/ DESTINATION GUIDE: Lebanon - Hidden Gem of the Middle East

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UKC Articles 14 Jan 2020
The author silhouetted at Tannourine El-Fawqa. Lebanon might not be the first country that springs to mind when considering climbing in the Middle East. Bordering Syria and Israel only makes this country seem as inaccessible. Yet, this couldn't be further from the truth, writes Juman Sayegh.

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bensilvestre 15 Jan 2020
In reply to UKC Articles:

At the first photo I thought, well that looks distinctly average, but the close ups make the rock and climbing look great! And the flat breads are surely amazing.

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mrphilipoldham 15 Jan 2020
In reply to UKC Articles:

Is it only possible to fly there?

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Robert Durran 15 Jan 2020
In reply to UKC Articles:

Interesting that this article is getting dislikes. Is this now a standard reaction to information about any destination which involves flying?

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Simon Caldwell 15 Jan 2020
In reply to Robert Durran:

I'd hope not, as those doing the disliking are using the internet to do so, which is just as big an emitter of carbon gases as flying

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Rigid Raider 15 Jan 2020
In reply to UKC Articles:

I've never been to Lebanon but I know plenty of Lebanese and I hold them in high esteem as the most hospitable and charming people I know; their food is probably the best and freshest in the world and whenever we go to that London we always head straight for Maroush Express on Edgware Road for a fix. They are genuinely friendly people with a great sense of humour; I guess their climate and lifestyle helps a lot.

Actually I would say the same for Syrians and Palestinians but you wouldn't want to go climbing in Syria. Jordan OTOH is famous for climbing. 

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henwardian 15 Jan 2020
In reply to UKC Articles:

It seems like it should be possible to get a ferry across to beirut from somewhere like Antalya or something but I can't seem to find any ferries online? Do they exist? Or have they all fallen casualty to the warry/politicsy stuff that's going on just now?

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Robert Durran 15 Jan 2020
In reply to Rigid Raider:

> Actually I would say the same for Syrians and Palestinians but you wouldn't want to go climbing in Syria. Jordan OTOH is famous for climbing. 

In my experience, Arab countries are always wonderfully hospitable - the tradition of looking out for fellow travellers in the desert........

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AdamBrown 15 Jan 2020
In reply to UKC Articles:

I've been travelling for work to Lebanon for the past 4 years and have found it to be a fantastic place. Despite news of unrest and protests I've seen Beirut to be safe and very modern in some places. Most people I mention this to still have an image of Beirut in the civil war in the 80s, but its nothing like that. They call Beirut the Pairs of the Middle East (technically Levant), and with some of the restaurants and bars you can see why. Also have a very modern Marina if you're into that. Outside of Beirut there are a lot of Roman ruins, most famous Temple of Bacchus in Baalbek and some Phenacetin/Roman ruins in Byblos - 2 hours and 1 hour from Beirut respectively. Both worth it! Also a superb museum in Beirut. 

I believe a lot of the bolting and exploration of Tannourine was done by a chap called Will Burgess. I would recommend his instagram if you want more pictures...

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gooberman-hill 15 Jan 2020
In reply to AdamBrown:

Beirut is like Monaco, but with Money AND Taste!

Steve

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Pyreneenemec 15 Jan 2020
In reply to gooberman-hill:

> Beirut is like Monaco, but with Money AND Taste!

> Steve

Carlos Ghosn can't bé wrong !

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Robert Durran 15 Jan 2020
In reply to Simon Caldwell:

> I'd hope not, as those doing the disliking are using the internet to do so, which is just as big an emitter of carbon gases as flying

Excellent. I've just offset my next longhaul flight by not "disliking" your post.

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JumanSayegh 15 Jan 2020
In reply to bensilvestre:

Thank you for your honesty, I haven't climbed the whole world to compare rock quality but from my experience in Spain, Morocco and Italy, it's not polished and awesome limestone  The bread and all the food is sooo good!

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JumanSayegh 15 Jan 2020
In reply to AdamBrown:

Awesome Adam! Beyond Climbing (@beyond_climbing) also share photos regularly of climbing in Lebanon. Friends are also working on releasing a guidebook. 

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JumanSayegh 15 Jan 2020
In reply to Rigid Raider:

Totally agree with you!

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Eric9Points 15 Jan 2020
In reply to UKC Articles:

Could I suggest that in future these articles also include the amount of CO2 generated by a return trip and a link to a carbon offsetting site.

People are going to travel but they should be reminded of the environmental cost and how it can be ameliorated.

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Ramon Marin 15 Jan 2020
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AdamBrown 15 Jan 2020
In reply to AdamBrown:

Edit: his insta is Wilburgers, but not his name..

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GrahamD 15 Jan 2020
In reply to Simon Caldwell:

> I'd hope not, as those doing the disliking are using the internet to do so, which is just as big an emitter of carbon gases as flying

Really ? I'd like to see the numbers (per user)

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marsbar 15 Jan 2020
In reply to UKC Articles:

I haven't been, but I've met many wonderful people who come from there, and the food is amazing.  

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Simon Caldwell 15 Jan 2020
In reply to GrahamD:

Well I made up the fact, so can easily make up some supporting numbers if you'd like...

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Iamgregp 15 Jan 2020
In reply to UKC Articles:

Looks amazing.  Both the rock and the food!

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AliRLee 15 Jan 2020
In reply to Simon Caldwell:

Interesting... Mind backing this up with some facts?  Disliking on UKC = a flight to Lebanon? 
(btw i think Lebanon looks amazing and i'd love to go)

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tony howard 17 Jan 2020
In reply to mrphilipoldham:

At the moment, yes, I think it's flights only, as Syria to north and east, and Israel to south so not sure you could enter that way. I don't think there are any ships either but could be wrong.

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mrphilipoldham 17 Jan 2020
In reply to AliRLee:

Twitter (all of it) is equivalent to a city the size of Frankfurt, if I remember correctly. 

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JHiley 17 Jan 2020
In reply to UKC Articles:

It would seem a shame to isolate a place like Lebanon as part of a drive to fix global warming. I mostly subscribe to the following statement:

"Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry and narrow mindedness and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the Earth all one's lifetime."

    Mark Twain

Whenever I've found myself holding prejudices against groups in the past I've had these challenged and broken by mixing with people from different places and backgrounds. Without cheap flights many of these people wouldn't have come to the UK. I don't think going on a package holiday to a Spanish resort will fix anyone's bigotry but climbers going to the Near/Middle East having a positive experience and forming friendships with the people there must do some good.

Flying contributes to the greenhouse effect but it isn't so much worse than other modes of transport as is often portrayed. I've linked to the BBC's article below which indicates lone driving is similar to flying for the same distance (And obviously cars drive further to reach the same destination). Working it out from vehicle CO2 emissions or using one of the various carbon offsetting calculators* suggests that, for return European destinations, flying is similar to driving with two people in a medium sized car. (Accounting for the altitude effects associated with flying). "Van-lifers" in their heavy, modified transits and transporters should take note of this.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-49349566

https://www.carbonfootprint.com/calculator.aspx

(*I don't buy into carbon offsetting as a solution, just using it to roughly check calcs)

For the average person, a change like reducing your commute, regularly switching to public transport, buying less new stuff or driving a more efficient (second hand!) car will have a much bigger impact than cutting out all occasional flights. Not that I've done any of these things. Yet...

Obviously people could travel before flying was an option (Twain, for example, but ocean liners seem to have even worse figures than long haul flights!) However flying has been brilliant for opening travel up to ordinary people. I haven't flown for well over a year and don't plan to fly again until October but if I could make a list of things to keep in the future we're working towards, occasional flying would be on it.

Frequent flyers on the other hand...

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Eric9Points 18 Jan 2020
In reply to JHiley:

People will always travel whether it be to go climbing or lie on a beach.

However we should all do as much as we can to minimise the damage we cause.

Travel by the least polluting practical form of transport.

If travelling in Britain car share if you can.

Offset your CO2 emissions.

I'm frankly baffled and dismayed that my previous suggestion of publishing CO2 cost of travel to a destination and help with finding a way of offsetting those emissions.

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bernde75 10:43 Thu
In reply to UKC Articles:

Lebanon rocks! I really recommend going there. In my opinion Tannourine is one of the best limestone crags all over the place. It rivals the best places in France, Spain, Greece! I had a blast of a time there. Super friendly locals, very good food and really nice climbing. The only thing that is a bit tricky is finding the right time to go there. Often it is just too cold (lots of snow) or it is simply way too hot.

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Rigid Raider 12:49 Thu
In reply to JHiley:

> It would seem a shame to isolate a place like Lebanon as part of a drive to fix global warming. I mostly subscribe to the following statement:

> "Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry and narrow mindedness and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the Earth all one's lifetime."

>     Mark Twain

> Whenever I've found myself holding prejudices against groups in the past I've had these challenged and broken by mixing with people from different places and backgrounds. Without cheap flights many of these people wouldn't have come to the UK. I don't think going on a package holiday to a Spanish resort will fix anyone's bigotry but climbers going to the Near/Middle East having a positive experience and forming friendships with the people there must do some good.

I'm not interested in the flying and carbon debate because flying has to be the most efficient way of moving around this planet. I'm more interested in what you write about travel. I've been travelling around Africa and the Middle East (mostly the Levant) for the last 32 years and find it has a huge broadening effect on the mind. It's why I always took pains to ensure that my son met my overseas customers when we entertained them and the result is that at 21 he is an open-minded young man who has no fear of approaching anybody. 

Many years ago I was hitch-hiking (my favourite form of travel as a student) and I was picked up by a young lad in a rough old car but within a minute or two I had worked out that he had an air of experience about him. Sure enough, he told me he had just returned from a trip hitching around the USA, which was why he had picked me up. 

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