Mountaineering in the Moroccan High Atlas

Walks, climbs & scrambles over 3000M

By Des Clark

This guidebook describes 50 walks, climbs and scrambles in the Moroccan High Atlas. The routes were written with winter conditions in mind and are suitable for experienced winter mountaineers and walkers. The routes cover 30 peaks and are all above 3000m with the highest being Jbel Toubkal at 4167m.



All routes described can be undertaken in the spring and autumn, but most have been described with a winter ascent in mind.


Taroudant, Marrakech, Imlil, Oukaimeden, Ait Bougammez, Zawat Ahansal, Midelt


Most of the technical climbing grades fall within the Alpine F- to AD range; also included are the author's own grades for remoteness, navigation and commitment.
Must See

Must See

all the 4000m peaks in the High Atlas, including Jbel Toubkal in the central region and Ighil Mgoun in the east, and Jbel Tinergwet, Jbel Awlim and the Tichka plateau in the south-west
15 Feb 2011
17.2 x 11.6 x 1.6cm
  • Overview

    The High Atlas mountains of Morocco have mountaineering potential galore. With 7 major summits over 4000m, and myriad other remote and little-climbed summits, the region offers countless challenges for experienced winter climbers and scramblers looking for adventure.

    This guidebook contains full route descriptions for 50 walks, climbs and scrambles on 30 peaks right across the range from Taroudant in the south-west to Midelt in the north-east, all easily accessible from Marrakech airport. Each route is graded by remoteness, navigational difficulty and commitment.

    The mountains of the High Atlas seldom drop below 3000m so naturally all the summits and routes are over 3000m, so some mild affects of altitude, such as shortness of breath, may initially be felt, particularly on the 4000m summits. This may affect initial performance, but most people should get used to the altitude in a few days. There are at least seven mountains that reach over 4000m; the highest of these is Jbel Toubkal at 4167m.

    While the vast majority of routes in the guidebook can be undertaken in the late spring and autumn, the emphasis is on winter ascents (from early November to mid-April). All the routes in this guidebook assume a certain amount of winter mountain experience on your part, the majority of the routes were written with winter conditions in mind.

    This guidebook divides the range into three regions, using two road passes as boundaries, and the routes are described under the following regional sections.

    • west of Tizi n-Test (routes from Taroudant)
    • between Tizi n-Test and Tizi n-Tichka (routes from Imlil and Oukaimeden)
    • east of Tizi n-Tichka (routes from Ait Bougammez, Zawat Ahansal and Midelt)

  • Contents



    European exploration
    The Berbers
    Local customs and etiquette
    Building styles
    Plants and flowers
    When to go
    Visas and permits
    Planning and maps
    Tourist information
    Getting to Morocco
    Getting around Morocco
    Mules and porters
    Local guides
    What to take
    Health and safety
    Communication and navigation aids
    Respecting the environment
    Using this guide

    West of Tizi n-Test


    Jbel Tinergwet

    1  Jbel Tingerwet south-west ridge
    2  Jbel Tingerwet west-north-west ridge

    Jbel Awlim

    3  Jbel Awlim south-west ridge
    4  Jbel Awlim south ridge


    5  Imaradene from the east
    6  Imaradene from the south and west


    7  Awlim north-east ridge

    Awrir n-Said

    8  Awrir n-Said west ridge

    Additional routes

    Between Tizi n-Test and Tizi n-Tichka


    Getting to the refuges from Imlil

    Traverses between Lepiney and Toubkal refuges

     9  Toubkal refuges via Tizi Aguelzim
    10  Toubkal refuges via Tizi n-Tadat
    11  Toubkal refuges via Clochetons breche
    12  Toubkal refuges via Tizi Melloul and Tizi Afella


    13  Tazaghart via Tizi Melloul
    14  Tazaghart Diagonal Couloir
    15  Tazaghart Descent Couloir


    16  Biguinoussene from Tizi n-Tadat
    17  Biguinoussene south ridge


    18  Afella via Tizi Melloul
    19  Afella via Aougdal Bou Tiouna


    20  Akioud north-north-west ridge

    Ras and Timesguida n-Ouanoukrim

    21  Ras and Timesguida n-Ouanoukrim east ridge from Tizi n-Ouagane
    22  Ras and Timesguida n-Ouanoukrim north-east couloir
    23  Ras and Timesguida n-Ouanoukrim north-west ridge

    Jbel Toubkal

    24  Jbel Toubkal south cwm south col
    25  Jbel Toubkal north cwm north col
    26  Jbel Toubkal north-east ridge
    27  Jbel Toubkal south-west (Ouanoums) ridge
    28  Jbel Toubkal south-east ridge

    Toubkal West

    29  Toubkal West north-east ridge


    30  Imouzzer north cwm north col south-west ridge


    31  Angour north side ledge
    32  Angour west ridge


    33  Anrhemer west ridge

    Bou Iguenouane

    34  Bou Iguenouane via Amazzer Meqqoren
    35  Bou Iguenouane ridge traverse (north to west-south-west)

    Aksoual and Azrou n-Tamadot

    36  Tizi Likemt to Tizi n-Tagharat traverse

    Additional routes

    East of Tizi n-Tichka       

    Ait Bougammez

    Getting to Tarkeddit refuge

    37  Tarkeddit refuge from Agouti           
    38  Tarkeddit refuge from Sebt Ayt Bou Wlli
    39  Tarkeddit refuge from Tondout

    Ighil Mgoun and Mgoun West

    40  Ighil Mgoun and Mgoun West from Tarkeddit refuge
    41  Ighil Mgoun and Mgoun West north-east ridge (traverse)

    Oumassin and Aslad

    42  Oumassin and Aslad from Tarkeddit refuge


    43  Aklim from Tarkeddit refuge or Tatrarat


    44  Tarkeddit ridge – east to west traverse

    Zawat Ahansal


    45  Ouaougoulzat west summit
    46  Tagafayt


    47  Azurki north-east to south-west ridge traverse
    48  Azurki north face couloirs


    Jbel Maasker

    49  Jbel Maasker via Inifif

    Jbel Ayyachi, Sayd ou Addi and Ichichi n-Boukhlib

    50  Jbel Ayyachi, Sayd ou Addi and Ichichi n-Boukhlib via the Cirque de Jaffar

    Additional routes

    APPENDIX A  Further reading
    APPENDIX B  Useful words and phrases
    APPENDIX C  Route summary table
    APPENDIX D  Refuge summary table

  • Updates
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  • Reviews

    'I think this is the first dedicated winter guidebook to the Atlas that I’ve seen in English.

    …it will open the door for people who need a guidebook before they head out there, then things will begin to develop at a faster pace in this beautiful corner of the world.’

    Mountain Rescue, July 2011

    ‘I would rate Morocco as a superb venue for an all-out assault on the senses as well as an excellent location for walking and climbing. Picking up Des Clark’s book not only reinforces this but also gives one a real incentive to get out there and get into the mountains.

    Des, apart from being qualified for what he does as a job, lives in the area and obviously knows the mountains very well. This is reflected in the routes that he has chosen for inclusion, and the variety of trips seem to be very well chosen, spread and thought through.

    The first 50 pages or so deal with the practicalities of travel in Morocco, and there’s plenty of guidance on what kit to take, along with specifics for the Moroccan winter. Tips such as taking a cover for your rucksack when bivi-ing in winter…show thoughtfulness of content. The rest of the book is taken up with a variety routes in various areas, along with useful timing, grades, equipment and start-point details.

    …There are plenty of in-context photographs to illustrate certain areas, and these also serve as an incentive to get out there. The maps are very clear and well annotated and will be very useful when planning your trip…

    All in all, this is a very useful addition to your trip-planning bookshelf and, due partly to its soft plastic cover, a very handy reference to have along with you in your rucksack.’

    Scottish Mountaineer, Oct 2011

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Des Clark

Des Clark is a qualified International Mountain Leader who has his permanent home in southern Morocco, close to the High Atlas mountains. Here he runs his own mountaineering and trekking business, guiding trips in winter, spring and autumn throughout the Atlas range. He has climbed extensively in Ireland, Scotland, Iceland, the Alps, Pyrenees and Andes, but reserves a special fondness for his High Atlas home.

View Guidebooks by Des Clark