TXC and Women Climb have teamed up to organise an all women’s climbing expedition to The Sinai Desert in Egypt. Led by Anne Arran, this trip’s aim is to take a group of women to explore the highlands of the South Sinai Desert to establish new climbs and to repeat existing routes.
The trip will head into the desert just as the gloom and darkness starts to overtake the UK and when the heat of the desert has began to lift.
31st October till the 14th of November 2015
£980 (Conditions apply)
Group size: max. 14
According to the 2013 BMC survey 25% percent of their members are female. Sport England’s 2013 Active People Survey stated that 36% of those participating in climbing are women. But what we see at TXC is a very different story. At the moment, for our next two climbing expeditions we are taking away all male groups with less than 10% of those inquiring being female. So to help set the balance straight Women Climb and TXC have decided to organize an all women’s climbing expedition. We wish not only to encourage and inspire more women to go on exploratory climbing expeditions but to put together a team of women that want to lead by example and show that exotic climbing adventures are for everyone and large amounts of testosterone are not necessarily required. You do not have to be a superwomen or a world-class athlete to come on this expedition but what is required is a thirst for adventure and a wish to share your skills and experiences with other like-minded women.
The first recorded people to enter the interior of the Sinai were the Ancient Egyptians. An Asiatic king wrote to the Pharaoh Amenhotep III “ Let my brother send gold in great quantity, for in my brothers land gold is as plentiful as dust.“ Sadly since then most gold and other minerals of note have been depleted. The first recorded person to use the area for a very different use, climbing, was Emilio Comici who in the 1930s recorded the first climb in the area. From then to 2004 the area had only seen a little over 100 climbs recorded. After this The Expedition Consultancy started to develop the area in earnest and over the last 10 years have recorded hundreds of routes and have truly released the climbing potential the area holds. In short this area is made up of rock after rock after wall after boulder after peak beyond canyon. It is crammed full of as much climbing as one would desire. This expedition is set to continue our exploration and all new routes climbed on this trip will be included in the upcoming climbing guidebook, which is the first comprehensive guidebook to the area.
The rock is granite and the routes vary in length from single pitch to 400m high walls with the average length being three pitch. The area is still very young in climbing terms and many of the recorded routes are still waiting for second ascents. This means that the style of climbing you will employ will be one of exploration and adventure. There is nothing quite as rewarding as finding an untouched line and to get the first ascent of what turns out to be a classic three star route, having climbed triumphantly to the top, to a place where you may be the first person ever to stand.
The climbing is our draw to the area but life in the high mountains of the Sinai Desert is enough of a reason to go; seeing and learning how the Bedouin live within the desert, camping within Bedouin gardens tended by many generations of the same family, producing plants that provide bright and vividly colorful contrast to the dusty browns of the desert. We will most likely be sleeping within these gardens, out under the stars. By all means bring a tent if you wish, but The Sinai night sky must be one of the best in the world and it provides for a fantastic ceiling to your “bedroom”.
We always treat food as king on our expeditions and it is a dangerous person who scrimps on food. So we will be eating very well indeed: fresh bread cooked in and over a fire, local Bedouin dishes made from locally grown fresh veg and fruit, meats slowly roasted in embers buried deep under fires, coffee and tea freshly made in the morning. Life in the mountains is very alfresco with even the toilet being a loo with often an incredible view, although some of the Bedouin gardens provide a bit more privacy, as bamboo poles screen off long drop toilets.
The team will be self-sufficient up in the mountains with everything they need having been carried up by camels. This means that if the team decides to move location it will be able to pack everything back on the camel and go in search for more unclimbed rock, possibly in completely new areas without having to return to civilization.
Eventually, after having racked up numerous first ascents and amassed a fine collection of expedition yarns we will have reached our last day of climbing in the highlands. What better way then to wrap up 2 weeks of climbing than by going to the bohemian town of Dahab. There we will shake off the desert sand and dust in the warm tropical water of the Red Sea. Lazing out in the sun, toes dangling in the water, cocktail or beer in one hand and a good book in the other. After all we are on a holiday.
What experience do you need?
Firstly we are saying that it is far more important to come on an expedition with a drive for adventure armed with a bucketload of common sense then it is to be cranking out the high E grades. A solid HVS leader can get plenty out from the area. In fact we have taken groups with members that do not lead climb at all and once someone who had only ever climbed indoors. Obviously the harder you climb the more options you will have and the larger reserves you have in your tank if you need to climb your self out of trouble. We will aim for the majority of the climbers have experience leading. The area is not just full of trad climbing but it is also littered with seemingly endless boulders great for those who just want to pioneer their own boulder problems.
No doubt others around you are telling you that it is crazy to go to Egypt as it is too dangerous. It is not surprising that they may believe this as what we see and read in the media does not paint a very good picture. But the reality of it is that the majority of the real dangers are in the north Sinai and not the south where the expedition will take place. Where we will be is hundreds of miles away from the northern troubles, but the media does not differentiate between the two areas. In general the south Sinai is a safe place to travel to. Click here to read a great article that talks about the difference between reality and how the media portrays the dangers of the south Sinai, written by someone living and working in Dahab. If you would like to read our recent report on security concerns in the area and our safety policy then please do request them. We are not wanting to convince you that the area is perfectly safe, but just to try and re-adjust the unjustly one dimensional and often over dramatised negative picture that the media has set.
Our partnership with Women Climb
Women Climb is essentially about equipping women with the skills, knowledge and opportunities to enjoy climbing and to be the best that they can be. “For us, the South Sinai Expedition is about saying to women ‘yes, you can be involved in first ascents, in creating a guidebook and in being adventurous – adventure is for you too, if you want it.”
“We want to welcome women with a thirst for adventure and offer experiences with positive role models to show that being strong, bold and adventurous can be female qualities, along with traditional ones such as sensitivity, compassion, empathy and communication, which are all extremely valuable qualities that will help to make the expedition successful. You don’t have to be smashing out E3s or E4s to come on the trip – the majority of the team will be able to lead HVS or above but regardless of your level, if you have a real desire to go somewhere different, then this could be just the trip for you. You can inquire without any commitment, so it’s worth having a chat with Dave or Maiju about the trip either over email or phone to find out more. “
Interested to know more?
If you would like to hear more about this expedition then please contact us to receive more information and to then talk to us. Then if we are both happy that the trip is suitable to you we will send you the relevant forms to allow you to book on and join the team. We look forward to hearing from you