Tips and Essentials for a climbing trip in Jordan by Jacques Sturm
Let’s be clear, climbing in Jordan does not require mutant level strength, however it does require a number of technical skills related to the use of active protection and a good route-finding skills. This type of climbing is generally physically demanding and mentally exhausting. If you do not have all these skills, do not hesitate to hire a mountain guide who will help you appreciate this authentic and committed style of climbing.
Where can you climb?
Wadi Rum or the valley of Rum is the place to best appreciate face climbs and the summit called “Djebel”. Located just over an hour’s drive from Aqaba Airport, it is easy to find a taxi into the desert.
From there, a whole range is offered to climbers, an area of more than 720 km2, divided into several summits with poetic names, separated by Siq (canyons) and desert valleys . You will want to plan for at least a week to fully appreciate all the climbing this place has to offer. Ideally two three-day periods interspersed with a rest day make sense to optimize your journey. If you have more time, the Red Sea and Petra archeological sites are located 1.5 hours from Rum and well worth the time and travel.
Discovering the mythical routes requires adaptation and a conservative and humble approach to its practice once on the sandstone of the desert towers. Basically, if your level is 7a (5.11d) on sight, consider as much as possible climbing ED routes, in the register of the main classics.
An excellent guidebook, edited by Tony Howard (Cicerone Ed.), provides you with a good description of approaches, routes and gear beta. A detailed index makes it easier to move around the climbing areas.
Employing the services of Bedouins is great, with off-road vehicles, they are an excellent resource for getting you around the areas in the desert and can also provide you logistics for camping. Some shorter approaches will be on foot from the Resthouse of Rum’s village.
The hospitality of the Bedouins is legendary but it should not be abused. The food is excellent with quantity and quality of the flavor most notable.
Most climbers will feel comfortable with a double rack of Friends sizes 0.4 to 2, an assortment of larger BD Cams: 3 to 6. A rack like this allows you to do most if not all routes in the area. With this style of climbing it is always recommended to add extension in the form of slings to manage rope drag or to create a good belay station.
A comfortable harness like the BLUE ICE Cuesta, with large gear loops, is a great option for this style of climbing. An 18 to 24 liters backpack (Dragonfly or Squirrel) will be more than enough for multi-pitch routes. You can gear stash one pack, but you will always want to have your passport and cash on your person.
The rock and environment are very hard on your gear: ropes, carabiners and descenders deteriorate day by day, and having a rope in back-up is not the worst idea.
This is what we accomplished during this climbing trip :
D1 : Black magic 350 m, E, D+ 5c>5c III P4
D2 : Goldfinger 100 m, D+ 5c>5c I P3 / Inferno 150 m, TD 6b>6a II P3
D3 : Pillar of wisdom 350 m, TD- 6a>5c A0 IV P3
D4 : Mumkin 150 m, SE, TD- 5c>5c P3
D5 : Red Sea, diving (Aqaba)
D6 : Merlin wand 150 m, TD 6a+>5c II P3
D7 : Star of Abu Judaidah 350 m, TD+ 6c P3
D8 : The beauty 150 m, TD- 6a>5c III P3
D9 et 10 Visite de Petra
Treks and climbs in Wadi Rum / Tony Howards / Edition CICERONE
Christian Ravier / http://www.christian-ravier.com/toporaviermaroc.html