We have just spent the last month out in the Sinai Desert researching the area to complete the first Sinai climbing guidebook.
It was during this trip that we mapped the Abu Hsheb Canyon. This canyon has long been known about by the Israeli climbers, but it was not until 2008 that Dave Lucas first found it. (Click here to read an account of the trip he guided.) In that trip the canyon was dry as it was in June, but in this trip we were lucky enough to find water and were forced to swim and abseil in our undies.
We are also pleased to discover that the local climbing scene is developing well. There are more climbers living permanently in the Sinai who are keen to help develop the local scene.
- Jenny Lord (+2010099217029) and Jamie Browne (+2010097951089) have started a climbing company together in Dahab called Above Sea Level that operates out of the Lighthouse at the northern end of Dahab Bay. They started in 2011 just after the Egyptian revolution. They guide experienced climbers on the local routes around Dahab and in St Katherine, and teach beginners and those wanting to increase their grade. If you climb any new routes around the coast of The Sinai then please leave this route information with them.
- Misha (Михаил Хоменюк) (+2010069479518) is a Russian climber and keen windsurfer with extreme levels of enthusiasm. He will be working alongside The Expedition Consultancy to help translate the guidebook into Russian once it is complete.
- Marco (+2012283244016) is a Swiss man living in St Katherine who is very active in developing routes around the coast, inland from Nuweiba.
They are all happy for me to post their contact details and do not mind to be called in case of problems or if the need of a rescue arises. In fact Jamie and Misha were part of a team that helped to rescue a goat trapped in the mountains. Click here to read the full account, note that it is in Russian.
The climbing scene in Dahab is also going through the inevitable access confusion as other tour providers become confused about their role. If you do require instructional services then make sure you shop around as quality between companies does vary. Recently a company has tried to fence of the Waterfall area of Wadi Q’nai so as to charge an entrance fee. The statement I have been given from the owner of the company is that they are using the money to pay Bedouin to clean the area. They also want to “control” the climbing scene to prevent injury and death. These are both good intentions, which hopefully will remain true.
Sheikh Mousa has increased the prices for guide, camel and sheikh permission for the area to 120LE per day. Note that the term per day is often used as a day’s effort, so expect to pay guides and camels double or 1.5 times the amount if you do long days.
The Bedouin Bus is running well and is the best way to travel around the Sinai.
The Bedouin Camp in St Katherine’s is becoming a great place to stay. Their dorms are only 25LE per person. Their bathrooms are clean and new, the showers are good and have hot water. Saleh, the manager for the camp,has now realised that there is a demand for a kitchen to be used by climbers and backpackers to cook their own food in. This is a great idea especially if you need breakfast and a coffee before heading off on early starts. You should inquire about it at the camp.
We are doing our best to collect all the existing route information for the Sinai. If you are reading this and realise you have route info that is not known about then please send it to us. Also of the routes around St Katherine’s have bad route descriptions so if you have climbed an existing route recently and have a better route description then please send that to us. Clicking here will take you to a page that describes the way that we would like routes to be recorded. It is also possible to read how to start your routes and also the bolting ethics for the area.
There is an account written by Geoff Hornby about a coast to coast journey across the Sinai that was completed by a team of climbers lead by Dave Lucas. It was published in the Alpine Club Journal and can be seen here.