Weekend Warm-up: Wadi Rum

wadi rum

“Every person brings a different vision to the world. And I think the way for people to connect those visions – to understand other people’s visions – is through nature, risk, challenge, unknown.”

It’s this belief that motivates Israeli-American climber Eli Nissan on his adventure into the heart of Jordan’s Wadi Rum.

wadi rum

At Wadi Rum, granite and sandstone formations tower from the desert, dwarfing the austere surroundings. Adventure tourism hasn’t yet discovered this world-class climbers’ playground. A key reason, Nissan learns, is the outdated climbing routes up the formations. Nissan’s expertise and local relationships make implementing modernized routing possible.

On his annual visits to Wadi Rum, Nissan forms a close friendship with Mohammed Hussain, a local Bedouin. Hussain knows the area intimately but fears for the future of the local people, who lead an isolated, simple life on the outskirts of Jordan’s major tourist centres. Nevertheless, Hussain is keen to help reestablish climbing tourism in the area.

wadi rum

Nissan, Hussein and one other Bedouin helper set out to establish a 550m, 14-pitch, 5.13+ route. In 2014, they spent an initial three weeks scouting and clearing the area. For the final season, they enlisted the expertise of big-wall climber Madeline Sorkin.

It took the team three years to create a modern free climb, designed with sustainability in mind: a route too that hopes to bring longevity to Hussain and his community.

About the Author

Alex Chasing Dreams

Alex Myall

A travel journalist born of her own mini adventures into far flung destinations. What began as a passion for guiding others to explore, evolved into journaling, blogging and booking. Find out more at alexchasingdreams.com

Leave a Reply

2 Comments on "Weekend Warm-up: Wadi Rum"

newest oldest most voted
Notify of
Tony Howard
Never read such nonsense in all my life. Rum is world famous as a climbers paradise and has been since we discovered it in 1984. World class trad routes abound including the superb and unique Bedouin routes which set the benchmark for clean bold climbing. Rum is absolutely not about bolted routes particularly those near clean trad toutes. We should not be imposing ourselves on the rock. It’s what Reinhold Messner called murdering the impossible. Respect the rock.Keep RumClean. Tony Howard Author of guides to climbing and trekking in in Rum, Jordan, Norway and England, also Troll Wall and Quest… Read more »
Tony Howard

Just wanted to add if you want to know more about clean climbing ethics check out BMC and UIAA and info on ethics such as To Bolt or Not To Bolt