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.



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


Marrakech, Fes, Imlil, Ouarzazate, the Bou Guemez, Tinerhir and Boumalne des Dadès


routes suitable for any experienced mountaineer, as long as they respect the altitude and the strong summer sun
Must See

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
17 Apr 2012
24.0 x 17.0 x 1.6cm
  • Overview

    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
  • Contents

    Index of route maps
    Overview map   


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

    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.

  • Updates
    Receive updates by email
    Be notified by email when this book receives an update or correction
    We do not yet have any updates available for this book

    We are always grateful to readers for information about any discrepancies between a guidebook and the facts on the ground. If you would like to send some information to us then please use our contact form. They will be published here following review by the author(s).

  • Reviews

    The best and most important trekking guide to the High Atlas mountains, where to go and how to get there. This is as much about the people and the landscape and is as insightful as it's practical.

    Rough Guides

  • Other eBook Retailers

    Google Play

    Google Play Books available for Windows, Android, Mac and iOS

    Google Play


    Kobo eReader devices plus Kobo App available for Windows, Android, Mac and iOS



    Kindle Reader devices plus Kindle App available for Windows, Android, Mac and iOS

  • Downloads
Brown Hamish

Hamish Brown

Hamish M Brown is a professional writer lecturer and photographer specialising in mountain, outdoor and travel topics, topography, prehistoric sites, historical interests and travel worldwide. He has written or edited over 20 books, ranging from poem (his own and anthologies) and short stories, well- researched and illustrated guidebooks, to narratives on major expeditions (Munros in a single trip, the Groat's End Walk, Atlas end- to- end). He has also appeared on radio and TV.

View Articles and Books by Hamish Brown