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Routes in Wadi Rum

Bedouin Bedlam T 5.10- 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
La Guerre Sainte S 5.12b 7b 26 VIII+ 26 E5 6b
Lionheart T 5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ 20 E3 5b
Wisdom Pillar T 5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a
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Description

Wadi Rum is a vast desert in southern Jordan, near the ancient Nabatean capital of Petra. It is full of massive Granite and Sandstone rock formations, with a near-limitless number of climbing routes, many yet to be discovered. Access generally involves riding deep into the desert on camel, although Toyota Landcruisers are also available, and 'Bedouin Camping' out in the desert.

History (from Wikipedia):

"Wadi Rum has been inhabited by many human cultures since prehistoric times, with many cultures — including the Nabateans — leaving their mark in the form of rock paintings, graffiti, and temples. As of 2007[update], several Bedouin tribes inhabit Rum and the surrounding area.

In the West, Wadi Rum may be best known for its connection with British officer T. E. Lawrence, who based his operations here during the Arab Revolt of 1917–18. In the 1980s one of the impressive rock formations in Wadi Rum was named "The Seven Pillars of Wisdom" in memory of Lawrence's book penned in the aftermath of the war, though the 'Seven Pillars' referred to in the book actually have no connection with Rum (see the Foreword in the book).

The area was "discovered" as a climbing area in 1984 by Tony Howard, Di Taylor, Mick Shaw, and Al Baker. Howard and Taylor have since written two guidebooks: Treks & Climbs in Wadi Rum and Jordan - Walks, Treks, Caves, Climbs & Canyons, both published by Cicerone Press.

The area centred on Wadi Rum (the main valley) is home to the Zalabia Bedouin who, working with climbers and trekkers, have made a success of developing eco-adventure tourism, now their main source of income. The area around Disi to the NE, home to the Zuweida Bedouin and erroneously also thought to be part of Wadi Rum by visitors, caters more for Jordanian visitors from Amman, with campsites regularly used by party-goers."
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Getting There

There are two options, depending on which airport you fly into:

1) Fly into the capital city of Amman, rent a car, and drive about 4 hours south to Wadi Rum.

2) Fly into the beach resort city of Aqaba, on the coast of the Red Sea, and take a bus to Wadi Rum. I have heard the bus is not such a great option, so I would recommend renting a car and making the short drive (45 minutes) to Rum.

Hire a local guide service before you arrive, and they will set you up with transportation (camel), their Bedouin campsite, and a local rock guide. The approach on camel back ranges anywhere from 2-5 hours. Bring plenty of water (it's a desert).

  • Beware of sandstorms. Bring sunglasses, and get yourself a 'Hutta' to protect your face from the sun and sand.
  • Nearby Petra is not to be missed. Add another day or two to explore this ancient Nabatean city.

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Classic Climbing Routes at Wadi Rum

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bricepollock
on the road
bricepollock   on the road
I just came back from Wadi Rum. I went solo and with only personal gear like I typically do internationally. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to find a partner and there were not many climbing guides last minute. Climbing isn’t quite centralized here.

I learned a lot and will return. I hope others can learn from my experience. Especially about the rock:

bricepollock.com/can-i-find… 6 days ago
Andy Novak
Golden, Co
Andy Novak   Golden, Co
Just got back from this amazing desert landscape. If you like the desert around Moab or J-tree, make this place a priority. For local guide service we used Bedouin Roads. Stayed at the camp in the desert and had a good experience, albeit a little rugged. Make sure to take all your own gear, as the "guide services" have little gear to loan out. Make sure you are clear about wanting to do roped climbing if you inquire with a guide service like B. Roads.

You will NOT be in 100 F degree heat in Nov. More like 70's and beautiful. It will be pretty cold at night, however. The "roads" to the crags are mostly 4X4 sand and within the protected area so I think you will need to get a guide to drive you if you want to visit more distant areas, but Jebel Rum and other main areas are within walking distance of the village so if you stick to those you will not need to hire a driver. The Israeli border crossing is NOT scary not sure where that came from ( I did it 3 days ago) but it may take some time if there are large groups crossing. It is mostly 18-21 year old kids with big guns looking for bombs and terrorists. If you respect them and what they are doing, they will do the same. That being said, expect your bag to be searched. Took us about 20 mins to cross. Snorkeling on rest days in Aqaba is highly recommended (its about a 45 minutes drive and 25-35 JOD) Go to the Berenice beach club and staying at the Double Tree is highly recommended ($100 per night aint bad for great location). And go to Petra, duh. (35 JOD from Rum).

The Jordanians were some of the friendliest people I've ever met. PM for more questions.

Nov 5, 2017
Generally you are not permitted to drive in the Rum, you have to have a local guide do the driving. A lot people stay in Rum and walk to the nearby crags, or hike through the sand and slot canyons to more distant peaks. If you have the money then I'd definitely camp in Rum or out in the desert and have a guide drive you around to the more remote areas. You can tent camp or stay in one of Bedouin camps.

Be prepared to sweat in 100 degree F heat during the day, and freeze at night. Also the lack of water means no bathing at all.

What else to do? The Red Sea has some of the best scuba diving in the world. You can visit Petra, about 1-2 hours away by car. The local people are wonderful and the food is delicious. Some people also combine a trip to Jordan with a trip to Israel, but the crossing into Israel is terrifying and the Israeli security police treat visitors very poorly.




Oct 3, 2017
I am planning to travel to Jordan in November to climb. I have found the book “Treks and Climbs in Wadi Rum, Jordan” by Tony Howard, but I think the book might be outdated? Do you have some advice on where to get more updated info about climbing in Jordan?

We plan to rent a car and drive to the crags. I guess we will climb most days and maybe visit some beduin/desert camps. Would you recommend getting a guide for that? Are there other things we should do while in Jordan?

Any advice and suggestions will be greatly appreciated :)

-Arne Sep 18, 2017
I recently came back from a trip to Jordan, and I would second using Bedouin Roads ( bedouinroads.com ) if you need guiding/driving/camping services in Wadi Rum. Zidane was my guide, and it looks like he works with both Bedouin Roads and Bedouin Nomads. Many of the operators offer similar accommodations (a heavy camel hair tent with half board) but not all of them guide in climbing.

Here are some useful links I came across while researching the trip:
  • Climbing magazine article - In addition to Wadi Rum, I also did the 3-6 day trek from Dana to Petra that is mentioned in this Climbing magazine article which was a lovely hike.
Feb 8, 2017
Zidane Abdullah also does fantastic guiding work and has quite an emphasis on safety. Check out his company and camp: bedouinnomads.com/climbing/ Jan 26, 2017
Larry S
Boulder, CO
Larry S   Boulder, CO
Contact Mohammad Hamid, local climbing guide who also runs a bedouin camp with food in Wadi Rum. bedouinguides.com Nov 29, 2016
Does anyone have any more information on the climbing community or guiding services in jordan? Oct 6, 2016
Phil Lauffen
The Bubble
Phil Lauffen   The Bubble
I have a blog post about a trip Mia Kvåle Løvmo and I did here in early 2015:

invertphil.net/eden-of-sand/ Nov 6, 2015
Tony Howard and his guidebooks are definitively biased on the side of super strict trad climbing. Many excellent modern bolt protected multipitch classics submitted to him for inclusion have been lost to obscurity and only available word of mouth. A new up to date modern guide may be in the works, so please consider getting the word out to other sources:)!! Jordan has so much climbing and it certainly is NOT restricted to Wadi Rum, which is like saying castle Valley is the only climbing in Moab!! Nov 25, 2014
Anybody interested in making the trip in the near future? Mar 12, 2014

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