Just wondering if anyone out there had been climbing in Wadi Rum recently? I'm heading out with a couple of mates in April. We've picked up a guidebook but it's fairly old so wanted to get some up to date information on what the amenities in the town are like etc.
Anyone with any knowledge - I'd appreciate any time you could spare!
we spent 3 weeks in Wadi Rum during March/April last year, so I'll try to give you a quick update:
- sleeping: you can still stay at the "Wadi Rum Resthouse" (the first building on the right when entering Rum Village); Prices were 1 JD (about 1 Euro) if you bring your own tent or 3 JD if you rent a beduin tent. There is some protection from the wind and some (old..) foam matresses, so you could leave your tent at home to save some weight and just bring a sleeping bag. Showers (warm!) toilets (cleaned once a year) are available. We drank the tab water during our stay without problems.
- food & shopping: there were 2 or 3 (basic) restaurants serving good local food. Plan to spent 3-8 JD per person for dinner including tea. You can get supplies from a couple of supermarkets. They sometimes run out of fresh food for a couple of days but apart from that you can get what you need (no alkohol though - if you need you apres-climb-beer there are liquer stores in Aqaba). Bring a petrol stove, as the next place to buy gas canisters is Amman! There is no petrol station, but they sell gasoline from barrels on the back of a truck.
- money: Wadi Rum is cash-only, so bring enough! We had problems withdrawing money with most of our cards - try to get an update, which cards work! As of March 2012: Master Card and EC-Card/Maestro don't work at all; Visa does work on a few ATMs, the next beeing at the Hilton Hotel in Aqaba
- guide book: there were rumors, that a new guidebook was in preparation - maybe you ask Tony Howard (is he on UKC?). There used to be a routebook at "Ali's restaurant". The owner has changed and the was no routebook, but we Ali is planing to open a new place (?)
- climbing: hard to recommend anything without knowing more... what grades, type of climb, experience with trad gear, how much adventure do you want... let me know!
I was in Wadi Rum last October and here are some informations/advice:
- if you pretend to camp bring your own tent. You can rent a tent at the rest house, but they are terrible. We have spend a night in one and decided to change immediately the next day to something else. If it rains, the tents have enough holes for you to notice!
- Local people have rooms/house to rent. The best way is to ask around once there. It will be only slightly more expensive than camping but much more confortable.
- There plenty of shops with a variety of foods enough for your staying. If you want something more specific you have to buy it in Aqaba.
- There are gas canisters (the ones you have to pierce) in Aqaba behind the mosque.
- Take money with you to Wadi Rum since there is no ATM machines there. Plenty in Aqaba or Amman
- climbing wise, take a huge amount of tat for abseiling and some big cams if you have them
- definitely spend at least one night in the desert. Avoid big camps in the desert. Go for something smaller (personal opinion here)
Let me know if you need any specific information. Have fun it is a really great place. The climbing is very good (on the right routes...)
In reply to dbdmilton:
To add to the above (good) info. (were there in late Feb. 2012 for <2wks), I'd also mention that you should expect ~100JD (give or take) for a drop off and pick up from more remote climbs (eg. Barah & Burdah Canyons). Hiking tens of km through the soft sands does not sound like a great time (at least to me). Also, I recall the beer choices as being shitty & expensive in the Rest House restaurant - but the food there was great we thought. We (my wife & I) were taken in by our Bedouin driver into his home for dinner with his family on many a night. This close interaction really makes this trip stand out for us as probably our favorite one. Though I think your milage may vary if you go with a bunch of dudes ...Anyway, an AMAZING place.
Best place to stay in Wadi Rum is with Moslam Sabbah. He is the son of one of the original pioneers of climbing in Rum, who also trained with Mountain Rescue at plas y brenin with an outlook to bring this sort of service to Wadi Rum. His knowledge of the desert and climbs is second to none as he has put up many himself and bolted a whole sector with a range of sport climbs from 5 to 6c. He has a guesthouse which is complete with kitchen (fridge, cooker etc), private bathroon and general living/ sleeping area with around 9 foam mattresses. This is 5 dinar a night per person which is a bargain compared to the guesthouse who charge 3 for leaky tents and overpriced tea/food.
Some climbs that we did around VS to E2 are: jackdaniels VS (south jebelrum), merlins wand E2(BARRAH CANYON), the beauty E1 (rakabout canyon)and all of the sport climbs which also have two trad routes running up either crack of the far left and right. Lifts to the desert are roughly 80 dinar return and its worth staying out there for 3 nights or more with tents and stoves etc which Moslam provides free.
The girlfriend and I are also off to Jordan in April. Will be there from the 1st for about 6 days. Was going to start my own thread but since this is recent I'll just hijack it instead if that's OK! When are you there Dave?
A few general Questions:
-Jon, have you got contact info for Moslam Sabbah? Would like to arrange some lodgings in advance it poss. Info would be much appreciated.
-Will 50m half ropes do the job? I'll have some new 60's by then but would rather trash the old 50's and leave them there.
-Planning on a bivi on or near one of the top's one night. Is that within the park guidelines?/advisable?/recommended?
-Also struggling to decipher the old guide book. Can anyone recommend 6 day's worth of must do routes, including a few Bedouin scrambles and a night or two in Barrah Canyon? We can climb up to E3 but HVS to E2 would be the sweet spot.
Very grateful for any info and advice.
> -Will 50m half ropes do the job? I'll have some new 60's by then but would rather trash the old 50's and leave them there.
We used 50s and we were fine. The extra 10m could be handy but Rum does trash ropes!
> -Planning on a bivi on or near one of the top's one night. Is that within the park guidelines?/advisable?/recommended?
This is funny...unplanned bivis are often part of the experience in Rum!!! Don't think you will have any issues other than cold in the likely event of a bivi!
> -Also struggling to decipher the old guide book. Can anyone recommend 6 day's worth of must do routes, including a few Bedouin scrambles and a night or two in Barrah Canyon? We can climb up to E3 but HVS to E2 would be the sweet spot.
Lionsheart looked good but never did it. Beauty, Merlin's wand and Pillar of Wisdom were all nice. Enjoy
I've posted a trip report with pictures on www.patagonia.fi.
A tent you'll need for the desert but other than that staying with locals is best. 5 JOD per person is not much for westerners but in Jordan it's a lot. The average salary is 500-700 JOD/month. The local people are very very hospitable once you get to know them.
hard to recommend routes, if you only got 6 days...
One of the Beduin Routes to Jebel Rum summit is a great experience. We did Hammad's route (a lot of hiking / scrambling with about 5 pitches of climbing (3-5). It can easily be done in a day, but there are lots of nice bivy sites on the plateau.
Barrah Canyon is definetly worth a visit, even if its only for one night!
Apart from that, my "tick list" would be:
short multipitch around Wadi Rum:
- 20 minutes from the resthouse on Jebel Rum East Face Towers are several short (5 pitches) climbs: Goldfinger (5b), Inferno (6b), Inshallah (6b) and Flight of Fancy (6b+) are all good
- on the opposite side of the valley The Beauty and Alan and his perverse frog are "must-dos's", both around 5 pitches, 6a with the option of a long, easy scramble to the summit. For Beauty a big (Wild Country 5/6) cam might be useful. It can be done without, but try not to hit the belay ledge...
long & easy:
- in Wadi Shelaali (30-45min from Rum): Rum Doodle (4-5) is beautiful with interesting protection; Pillar of Wisdom is a classic (guidebook says 5.. harder?)
long & harder:
- once you got used to the rock you could do one of the longer routes on Jebel Rum East Dome: IBM is the easiest (6a, most pitches 4-5) with good pro and only 2 loose pitches. Inshallah Factor (6c) and Aquarius (6b) are good as well. The descent from Jebel Rum East Dome via the Eye of Allah has some tricky route finding - expect about 2-3 hours for the descent and another 1-3 for getting lost...
In reply to swoe: Wondering if anyone here has done King Hussein route (east face of Jebel Rum, more or less above the rest house) - if so, was it good (are the rap stations in decent shape?)?
The Pillar Of Wisdom is 5 until the final exit pitch which is a well protected (bolts) 6b if I recall. Crux of that day for us was (by far!) the descent down Hammad's Rt which we have not done before (fortunately the night was clear and dry ).
Next to Merlin's Wand is the excellent Star Of Abu Jubaidah (sp?)...6 or 7 pitches & 6b (better than Merlin we thought).
In reply to dbdmilton: I'd recommend taking a 'Bedouin Taxi' out to a place called 'The Haj' for a couple of days and doing the obvious route there. It's a great climb and it's awesome camping out in the silent desert there. Just don't get hurt ;-)
> (In reply to dbdmilton) I'd recommend taking a 'Bedouin Taxi' out to a place called 'The Haj' for a couple of days and doing the obvious route there.
This is Jebel Suweibit. The Haj is the name of the obvious route (there is only one other route in the guide in the area). This is one of my favourite places on earth and I've made several visits and done several new routes including a couple of "bedouin" style ones (details in the new routes book which I presume is still kept in the Rest House). Maybe best to just explore and see if you can find a way to the main summit of the Jebel (which is not the one with The Haj on it). It is an incredible unfrequented place to reach. I'll give you some clues if you like!
The finest routes I've done in Rum are probably The Star of Abu Judaidah E2 and Lionheart E3. A traverse of Jebel Rum is a must. I thought Rijm Assaf on the west face was truly extraordinary, but not for the faint hearted - though I'm sure few Bedouin routes will disappoint!
firstly great place, you'll love it, second eating at Ali's place and reading all the guides he has there, careful to leave enough time to find the descents, benightments are very common, we got lucky twice to just get down. Sensible people (not us!) do the Bedouin route as an ascent so they know where they are going after a big route. Leave time for snagging ropes and getting a little lost and you'll be fine. We did these routes in a similar time frame to you, great rest day options were Petra, Red Sea and Dead Sea. Make sure you eat lots of local food, it,s great!
Lionheart, tough and sustained butmmega classic E3
Alan and his Perverse Frog lovely face climbing E1/2, makes a nice change from all the cracks, some bold pitches
Inferno F6b *** Classic E2, mostly HVS
Flight of Fancy F6b *** superb E2
The Star of Abu Judaidah E1/E2, not quite as classic as others we thought.
Merlin's Wand F6a *** E1, superb all the way
Les Rumeurs De La Pluie Hidden gem near Merlins wand, wild E2 groove....
Inshallah Factor (Free) ED1 *** Excellent long route, about E3/4, need some rps for crux pitch.
The Eye of Allah good descent route from inshallah factor, short abseils best.....
The Beauty TD *** E1, great fun, large cam useful ona last pitch
The Pillar of Wisdom TD- *** HVSGreat warm up route as others say, mostly easy, one bolted trickier pitch to finish, watch route finding near top.....
Hammad's Route AD **mfun descent from pillar of,wisdom, leave lots of time and follow cairns carefully!
Troubador F6a+ ** pumpy single pitch, E1?
Is this a joke? If so it's a rubbish one. After a total of about 6 weeks climbing in Jordan using Tony's guides, the odd email conversation with him, and one incident many years back of him helping to arrange transport to hospital from Wadi Rum for a diabetic friend who'd been stuck on top of Jebel Rum, I would without hesitation trust him.
Please explain what it is that you're blathering on about!
yes, it does get busy during the easter holidays. Lots of climbers and even more tourist coming on the bus for one day... but thats only in Rum Village and the more popular climbs on Jebel Rum East Face and maybe Beauty & Lionheart. If you walk a bit further or drive out into the desert you'll probably be more or less on your own.
I guess I didn't like the wide chimney pitches or the silly snappy english 6a boulder problem low down, it was a good route but I preferred the other ones more sorry, each to their own! go back and do inshallah factor the whole way, far more memorable!
Inshallah factor looks good. Is the crux pitch aid-able with a decent rack + Rp's? The guide book is talking about pegs and blades which we wont be taking. Failing this, is the gear spaced well enough that I could do a few moves at a time if I was having a bad day? Done a handful of routes at the grade but im not a bold climber!
Crux pitch is a sustained bridging corner which has quite a lot of gear, but it's all very small. If you are happy resting on rps you'll be able to go a few moves at a time. To be honest it's not strenuous and being bridging every move is a rest anyway. E3 if you like this kind of thing, and doesn't need pegs which would trash the crack. Great friend placement just below the hardest moves. Weather wise it's good to start early so you get to this pitch before it gets too hot, the pitches above are easier. We got lucky and a cloud appeared for this pitch. Enjoy....
the picture you posted shows the traverse of the great Siq on the descent from Jebel Rum East Dome via the Eye of Allah... looks worse than it is, the traverse is easy climbing for 20m until you can jump to the other side (seen in the lower right of the pic). We belayed that part, there are one or two half-descent runners (still not a good idea to fall, but you won't go all the way to the ground).
This is the most "exciting" part of the descent and definitely not common on other climbs - but on most Beduin Routes you will have easy but unprotected & exposed sections like this.
> Actually, you can always rope up, but a good head for exposed scrambling can certainly be handy.
I'm not sure I'd agree with the "always" but being happy soloing VDiff+ on sometimes snappy, friable rock is a definite plus.
And I am not sure I agree with swoe's statement that this kind of climbing is "definitely not common". Most of the Bedouin routes I have done have been pretty serious and have considerable exposure in places. I have encountered British 5a moves on some. The plus side of all this is that there can be a wonderful camaraderie between visiting climbers and locals.
Re heat: April could be pretty hot and finding routes in the shade (not difficult) will be important.
> A few other questions..
> Are we gonna get baked in the sun in early April? Or do the higher places catch a nice breeze? I think its going to be hard to stay in the shade on some of the big routes.
I'd say exposed scrambling is very common on the approaches and on the beduin routes. In that particular pic, the rope would have been a possibility but you'll be better off if you're comfortable with such stuff.
I've been away the last couple of weeks and haven't checked the thread until I saw all this. So brilliant to get everyone's feedback! I'll be ploughing through the list tonight and tomorrow so might hit some of you back directly for a few more details!
In reply to whoever asked when me and my mates are going to be out there; we're landing into Amman on the 5th. Reckon we'll do Petra the first couple of days to get it 'ticked off the list' before hitting up the Rum!
In reply to dbdmilton:
Hey, that was me.. we'll probably be gone by the time you arrive..have a great trip!
Anyone have experience of getting a taxi direct to Rum from the airport? I think we're gonna fork out and get one to maximise our time there. Have seen a few prices online from 75 - 100 JD.. but can anyone recommend a method of booking one in advance with an agreed fare? We land at 1.30am so it'l be night time.. dunno if that's an issue.
> (In reply to dbdmilton)
> Anyone have experience of getting a taxi direct to Rum from the airport? I think we're gonna fork out and get one to maximise our time there. Have seen a few prices online from 75 - 100 JD.. but can anyone recommend a method of booking one in advance with an agreed fare? We land at 1.30am so it'l be night time.. dunno if that's an issue.
I have used these people for four trips. http://www.jordantracks.com/en/our-team.html
Saleem and his "brothers" will arrange just about anything for you. Certainly airport pick up in the small hours with an agreed fare and transport to Rum (via Petra if you want) and then transport within Rum. The first time I went he was just a local eighteen year old Bedouin with a beaten up FWD, but now runs a very successful agency from Rum. I am sure there are other options, but Saleem is great - Just tell him Robert says "Where's the goat?"!
> Also are mosquito's an issue in rum/petra?
I've had mosquitos in Petra in November, but no problem in Rum in the April I've been. No harm in taking a little repellent though.
In reply to Robert Durran:
Thanks, Saleem says 'hi', but they only do pick ups for people on their tours.
They don't do taxi only pick ups.
If anyone else can recommend a taxi company would be very grateful. Cheers.