Adventures in Wadi Rum for Muskett and McManus

© Gabby Muskett

Calum Muskett and Dan McManus have just returned from Wadi Rum in southern Jordan, where they scoped out and bolted a stunning new multipitch line with four pitches up to 8a in difficulty. 

Calum on Pitch 3 - 7c+  © Gabby Muskett
Calum on Pitch 3 - 7c+
© Gabby Muskett

Calum initially spotted the potential for a new line whilst out working in the area earlier this year. He told UKC:

'The route followed this series of ramps and arêtes up an otherwise unclimbed wall in Barrah Canyon, one of the main climbing areas in Wadi Rum and home to classic routes such as Merlin's Wand.'

Abseiling the line, scouting for potential  © Calum Muskett
Abseiling the line, scouting for potential
© Calum Muskett

Opting to return this month to benefit from cooler conditions, Calum returned with Dan and an abundance of route-equipping gear in tow:

'We flew out with a bolt drill and 50 resin bolts which we hoped would be enough for us to protect any new routes out in the desert, as these faces are almost entirely featureless other than for the occasional thread. We abseiled down the line we'd flown out for only to find after a couple of days of effort that it had several almost completely blank sections - probably still possible to climb, but the pitches would more than likely be in the 9th grades.'

Dan jumaring up the route  © Calum Muskett
Dan jumaring up the route
© Calum Muskett

Keen to put their kit to good use, the pair shifted their focus to the wall to the right. Calum told UKC:

'It wasn't quite as proud a line but it featured better quality rock and more in the way of crimps and pockets. We were very fortunate to have found a line of holds and got to work on bolting the line. We had to space out the bolts a little more on the top two pitches due to depleting numbers of bolts, which made the last couple of pitches, although easier, still quite difficult propositions on lead.'

Pitch two - 8a
© Gabby Muskett

After bolting the route and working some of the moves on a micro-traxion, the team had a few days off to pick up Calum's wife Gabby and Dan's girlfriend Kim from the airport. They spent the weekend visiting the Dead Sea and Petra before returning to the desert and dispatching the project:

'We really surprised ourselves by climbing the route on our first day of trying. Dan led the first pitch at 7a+, I went airborne on the second 8a pitch after the crux moves on the longest run out, fortunately Dan pulled out the stops next go and I managed to second the pitch cleanly. I then led the following pitch of 7c+ which was a real battle after limited practice and with long run outs. I also led the final 7b+ pitch which was much more difficult than anticipated and a real sting in the tail to this amazing route.'

Yalla Shabab - Topo
© Calum Muskett

Calum and Dan have named the route 'Yalla Shabab', which is Arabic for 'let's go!'


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Calum Muskett
North Wales

Calum was born and brought up on the very edge of the Carneddau mountain range, a simple fact which has been hugely influential in his development as a climber. Calum has known the hills and mountains of North Wales since...

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28 Nov, 2016
Would love to visit the Wadi Rum. I'm very jealous!
28 Nov, 2016
Excellent choice of route name!
28 Nov, 2016
Great effort lads, looks amazing. Dan its a shame your dark horse status is dwindling!
28 Nov, 2016
Calum is a guest speaker at the Guildford Mountaineering Club tonight 28/11. See the GMC web site for details.
28 Nov, 2016
Very similar area to the sandstone of crags of Utah ... Multi pitch FA's are done on sight ground up bolting on lead up to 5.12 ...and still lots of such unclimbed rock in the Utah deserts..
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