During the past few years I’ve been using the ascending rhythm system for choosing the climbs during a trip. The system is not very structured and it has many not measurable variables like the mood and the feeling but the basic concept is climbing the easy routes first and then progressing towards the hard ones. The main idea is to get into the rhythm of the local rock type with an ascending row of success.
On the Wadi Rum trip our first route was the 5+ on Abu Maileh Tower and the second one The Beauty 6a on the Jebel um Ejil. The first route was 100 meters high and the second one 200 meters. This was ascending rhythm as it’s supposed to be.
Jebel um Ejil: The Beauty (6a, 200m) – October 15th, 2012
According to all the books I read the Beauty was highly recommended and it’s western face with a shady corner was spot on with the current conditions. Climbing in the sun was no fun and climbing in the shade was what we were looking for. According to the books the climbing was supposed to be as good as on any of the best routes in Utah.
The Beauty certainly was beautiful climbing but in my opinion it was not as spectacular as advertised. The route was certainly not bad but I didn’t really enjoy the actual climbing too much. But what I loved was what came on top of the the proper pitches. Running up and down the dome hills was like being in the candy shop as I was five years old. Hanging out on the summit was a superb experience with the endless desert in the horizon.
What I really loved, too, was the approach hike through the canyons with the route finding challenge. Most of the hiking was easy but there was the odd scrambling move every now and then to spice it up. The canyons are something most mountains have but I’ve never seen them to this extent before.
Jebel Kharazeh: The Cat Fish Corner (6c, 100m) – October 16th, 2012
On the morning of the third day I was not thinking about climbing anything hard and I wanted to do some beduin routes which went all the way to the summit. Most of our gang wanted proper climbing, though.
The Cat Fish Corner was supposed to be three superb pitches of splitter finger crack at 6a+/6c/6b. It was a very good plan B although it was not what I really wanted. But I didn’t mind belaying it since top roping is always nice.
As you can see in the pictures there wasn’t much proper climbing that day, though. We woke up way too late and we got a bit lost on the approach. Once we reached the bottom of the route proper it was getting into the sun already and nobody wanted to climb it. Teppo and I decided to take a little nap in the shade and Matti went for a canyoning adventure into the ravines.
Later in the day we asked our host Mohammed if he wanted to take us out on the desert with his jeep. He kindly replied ‘yes’ and he dropped us on the desert.
Of course I forgot to pack any water with me. It was a fairly surreal experience being way out on the desert with no water. It was getting into the evening, though, so the sun was not that bad. But I felt pretty hard core. I felt like Clint Eastwood who was left out on the desert in his movie the Eiger Sanction.
In the evening of our third day Jonni and Lauri were not back before it was pitch black. They were having a minor epic on the Hiker’s Road on Jebel Nassrani (5c, 500m). It was nothing serious but they turned back too late and we saw their one head lamp about 100m up the face as the dark caught them. The light was moving, though, so we asked Mohammed if he would like to pick them up later in the evening. He replied positive which was highly appreciated by the two warriors once they were back down on the surface.
The next day the two epic warriors and Teppo, who is a fish by his second nature, decided to go for a swim into the Red Sea. They say there are fairly nice spots for snorkeling near Aqaba which is less than an hours drive from Wadi Rum. Matti and I, who are not that much of swimmers, decided to go climbing.
Jebel Nassrani: L’autre Dimension (6b, 500m)
We browsed through the guide book during the late evening hours and found a route which was supposed to be in the shade until the afternoon. Although the sleep was getting short we decided on alpine start before the sun rises. We wanted to get the most out of the mild and shady part of the day.
The first money pitch was graded 6b but I would call it a sandbag. Matti who regularly leads 7b with marginal gear was having some big trouble on it. The first couple of pitches went inside a sorts of flaring corner which was very spectacular climbing but way too physical for our ability in +28C.
After the corner I led a couple of adventurous pitches with bad rock and marginal pro and we decided to call it quits. The sun was already in.
The L’autre Dimension was a tat too hard for us. We did the hard pitches and we had plenty of daylight left so it was not like we couldn’t have climbed it if we had pushed. But we were not in the rhythm. If you pick a climb which is too hard you’ll screw up the ascending rhythm and it’s not fun anymore.
For our next adventure we decided to lower the bar and go for the beduin routes.