An Ascent of Sabbah's Route on Jebel Khazali in the Wadi Rum

Page Type
Trip Report
Location:
Jordan, Asia
Date Climbed/Hiked:
Mar 13, 2012
Activities:
Mountaineering
Season:
Spring
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An Ascent of Sabbah's Route on Jebel Khazali in the Wadi Rum
Created On: Mar 24, 2012
Last Edited On: May 26, 2012

Introduction

Jebel Khazali (1,420 meters)
Sabbah's Route (Grade III, Class 5.3)
Wadi Rum, Jordan

After seeing Jek's SummitPost page on the Wadi Rum, I knew that I had to see the Wadi Rum for myself.

In March 2012 that opportunity presented itself. I traveled to Jordan for 2 weeks for a caving conference, and spent 4 days hiking, scrambling and climbing in the Wadi Rum area.

Despite major shoulder injuries that ended my rock-climbing career many years ago, I hired the guides Atieeq and Sulieman from Wadi Rum Mountain Guides for the trip.

What I got was more than what I bargained for, more than just scrambling. Atieeq took me up Sabbah's Route on Jebel Khazali.

PHOTO BELOW: My Bedouin rock-climbing guide Atieeq



Geology

Please see my SummitPost page The Geology of Wadi Rum for details on the interesting geology this region.

Jebel Khazali is a massive, isolated block that rises to an altitude of 1,420 meters.

The top of the Khazali plateau is a confused jumble of domes, deep slot canyons and gravel beds. Traveling anywhere on top still requires route-finding and scrambling.

The Route

PHOTO BELOW: Satellite map of Jebel Khazali, showing ascent and rappel routes





PHOTO BELOW: The lower half of Sabbah's Route
PHOTO: The upper half of Sabbah's Route (Rappel route marked)


The Lower Climb

The lower section of Sabbah's Route climbs broken ground over purple Um Sahn sandstone on the east face of Jebel Khazali. The climbing is mostly an easy scramble, with multiple short sections up to 5.3 in difficulty.

PHOTO BELOW: The start of Sabbah's Route (large toe on the right), showing the typical class 3 scrambling terrain
PHOTO BELOW: Atieeq scrambling





PHOTO BELOW: Atieeq Hero Shot
PHOTO: Sierra ledge Rat on a ridge on Sabbah's Route





PHOTO BELOW: My guide Atieeq
PHOTO: Transition from Um Sahn sandstone to Rum sandstone


The Upper Climb

The upper section of Sabbah's Route climbs slabs and domes over white Rum sandstone on the east face of Jebel Khazali. The climbing is mostly an easy scramble, with multiple short sections up to 5.3 in difficulty.

PHOTO BELOW: The first hard pitch on Rum sandstone
PHOTO BELOW: Coiling the rope





PHOTO BELOW: The summit plateau
PHOTO BELOW: The summit plateau





PHOTO BELOW: The maze of domes on the summit plateau
PHOTO BELOW: The maze of domes on the summit plateau





PHOTO BELOW: Traversing a dome
PHOTO BELOW: The last hard pitch

The Summit

The summit was covered with a thin layer of purple, lavender and tan shale. The purple shale contained marine fossils.

PHOTO BELOW: Atieeq stepping onto the summit shale
PHOTO BELOW: Purple shale on the summit





PHOTO BELOW: Sierra ledge Rat on the summit shale
PHOTO BELOW: Summit Fossils (No, not me)





PHOTO BELOW: Atieeq on the Summit
PHOTO BELOW: Sierra Ledge Rat on the Summit

The Descent

We down-climbed the route "Purple Haze" on the east face of Jebel Khazali. This route was more difficult than Sabbah's Route, and so the down-climbing was quite a bit more sustained.

We rappelled a total of 5 times, the last 3 rappels in series into a large talus-filled gully.

PHOTO BELOW: Atieeq starting the descent
PHOTO BELOW: Atieeq on the descent





PHOTO BELOW: Rappel #1
PHOTO BELOW: Rappel #2





PHOTO BELOW: What a view!
PHOTO BELOW: Resting in the shade and surveying the next bit of down-climbing





PHOTO BELOW: The Last Rappel
PHOTO BELOW: The Final Gully

Epilogue

After my trip to Wadi Rum, I went caving in northeastern Jordan, along the border with Syria and Iraq.

We had armed protection when venturing in the border areas. Jordan itself is extremely safe for tourists, and such precautions are not necessary unless you were within a kilometer or two of Syria or Iraq.

PHOTO BELOW: Caving in Jordan
PHOTO BELOW: Hyena Kills

Moral of the Story

Old climbers can still get out there, and rock-climbing is still in my blood!

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Comments

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Viewing: 1-15 of 15
gimpilator

gimpilator - Mar 25, 2012 12:19 pm - Voted 10/10

Awesome

I've always had an interest in this area. It's great to see someone get over there to explore it.

rpc

rpc - Mar 26, 2012 5:29 pm - Voted 10/10

very nice!

looks like we missed overlapping by probably no more than 2 wks :) nice TR, Great place!
cheers.

Sierra Ledge Rat

Sierra Ledge Rat - Mar 26, 2012 10:20 pm - Hasn't voted

Re: very nice!

Ha! Small world! Great minds think alike! Looks like I even stayed in the same Bedouin camp as you did. I stayed there for 3 days. SummitPost had some tantalizing data, but I'd like to see some more concrete stuff. Maybe you can add some stuff.

rpc

rpc - Mar 27, 2012 11:10 am - Voted 10/10

Re: very nice!

SLR, thanks but think I'm a bit lazy for adding much to SP these days :) Pretty much all the info is there in the Tony Howard book anyway. BTW, you sure that's not Omar (Atyeek's brother) that did the guiding?

Sierra Ledge Rat

Sierra Ledge Rat - Mar 27, 2012 5:05 pm - Hasn't voted

Re: very nice!

I asked him write his name and contact information in my book and he wrote "Atieeq." So I'm not sure. He and Selieman were the only two guides whom I met.

dadndave

dadndave - Mar 27, 2012 2:26 am - Voted 10/10

Great Stuff

As Monty Python would say "and now for something completely different"

Great photos.

rpc

rpc - Mar 27, 2012 11:12 am - Voted 10/10

Re: Glad to see....

Chief, sorry to barge in...but man, your original posting of WAdi Rum beta here on SP all these years ago really put a hook in us. Finally got the chance to go just weeks before Sierra...you were not exaggerating - the magic of the place, the climbing, and esp. the warm Beduin people. Trip of a lifetime! Stuff like this is what keeps me sticking around SP.

Sierra Ledge Rat

Sierra Ledge Rat - Mar 27, 2012 5:02 pm - Hasn't voted

Have to agree

I have to agree, that place is AMAZING. I am already planning a return trip for February or March 2013, this time 2 weeks instead of 4 days. The Bedouins (and Jordanians in general) were all extremely friendly and generous people.

Sierra Ledge Rat

Sierra Ledge Rat - Mar 27, 2012 10:40 pm - Hasn't voted

Re: And SLR..

Yeah, I've already been scuba diving in Honduras, Thailand and the Cayman Islands in the past 3 months. A much as I love diving, I think I'll take just a rope and rack when I go back to the Wadi Rum next year! Don't wanna waste any time scuba diving when I'm there!

Vitaliy M.

Vitaliy M. - Mar 27, 2012 6:57 pm - Voted 10/10

wow

Did not now they offer guiding on Mars these days? Or which planet is that? Nice write up!

RoryKuykendall

RoryKuykendall - Mar 28, 2012 2:56 am - Hasn't voted

Way Cool Man

Looks like you had a blast.

Andrew Rankine

Andrew Rankine - Mar 28, 2012 12:39 pm - Voted 10/10

A Unique TR

Thank you very much for this unique trip report. I have been interested in Jordan and will have to make a point to come over there some time! Good luck in your future travels.

minksters

minksters - Mar 30, 2012 4:00 pm - Hasn't voted

cool

I'm from Jordan. We visited Khaz3ali when we were in highschool, never climbed it tho... mabrook

dmiki

dmiki - Mar 31, 2012 10:00 am - Voted 10/10

A great report!

Can you tell us a bit more about the caving part?

Sierra Ledge Rat

Sierra Ledge Rat - Mar 31, 2012 11:02 am - Hasn't voted

Re: A great report!

I've started a detailed thread on the caving aspect on Cave Chat:

http://www.forums.caves.org/viewtopic.php?f=8&p=118762

Viewing: 1-15 of 15


An Ascent of Sabbah's Route on Jebel Khazali in the Wadi Rum

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