Trip Report
Climbing in the Wadi Rum Desert of Jordan - March 2012
Friday March 30, 2012 5:21am
The wonderful colors of the Wadi Rum in Jordan
Starting the descent off the summit of Jebel Khazali, Wadi Rum, Jordan
Starting the descent off the summit of Jebel Khazali, Wadi Rum, Jordan
Credit: Sierra Ledge Rat

Ever see a photograph of a place that then becomes an obsession?

I saw a photograph of the Bugaboos about 30 yeas ago, and I knew that I would never be happy until I climbed there. Well, I am pleased to say that I will die a happy man.

Happy, that is, until a few years ago. Then I saw a photograph of the sandstone towers of the Wadi Rum in Jordan's desert. The obsession started all over again. Mind you, I'm 30 years older now, my shoulders pop out of their sockets if I sneeze hard (old injuries from an extreme skiing crash), and bilateral shoulder operations haven't helped much. So my rock-climbing days have long been over.

How did I get into this predicament?

Well, I figured that I would just go scrambling. I can sill do that, can't I? So I hired a Bedouin guide from Wadi Rum Mountain Guides for 3 days of scrambling and I flew to Jordan.

What I got was more than what I bargained for. Apparently the Bedouin bagged most of the first ascents in the area by scrambling to the summits of these peaks. Westerners like me would say that the correct description is not scrambling, but rather that the Bedouin have been free-soloing to 5.7 on these peaks.

So what I got was a an easy scrambling ascent of the mountain Jebel Khazali (i.e., free-soloing to 5.2 and roped climbing).

Generally, there are two kinds of sandstone in the Wadi Rum: (1) a purple Um Sahn sandstone and (2) white Rum sandstone. The Um Sahm sandstone is very soft and friable, has lots of handholds (like limestone) and forms massive walls. The white Rum sandstone forms large, gritty slabs and domes with relatively few holds.

Temperatures in March:
95 degrees F during the day
40 degrees F at night

Jordan has a tourism-based economy and no oil. They don't have a beef with anyone, and they take their tourism seriously. Everywhere we went people smiled broadly and shouted, "Welcome to Jordan!" One of my taxi drivers found out that I was American and insisted that he take me out to dinner. "I know a place that serves the best chicken tikka in Jordan," he said. (He was right!) The Jordanians and Bedouins are some of the nicest and most generous people I have ever met. Yes, Jordan is very safe for tourists. I am already planning a return trip in one year, this time for 2 weeks! And I'll be carrying a rope & rack!

Pictures say it all better than words, so 'nuff talking.

A wonderful panorama of the Jebel um Ishrin massif in the Wadi Rum. Most of the big towers have 800 meters of vertical relief.

Panorama of the Jebel um Ishrin group in the Wadi Rum, Jordan
Panorama of the Jebel um Ishrin group in the Wadi Rum, Jordan
Credit: Sierra Ledge Rat
See this panorama in its full glory at:

Jebel um Ishrin Panorama

I stayed in a Bedouin tent out in the desert for 3 days. (There is a climber's and back-packer's lodge in the nearby village of Rum for those who want more of the comforts of home.)
Bedouin tent in the Wadi Rum, Jordan
Bedouin tent in the Wadi Rum, Jordan
Credit: Sierra Ledge Rat

On the summit of a small tower in Wadi Un Ishrin.
Credit: Sierra Ledge Rat

A self-portrait of myself on the summit of a small tower that I soloed.
Selfie from summit of un-named spire, 2012 <br/>
Wadi Rum, Jordan
Selfie from summit of un-named spire, 2012
Wadi Rum, Jordan
Credit: Sierra Ledge Rat

The lower 300-400 meters of Sabbah's Route on Jebel Khazali. (Grade III, class 5.3)
The lower half of the climbing rouote, Wadi Rum, Jordan
The lower half of the climbing rouote, Wadi Rum, Jordan
Credit: Sierra Ledge Rat

The upper 300 meters of Sabbah's Route on Jebel Khazali, and the rappel route. (Grade III, class 5.3)
The upper section of Sabbah's Route on Jebel Khazali, Wadi Rum, Jordan
The upper section of Sabbah's Route on Jebel Khazali, Wadi Rum, Jordan
Credit: Sierra Ledge Rat

The start of the route, showing typical scrambling terrain.
Start of Sabbah's Route on Jebel Khazali, Wadi Rum, Jordan
Start of Sabbah's Route on Jebel Khazali, Wadi Rum, Jordan
Credit: Sierra Ledge Rat

My Bedouin climbing guide poses for a "hero" shot.
Scrambling on Jebel Khazali, Wadi Rum, Jordan
Scrambling on Jebel Khazali, Wadi Rum, Jordan
Credit: Sierra Ledge Rat

On the lower section of the route.
Sabbah's Route, Wadi Rum, Jordan
Sabbah's Route, Wadi Rum, Jordan
Credit: Sierra Ledge Rat

Beautiful slabs of white Rum sandstone. At the top of the slab move right into parallel cracks (class 5.2).
Beautiful slabs of white Rum sandstone, Wadi Rum, Jordan
Beautiful slabs of white Rum sandstone, Wadi Rum, Jordan
Credit: Sierra Ledge Rat

Domes of white Rum sandstone on the summit plateau of Jebel Khazali.
Domes of white Rum sandstone on the summit plateau of Jebel Khazali. W...
Domes of white Rum sandstone on the summit plateau of Jebel Khazali. Wadi Rum, Jordan.
Credit: Sierra Ledge Rat

Coiling the rope after a short section of class 5
Credit: Sierra Ledge Rat

Even the "flat" summit plateau requires a lot of climbing up and down.
Credit: Sierra Ledge Rat

C'est moi, on the summit.
Summit of Jebel Khazali, 2012 <br/>
Wadi Rum, Jordan
Summit of Jebel Khazali, 2012
Wadi Rum, Jordan
Credit: Sierra Ledge Rat

Miles of rock, with very few routes.
Looking out towards Jebel Qabr Amra
Looking out towards Jebel Qabr Amra
Credit: Sierra Ledge Rat

Sitting in the shade, taking a rest from the down-climbing. It was 95 degrees with sustained class 3-4 down-climbing with some roped down-climbing and a total of 5 rappels.
Taking a rest in the shade &#40;it was 95 degrees F&#41; and contempla...
Taking a rest in the shade (it was 95 degrees F) and contemplating the next section of down-climbing
Credit: Sierra Ledge Rat

The last of 5 rappels.
The last of 5 rappels to descend off Jebel Khazali, Wadi Rum, Jordan
The last of 5 rappels to descend off Jebel Khazali, Wadi Rum, Jordan
Credit: Sierra Ledge Rat

Other photos from the Wadi Rum to get you drooling:

The big walls of the SE Face of Jebel Al Qattar
The big wall of the SE face of Jebel Al Qattar, Wadi Rum, Jordan
The big wall of the SE face of Jebel Al Qattar, Wadi Rum, Jordan
Credit: Sierra Ledge Rat

Do you like expansive vistas? The rock structure in the lower right is Lawrence's House.
Lawrence of Arabia's House, Wadi Rum, Jordan
Lawrence of Arabia's House, Wadi Rum, Jordan
Credit: Sierra Ledge Rat

Barrah Canyon is a popular hiking and climbing area.
Wadi Rum, Jordan.
Wadi Rum, Jordan.
Credit: Sierra Ledge Rat

Unclimbed!
Credit: Sierra Ledge Rat

Wadi Rum, Jordan
Wadi Rum, Jordan
Credit: Sierra Ledge Rat

Hiking in Barrah Canyon.
Credit: Sierra Ledge Rat

Lunch, Bedouin style. Some flat bread is the only other thing you need! Those are the rock-climbing shoes of my bedouin guide!!
Wadi Rum, Jordan
Wadi Rum, Jordan
Credit: Sierra Ledge Rat

Scrambling on the North Ridge of Jebel Burdah.
Scrambling on North Ridge of Jebel Burdah
Scrambling on North Ridge of Jebel Burdah
Credit: Sierra Ledge Rat

Wadi Rum.
Wadi Rum, Jordan
Wadi Rum, Jordan
Credit: Sierra Ledge Rat

Awesome climbing on this stuff.
Wadi Rum, Jordan
Wadi Rum, Jordan
Credit: Sierra Ledge Rat

The final scramble up to the Burdah Arch.
Scrambling &#40;5.2&#41; up to Burdah Arch on the North Ridge of Jebel...
Scrambling (5.2) up to Burdah Arch on the North Ridge of Jebel Burdah, Wadi Rum, Jordan
Credit: Sierra Ledge Rat

Be prepared to "4th class" some steep terrain in the Wadi Rum.
Credit: Sierra Ledge Rat

Some of the smaller towers of the Wadi Rum.
Towers, Wadi Rum, Jordan
Towers, Wadi Rum, Jordan
Credit: Sierra Ledge Rat

For you geology fans, here is a funky blue contact rock (presumably a marine sediment like everything else) that is sandwiched between the granite basement rocks and the sandstone. What is it? It almost looks like marble but it's way too hard. Obviously some baked metamorphic rock, but what?
Wadi Rum, Jordan
Wadi Rum, Jordan
Credit: Sierra Ledge Rat

Enjoying some sage & cinnamon tea in a Bedouin tent out in the desert.
Credit: Sierra Ledge Rat

  Trip Report Views: 6,619
Sierra Ledge Rat
About the Author
Sierra Ledge Rat is old Camp 4 bum, now old and broken down in Appalachia

Comments
Did you like this Trip Report? Got something to say? Don't hold back...
Comment on this Trip Report
telemon01

Trad climber
Montana
  Mar 30, 2012 - 05:38am PT

nice
Bargainhunter

climber
  Mar 30, 2012 - 05:42am PT
Loved it. Way to go after those dreams. I admire your style.
Delhi Dog

climber
Good Question...
  Mar 30, 2012 - 06:03am PT
Cool err warm, hot?
Nice job, and thanks for the TR!

I really enjoyed my time when I was there, though I did not have a rope nor rack, but was able to do a bunch of scrabbling- I'd go back in a sec too (with rope+rack!).

cheers
splitter

Trad climber
SoCal Hodad, surfing the galactic plane
  Mar 30, 2012 - 09:22am PT
Awesome place. Probably very similar to where JC went during the 40 days in the desert. Thanks for sharing!
mooser

Trad climber
seattle
  Mar 30, 2012 - 09:27am PT
Looks like you had a blast! Thanks for the TR!
survival

Big Wall climber
Terrapin Station
  Mar 30, 2012 - 09:34am PT
Dude, you just rocked my day. Always wanted to go there when I was in the Middle East. Never pulled it off.

SWEET!!!!
Gary

Social climber
Desolation Basin, Calif.
  Mar 30, 2012 - 09:36am PT
SLR, fantastic.
Tony Bird

climber
Northridge, CA
  Mar 30, 2012 - 09:45am PT
a long way from sierra ledges.

that big wall looks crumbly-scary. i attempt to stay away from such.

i don't suppose the wadi is named after a local drink?
Reilly

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
  Mar 30, 2012 - 10:23am PT
SWEET!!!!! THANKS!!!! I've been jonesing for that place for, like, forever?
I hope you made it to Petra, too.

Who makes your guide's climbing shoes? They look comfy.
andy@climbingmoab

Big Wall climber
Salt Lake City, UT
  Mar 30, 2012 - 10:38am PT
Beautiful photos - that place is somewhere i've always wanted to go as well.
crunch

Social climber
CO
  Mar 30, 2012 - 12:51pm PT
Fabulous! Great pics and stories. Thanks!
Brian in SLC

Social climber
Salt Lake City, UT
  Mar 30, 2012 - 12:55pm PT
Great TR!
Dos XX

Trad climber
Los Angeles, CA
  Mar 30, 2012 - 01:03pm PT
Sooooo cool! Thanks for sharing this amazing experience!
Fat Dad

Trad climber
Los Angeles, CA
  Mar 30, 2012 - 01:05pm PT
Great report. I still kick myself for not going there when I was in Jordan about 15 yrs. ago. I was actually in the south, at Petra, with a buddy who would have been game, and we were heading south anyways to Aqaba, and it just never happened. Still don't know why. At least I got to snorkel at the Blue Hole and hike up Mt. Sinai. Not bad consolation I suppose.

Still, I think I'll have to watch Lawrence of Arabia this weekend and ponder when I'll get back.
tarek

climber
berkeley
  Mar 30, 2012 - 01:44pm PT
Thanks, great report.
Toker Villain

Big Wall climber
Toquerville, Utah
  Mar 30, 2012 - 02:06pm PT
But did you crop your camel yelling "Haat haat haat" and then yell, "No prisoners!"



Good point about the women Coz.
In fact in the movie Lawrence Of Arabia the only "line" uttered by a woman during the whole three and a half hour film was the high pitched guttural shrilling as Lawrence's entourage exited Wadi Rum to ride across the Nefud.


Must be cool to climb where history actually took place.
labrat

Trad climber
Auburn, CA
  Mar 30, 2012 - 02:19pm PT
Great report and pictures!
Thank you
Erik
Fat Dad

Trad climber
Los Angeles, CA
  Mar 30, 2012 - 02:56pm PT
That's a nice correction Coz. I found the people in Jordan to be very warm and welcoming. It totally belies the image perpetrated over here that Muslims hate Americans.
nutjob

Sport climber
Almost to Hollywood, Baby!
  Mar 30, 2012 - 03:11pm PT
Thank you for sharing SLR, I'm very happy to see more pics of this place. I've seen a few trip reports before, and it fell off my radar. This is getting a spot on my mandatory must-visit life list!
Lolli

Mountain climber
...silence, like a cancer grows
  Mar 30, 2012 - 03:26pm PT
Aah, nice!! Thank you for sharing!
I'm going back to that place, it's magical.
The bedouins are awesome.
Sierra Ledge Rat

Mountain climber
Old and Broken Down in Appalachia
Author's Reply  Mar 30, 2012 - 03:31pm PT
Thanks for the enthusiasm

i don't suppose the wadi is named after a local drink?

Actually "wadi" is what we call an "arroyo" in the SW, or a "wash" or a dry stream bed.

"Rum" is a local village, an imperfect phonetic translation from Arabic to English, also spelled "Ram" or "Raam."

The only local drink is "Bedouin whiskey" - a very sweet tea made from a lot of sugar, sage, cinnamon, mint and black tea. No one drinks alcohol there.

The people were amazing, except for the way they treat their women...

Perhaps that was 16 years ago, how was (is) American treating Blacks nowadays?

I also spent a week at Jordan's largest university; women make up two-thirds of the student population. About 1/3 of the women I saw there were dressed very fashionably in Western-style clothes. I counted less than a dozen burquas in 2 weeks in the whole country.

Jordan is not like the other Muslim countries.



jahil

Social climber
London, Paris, WV & CA
  Mar 30, 2012 - 03:32pm PT
Very nice trip report SLR - I'm totally stoked to try to get over there and climb - Always wanted to go to Jordan!

steve
Toker Villain

Big Wall climber
Toquerville, Utah
  Mar 30, 2012 - 03:48pm PT
It is a toss up SLR.

We either elect them President or shoot them for carrying Skittles.
Synchronicity

Trad climber
British Columbia, Canada
  Mar 30, 2012 - 06:20pm PT
Very cool TR and an interesting look into a unique area. Glad to hear you chased your dream all the way to the desert, and I'm glad to see photos of rock that isn't in Yosemite for once :)
Ezra Ellis

Trad climber
North wet, and Da souf
  Mar 30, 2012 - 09:41pm PT
Nice ledge Rat,
glad you had a great trip to the middle east.
Looks kinda like the wind gate sandstone from the south west usa!
Thanks!!!
Kalimon

Social climber
Ridgway, CO
  Mar 30, 2012 - 10:43pm PT
Beeeooootiful!

Trippy atmospheric vistas . . . nice photos.
landcruiserbob

Trad climber
PUAKO, BIG ISLAND Kohala Coast
  Mar 30, 2012 - 10:58pm PT
Love the desert.....


Love the diesel landcruisers too...


aloha

rg
bmacd

Trad climber
100% Canadian
  Mar 30, 2012 - 11:20pm PT
very cool - tpfu !
mike m

Trad climber
black hills
  Mar 30, 2012 - 11:37pm PT
That aint a desert, this is a desert.
laughingman

Mountain climber
Seattle WA
  Mar 30, 2012 - 11:38pm PT
Cool trip, digging the cool peaks in jordan. Bedouins have a long history of treating guest with respect and courtesy so I am not shocked they treated you well.
Curt

climber
Gold Canyon, AZ
  Mar 30, 2012 - 11:50pm PT
Very cool looking place--thanks for posting the TR.

Curt
Klimmer

Mountain climber
  Mar 30, 2012 - 11:51pm PT
The desert wilderness of Jordan is incredible. I would love to go and adventure there. TFPU



Sure enough someone up stream already mentioned it . . .

Jesus's 40 days of temptation in the wilderness was more than likely into this region of Jordan.

Also Jesus says that in the last days when the "Abomination of Desolation" in the temple in Jerusalem occurs, to flee to the wilderness of Jordan where believers will be protected and cared for until Christ's imminent return.
LuckyPink

climber
the last bivy
  Mar 31, 2012 - 12:58am PT
wow this is a hella cool tr ..thanks for the info and photos!!
eujin

Social climber
California
  Mar 31, 2012 - 01:12am PT
I was in Wadi Rum and Petra a few months ago, no climbing though. I was told that it was far less crowded than normal because of the Euro crisis and the Arab Spring and so we had most of the tourist places to ourselves. It's probably still a great time to go this year.

Wadi Rum Photos

Petra Photos
roy

Social climber
NZ -> SB,CA -> Zurich
  Mar 31, 2012 - 03:51am PT
Excellent TR and a great place to go. I spent a few days scrambling around Petra some time ago. Fantastic rock in Jordan and a very friendly place to visit.

Cheers, Roy
dfinnecy

Social climber
'stralia
  Apr 4, 2012 - 05:44pm PT
I'm going to Amman for a wedding in July, I doubt I'll get any climbing in but you've convinced me to toss in the shoes and a harness just in case.
Jeremy

climber
  Apr 4, 2012 - 06:10pm PT
WANNAGOWANNAGOWANNAGOWANNAGO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thanks!

Jeremy
Fat Dad

Trad climber
Los Angeles, CA
  Apr 4, 2012 - 07:04pm PT
I'm going to Amman for a wedding in July, I doubt I'll get any climbing in but you've convinced me to toss in the shoes and a harness just in case.
Even if you don't get to Wadi Rum, you have to at least get to Petra. As spectacular as anything you'll see anywhere. If I recall, it's about 4 hours from Amman by bus. Not far at all.
thesiger

climber
  Apr 5, 2012 - 01:16am PT
No one drinks alcohol there.
The Rum village "Rest House", recommended extensively in the old Tony Howard guidebook, sells cold beer. That's its only redeeming feature: their campsite is garbage-strewn, toilets grim, showers sketchy and their food made my partner on my last trip sick. Hopefully some day soon someone will set up something better. But you can always camp in the desert.
Mighty Hiker

climber
Vancouver, B.C.
  Apr 5, 2012 - 01:54am PT
Thanks! You didn't perchance run across a fellow named Tony Howard there, did you? English, helped found Troll Equipment?
Lolli

Mountain climber
...silence, like a cancer grows
  Apr 5, 2012 - 04:26am PT
Even if you don't get to Wadi Rum, you have to at least get to Petra.

I second that. That might also interest other wedding guests. Petra is voted as one of the new seven wonders of the world, instead of the long lost ones.
Sierra Ledge Rat

Mountain climber
Old and Broken Down in Appalachia
Author's Reply  Apr 9, 2012 - 03:03pm PT
Petra is voted as one of the new seven wonders of the world, instead of the long lost ones.

I blew off Petra for the Wadi Rum, and I'd do it again if I ever return.
Fat Dad

Trad climber
Los Angeles, CA
  Apr 9, 2012 - 06:20pm PT
To be honest, both places look really rad. I think you could hit one or other without substantial regret, but if you had limited time, Petra is probably the easier of the two to hit. Still, I'm still kicking myself that I missed Wadi Rum...
Stephanie Bergner

Trad climber
Planet Send
  Apr 14, 2012 - 09:18pm PT
Oh man, now I want to go, too. That first pic is hauntingly beautiful. Awesome!
crazy horse

Trad climber
fresno, ca
  Apr 15, 2012 - 10:06pm PT
yo sierra ledge rat!! i've bought the guide book for Wadi Rum in anticipation of a forthcoming trip at an undetermined time. Heard nothing but amazing things!! Thanks for posting!! Looks awesome!!
Sierra Ledge Rat

Mountain climber
Old and Broken Down in Appalachia
Author's Reply  Apr 16, 2012 - 08:51am PT
yo sierra ledge rat!! i've bought the guide book for Wadi Rum in anticipation of a forthcoming trip at an undetermined time. Heard nothing but amazing things!! Thanks for posting!! Looks awesome!!


Contact Atieq from Wadi Rum Mountain Guides for transportation, lodging and a guide if you want one.

I'm going back for 2 weeks in late February 2013!!!!!!!!!!!
philo

Trad climber
Is that the light at the end of the tunnel or a tr
  Apr 16, 2012 - 10:22am PT
TFPU! That was a wonderful way to start a day.
Sierra Ledge Rat

Mountain climber
Old and Broken Down in Appalachia
Author's Reply  Apr 21, 2012 - 06:52am PT
For those of you who are interested in more information, I have put together two information pages:

Geology of Wadi Rum
http://www.summitpost.org/geology-of-wadi-rum/783120

Photo Reconnaissance of the Wadi Rum
http://www.summitpost.org/photo-reconnaissance-of-the-wadi-rum/782995

grover

climber
Northern Mexico
  Nov 6, 2012 - 11:18pm PT
Nice desert TR


TFPUB
johntp

Trad climber
socal
  Nov 7, 2012 - 01:06am PT
Whoa! Interested to hear about the logistics.
Sierra Ledge Rat

Mountain climber
Old and Broken Down in Appalachia
Author's Reply  Nov 8, 2012 - 05:01am PT
LOGISTICS

Visas are required can be purchased for $10 at the Amman airport on arrival in Amman, best way to do it.

An old Roman forum in downtown Amman, Jordan
An old Roman forum in downtown Amman, Jordan
Credit: Sierra Ledge Rat

A couple of our Jordanian hosts in Amman, taking us on tours of ancien...
A couple of our Jordanian hosts in Amman, taking us on tours of ancient ruins around the region.
Credit: Sierra Ledge Rat

The Amman international airport is 30 km south of the capital city of Amman. A good airport hotel is the Golden Tulip Amman, 4 stars. The hotel serves beer and wine, but just forget about alcohol for the duration.

The border between Jordan and Israel is always open, so many people enter Jordan via Israel. My Chinese friends tell me that their return into Israel was unfriendly, antagonistic, and quite frightening. (I guess they didn't like having Israeli soldiers pointing machine guns at them during the process of passport and visa checks.)

The Wadi Rum and Rum village are 4 hours south of the Amman international airport. That's 4 hours of freeway driving. There is apparently an inexpensive bus that takes you to within a few miles of Rum village (to the town of Quweira), and you can catch a taxi for the final ~ 10 miles to Rum. But I made arrangements with my climbing guide to have a cab driver pick me up at the Amman airport and transport me to Rum (4 hours, $120).

The Wadi Rum is located near the place where Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and the Red Sea all come together.

Map of Rum:
https://maps.google.com/maps?hl=en&ll=29.568941,35.420308&spn=0.024561,0.031414&t=h&z=15

The cab driver dropped me off at midnight at the home of my climbing guide in Rum. I spent the night sleeping on the floor in his living room. He served me a Continental breakfast in the morning.

Having breakfast with my climbing guide
Having breakfast with my climbing guide
Credit: Sierra Ledge Rat

When you wake up in Rum, this is what you wake up to
When you wake up in Rum, this is what you wake up to
Credit: Sierra Ledge Rat

There is a climber's lodge in Rum, but I never got a chance to see it. Apparently there are western-style toilets and showers there. It is cheap. Many people travel 30 km to the Red Sea port of Aqaba for groceries. You will need a cab to take you there. If you're a scuba diver, bring your dive gear!

I stayed in Bedouin camps in the desert. The cost was $60 per day for a private scrambling guide, 4WD vehicle tours, water, 3 meals a day and camping in Bedouin tents. I didn't get a shower for 5 days, until I returned to a hotel in Amman. The only water is bottled water. I was drinking about 8 liters per day.

More serious guided technical climbing, beyond the typical class 5.2 to 5.6 free-soloing and occasional belay, will cost you more like $120 per day. Some of the guides were trained in Chamonix and are very good. Most of the Bedouin, however, just grew up free-soloing traditional routes in the Wadi Rum.

Traditional Bedouin routes weave in-and-out and up-and-down through th...
Traditional Bedouin routes weave in-and-out and up-and-down through these domes, slabs and faces. The class 5 sections are short and sweet. You will free-solo the easy class 5 stuff, but can get a top rope for the mid-class 5 stuff.
Credit: Sierra Ledge Rat

One of my Bedouin climbing guides, high on the north ridge of Jebel Bu...
One of my Bedouin climbing guides, high on the north ridge of Jebel Burdah (II, 5.2)
Credit: Sierra Ledge Rat

Only the local Bedouin can drive in the Wadi Rum. So:

(a) you will need to hire a guide to drive you to your climbs, or
(b) walk to and from your climbs (hiking in sand), or
(c) limit your excursion to the area near the village of Rum (which is what most people do, and which is where most of the rock routes are located)

Main street in Rum, looking due south out into the desert. The big bul...
Main street in Rum, looking due south out into the desert. The big bulky peak on the left is Jebel Khazali, which the mountain that I climbed.
Credit: Sierra Ledge Rat

The weather in the Rum is quite variable. The winter is freezing cold with rain. Dangerous flash floods and waterfalls are killers on some of the faces and in the slot canyons (slot canyons are called "siqs").

The summer is 130+ degrees and unbearable from a climbing perspective.

I went at the ideal time, around the 1st of March. It was about 95 degrees during the day and 38 degrees at night with minimal rain. We had a cold snap with a few days rain and snow while I was there. Look at the historical weather charts for the area.

Bolting is not accepted in the Wadi Rum. There are some bolt anchors at rap stations on popular routes, though. They don't look like bolts, more like rebar with an eyelet set in epoxy.

Bolted rap anchor. Descending from the summit of Jebel Khazali.
Bolted rap anchor. Descending from the summit of Jebel Khazali.
Credit: Sierra Ledge Rat

The soft Um Sahn sandstone is heavily weathered with plentiful handholds, but soft rock is, well, soft.

The white Rum standstone is a lot harder, almost like a soft, gritty granite.

White Rum sandstone. The face shown here is the last hard pitch &#40;5...
White Rum sandstone. The face shown here is the last hard pitch (5.3) on Sabbah's Route, Jebel Khazali
Credit: Sierra Ledge Rat

The summit plateaus are often a maze of domes of white Rum sandstone, ...
The summit plateaus are often a maze of domes of white Rum sandstone, separated by deep slot canyons 100 to 500 feet deep.
Credit: Sierra Ledge Rat

Security is a concern in northern Jordan. The Jordanians are great people, it's their neighbors who you have to worry about. The Jordanians are extremely friendly, generous and tolerate people. You are safer in Jordan than you are in most major American cities.

We did a lot of caving in northern Jordan, along the Iraq/Syrian border. So we hired armed guards to watch over us. Like I said... It's the neighbors who are the problem.

Credit: Sierra Ledge Rat

Caving along the Syria border with our armed escort
Caving along the Syria border with our armed escort
Credit: Sierra Ledge Rat

A camel skull, it was killed by hyenas and dragged into the cave.
A camel skull, it was killed by hyenas and dragged into the cave.
Credit: Sierra Ledge Rat

The Wadi Rum guidebook:

http://www.cicerone.co.uk/product/detail.cfm/book/254/title/treks---climbs-in-wadi-rum-jordan
Lolli

Mountain climber
...silence, like a cancer grows
  Nov 8, 2012 - 09:51am PT
As to an earlier post, I see no need to make it an either or, when it comes to Petra and Wadi Rum. Both are fantastic. Have you been in Petra? I think you'd love it. The rock is... well, different. Don't know what it is, but it's colourful.

Sierra Ledge Rat

Mountain climber
Old and Broken Down in Appalachia
Author's Reply  Nov 17, 2012 - 11:02am PT
I watched the movie Lawrence of Arabia last night, starring Peter O'Toole. The movie was filmed in the Wadi Rum, primarily in the large sandy valley shown here. The peak on the far left is a common backdrop to scenes in the movie.

Starting the descent off the summit of Jebel Khazali, Wadi Rum, Jordan
Starting the descent off the summit of Jebel Khazali, Wadi Rum, Jordan
Credit: Sierra Ledge Rat

On the right side of this photo is the ruins of the home of Lawrence of Arabia.

Credit: Sierra Ledge Rat
Vitaliy M.

Mountain climber
San Francisco
  Nov 17, 2012 - 12:48pm PT
Great report. Looks like a beautiful and original place. Enjoy your next trip there. Planning to do any of those unclimbed faces?!
Fritz

Trad climber
Choss Creek, ID
  Nov 17, 2012 - 01:21pm PT
Glad that I finally got to look at this great trip report. I also watched Lawrence of Arabia last night, so my timing was good.

Thanks for all the photos and commentary.
adnix

Big Wall climber
Finland
  Jan 11, 2013 - 04:10pm PT
We were there for a week long trip in October 2012. I've posted a trip report with some climbing up to 5.10. The Beduin routes and the Beduin people are the best of Rum.

Petra was nice but I would prefer Wadi Rum if you're short of time. There's nothing inside the caves in Petra so you've seen it all in Indiana Jones before. Lots of tourists in Petra.

Report:
http://www.patagonia.fi/blog/2012/12/wadi-rum-part-5-logistics-and-tips/
brotherbbock

Trad climber
Alta Loma, CA
  Jan 11, 2013 - 04:29pm PT
Killer TR!!!!!!
Sierra Ledge Rat

Mountain climber
Old and Broken Down in Appalachia
Author's Reply  Jan 11, 2013 - 05:54pm PT
Petra was nice but I would prefer Wadi Rum


I blew off Petra entirely without regrets

Most of the easy scrambling is very exposed and this is true especially on the descent. I really enjoyed the trip up to Jebel Rum. It’s were much like climbing a long alpine route except for the snow. The route is highly recommended!

Thanks Adnix, your trip report was awesome!
justthemaid

climber
Jim Henson's Basement
  Jan 22, 2013 - 09:25am PT
bump
Did you like this Trip Report? Got something to say? Don't hold back...
Comment on this Trip Report
Go