TOPO Hiking

Rakabat Canyon, Jebel Um Ishrin, Wadi Rum, Jordan

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Absolutely extraordinary! A Bedouin route that crosses from one side to the other the Um Ishrin jebel, a long rocky chain that faces the Rum jebel, to the east of the village of Rum. The route actually circles Jebel Um Ejil, one of the blocks that make up Jebel Um Ishrin (see topo). The route is more or less marked with cairns and therefore fairly easy to follow, even if 1 or 2 passages are not. There's a fair amount of scrambling, i.e. easy climbing in III or IV, but sometimes very exposed. The setting is fantastic, with sculpted sandstone rock, impressive narrow passages and breathtaking panoramic views over the desert. On the other side of Jebel Um Ishrin, a desert valley and a huge orange-red dune at the canyon's exit. The return trip through Khazareh Canyon, further north, is also well worth the detour, and includes a series of abseils to complete the tour. A local classic, to be done without hesitation.

Technical summary

Access to the place

From the village of Rum (fork in the road from Ma'an to Aqaba). Park at the village entrance on the right, in front of the rest house.

Map & topo

Itinerary description

Hiking to the start 10'

Cross the sandy valley on the east side to reach the starting point. The Khazareh Canyon is easy to spot, with a wide lateral fault that can almost be seen from the front. Reach the foot of the cliffs on the right to find the starting point.

Course

The canyon crosses from west to east and can be completed in around 2 hours. You'll need an 80m rope to return via the Khazareh Canyon, and possibly a 40m safety rope for exposed passages, as well as all the associated gear (harness, helmet, descender...).


Part 1

Enter a stony ravine that climbs to the right, with an easy-to-spot passage (Goat's gully), and reach the plateau. Cross due east to find a path that makes a large S, first to the left, then to the right. This leads into the bed of a narrow wadi. Follow it zigzagging upwards until it turns due east and closes off. At this point, there's a stone arrow on the ground, and you have to climb to the far left.


Part 2

Cross a small, well exposed slab and head right uphill to reach a sort of slightly exposed aerial ledge at the top of the canyon (in fact, this passage allows you to avoid the very closed, impassable part of the canyon). You soon reach the bed of the wadi. Continue until you reach a cul de sac, where you must turn left, then right, then left (cairns indicate the way). The passages are narrow and very steep. We then climb a small slope to reach a small pass.


Part 3

Descend to the left, taking a step that's not easy, and end up on Bedouin steps. Follow this path and you'll come to a wider opening. Continue, passing an area of large boulders below or above. You can now see the orange exit dune. The end consists of following the right-hand flank to finally reach the sandy floor and finish at the foot of the dune.

Back

This can be done from the south, bypassing the Um Ishrin jebel over the sand, but this seems a long way off (or you can be picked up by a Bedouin cab). The best way is to loop around to the north and cross the Um Ishrin jebel again via the Khazareh Canyon.

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