Go back to Jordan – First Trip
Go back to Part 2
No more on-off rain the following night…just a steady downpour of the sort that reverts sandstone back to sand. We woke up late that morning not looking forward to stepping outside into the cold wetness. We enjoyed a slow breakfast in the Rest House trying to decide what to do with the shitty day. Though our original plan was to hit Petra on our drive back to Amman, we figured we could get one more climbing day at the end if we changed the time table. A quick (~2 hrs) cab ride put us in the town of Wadi Musa at Petra’s gates. What a shock going from the relaxed atmosphere of the Rum to the tourist zoo hell of Petra! Cold, crowded and expensive. Did the tourist thing (saw The Treasury and some other tombs) and were happily back in Wadi Rum in time for dinner.
Next morning Khaled drove us out to Burdah, famous for its natural sandstone arch. We picked the best rated (three stars) line that would put us onto the arch itself during descent: something called Orange Sunshine clocking in at the French grade of 5 and 300 meters long. Easy and low angle slab and groove climbing on the lower half and slightly more interesting sandy slab and groove climbing on the upper half. Even if the climbing was only OK, the views of the yellow sand desert below were excellent. We topped out on Burdah’s ridge and hiked down via a Bedouin scrambling route somehow missing the scenic abseil onto the arch (only caught a glimpse of it from below – oh well). Khaled and his family were waiting for us at the base having made a traditional Bedouin loaf of bread baked in the sand (some of the best tasting bread we’ve had).
The Pillar Of Wisdom.
The following day we hiked up to near Lawrence’s Spring above Wadi Rum and climbed the classic Pillar Of Wisdom
route clearly visible from the Rest House. The guidebook calls this an 11 pitch route but there are 3+ “approach” pitches rated up to 5 depending on the exact choice of line up The Pedestal. The climbing difficulty never exceeds 5+ until the very final exit pitch onto the summit which is rated 6b but is well protected by three bolts. The climbing was fun and never mundane with progressively more spectacular views towards the top. We topped out before 2pm and were sort of expecting the descent down Hammad’s Route
to be a pain (a long combo of much scrambling and some 5+ pitches mixed in). Holy freaking maze of domes! Some scrambling around and eventually rolling our own rap station off a bush put us at the cairn marking the intercept point with Hammad’s Route
. There were indeed plenty of cairns once on Hammad’s unfortunately they diverged in multiple directions. Wasted quite a few hours following (well cairned) dead ends before finally stumbling onto the correct path. Not intuitive…at least to us and I don’t think I could really offer much beta beyond that if I tried! Once the first (3 meter) abseil was found, the rest of the route was easy to follow. Couple more rappels put us in the Great Siq (the obvious canyon visible from the Rest House that empties a few hundred feet above the ground) but we were chasing daylight at that point. Out of the Siq and into a gully ending with a drop off into darkness. At that point we were not sure (book is vague here) whether to follow a ridge per Hammad’s Route
(did not seem logical) or look for abseils into the void. We stumbled around but could not find further clues with our small headlamps. We saw numerous fire rings. We built a small fire, gathered enough twigs to last a night and settled in for a fairly comfy evening under a clear Jordanian sky. A search of the backpack revealed an orange and a piece of mystery nutrition bar…funny, neither of us recalled ever buying it so it must’ve been well aged. In the morning we found the rap station some 100 feet of 4th class terrain below our bivy. Two rappels and a 30 minute hike put us back in the Rest House in time for a leisurely breakfast. By noon the weather was once again changing for the worse with thick clouds and intermittent sandstorms.
Shirley hiking into Petra on a very chilly and wet day (Feb. 2012).
First view of Petra's most famous attraction: The Treasury. Actually a tomb (carved in 1st century BC) that acquired the name due to some more modern myths (Feb. 2012).
The Treasury with two posers in the foreground. The structure is 43 meters tall per brochure (Feb. 2012).
He lives! So you better watch your mouth comrade (Feb. 2012).
The amazingly colored sandstones of Petra (Feb. 2012).
Shirley and one of Petra's tombs (Feb. 2012).
The sights of Petra (Feb. 2012).
A cave dwelling in Petra with some amazing natural coloration (Feb. 2012).
Petra tombs (Feb. 2012).
More of Petra's tombs (Feb. 2012).
A rare (& wonderful) tourist free view of The Treasury in Petra (Feb. 2012).
The modern town of Wadi Musa at the gates of Petra (Feb. 2012).
Following the first pitch of Orange Sunshine on Burdah Mountain. Khaled's truck is below (Feb. 2012).
Shirley atop the first pitch of Orange Sunshine (~8-pitch line with mostly easy to some moderate climbing) on Burdah's east face (Feb. 2012).
Shirley somewhere on the lower third (easier & lower in angle) of Orange Sunshine (Feb. 2012).
Shirley leading a pitch somewhere on the lower third of Orange Sunshine (Feb. 2012).
Yours truly somewhere on Orange Sunshine with the beautiful sands of Burdah Canyon below (Feb. 2012).
Shirley somewhere midway up Orange Sunshine. Climbing gets a bit more interesting on the upper half and is characterized by mostly sandy slabs (Feb. 2012).
A view to the northeast from somewhere on Orange Sunshine (Feb. 2012).
Shirley leading a pitch on the upper half of Orange Sunshine (Feb. 2012).
The best part of Orange Sunshine were the views (Feb. 2012).
Shirley on the final third of Orange Sunshine (Feb. 2012).
Sandy slabs of the final third of Orange Sunshine (Feb. 2012).
Shirley topping out on Orange Sunshine (Feb. 2012).
Shirley on the subsidiary summit of Burdah where Orange Sunshine tops out. The views here are to the north/northwest (Feb. 2012).
Burdah's rock bridge seen during our descent. We were supposed to end up rapping onto it but somehow lost our way and ended up scrambling too low (Feb. 2012).
Pillar Of Wisdom
Leading the pitch 1 traverse on Pillar Of Wisdom route. This is actually about 3 pitches up (4/5 chimneys; Feb. 2012).
Leading pitches 1 and 2 (linked) proper of the Pillar Of Wisdom route...these are in fact 3+ pitches up the route (Feb. 2012).
Shirley topping out on pitch 2 of The Pillar Of Wisdom (Feb. 2012).
Leading pitch 3 of The Pillar Of Wisdom - very fun climbing on every pitch (Feb. 2012).
Shirley on pitch 3 of The Pillar Of Wisdom (Feb. 2012).
The view of Wadi Rum and Jebel um Ishrin from somewhere on The Pillar Of Wisdom route (Feb. 2012).
Yours truly at the spacious ledge belay atop pitch 4 of The Pillar Of Wisdom (Feb. 2012).
Shirley on pitch 7 of The Pillar Of Wisdom. We did the variation on this pitch that bypassed the standard pitch 7 belay and went straight for 8...spicy traverse with a so-so belay anchor at the end (Feb. 2012).
A not-so-attractive company at the seventh belay (Feb. 2012).
Shirley topping out on pitch 7 (Feb. 2012).
Leading pitch 11 (last and crux pitch) of The Pillar Of Wisdom. The view is to the southeast (Feb. 2012).
Shirley topping out on The Pillar Of Wisdom with Wadi Rum village below (Feb. 2012).
Shirley atop The Pillar Of Wisdom route (Feb. 2012).
Shirley on the domes just above the top out point of The Pillar Of Wisdom (Feb. 2012).
Hiking the maze of domes above The Pillar Of Wisdom in search of Hammad's Route (where the REAL route finding begins IMHO; Feb. 2012).
After several hours of searching and dead ending, we finally found the abseils and rapped into the Great Siq. We're chasing daylight at this point (Feb. 2012).
Shirley enjoying our fire (Feb. 2012).
Shirley in the comforts of our bivy (Feb. 2012).
Go to Part 4
Go back to Jordan – First Trip