The High Atlas

Treks and climbs on Morocco's biggest and best mountains

by Hamish Brown
Book published by Cicerone Press

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.

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Description

The High Atlas mountains of North Africa offer some of the finest trekking and climbing in the world, with hospitable guides, a good climate for much of the year and an almost untouched mountaineering potential. Once you’ve experienced the contrasting landscapes, romantic cities and welcoming people of Morocco, it’s easy to become hooked.

A narrative of the author’s explorations over half a century, this is a guidebook like no other and could have been written by no one else. It describes some of the biggest and best mountain treks and climbs, routes long and short, difficult and easy, illustrated with pictures that show the rich culture of the Berber people. It is sure to be the inspiration for many fascinating Moroccan expeditions.

All the biggest and best summits including...

  • Jbel Toubkal (4167m) – the highest mountain in North Africa
  • Tazekka – covered right to the top by magnificent cedar forests
  • Igdat – first climbed in an extraordinary feat of mountaineering by Joseph Thomson in 1888
  • Ouaougoulzat – a popular ski-mountaineering destination
  • The improbable ascent of the Cathedral rock tower
  • Tizi Mkorn – between the desert gorges of Dadès and Todra
  • The peaks around the rim of the Tichka Plateau
  • Activities
    mountaineering, scrambling, trekking
  • Seasons
    If you can cope with snow climbs, winter into spring is a good time to visit; spring is the perfection, with blossom and life awakening, and as late as June alpine flowers will still be colouring high ground; by July the temperature is soaring and tends to stay so until the autumn equinox; autumn is harvest time, and storms are less likely, but you'll find a burnt-up landscape; November, December and January are the least good months
  • Centres
    Marrakech, Fes, Imlil, Ouarzazate, the Bou Guemez, Tinerhir and Boumalne des Dadès
  • Difficulty
    routes suitable for any experienced mountaineer, as long as they respect the altitude and the strong summer sun
  • Must See
    Jbel Toubkal the highest mountain in North Africa; Tazekka; Igdat; Ouaougoulzat; the Cathedral rock tower; Tizi Mkorn and the Tichka Plateau; the colourful Berber culture and people
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Contents

Index of route maps
Overview map   

Introduction

Geography and climate of the High Atlas   
Trekking routine   
Planning your trip   
Getting there and getting around   
Bureaucracy   
Local guides   
Local language and culture   
Health and safety   
Maps       
Using this guide   

Middle Atlas and Eastern High Atlas   

1    Jbel Tazekka   
2    Jbel bou Naceur, Moussa ou Salah and Jbel bou Iblane   
3    Jbel Ayyachi and Jbel Masker   
4    Jbel Hayane   

Central High Atlas   

5    Jbel Msedrit   
6    Jbel Laqroun   
7    The Cathedral (Mastfrane)   
8    Mouriq   

Mgoun Ranges   

9    Aroudane (Aioui)   
10    Jbel Azurki   
11    Ouaougoulzat   
12    Adar n’ Ouchane, Jbel Anzig, Jbel Amezrika and Imejdag   
13    Jbel Tigounatine   
14    Tizi Mkorn   
15    Ighil Mgoun (Oumsoud)   
16    Jbel-n-Nig Oumassine and Jbel Tazoult-n-Ouguerd (Aslad)   
17    Jbel Aklim   

Western Central Atlas   

18    Jbel Tizoula   
19    Jbel Rhat and Tignousti   
20    Jbel Anghomer   
21    Tissili n’ Warg   
22    Jbel Tastwiyt group   
23    Adrar Tircht (Jbel bou Ourioul)   
24    Adrar Yagour   
25    Adrar Meltzen   

The Toubkal Massif   

26    Kik Plateau edge   
27    Jbel Toubkal   
28    The Ouanoukrims   
29    Aksouâl   
30    Adrar n’ Inghemar   
31    Angour   
32    Taska n’ Zat   
33    Tazaghart   

West of the Tizi n’ Test Road   

34    Jbel Gourza   
35    Jbel Erdouz   
36    Igdat   
37    Adrar-n-Oumzra   
38    Jbel Tabgourt   
39    Jbel Ikkis   

The Tichka Plateau   

40    Amendach   
41    Takoucht   
42    Flillis   
43    Moulay Ali   
44    Imaradene (Tassiwt)   

Further West   

45    Ras Moulay Ali   
46    Mtdadene   
47    Jbel Awlim and Jbel Tinergwet   
48    Azegza   

The Southern and Northern Ranges   

Appendix  A    Glossary   
Appendix  B    Texts, books and maps   
Appendix  C    What to take   
Appendix  D    The highest summits   
Appendix  E    Contacts   
 

Index of route maps  
Overview map  
Introduction   
Geography and climate of the High Atlas   
Trekking routine   
Planning your trip   
Getting there and getting around   
Bureaucracy   
Local guides   
Local language and culture   
Health and safety   
Maps       
Using this guide   

Middle Atlas and Eastern High Atlas   
1    Jbel Tazekka   
2    Jbel bou Naceur, Moussa ou Salah and Jbel bou Iblane   
3    Jbel Ayyachi and Jbel Masker   
4    Jbel Hayane   

Central High Atlas
   
5    Jbel Msedrit   
6    Jbel Laqroun   
7    The Cathedral (Mastfrane)   
8    Mouriq   

Mgoun Ranges   
9      Aroudane (Aioui)   
10    Jbel Azurki   
11    Ouaougoulzat   
12    Adar n’ Ouchane, Jbel Anzig, Jbel Amezrika and Imejdag   
13    Jbel Tigounatine   
14    Tizi Mkorn   
15    Ighil Mgoun (Oumsoud)   
16    Jbel-n-Nig Oumassine and Jbel Tazoult-n-Ouguerd (Aslad)   
17    Jbel Aklim   

Western Central Atlas
   
18    Jbel Tizoula   
19    Jbel Rhat and Tignousti   
20    Jbel Anghomer   
21    Tissili n’ Warg   
22    Jbel Tastwiyt group   
23    Adrar Tircht (Jbel bou Ourioul)   
24    Adrar Yagour   
25    Adrar Meltzen   

The Toubkal Massif   
26    Kik Plateau edge   
27    Jbel Toubkal   
28    The Ouanoukrims   
29    Aksouâl   
30    Adrar n’ Inghemar   
31    Angour   
32    Taska n’ Zat   
33    Tazaghart   

West of the Tizi n’ Test Road 
  
34    Jbel Gourza   
35    Jbel Erdouz   
36    Igdat   
37    Adrar-n-Oumzra   
38    Jbel Tabgourt   
39    Jbel Ikkis   

The Tichka Plateau
   
40    Amendach   
41    Takoucht   
42    Flillis   
43    Moulay Ali   
44    Imaradene (Tassiwt)   

Further West   
45    Ras Moulay Ali   
46    Mtdadene   
47    Jbel Awlim and Jbel Tinergwet   
48    Azegza   

The Southern and Northern Ranges   
Appendix  A    Glossary   
Appendix  B    Texts, books and maps   
Appendix  C    What to take   
Appendix  D    The highest summits   
Appendix  E    Contacts   


Index of route maps
Route 1:                    Jbel Tazekka   
Route 2:                    Jbel bou Naceur, Moussa ou Salah and Jbel bou Iblane   
Route 3:                    Jbel Ayyachi and Jbel Masker   
Route 4:                    Jbel Hayane   
Route 5:                    Jbel Msedrit   
Routes 6-8:               Jbel Laqroun, Cathedral and Mouriq   
Routes 9-13:             From the Bou Guemez and Dadès valleys   
Route 14:                  Tizi Mkorn   
Routes 15-19:           Ighil Mgoun, Oumassine, Jbel Tazoul-n-Ouguerd/Aslad, Jbel Aklim, Jbel Tizoula, Jbel Rhat and Tignousti   
Routes 20-22:           Jbel Anghomer, Tissili n’ Warg and Jbel Tastwiyt group   
Routes 23-25, 32:     Adrar Tircht, Adrar Yagour, Adrar Meltzen, Taska n’ Zat  
Routes 26:                Kik Plateau edge 
Routes 27-31, 33:     Jbel Toubkal, the Ouanoukrims, Aksouâl, Adrar n’ Inghemar, Angour and Tazaghart   
Routes 34–36:          Jbel Gourza, Jbel Erdouz and Igdat  
Routes 37–48:          Around the Tichka Plateau   

Maps

Front Cover Skiing on Jbel Oukaïmeden, with Angour behind (Route 31) Jbel Toubkal, highest summit in North Africa (4167m), from Imlil Shopping at Talat-n-Yacoub souk (Route 34) The Tazekka cedar forest The north flank of Jbel bou Nacceur Bab n’ Ali in the Jbel Sahro

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.
 

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