Wadi Rum is everything you’d expect of a quintessential desert: it is extreme in summer heat and winter cold; it is violent and moody as the sun slices through chiselled siqs (canyons) at dawn or melts the division between rock and sand at dusk; it is exacting on the Bedouin who live in it and vengeful on those who ignore its dangers
Wadi Rum in southern Jordan is home to some of the most spectacular desert climbing in the world. Certainly for U.S.-based climbers Indian Creek, Joshua Tree, or Moab are much closer options with stunning canyons and desert landscapes, so why make the trek to the Middle East to experience Wadi Rum climbing?
Because camels! Seriously though, it is the beautiful Bedouin people (and their cute camels) that make Wadi Rum a warm and welcoming world-class climbing destination in spite of its brutal desert conditions.
The Bedouin – whose name means “desert dwellers” in Arabic – are known for their hospitality and humor, and descended from nomads who have historically inhabited the Arabian and Syrian Deserts.
Since time immemorial, life continued as it always had for the desert nomads of the Wadi Rum region. Following in the footsteps of their ancestors, they practiced transhumance as a means of sustaining a viable livelihood. They roamed the desert landscape in search of natural browse and water for their large herds of goats, sheep and camels.
When to Go:
November in Wadi Rum is arguably the best time to climb, with optimal sending temperatures, cool desert nights, and (some) reprieve from the blistering sun.
How to Get There:
Fly to Aqaba (AQJ) airport from Amman (AMM) with Royal Jordanian Airlines for $150 return, and hire a taxi (1 hour) to Wadi Rum for 20-25 JD. Alternatively, fly to Amman International Airport and hire a taxi (4 hours) directly to Wadi Rum.
Make the village of Wadi Rum your base camp for exploring local crags in the area, as many climbs (particularly on the east face of Jebel Rum) are within walking distance with reasonable but rocky approaches that require some scrambling.
We highly recommend hiring a guide to climb more committing routes such as Beauty or the Bedouin routes, even if you’ve solid route-finding skills. Contact us for more information and guide referrals in the area.
Walk Like an Egyptian
…and at least one of the Bedouin climbs!
Where to Eat:
Grab a freshly made falafel in town for .50 JD after a hard day’s climb. Enjoy Bedouin-brewed tea with Ali and a homemade dinner (15 JD) prepared by his beautiful family in their village home.
Where to Stay:
Ali of Wadi Rum Desert offers many authentic accommodation options, including desert camping in a Bedouin tent or renting a room in the guesthouse near his village home.
If you happen to be in Amman, make sure to check out Climbat Amman as your official Wadi Rum training grounds and say a rad hello to Rad, Yulianna, Aboud, and Aboud!