The Arrans Of Arabia

© John Arran Collection
The Sheffield-based husband and wife climbing team of John and Anne Arran are well known for their travels to the world's climbing areas - Egypt's Sinai, the Venezuelan jungle, Kyrgyzstan, the Caucasus, Pakistan's Karakorum and wherever they go they climb the classics and establish new routes.

It seems that the towering red sandstone walls, blue skys and Bedouin villages of the Jordanian climbing paradise of Wadi Rum have now captured the climbing imagination of this well-travelled climbing couple.

John says that, "The place is fantastic: there's world class everything there - trad, sport, scrambling, camel-riding."

In between working in Baghdad, John, based in Amman was joined by Anne and they set about establishing several multi-pitch routes, onsighting some hard sport routes, executed some hard solos and climbed the areas first headpoint style E7.

Top ticks were:

  • FFA of Towering Inferno, freeing 5 aid pitches to give an 8-pitch E6 6a
  • Rum's first headpoint: Rum Grit E7 6b right of Catfish Corner
  • Onsight ascents of some existing routes Rock Empire a Fr 8a - to after the crux pitches and La Guerre Sainte a Fr 7b and the best multi-pitch sport route imaginable
  • The Wall of Winter Warmth: A new 3-pitch E5 6b close to the rest house
  • More new trad routes in Barrah Canyon: Cat Burglar (E2); The Moon is Lying Down (E4), left of Voyage in the Aura; and a (possibly first) free ascent of Voyage in the Aura at E5 6a/b.

All the above climbed with Anne, sharing leads.

Anne returned to the UK earlier than John so he had a chance to nip down for a couple more routes, both climbed onsight solo - probably the first solos of any long routes in Rum other than the Bedouin routes:

  • I.B.M 13 pitches, F6b (about E3 5c)
  • Inshallah Factor 15 pitches, F6c (about E4 6a)
  • .....both times descending Eye of Allah, after reaching the East Summit and the Main Summit (by Hammad's Route) respectively.


Rum Grit (E7) headpoint. The single piece of gear are stacked wires in a sandy pocket. click here

Anne weaving through the crux of Cat Burglar (E2) while leading the first ascent. click here

The crux 7th pitch of Towering Inferno (E6) on the first free ascent. click here

John and Anne are grateful for the generous support of their sponsors, Boreal and Arc'teryx.

John and Anne's website is

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20 Feb, 2008
I can't believe there aren't more comments on this and the Eiger post. Are people just blown away by the achievements and adventure of it all? Well done John and Anne. I always enjoy reading about your trips and the talk last year at SHAFF about Madagascar (and the Peak) was great too. Phil
20 Feb, 2008
The forum crowd, at least those who actually post, is a lot different than the news page only crowd. All because there are no comments doesn't mean that people aren't "blown away" or inspired and motivated. Mick
20 Feb, 2008
Cool! What kind of sandstone is there in Wadi Rum? Red-rock-ish? How solid?
20 Feb, 2008
Also, this particular thread has had 167 views: but the news page had 5,173 views on Monday, and 4,877 views on Tuesday. I hope this helps you to understand some of the viewing dynamics of Mick
20 Feb, 2008
Some of it is OK to excellent; some of it is dodgy to very poor (as in holds crumbling in your hand). In other words, an excellent adventure climbing venue with a very wide variety of routes at all grades -- great people too. Check out Tony Howard's guidebook.
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