Promis – 2019 will be the year of our new guidebook, published by Versante Sud from Italy.
Unprecedented selection of twenty routes and climbs in Wadi Rum.
Some of these routes are unknown and appear for the first time.
IMG_8732-redim - copie

Bedouin Routes. They are unique! Know more

1- The complete North to South traverse of Jebel Rum (1754m), in two days with a bivouac on the mountain. Not difficult, but sustained and long. Only with a guide if the mountain has never been visited before. Very complicate and subtile itinerary which offers one of the most beautiful experience on “The Lord” of jordan mountains, The Jebel Rum.
For experienced mountaineers only! Nothing harder than grade 4, but with much scrambling and walking on numerous exposed passages. One abseil is necessary (25m). Can be done from South to North as well (and thus without any abseil, but with a piece of harder climbing).
* 16 to 18 hours in two days with bivouac on the top of the mountain. Carry much water.

2- Jebel Khazali (1420m), up “Al Lassik route” (ENE) / down “Sabbah’s Route” (E) in one day. Many short grade 3 and 4 passages. Crux pitch – french 5b. An amazing one-day rock adventure. A taste of the most subtle itineraries in Wadi Rum. One of my favorites.

Al Lassik - Jebel Khazali

3- Jebel Geder (1250m) “Ataeq Sherif route”, North to South traverse. A short day itinerary, starting with little grade 3 climbing followed by a fairly long walk on the domes towards a remote summit. By winding around hanging terraces in the middle of a wall the descend provides the most intricate itinerary – so typical of the local red sandstone! “No way here!”. “Yes, here it is!” is the permanent answer of the mountain.
At least one 15m rappel is unavoidable.

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Not too long and easier climbs

4- GOLDFINGER (E) – Jebel Rum, East Dome – East face.
100m, 4 pitches – 5c/6a (5.9). Afternoon in the shade.
G.Claye & W.Colonna, 23/10/1986.
As an introduction a short test-piece on the small central tower at the base of the Main East Face of Jebel Rum. Just above the village. The two pitches “approach” to the main finger crack are on poor rock but easy (3c/4a). Then it goes on perfect sandstone with excellent protection (5c/6a, 35m). The top pitch is a bit sandy (5b)…
Descent by 4 rappels on glue-in rings with chains to the left of the tower – along the route Troubadour 6b+ (5.10c).

5- GIRAFFE WITHOUT NIQAB (E) – Jebel Geder South summit – East face of SE Shoulder.
150m, 5 pitches – 5c/6a max (5.9), otherwise mostly 5. Afternoon shade. 35 mn drive from Rum village
W.Colonna & C.Merle, fall 2010.
A short afternoon route in the beautiful south part of the massif. On the way to Hadj (see below) towards Saoudia border.
The rock is slightly soft on the upper part of this obvious corner, but solid on the top crux section. Caution is required by scrambling up the ledge which links the two parts of the route, full of boulders… A perfect introduction to the local “soft touch” climbing! Good protection. Do not forget smaller wires for the final crux wall. Looks harder than it is…
Descent: joins the the Jebel Geder crossing itinerary (see above) on his way down, full of zigzagging terraces.
5-AL GEDER-No Niqab Route-redim

6- THE HADJ (S) – Jebel Sweibit South summit – South face
250m, 7 pitches – 5c (5.8+). Early morning shade only. 45 mn drive from Rum village.
T.Howard, M.Shaw & D.Taylor in 1995.
One of the most southern climbs, not far from the Saoudi border.
A great “Classic” on a beautiful summit. If there is only one to climb on that level, it would be this one!
First ascent by the famous pioneers of the 80’s, almost ten years after.
Very nice varied route, combining steep cracks in the first part, and beautifully carved slabs in the second. All on a excellent rock after L2 (however, caution with the loose blocks on the middle terrace). Excellent protection.
Seems amazingly more difficult than it actually is !
Easy alpine descent exactly on the opposite side (cairns), down to Ghôrm Jarish canyon.

7- THE BEAUTY (W) – Jebel Um Ejil – West face
150m, 5 pitches – 6a/6a+ (5.10a) + scrambling to the summit. In the shade in the morning. One hour walk from Rum village.
A.Baker & W.Colonna, 10/10/1985.
Yes, it is the most climbed route in the Valley! All the ingredients to make it a perfect half-day adventure – sumptuous approach in the bowels of the mountain, excellent rock, every pitch has his own character with layback, stemming, technical slab, and a surprising finish on the “banana crack”
where a n°5 cam and at least one n°4 cam are needed for best protection. The first ascentionists did use their single n°3.5 in the last five meters only… The very top of the mountain is worth a visit. Descent along the route. All belays and abseils on glue-in rings. Perfect protection with a complete set of cams and a handful of medium to small wires. For the rest of the day, try the neighbor Alan and his perverse Frog (6a/b – 5.10b/c). It is not the bolted one just to the left, but the one after, starting in an open corner, with an amazing top traverse to the left.
Escalade à Wadi rum-Jordanie

8- STAR OF ABU JDEIDAH (W) – Barrah Canyon, Jebel Abu Judeidah. Just called “STAR”.
300m, 8 pitches – 6b+ (5.10d) or Ao/6b (1 aid-point), but mostly 6a-6b. Shade until mid-afternoon. 40 mn drive from Rum or Diseh villages.
Y.Duverney & JP.”Dolby” Monet, october 1986.
Some see it as a world-iconic sandstone route. It is just one of the best climb in Wadi Rum! Varied, sustained, and in a very beautiful surrounding in the middle of a canyon where climbs are like at a parade. With the exception of few meters on pitch 3, the dark sandstone is just excellent! Mainly technical climbing which requires a good experience of placing your own protection. One short off-width but well protected, on P6. Most of the belays are on peg-bolts or glue-in rings. Descent along the route.

9- MERLIN’S WAND (NNW), just called MERLIN – Barrah Canyon, Jebel Abu Judeidah.
180m, 5 pitches – 6a+ (5.10b) – nearly all day in the shade. 40 mn drive from Rum or Diseh villages.
W.Colonna & T.Howard, 07/10/1986.
Magic line! A continuous straight crack, in excellent strong rock browsing a shady wall of Siq Barrah. Only the first 50 meters are on crack climbing. The upper part offers fine technical moves on perfectly clean and steep sculptured sandstone, with “gouttes d’eau” limestone-like curved holds… Access from the footboard of the jeep! Descent by 4 abseils along the route on peg-bolts and glue-in rings. Not to miss for that grade!

200m, 5 pitches – 5c+ (5.9) – Quickly in the shade at noon and for the rest of the day. 20 minutes drive from Rum village to the bottom of the climb, which is located between the two famous “Moving Sands” (sands which never move by the way…).
W.Colonna & B.Lagrenee, october 2011.
A fairly easy route, with only one hard and steep passage in the middle of a black wall (5c+), well protected with wires and smaller cams. The rest is 4c max on low-angle rock, and ends in local “alpine terrain” which allows to scramble easily to the summit via the West side, and then back to the sands by a beautiful bedouin itinerary into the hidden valley behind (SE). Excellent rock, protection and belays for a really enjoyable roundtrip.
* A harder variation climbs up the obvious corner left of the black wall.
10-UM RASHID-Mohamed Bouazizi-redim

Harder and longer climbs

11- LIONHEART (E) – Jebel Rum – South-East, Abu Aïna.
250m – 7 pitches – 6b+ (5.10c). Shade very early in the morning and then in the afternoon only. 2,5 km from Rum village – less than 10 mn by jeep.
Mark & Rowland Edwards, 19/03/1987.
The creation of the British father and son “Edwards”. Quickly became a World Classic – in the purest steep crack style, however varied.
You’ll get anything from finger to hand cracks, layback, chimney, off width… And the final pitch with perfect slab climbing acts as icing on the cake.
The whole trip is sustained, with few slightly exposed starts and you have to climb 6b (5.10c). Few routes have been acclaimed as much as this one.
Just do it , you will understand why!
P1: 6a (poor rock), P2: 6b+ (serious), P3: 6a/b (right-hand crack), P4: 6a+ (the start is exposed), P5: 6b+, P6: 6a+ (little more fragile holds), P7: 4b.
Descent by abseils on glue in rings from station 6 along the route.
Material : beside the standard rack with his double set of cams, take an extra larger cam (Camalot n°4).

12- THE PILLAR OF WISDOM (E) – Jebel Rum – East side, Wadi Shelaali.
400m, 15 pitches – 6b max (5.10b), otherwise mostly 5. Quickly in the shade around midday. 35 minutes hike from Rum village.
W.Colonna, T.Howard & D.Taylor, 26/10/1986.
Irresistible appeal to the heart of any climber, it was inevitably one of the first lines discovered by the Anglo-French precursors.
It quickly became a Classic in the intermediate level, with a spectacular crux in the last meters (6b).
The rock reveals himself as in all the massif – generally soft – but solid enough to offer fine and varied climbing with good protection.
Descent by Hamad’s Route, the regular way from Jebel Rum summit towards Rum village, with some down-scrambling and 7 to 8 abseils.

13- RAID MIT THE CAMEL (E) – Jebel Rum, East Dome – Man East Face.
400m, 12 to 14 pitches – 7a (5.11c/d). Afternoon shade. 30 minutes hike from Rum village.
H.Gargitter, C.Hainz, C.Obrist, 14 to 20/02/1995.
This is one of the climb which has open the way to a new era in the valley, keeping a certain character of trad climbing but with adequate bolting in some places. “Raid” is unanimously acclaimed by the climbers who enjoy this comfortable compromise. It is one of the finest routes of that level in Wadi Rum.
The first 4 pitches, nice and sustained, constitute an increasingly ran Shortclimb: + 6a, 6c, 7a, 6c.
Descent: possible by 10 rappels down the route, but much better to follow the abseils of Rock Empire. Otherwise, from the East Dome summit, down Eye of Allah and the new abseils of I.B.M.

14- PROVIDENTIAL AL’UZZA (SW), just called Al’Uzza – Jebel Khazali West face.
350m, 10 pitches – 7c or 6c+/A0 (5.12d – with one aid-point only – or 5.11c/A0). Morning shade only. 20 minutes drive from Rum village + 5 minutes walk.
W.Colonna & B.Domenech with the help of D.Condevaux and T.Howard, 21 to 23/04/1989.
* Best free ascent: for both, Marco Jubes & Adu Marin, fall 2013.
One of the hidden gems of Wadi Rum, being concealed in a little side canyon at the end of the main West face of Jebel Khazali. An exceptional and intimidating line up a smooth walled diedre. Steep and strenuous crack climbing brings up high on the corner where an ultimate move needs to be free climbed (otherwise 6c+/A0 with two aid-points). The corner is escaped by a bolted traverse (goes free at 7c, otherwise A0) to the right arête of the flank, then continue up more corners to the top. All belays in place. Descent by abseils down the route or via Martha Steps on the West side.

15- LA GUERRE SAINTE (E), The Holy War or JIHAD – Nassraniya North Tower, East face.
400m, 12 pitches – 7b (5.12b). In the shade after noon. 20 minutes drive from Rum village. Climb up the sand dune and then down to reach the start.
G.Abert, Ph.Batoux, H.Bouvard, A.Hod, A.Petit, B.Robert, 11 to 15/11/2000.
The most well-known climb in Wadi Rum deserves it. Not because it is entirely protected by glue-in bolts. Also not because it was climbed by one of the strongest possible team. But for sure because of his straight line character up the most outstanding wall of all the region and more! To have found an ongoing line of holds trough the headwall is a miracle (7b, 7a+, 6c+, 6a+). The already solid rock has been cleaned by the numerous parties throughout the years. Compare to any other trad routes around, Jihad exudes a soft atmosphere of “quiet holidays” because of his well protected sport-climb character. A rope, quickdraws and slings – that’s it!
Descent by abseiling on the route.
15 & 16-NASSRANIYA NORTH-Jihad & Muezzin-redim

16- MUEZZIN (E) – Nassraniya North Tower, East pillar.
350m, 15 pitches – 6b/c (5.11a). In the shade after noon. 20 minutes drive from Rum village. Climb up the sand dune to reach the start.
W.Haupolter, S.Inhöger, A.Precht, 11/04/1990.
An exceptional climb up an impossible looking pillar. Really fascinating for his committing character, entirely on trad protection without any piece of metal in situ! This is the brand of the famous austrian team – Albert Precht, Wolfgang Haupolter, Sigi Brachmayer, Sepp Inhöger and their friends… NO bolts, never! Normal consequences – exposed passages and delicate protection over the precipices. Exactly the opposite character of Jihad. Definitely a “big” climb for “big boys”. For competent parties only. Nothing technically harder than 6b+ (5.10d), but the crux pitch is very sustained, pushing the feeling up to 6c (5.11a).
Descent: rappels of Jihad.
* Needs more or less 7 to 9 hours. Has been climbed in 3h45 by Nicolas Kalisc and Arnaud Petit on november 2005, just after their express ascent of Jolly Joker, on the West side, in 3h50 !

17- TIRA IL DIAVOLO PER LA CODA (W), Pull on the Devil’s Tale – Jebel Barrah North, West face (Wadi Um Ishrin).
410m, 12 pitches – 7c (5.12d/5.13a). Morning shade. 35 minutes drive from Rum or Diseh villages. Less than 5 minutes walk.
Lorenzo « Pala » Lafranchi, Mirko Mase, Simone Pedeferri, Marco Vago, 20 to 22/03/2011.
The “Ragni” of Lecco in Italy certainly does not mean much for the american climber. But remember, Riccardo Cassin was the most famous member of that group of “spiders”! They still exist today, and some of them have been active all over the world, and of course, in Wadi Rum as well. The route goes from a fully bolted option on the first pitch (7c / 5.12d) to the more traditional crack climbing higher up. It’s very steep, sustained, homogeneous between 7a and 7b, but very well protected and in nearly perfect rock. A new generation of routes, where difficulty doesn’t mean ultimate commitment, with bolts were they need to be, and trad protection where it is obviously safe enough. Anyway, a wonderful gift from the “Ragni”!
Descent: abseil along the route. Caution – 60m ropes needed.
17-JEBEL BARRAH NORTH-Tira il Diavolo per la coda

18- GESCHENK GOTTES (W), The Gift of God – Makhman canyon, Um Ishrin Tower, West face.
500m, 23 pitches – VII+ (UIAA) with a short step of A1 (5.10d & A1). Morning shade. 1h walk from Rum village into the deep end of Makhman Canyon.
S.Brachmayer & A.Precht, 14/04/1997 in 11 hours.
Belongs to the greatest climbs of Wadi Rum big walls. Makhman canyon, not too far from the village, is one of the main sanctuaries for such powerful challenges – all developed by Precht, Brachmayer and their friends.
Very long and sustained, this route offers a serious undertaking with a certainly unavoidable bivouac. Consistently best rock quality for an exhilarating climbing trip on trad protection as usual. All pegs, fixed slings and knots in place. The grading has not been confirmed yet…
Halfway up, the route meets the extraordinary and fairly easy line of Rund um die Welt (5c max!), which comes from the East side of the mountain by following the upper hanging part of Makhman canyon… I tell you, here it’s not just about climbing, it’s penetrating the deepest mystery of the mountains. Unique!
Descent along the route by abseiling and down-scrambling for at least +/- 3 hours.

19- JOLLY JOKER (W) – Nassraniya North Tower, West face.
600m to the summit / 400m for the climb, 20 to 22 pitches – 6c (5.11a). Morning shade. +/- 50 minutes walk from Rum village.
W.Haupolter, S.Inhöger, A.Precht, 16/04/1990.
Its a journey, not just a climb. You’re asking for something new and exotic – go for it !
Another great line on a very big wall in a really serious atmosphere…
Overall, a strenuous undertaking with some easier sections. Exposed passages, even for the second, du to numerous traverses. The average quality of the rock is good. Slings and pegs in place. Less serious than Muezzin. For competent parties only.
* Has been climbed in 3h50 by Nicolas Kalisc and Arnaud Petit on november 2005, before climbing Muezzin in 3h45 !

20- AU GRES DU VENT (W), for the original french pun version,.. With the Wind (W) – Nassraniya North Tower, West face.
600m, 18 pitches – 7b or 6c/A1 (5.12b or 5.11b/A1). Morning shade only. 30 minutes hike from Rum village.
A.Guillaume & C.Ravier, 4 to 7/12/2006. FFA by Nicolas Kalisc & Gilles Rappeneau on 26/11/2007 in 10 hours.
A great contribution of these two famous french climbers from the Pyrenees (France & Spain). Very beautiful and powerful climb of great caliber. Serious and sustained with some exposed passages in the middle of a huge wall which offers nearly everything by the local baroque sandstone. Some specific gear is required: 2 large skyhooks, hammer and few pegs as well as a hand-drill in case of some damaged peg-bolts or parabolts, numerous slings.
Descent by Hikers Road 10 minutes away from the finish, or by the more straightforward abseils of Jihad on the East side after a summit hike of 35 to 40 minutes (some cairns to locate the start of the rappels).

Wilfried Colonna

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