A review of The High Atlas: Treks and Climbs on Morocco's Biggest and Best Mountains by Hamish Brown
Posted by Mark Armstrong 11th July 2012
Author: Hamish Brown
About Author: Well known writer and photographer with extensive travel and climbing experience all over world. Lives on Fife coast Scotland. Is an MBE and fellow of Royal Scottish Geographical Society.Publisher: Cicerone
The High Atlas is a unique book both for its wide ranging coverage of Morocco and its unusual combination of practical guide book and travel writing.
The book contains almost 50 different routes covering the majority of the Atlas mountain range from well-known Toubkal massif which contains highest peak in North Africa, Jbel Toubkal at 4167m, to off the beaten track ranges such as the Eastern High Atlas. This makes the book suitable for those experienced travellers and trekkers looking for new experiences, as well as novices to the region. Also a useful guide for those looking to hire guides locally, as well as for those seeking inspiration before searching on the internet for specialist tour operators for a particular area.
High Point Holidays organises tailor-made trekking holidays to the Toubkal (Toubkal High Atlas Adventure) and Mgoun (Mgoun Wilderness Trek) mountains, as well as to the Moroccon Desert (Sahara Desert Trek).
This comprehensive book contains good helpful info at the start and a useful appendix at the end including a list of other guidebooks and maps. The core of the book is divided into mountain ranges and then routes. Each route includes an account of one of his treks or climbs, followed by practical information about the area and the route. These descriptions provide a good insight into the different areas, as well as providing invaluable tips, all backed up by inspirational photos.
The accounts of his trips contain short sentences, which are often taken straight from his diary notes of the time, often dating back over 40 years. Some of the narrative is rich in anecdotes and give you a real flavour for the time and place, whilst other are too brief and leave you wanting to know more.
This is a large book, a little heavy for those looking to travel light. It could also be argued that it falls between two stools, neither being a guide book in the classic sense or a story.
However, this is a quintessential book for those planning a trip to the Atlas mountains especially for those looking to get off the beaten track.