Trad Climbing in the High Mountains
Two hours drive from Dahab, you find the High Mountains of St Catherine. The village itself is beautiful, nestled against the mountains in a Protected Area. Most famous for its religious significance (this is where God gave Moses the 10 Commandments), there is a whole new kind of pilgrimage taking place these days – the climbers!
This is crack climbing at its best. You could stay here for a year and not climb everything there is to climb. +200m routes and unclimbed lines almost everywhere you look. 4-5 days will give you a taste for the area, 2-3 weeks will have you completely hooked. Stick to the village, basing yourselves at one of the Bedouin Camps, or get yourself deep into the desert on a trad climbing safari by camel! Help for self-sufficient climbers with topos, Bedouin guide, camels and more.
National Park Rules
More info about climbing in Saint Catherine
St Catherine is not just an area of stunning natural beauty. It is a sensitive and unique desert habitat, and an area of huge historical and religious significance to all 3 monastic religions (Islam, Christianity and Judism). In addition to standard ethics, please:
- no climbing Jebel Mousa or Katrin – be content with hiking the pilgrim path
- no bolting allowed anywhere in St Catherine National Park (you might see some old bolts – please don’t replace)
- hire Bedouin guides. They will enrich your stay in St Catherine immensely; in return, you will help them maintain their relatively simple lifestyle by employing them in a way they love. The desert is their only livelihood, help them live it.
For full information on village-based routes checked and edited by us, download the St Catherine section of the Sinai Rock Climbing Guide. The routes were originally published on www.sinaiclimb.h12.ru, where you will also find more routes.
Safsafa has so far the largest number of routes logged on it – unsurprisingly as it’s one of the largest mountains near to the village and is easy to access. Descent can be difficult, with many false summits and dead end paths. Prepare to abseil and take a Bedouin guide.
Jebel Fara is the middle of the three main (climb-able) mountains on the south side of St Catherine village. Three of the routes are on the Northern end, with the other three further in to Wadi el-Leja. Descent from Jebel Fara is relatively straight forward, the easiest way is to head towards the northern end, and go down off the ‘back’ into Wadi Shrej.
JEBEL RABBA & JEBEL BATTA
Jebel Rabba (top left) is the mountain at the South end of the valley. This route is on the North West face and is accessed via the South West road out of the village.
Jebel Batta (top right) is a five minute car ride from St Catherine village, north from the main roundabout. It is the easiest in terms of access, with the routes starting a ten minute walk from the road. All routes are on the North Eastern face, so are shaded for most of the day in the winter. Descent also straight forward. Great first route on arrival in St Catherine.