Key information: MGoun Summit
- A wonderful high ridge packing in endless drama and visual thrills leads to Morocco’s second-highest mountain.
- A proper trekker’s peak, but demanding as a result of the altitude.
- Walkopedia rating89
- Natural interest17
- Human interest6
- Negative points2
- Total rating89
- Note: Neg: altitude.
- Length: One day (5-8 days total)
- Maximum Altitude: 4,071m
- Level of Difficulty: Strenuous
The M’Goun range, at the heart of the High Atlas, is remoter and lesser-known than the Toubkal area, but a gem nonetheless. Its high point, Jebel M’Goun (4,071m) (? - there is inconsistency here!), is the second-highest peak in north Africa, and one of Morocco’s sacred peaks.
Very different in nature from (and Walkopedia thinks it more beautiful than) the Toubkal area, the M’Goun are largely eroded sandstone and limestone: think deep, colourful and dramatic gorges separating high and thrilling ridges and escarpments. It is a touch less harsh than other Atlas areas, with a bit more vegetation and perhaps more prosperous valleys.
The landscape can be orientated around a long main ridge which includes the highest peaks.
M’goun’s peak itself is a proper trekkers’ peak (with some mildly exposed sections). This long and tiring day climbing to then following the extraordinary high, narrow M’Goun ridge, with its vast cirques to its north and the dry foothills receding Sahara-wards to the south, winding along over minor peaks to the final summit, has to be one of Morocco’s two greatest walks and, in Walkopedia’s view, more enjoyable than Jebel Toubkal.
You have to approach the M’goun peak on a circuit or traverse.
It takes a couple of days, ascending through classic Berber cultivated valleys and crossing a high pass or two, to get the refuge below the central M’Goun ridge.
See our M’goun massif page for general and practical information.
OUR FRIENDS' EXPERIENCES
Up at 4 for an efficient porridge breakfast and a prompt 5am departure. It is cold and breezy, and of course pitch dark, as we cross the plain the start the long climb towards the M'goun ridge at 4,000m+, 1,100m above us.
After a tramp across the broad valley bottom, we start a steady climb up the lower flanks, picking our way between low rounded bushes, taking a diagonal route round to the left before climbing an easier ridge, rather than the direct but very steep slope we come back down much later on. It is tiring nonetheless at this new altitude, although mysteriously beautiful in the torchlight.
The team has clearly eaten something bad. Our support guide can't even start, and it turns out that Hakim is ill, and has to leave us several times for what can only be an unpleasant wrestling with nature.
I am making slow progress behind the rest of the group, labouring steadily towards the grand cirque we are aiming for. A dim red light grows around us, and we see the sheer flanks of the M'goun directly above us as we climb a pleasingly shaped little valley, now glowing in the pre-dawn radiance.
We enter the heart of the great cirque, winding though flattened heaps of moraine to the left wall, where we are going to make the tough section of our climb to the high ridge. We start passing snow patches, then are well above them. It is an endless, dreary slog for me, but Paul kindly follows a couple of paces behind, so I don't feel too badly about my slow pace.
We eventually reach Bill and Lucy for a snack and rest in a small hollow at the top of the slope, at the point where it becomes a very broken steady slope up around the base of a peak to the outside of a huge cirque in the high M'goun ridge, with elegant little.....READ MORE
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Safety and problems: All walks have inherent risks and potential problems, and many of the walks featured on this website involve significant risks, dangers and problems. Problems of any sort can arise on any walk. This website does not purport to identify any (or all) actual or potential risks, dangers and problems that may relate to any particular walk.
Any person who is considering undertaking this walk should do careful research and make their own assessment of the risks, dangers and possible problems involved. They should also go to “Important information” for further important information.
Anyone planning an expedition to this place should see further important information about this walk.
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