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Ascent of Jebel Igdet on 2011-09-04

Climber: Rob Woodall

Others in Party:Andrew Tibbetts
----Only Party on Mountain
Date:Sunday, September 4, 2011
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Car
Peak:Jebel Igdet
    Location:Morocco
    Elevation:3618 m / 11873 ft

Ascent Trip Report

We climbed this from the NE: the first of 5 peaks climbed during a week in Morocco. The Rough Guide led us to believe that this route has a surfaced road to the trail head and a mule track to the col. Neither of these things is true and it is a fairly demanding route.

There may be an easier route from the SE, near Tizi'n'Test. I wasn't sure whether the track is driveable.

On the mountain road between Marrakech and Taroudant, about 40 km S of Asni, a paved road turns R (NW) at N30.96300 W8.24359 and heads up the Ougdemt valley. In a few km it becomes unpaved. The surface is quite good enough for a normal car but it is narrow and tortuous. The 26km drive took us around 1hr. It is very scenic, with deep gorges (no crash barriers), and traditional Moroccan villages clinging to the hillsides. Mostly you just keep to the main track but there are two things to look out for: fork R (downhill) at N30.98432 W8.29395 and keep R (uphill) at N30.99354 W8.39283. There is parking for one or two cars at N30.98990 W8.40578, 2145m, at the start of the village of Arg.

We started hiking at 0930 (rather later than is ideal - we had arrived in Marrakech the previous evening and it took a while to make arrangements, buy food and drive out (we also got wheel clamped, narrowly avoiding a release fee of about £4!). Ideally you would drive in at first light. However with the trail head at 2145m it wasn't too hot on the ascent.

From our parking spot, we walk the dirt road a short way. It ends at another parking area/turning head (best left for local vehicles). A narrow path continues, passing between houses, then crosses a re-entrant and climbs a little. We take a R fork, rounding a spur and contouring into a deep valley with a few cultivated terraces. It may be possible (we thought in retrospect) to head directly for Igdet via the first main (left hand) side valley from about N30.98569 W8.42015.

However, we continue up the main valley on a fairly good path (there are a few alternatives - if in doubt stay close to the stream). At N30.98740 W8.43013, 2560m, the path seems to stop at the foot of a scree gully. It supposedly climbs up to the col straight ahead, and from above it's possible to see what may be traces of a zigzag path.

We continue via the scree gully, climbing above the LH bank. This gets us into some slightly awkward territory. The ground is steep, with a thin covering of loose small stones, with potential to slide a long way if you lose footing; also there are steep side-gullies to be crossed. It would probably be easier and certainly safer to simply climb the scree gully. At about N30.98418 W8.43603, 2900m we exit the gully on its LHS and follow a path which makes an ascending traverse onto a spur. There are a couple of "thin" spots requiring careful footwork, but we're soon on safe ground and ascending to the top of the slope. We meet two shepherds who gesture that we should keep R of the crag ahead to gain the ridge to Igdet. We do as they suggest although it's possible to take the shorter LH line onto the ridge without much difficulty, as we do on the descent. Once on the ridge, it's possible to follow the scrambly notchy ridge but the scrambling isn't of any great quality and it's easier/better to keep a little to the R. A slight dip is crossed then we pass L of a minor rocky summit, heading straight for Igdet which is now quite close. The final climb looked like it would be loose but in fact was quite pleasant with a little easy scrambling.

Igdet summit has 2 cairns about 20m apart: the first (NW) is a little higher (N30.96456 W8.44338, 3610m GPSr). There is also a low shelter cairn where a little shade can be found. The view takes in colourful arid mountains; there is a hazy view if the Toubkal massif.

We debated several descent routes: the direct gully route mentioned above; continuing to the col in the hope of finding the mule track: in the end we reversed our ascent route, except that we descended the scree gully from N30.98418 W8.43603. The scree is very variable and rarely runnable but is an efficient way down. Then an easy (but hot) walk back along the path brought us back to Arg.

As with the drive in, we gave a few lifts to locals wanting to travel a few km along the valley. We also met a small truck at one point - an interesting experience as the narrow road is not geared up for passing.

After stopping for a late picnic lunch we made the short drive to Imlil ready for tomorrow's Jebel Toubkal ascent.

Igdet photos
Summary Total Data
    Elevation Gain:1522 m / 5000 ft
    Extra Gain:24 m / 82 ft
    Distance:13.6 km / 8.5 mi
    Route:East ridge
    Trailhead:Arg  2144 m / 7037 ft
    Grade/Class:YDS 2+ exposed
    Quality:7 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Unmaintained Trail
    Weather:Hot, Calm, Clear
Ascent Statistics
    Time Up:3 Hours 30 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    Time Down:2 Hours 



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