Friday, 21 February 2014

Hiking Zaghouan: To the summit of Jebel Zaghouan

Distance: 6.4km
Altitude difference: 820m
Time: 3-5hrs
Level: hard
Highest point: 1303m (Jebel Zaghouan summit)
GPS data

The route to the summit of Jebel Zaghouan as seen from Sidi Medien

The climb up the highest peak of the Zaghouan Massif, Jebel Zaghouan, is a tough one. Most of the route is steep hiking up vague goat tracks with a small scramble to get up the actual summit. The reward is obvious: 360 degrees views of the plains surrounding the mountain.

Panorama from the summit of Jebel Zaghouan

Park the car near the mosque in the hamlet of Sidi Medien. A steep dirt track goes up on the right of the mosque. After the small craggy ridge on your right there's a track that stays close to the enormous, Dolomite like ridge. Keep following this track, that gradually gets smaller. You'll pass a fairly big pasture with a big boulder on your left hand side. Keep going until you get to what looks like a small pile of gravel. There you take move towards a dip on the left. A goat track goes down the dip.

Scrambling the last bit to the summit

From here things get a bit more difficult. There is no clear trail, only vague goat tracks. Zigzag up until you are at the broad ridge. The summit is (visibility permitting) constantly visible. The ridge is littered with rocks and is quite steep in most places. The summit itself is craggy all around. A little scramble is involved, no matter what side you approach it from. Once you tackle the scramble you're pretty much on the summit. Jebel Zaghouan has two summits of exactly the same altitude. It is worth traversing to the other summit, which has a 400m drop on the south side! Enjoy the wonderful views all around! Go back the way you came, and take care. Scrambling down is harder than up.

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