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Wadi Kerak, Moab

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Between Amman and Petra, in the middle of the Moab region to the west of the Dead Sea, the Wadi Kerak descends for a good 10 kilometers in a wildly beautiful setting. Without any particular difficulty and with a few abseils, including a beautiful one under a pretty waterfall, the route remains essentially flat with little water at this time of year, but enough to refresh you at will. The central section, in a parade of hanging palm trees, is quite astonishing and leads to the foot of a large 80m waterfall which marks the end of the canyon. Suffice to say, it would be surprising to meet other people here, let alone in the middle of summer...

Dans la cascade

Technical summary

Location ✦ Mumiya
Region ✦ Kerak
Country ✦ Jordan
Diet ✦ aquatic
Difficulty ✦ v2-a3-III
Max abseiling ✦ 35m
Duration ✦ 5h to 6h
Distance ✦ 10 kms

Access to the place

Take route 35 from Kerak to the Dead Sea. About 8 km downhill, turn right at the village of Mumiya, below the road. Take the street that goes downhill just before a rusty bus stop, and at the 1st crossroads go straight ahead and then further down to the left (street with guardrail). Immediately afterwards, take the street that goes downhill again and continue to wind downhill until the asphalt ends in a gravel track. Park here. For the return journey, either leave a 2nd car at the bottom of the road, or hitch a ride back to the starting point.

Itinerary description

Hiking to the start 20'

From the end of the track, a steep path leads quickly to the bed of the wadi.

Course

The canyon is very long in distance and follows an east-west route, like all the others in the region. There are 4 abseils to be climbed, the 1st 60m long but doable in 2 or 3 attempts, the others short (less than 10m) but unavoidable. You'll need at least a 60m rope and some quick links to re-equip if necessary. A wetsuit is not necessary in summer, given the low water flow and temperatures approaching 30°. The topo is taken from the guide "Jordan, Walks, treks, Caves, Climbs and Canyons" by Di Taylor and Tony Howard, published by Cicerone (2nd edition 2008).

Part 1

Walk in the wadi bed, following the course of the water. Further on, we cross a characteristic sandstone corridor that marks the start of the canyon. More walking then pass a waterfall, skirting it on the right, and further on arrive at the 1st waterfall, the most beautiful, very steep and in 3 levels. Do a 1st abseil R1 of around 30m (2 bolts to link + link) to pass the first 2 levels, then a second abseil R2 of 25m in the waterfall (belay above).
2nd part

Continuing along the stream, we enter a very long, deep gorge with blackish walls lined with luxuriant vegetation, palm trees growing 50m above the ground, plants and reeds, you'd almost expect to see monkeys... In places, the canyon is much narrower, forming an impressive rock gallery. After a while, a 5m abseil (R3) takes us over a small waterfall (on the left, with a palm tree in the middle, a single bolt) where we can take a hot massage shower. Immediately afterwards, a short 4th abseil (R4, 6/7m) is obvious because it's slippery and overhanging.
Part 3

Continue down the gorge, then pass under an arch formed by a huge boulder wedged between the walls. Further on, you come to a 90º left-hand bend where you can admire a splendid 80m waterfall and take a refreshing dip in a version of the jungle book. Follow the wadi to the left before gradually leaving the gorge, as the wadi opens up. End of the run.

Back

It's long and not very interesting, as you have to continue along the wadi to the end, pass a small dam and continue again without water this time. Eventually you reach the road that runs alongside the Dead Sea towards Mazra'a. Here, we hitchhike back up to Kerak, as far as Mumiya to find our car, unless we've been able to drop off a second vehicle.

Map & topo

Photos

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