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Why South Sinai for an Expedition?

Why South Sinai for an Expedition?

The Sinai Peninsula has been getting more than its fair share of bad press in the last few years.  Maiju and Dave Lucas tell Womenclimb readers a bit more about the region and why it’s great for an expedition.


Sinai Women Climb 8

Photograph: TXC

In recent years the distinction between North Sinai and South Sinai has been often either ignored or not highlighted sufficiently. It is therefore understandable for you, your family and friends to question the sensibility of organising a climbing expedition to somewhere that the media unfairly reports as being unsafe or unsavoury to visit.  (More about Safety in our Safety in Sinai post).  In addition to this South Sinai isn’t exactly well known as a rock climbing destination; if you mention to your friends and family you are going climbing in Egypt then they will probably say “what are you climbing, the pyramids?” Hopefully the following information will answer some of your questions and explain why we feel that this area should be visited as much as possible, for climbing or other activities.

Climbing Potential in South Sinai

Woman climbing in South Sinai

Photograph: TXC

The rock climbing potential in the South Sinai Mountains is simply enormous and to us that is the main reason to organise this expedition and to keep returning to the region year after year. It would be easy to start throwing around comparisons to famous North American climbing areas, but this has been said so many times already. Instead hopefully it is suffice to say that there is enough unclimbed rock in the area for thousands of new routes – not to mention the vast amounts of bouldering. We feel that the multitude of granite walls from lovely single pitch routes to 400m multi-pitch conquests is enough reason for any climber to visit the area. On top of this you will be one of only a handful of climbers that have been lucky enough to spend your days climbing to your heart’s content in this exciting and exotic location.

The people, culture and nature of South Sinai

Cooking in Bedouin camp in South Sinai

Photograph: TXC

The South Sinai mountains offer so much more than just the amazing potential for new routing. The reason why we spend so much time in these mountains ourselves is the shear captivating magic of the area. From loading your climbing kit, food and water onto camels to watching breads and other traditional dishes being cooked over an open fire to sleeping out under an unpolluted pristine night sky. The area has such great cultural, historical and religious significance, and all set within gardens of endemic flora and fauna that providing oases of colour within this rocky mountainous desert. On arrival you will be based just next to the Mt. Sinai where Moses was given the Ten Commandments. St. Catherine’s monastery can be found close nearby. It truly is a stunning place.

South Sinai Hospitality & Culture

Photograph: TXC

Photograph: TXC

The hospitality of the local Bedouin culture is wonderful. Some aspects are clearly Arabian, but what’s so special are the many unique customs and traditions that make it distinctive from other parts of the Middle east and even from neighbouring Bedouin tribes. The Bedouin guides that join you on this climbing trip know this desert like the back of their hands. As you sit around the fire after a day of climbing, it is an absolute joy to learn from them about how they live within the desert environment.

After we emerge from our climbing heroics in the mountains at the end of the trip the world famous Red Sea waters will be waiting for us just 1hr 30mins drive away.   We can wash off the dust of the desert, rehydrate with beers and cocktails in front of some delicious seafood and reflect on our wonderful adventure in the desert and mountains of the South Sinai.

In short, we think it has it all.

Thanks to Maiju and Dave Lucas

If you like this, then please look at our South Sinai 2015 Expedition page.  

Join us in this beautiful area for climbing in November 2015.  

Useful supplementary Reading:

Huffington Post article about Sinai and Safety

A blog from the mountains of Sinai

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