Analysing terrain data
2 - 3
The exposure grade describes the potential consequences of falling or slipping off the path.
Low Exposure: The path is on completely flat land and potential injury is limited to falling over.
Medium Exposure: The trail contains some obstacles such as outcroppings and rock which could cause injury.
High Exposure: Some trail sections have exposed ledges or steep ascents/descents where falling could cause serious injury.
Extreme Exposure: Some trail sections are extremely exposed where falling will almost certainly result in serious injury or death.
This is day 1 of an amazing adventure—the ascent of Mgoun in the heart of the Central Atlas mountains.
It is possible to organise your own logistics for the trip, but given how remote the area is and how little infrastructure exists, getting a ground agent in Marrakech to help you book your accommodation and horses is strongly recommended.
The trip can be done in summer and winter; in summer you can expect extremely high temperatures, but in winter it can be freezing cold and blizzards are not uncommon.
The day begins in Ait Bouguemez village and before you even start walking, you have the pleasure of watching your hired horsemen load up the horses with all the supplies and equipment you're going to need for your trip.
Their skill in doing this is something to behold, but there is also an element of comedy to the process because the horses are generally bad-tempered and reluctant to be loaded. From the village, follow a large jeep track south/southwest across wide open plains to the village of Arrouss.
This is a fascinating little place, with life seemingly having changed little here for hundreds of years.
Bear in mind that the village is a traditional Islamic settlement and the local people (particularly the women) are unlikely to interact with you.
If you do take pictures or attempt to interact with the locals, do so sensitively and respectfully. From Arrouss, the path winds its way south through a beautiful gorge, with some nice wildflowers usually lining the route.
Once the path leaves the gorge you find yourself at one end of some wide open fields.
Continue south through these, passing some interesting old ruins en route to the tiny Berber village of Ikiss.
There is at least one (there may be more) basic gîte in Ikiss but there is little in the way of luxury.
The lack of a shower is compensated by the epic views and serenity. If you still have some energy left at the end of the day, there are some deep gorges to explore to the southeast of Ikiss, and it's easy to pass a fun few hours looking around them.
Whether you spend the afternoon exploring or just admiring the view, the sunset from the village is not to be missed.