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Treks & Climbs in Wadi Rum Jordan - a Cicerone guidebook

Cover of Treks and Climbs in Wadi Rum, Jordan
16 Sep 2014
21.0 x 14.8 x 1.5cm
1st Published
1 May 1997
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Treks and Climbs in Wadi Rum, Jordan

by Tony Howard
Book published by Cicerone Press

A guide to treks and climbs in Wadi Rum, Jordan, one of the world's leading desert climbing and trekking areas. The book includes thorough visiting information and an extensive selection of explorations, treks and climbs both trad and sport, at all grades. Includes all massifs in Rum plus outlying areas.

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Wadi Rum is tucked away in the south of Jordan, close to the Red Sea port of Aqaba, remote and splendid in both landscape and culture, yet only a five-hour flight and a short onward journey from Europe.

The first edition of this guide, published in 1987, contained about 140 routes. Since then the number of climbs has doubled. Here are detailed descriptions and 'topos' of all the known routes to date, from short walks, camel treks and 4WD journeys through to sports climbs and major 'big walls' of the highest technical difficulty.

Additionally the author gives information on sites of antiquity, flora and fauna, and life with the Bedouin. It is their roguish humour and warm hospitality as much as the magnificence of these deserts and mountains that make a visit to Rum a unique experience. This book tells you everything you need to know.

  • Seasons
    Spring and autumn are the norm, with pleasant weather. Summer is for masochists who don’t need water; winter can be very cold and sometimes wet.
  • Centres
    Aqaba is closest. Amman is far to the north. No hotels in Rum; these are outside in the Aqaba and Petra areas. Campsite, plus villages of Rum, Rashdiya and Quweirah.
  • Difficulty
    Treks, camel and 4WD journeys, plus trad and sports climbs throughout the grade range.
  • Must See
    Rum is stunning with its enormous red cliffs and canyons - 'vast, echoing and godlike' said TE Lawrence. Petra makes a rather brilliant rest day.

Update from Author, June 2011

Jordan in general

Jordan was relatively quiet this year, but problem free despite Mid East and North African turmoil. There were a few marches in downtown Amman for increased democracy (the King selects the government) and some in the wealthier uptown in support of King Abdullah. And that was about it. Jordan was, as always, a good place to be in the spring even if the weather was a little cooler than usual.

The northern hills

This area is still very much untouched by trekkers though it is becoming to be visited by Jordanian walking groups and climbers who have now discovered what a marvellous country they live in, full of adventure opportunities.


The capital now has its own climbing wall, see

Dead Sea Canyons

As elsewhere in Jordan, these superb canyons are becoming increasingly popular with Jordanians. They usually visit the canyons with Jordanian adventure travel specialists such as Sarha Terhaal and Tropical Desert who take regular canyoning and trekking trips. All canyons are equipped with fixed abseil points, though the canyons themselves sometimes change due to flash floods. Wadi ibn Hammad (R53) now has a 3m drop in it’s upper section where none existed before.


In Jan 2011, Petra fees rose considerably. A day pass is now 50JD (about £45). There have beena number of complaints in the Jordan Times newspaper about this (including one from us), but it seems unlikely things will change. In fact they may even be increased again later this year.

See for more information. There is also talk of requiring all trekkers passing through Petra to hire a local guide, but we have no firm news on this.

Jebel Mas’uda

South of Petra, following years of discussions with the local Saidiyin Bedouin, RSCN proposals to create the Jebel Mas’uda Reserve (see map on page 215) have been dropped. This is good news for trekkers and climbers as the area will remain open, but maybe not so good for the area as collecting wood for fires and hunting for ibex and other game will continue. It’s a great area well worth a visit.


Nothing to report here, except to say that more Bedouin are offering homestays in the village, and there are more Bedouin-style and upmarket tourist camps in the desert. The best place to ask is around the Rest House.

For update notes, please visit the author's website: or go directly to: and follow the links.

June 2007

The caption missing under the top photograph opposite page 145 reads:

'Climbs on Jebel um Ishrin Massif
Above: Jolly Joker, N. Nassrani.The big traverse, first ascent - photo Haupolter'

January 2006

A huge number of new climbs have been done. Details will be found in the New Routes Book at Wadi Rum rest House. These include the discovery of more classic Bedouin Climbs, many by our friends, Gilles Rappeneau and local Bedoiun Guide Talat Awad. Gilles has done a pocket guide to these routes, details on his website. Talal has a copy and knows the rotes if you need a guide. In Nov 2005, Gilles also found the long-forgotten Bedouin Route to the top of Rum's second highest summit, Jebel um Ishrin, giving it three stars.


Welcome to Jordan - By Nasri Atalla, Director of Tourism
Introduction - By Tony Howard
French Introduction - By Wilf Colonna

Information and Advice
Passports and Visas
Customs Formalities
Medical Regulations and Recommendations
Tourist Information
Travel to, and in Jordan
Travel and Accommodation in Wadi Rum
Transport in Wadi Rum
Guided Holidays
Swimming and Diving
Para-gliding and Ballooning
Wadi Rum Rest House
Wadi Rum Village
Shopping and Post
The Bedouin
Flora and Fauna
Weather (Incl. Weather Chart for Rum)
Dress (Clothing)
Tourist Code
Equipment for Climbing
Abseil Rings
To Bolt, or Not to Bolt
Mountain Rescue Facilities
Maps, Guides and Information
Pre-historic Sites
The Nabataeans - By M.C.A. McDonald
The Rock
Description and Grading of Routes
Grading Comparison Table
Time Allowed for Climbs
Styles of Routes
Climbing History
Chronology of Mountain Exploration
New Climbs

Jebel Rum Massif
Jebel Um Ishrin Massif
Barrah Canyon Area
Massif of Khush Khashah and Khazali
Burdah & the Domes of Abu Khsheibah
Outlying Areas, North of Rum
Outlying Areas, South of Rum

2005 Update
Jordanian visas
Medical Advice
Travel to Jordan
Accommodation in Wadi Rum
Useful contacts
Current information on Wadi Rum
Transport to and in Rum
Hire of vehicle & driver or camels
Mountain Guides in Wadi Rum
Mountain Guide Fees
Climbing & environmental concerns
The rock, route times and grades
A Rum story
The Earthquake!

New Routes (1993 to 1995)
Jebel Rum Massif
Jebel Um Ishrin Massif
Barrah Canyon area
Khazali, Burdah and all Southern Areas

Graded Route list, by areas
Graded Short Climbs, by areas
Index of Routes
Index of Main Summits and Canyons

Glossary of Climbing Terms

Zoning, Safety and Environmental and Guidelines for Climbers and Trekkers in the Rum Protected Area

Rum Protected Area zoning map

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