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Camel Ball, Barrah Canyon, Wadi Rum, Jordan

Climbing

jordan-eng

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A trip to another part of Wadi Rum, to the east, on the other side of Jebel Um Ishrin, at the northern end of Barrah Canyon. An absolutely fantastic Jordanian western setting for a beautiful route on top-quality rock. The route climbs chimneys before finishing in a dihedral and then a slab to reach the summit. The 4th pitch is really great, not too difficult but sustained (V+/6a) and very aerial. We left it at that, without doing the 5th pitch, for lack of time, but it's well worth the detour.

Technical summary

Access to the place

Take the 4×4 track to the north of Barrah Canyon, at the Tower Arch. From Rum village, either head south around Jebel Ishrin and climb up, or head back towards the visitor center entrance and head north around the 7 Pillars of Wisdom. It's really not easy to find, and it's more comfortable to be dropped off by a Bedouin cab.

Itinerary description

Hiking to the start 5'

Climb up the sand dunes from the arch and head left. The first big crack looks very difficult, and a little further on, the foot of the Bal des Chameaux, easily recognizable from the topo or photo (a large detached boulder).

Course

The south-facing route is 125m long in 5 pitches (30m, 15m, 30m, 30m, 20m). All belays are equipped with bolts and can be abseiled. We climb on sandstone of excellent quality. The route is committed, generally V/V+, even 6a on one or 2 pitches, very aerial, in an atmosphere of dunes and unique rock. Bring a set of friends, double up on the big ones if necessary, and bring quickdraws and slings just in case.


L1 (30m, V)

Vertical chimney, straightforward holds, fairly easy to protect except for one step before exiting. Relay R1 on a small, very comfortable platform at the top left.


L2 (15m, IV)

Climb up to the small chimney summit, then cross over to reach the belay in a hole, a length of trabsition to avoid the draught. Alternatively, start L1 in the right-hand dihedral/crack from the ground to go directly to R2 (not tested, V+?).


L3 (30m, V+)

Enter the narrow interior chimney on the right (crack above too hard and exterior unreliable) and climb up the opposite way. It's tricky but easy to protect. Above, continue on a nice sloping dihedral to the R3 belay, which leads back to the main crack.


L4 (30m, V+)

Very nice pitch, follow the crack and dihedral. A couple of good steps in the middle and before exiting. Fantastic scenery. The R4 belay is just below a 1st summit.


L5 (20m, V ?)

Not done, but a very airy slab on the right that doesn't seem easy to protect.

Back

Abseiling the route. 3 nice abseils, quite technical and above all tricky, be careful not to get stuck at the bottom of the cracks...

Map & topo

Photos

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