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  #1  
Old 22 Oct 2008
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High Atlas route query

Hi. I am spending next week in Atlas mountains (and Merzouga) on hired XR250. Was wondering if anybody could give me info on route south out of Ait Bou Goumez valley - the one through Tizi Ait Imi and Tizi Ait Ahmed passes leading to Bou Tharar. Is this an exceedingly difficult route? Many thanks Nigel
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Old 22 Oct 2008
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Hi Nigel, I asked about this interesting-looking route myself (south out of El Had), last time I was in Mk and was told 'you need a trials bike up there'. It seems conspicuous enough on paper maps but I've made that mistake before in Mk.
I plan to try it in a couple of weeks but don't expect to get far from what I hear after the recent storms. Either way it will be fun trying and a light XR ought to make it easier. Where did you hire your bike, btw, from loc2roues?

Ch
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Old 22 Oct 2008
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High Atlas route query

Hi Chris, thanks for prompt reply. Think maybe I'll still visit Ait Bou Goumez valley as it looks fantastic but come in and out from the north. Fancied the short-cut as I'm trying to get out to Merzouga and back in 5 1/2 days - not easy with the amount of fascinating stuff to see! Last March I was there for 1st time and got caught out thinking all pistes were equal so maybe a bit of caution. Found route from Ikniouln to Alnif over the Tizi n Oull Ousir was about my limit for trial riding "ability" on a loaded XR - if you know that route that'll give you an idea. Had you heard if the northern approaches to Agouti etc were affected by the storms? I have hired both times from Loc2roues and have found them extremely friendly, helpful and good value. Nigel
PS Have booked a night at Essaouira and was wondering if that part of the coastline is good for long beach rides and also do the argan forests (and the goats!) stretch that far north?
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Old 22 Oct 2008
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but come in and out from the north.

yes, I may end up doing that if I get that far. Looks a great ride.

Fancied the short-cut as I'm trying to get out to Merzouga and back in 5 1/2 days - not easy with the amount of fascinating stuff to see!

TBH, I would drop the schelp down to Merzouga until you have more time - everyone goes there. Head for Jebel Sirwa routes and then the routes below that in the Anti Atlas down to Foum Zguid. Like you say there is a lot to see - the normal maps don't show the half of it.

Last March I was there for 1st time and got caught out thinking all pistes were equal so maybe a bit of caution. Found route from Ikniouln to Alnif over the Tizi n Oull Ousir was about my limit for trial riding "ability" on a loaded XR - if you know that route that'll give you an idea.

I tried it up from Alnif in April but gave up near Tizi n Oull (car was too long and low) and walked up. We then came back from the north to locate the point where I'd walked to for next time. Looking forward to doing it all on a bike soon.

Had you heard if the northern approaches to Agouti etc were affected by the storms?

No, I'm just assuming the worst. Weather seems OK now from the forecasts.

I have hired both times from Loc2roues and have found them extremely friendly, helpful and good value. Nigel

Glad to hear it. I was tempted and may do it next time.

PS Have booked a night at Essaouira and was wondering if that part of the coastline is good for long beach rides and also do the argan forests (and the goats!) stretch that far north?

Argans just south of Ess for sure but didnt notice any tree goats - and don't know the beach there, only Plage Blanche south of Sidi Ifni.

Ch
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  #5  
Old 22 Oct 2008
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Thanks for help and advice, Chris. Will post next w'end with any useful info on pistes etc. Might still be tempted to at least try piste south of El Har and see how far we get. Do you know the fuel situation in Ait Bou Goumez area? Is Azilal or Ait Mhammed the last fuel until Boumalne? Probably still be heading for Merzouga as I had enjoyed it last time and it seems to be the main draw for a friend who's accompanying me on his first trip.
On last trip I did (or think I did!) the so called Gorge-gorge piste between the top of Dades gorge and Tamtattouchte. Through bad planning I ended up doing an hour in darkness before spending the night at a tiny hostel run by a teenager about 10kms above Tamtattouchte. However I never felt that I had been over a 2800m pass as is indicated on my map - is there a lower piste linking the two gorges that I could have been on? Nigel
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Old 23 Oct 2008
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Dont know that area at all. Fuel in Azilal for sure and after that who knows until the N10 - all up 250km?
Everyone's got to see Erg Chebbi once! Some mates were just there on a BMW tour and the place is soaked. Fyi the Telouet 'route of the kasbahs' (right of Tizi n Tichka) is a good piste for getting over the mts to Oz, etc. Very popular and passable in GS12s a week or two ago so easy on an XR.

Know what you mean about Gorge-Gorge high pass but once inside there is only one way AFAIK. We saw more cars and bikes on that crossing and Jebel Sarhro-Nekob than the rest of Mk put together.

Ch
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Old 23 Oct 2008
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Was thru Telouet last time and planning to do it in reverse ,Ait B'dou - M'kech as a nice relaxed last day - great run! Sounds like I was on the proper gorge-gorge then - maybe do that in reverse too - be nice to see it in daylight! Enjoy your trip .hope the two passes to Bou Tharar are rideable. Nigel
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Old 23 Oct 2008
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I did the gorgelink piste a few years ago and it took 2.5 hours. But I would suggest you ignore this piste for the moment.

Last week five of us crossed the flooded Todra, then spent 13 hours--the last six hours of which by moonlight--traversing the 29 mile route. After finishing at just gone midnight we then had a 2.5 hour liaison from Msemrir back to the hotel in Tinerhir, arriving at 0245hrs!

Some kids in Tamtattouchte tried to warn us that the piste was cut but the reputation of this village is so bad I didn't trust their advice... The piste is actually cut twice, the worse case being at N31 44.933 W5 41.086 which involves climbing the next hillside to get around.

Lighter bikes (we were on R1200GS/GSA and an F650GS twin) would have helped, but it is still extremely difficult in places and necessary to walk the piste to find a way through. Our problems were compounded when it got dark. There's been huge amounts of rainfall in the region and we also had problems with mud jamming the front mudguards on the bikes following the leaders.

We didn't see any sign of tyre tracks and it seems there hasn't been any vehicle traffic on the route for some time. It would be a gargantuan task to get the piste open to non-4WD Berber camionette traffic which means it possibly won't happen. AFAIK the high point on this piste is about 2620m.

We had to leave one of the bikes on the piste with a flat battery, six miles before the end. It took ten hours the next day to recover it.

Tim
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Last edited by Tim Cullis; 23 Oct 2008 at 22:48.
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Old 24 Oct 2008
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Thanks for the warning, Tim. I'll give that piste a miss. There'll be no shortage of brilliant alternatives. I'm wondering if the northern approaches to Ait Bou Goumez valley would have been similarily affected. Is it true there's a fairly good road now from Azilal up to Agouti? Still fancy seeing that valley. Cheers. Nigel
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Old 30 Oct 2008
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todra-dades piste Oct 2008

What seemed like on paper a easy piste to finish our trip proved to be one of the most demanding

We attempted this route in mid-october in a toyota prado, it now makes sense from reading the other posts, esp- from Tim, we had trouble sourcing information from local kids in Tamtattouchte. We attempted the piste and were forced to turn around after 3 hours after discovering the piste had been washed away by rain a week or two earlier. We could see tracks going over a small steep hill to get round the collapsed road. Looks like they were attempted by bikes

We had a real mission up till then, driving into the oued to avoid the cut piste at many points along the piste.

As it was our first experience in a 4x4 we decided to turn round and make our way by road to tinehir on our way back to Marrakech. We followed several of Chris's routes around Foum Zguid, all worth doing and great practice for future trips

That was the las day of a 6 day round trip in the Atlas/Sahara. Fantastic experience. We will be back for more.
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Old 2 Nov 2008
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Thanks to everyone for help and advice. Now back from trip. Did Tizi n Test to Aoulouz before hitting clutch prob on one of our XRs. Once Nourredine from Loc2roues had established through a local mechanic that the problem (faulty clutch basket) wasn't fixable on the spot, he came 5 hours over the mountain in his pick-up with a replacement bike and probably made it home about 2am. We were very impressed ( and were charged 5 days rental, not 6) Would be very happy to rent from Loc2roues again. Tried to do M6 piste but 60kms north of Tagounite took wrong turn and ended up on great run to Oum Jrane and out to Alnif - v fortunate as apparently Oued Rheris was in flood and probably impassable. Then tarmac to Merzouga - lot of fields flooded round Rissani but around dunes was fine. Then Dades gorge , Ait Benhaddou, route des Kasbahs to Tizi n Tichka (all fine)
Incidentally, Mohammed (surname Diplome) in Aoulouz deserves a mention if anybody should need a mechanic in that area. He has a small workshop about 300m from the police station (on the other side of the road in direction of Taroudant) He seems to know his stuff, very friendly and helpful and keen to help travellers. Cheers. Nigel

Last edited by nmowbray; 11 Nov 2009 at 19:27.
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  #12  
Old 2 Nov 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by amiller2 View Post
We could see tracks going over a small steep hill to get round the collapsed road. Looks like they were attempted by bikes
We were there 11 October and saw no other tyre tracks, so it's likely the tracks you saw were ours.

Tim
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