Trekking in the High Atlas Mountains : Ighil M'Goun #4

This is the final section of an illustrated diary of a trek in the High Atlas mountains in Morocco, in the remote region around Ighil M'Goun, where small Berber villages are scattered through the varied landscape. After climbing gradually for seven or eight days through the mountains we are finally approaching our target. We spent last night just outside the village of Amezri: we had felt we were not very welcome here, and all of us – including our muleteers – are rather subdued...

This diary is now organized as four pages: page 1 | page 2 | page 3 | page 4

Morocco photo Morocco photo We're up early and the tents and equipment packed away. Setting off into the early morning sun in this stunning landscape we make a couple more (very cold!) river crossings...
Morocco photo Morocco photo ...before beginning the long ascent through a barren area to camp on a plateau at 3,000m, below the bulk of M'Goun. This is tough; the climb goes on for ever and the sun burns down on us. Some of us are probably feeling the altitude.
Morocco photo Morocco photo We're away before daybreak for our attempt on M'Goun, climbing first to the Tizi-n'Oumsoud pass at 3666m.
Morocco photo Morocco photo One of our muleteers – my good friend Saïd – looks out towards the Sahara. He walks in simple secondhand shoes with no socks, and we feel rather foolish in our technical colour-coordinated windproof jackets and Vibram-soled boots.
Morocco photo   After starting up the ridge to the summit, our guide judges it too windy for safety, and the group is forced to descend to the mountain hut – our planned refuge for the night.
Morocco photo   From here we can see for the first time the pass and the route to M'Goun (along the ridge, top left). This is a big, deserted landscape, smooth and gravelly rather than rocky, with isolated tufts of grass struggling to survive.
Morocco photo Morocco photo The following morning – after spotting a single muleteer in this vast landscape [you'll need to see the full-size photo] – the prospect of walking seems easier as we load our rucksacks and check our cameras for the journey back.
Morocco photo Morocco photo There's one more climb to get off the plateau, and we can take time to admire the view towards our start and finish point, back in the Ait Bougamez valley.
< previous | page 1 | page 2 | page 3 | page 4
New on the site
A Grand Tour
Karlskirche, Vienna
Photos+diary of a 5-week rail tour of 20 European towns and cities