četrtek, 13. februar 2014

Welcome to Jordan!...

...is then Jordanians most common saying. The next one would be: "please have a seat and drink a tea." The true meaning of these sentences are shown in their large hospitality and friendliness.

We got an idea for exploring Jordan last Christmas. I started searching for something special with many possibilities for opening new routes and I found it in Jordan. It was good choice with famous climbing area in Wadi Rum, where we spent most of our time. My main aim throughout has been to find good rock and take best of it, make new very nice routes and climb them. That is why I came earlier to Jordan, at the beginning of December ten days before the rest of my crew came. I made the whole schedule at home, which would be easy to follow but when I step outside from airport all suddenly changed.
Packing for the next adventure
Snowing in Jordan was unbelievable. It was the biggest snow storm in the last 70 years. My friends would be able to pick me up, but not in those snowing conditions. Snow caused a lot of problems, including my baggage didn't arrive. Traffic in the city was a catastrophe. In one word I can say, chaos. Everything was closed for three days. So I was trapped in big city, waiting for  my luggage and better conditions.

One week later I could finely go out of Amman. Marwan took me to Wadi Rum, and finally I could climb. We were climbing for two days and then we went back to Amman to pick up my team from Slovenia in the airport.

22.12. - 30.12.2013

Wadi Rum 1st time…
In the middle of the desert there is a small village of Wadi Rum, which is climbers paradise. Huge sandstone towers offer numerous different  kind of trad, sports, crack, slabs multi or single pitch routes. Climbing at Wadi Rum also implies sharing the company of the Bedouin. These nomads of some of the most demanding regions of the world are true survivors. For them the desert is their home. Taking care of their goats, sheeps and camels, the Bedouin live in black tents made of goat hair although many of them these days have chosen to build a house. Camel served in the past for transportation, but now they use theme for riding tourists. They replaced the camel for a four-wheel drive, and Toyota is doing good in desert. Bedouin routes can easily be done without any gear and rope, for harder ones there are some placed protection. The routes are not difficult but finding them can be. It's so easy to get lost in all those canyons. 
Means of transport
I don't wanna walk
Welcome to Jordan! Do you have a guide already?
Finally my team came to Jordan, Luka - photographer, his girlfriend Mina nad my wife Anja. So our expedition could begin. Even without my baggage we went climbing warm-up route Black magic 5+, 300m, which is super nice crack, slaby route and it is good starter for getting used on the climbing stile.
Preparing for the day

Wadi Rum

Next day we were climbing on a big granite boulder, named Musas slab. It stands at the middle of sandstone land. It´s unbelievable amazing good rock with some easier sport routes and we add one harder. My FA of Morpho 8a, 20m is very technical route on small crimps and footholds. Also the name tells you it's better to be a little bigger if you want to reach all the holds.

Upper crux
Small holds in Morpho 8a
The following days we decided to explore desert with jeep. Suleman drove us around and we expected to find a good rock for climbing. Desert is huge sandstone paradise. We thought we could climb everywhere but at the end we found out that quality of sandstone is changing from good rock to completely sandy. Anyway we did some bouldering on the way and Anja and I we did FA  trad multi pitch route Spirit of Adventure, 6c,70m. The route is above the base camp in desert, where we were sleeping.
Beduin massage table
Searching for a cool line
Still searching
Evening party
Coffee break 7b
Playing with camera
Boulder on the way
Magic mushroom
Magic mushroom
Evening by the fire
Barkues searching for the rocks
Wadi Rum
In village Wadi Rum we stayed in Sulemans house, who was our guide and helped us a lot. Wadi Rum has hundreds of routes, so it's difficult to find them all but a good guide can help you a lot and save you a lot of precious time.

The Glory, 7c+ (original grade 8a+),150m was great route, vertical slab and not so long approach to get under starting point. With lots of bolts it was good protected so you can just enjoy climbing in it. I on-sighted it and Mina did it the next day. I think this was her first sport multi pitch route. We climbed one route in Barrah canyon as well and next to it we found amazing wall to setup new multi pitch line, but it will have to wait  for the next trip to Jordan.
Anja in 2nd pitch of Glory
Crux pitch of Glory
In the middle
Final pitch of Glory
On the top
Project for the next time
31.12.2013 - 4.1.2014, 20.1.-25.1.2014

It is time to visit North of Jordan
With all my team we had just a few more days left. We went to surrounding area of Ajloun on North of the country just one hour away from Amman. Completely in new, virgin spot Araq Damaj. I was exited to see wall with big roof, which Hakim promised us for setting up good new and hard routes. There are two walls, the south and north face. The rock is very sharp 20-25m high limestone with nice sport routes for all climbers. At the end of our trip we bolted there 8 new routes, graded from 7a till 9a. Three of them are still projects. This place we visited twice on this expedition. 2nd time we were there just me and Anja. We went there at the end of our trip, so we just wanted to climb our projects and have fun in new routes. For the dessert of good trip we climbed our own projects, I climbed  Same same but different, 8c 25m route with small crimps and finishing jump over the roof with funny top out. Anja also bolted her first route and climbed it as well. She named it Osli (great! eng.), 7a 25m. After climbing locals brought us grilled chicken and drinks for a goodbye party. It was great felling to finish our expedition like this!
Making new line
Same same but different 8c

Friendly locals
Cinema sector
Few minutes from Araq Damaj is another sector Spanish cave, with some cool lines. And there are some short routes near city Jerash, Cinema sector by the road. Both sectors are real nice and still have a lot of potential. For more info about all routes in the area and other questions I think the best is to contact Hakim from Tropical desert or Eisa Dweekat, Head of Ajoloun society. They helped us a lot and I have to thank them for what they did for us.

4.1.- 5.1.2014 and other days

Half of the team went back home to Slovenia, so we stayed just two of us for 3 more weeks so we could spent some time to travel around.

Amman….the capital of Jordan is worth to visit, especially downtown. Walking in crazy traffic city is unforgettable experience, where Jordanian trying to sell you everything. Bargaining for the price is there common to do. But still you will pay more just because you are tourist. After all day of shopping is good to rest and try their delicious cuisine.
Big city
Local cuisine "meet and chicken"
Aqaba…..is Jordanś only port and only access to the Sea. To stock up on souvenirs and find good specialized stores like electronics and liquors store is good to buy cheaper than in Amman. If you want to spent more time in Aqaba, you can do some diving and resting on a beach.

Petra (means rock)…is magnificent, world-famous reddish colored stone city which was built in the 6th century BC by the Nabataeans. This former nomadic tribe carved facades of their temples, treasurer chambers and tombs into the pinkish-red rock. The entrance to rock city lies in the village of Wadi Musa. In 2007 Petra was named one of the seven New Wonders of the world. Walk trough narrow canyon, between steep rock walls, jutting up 100m. The solid rock looks great for climbing, but unfortunately it is forbidden.

Dead Sea……is only few kilometers from Petra. Swimming, ˝floating˝ at the lowest point on earth (400m below the sea level) is without doubt a memorable activity. It contains 33% salt and  is rich with minerals. It is good for those who don't know how to swim.
Floating in the Dead sea
Salt everywhere
Feels good to be a tourist. Sometimes

 6.1.- 19.1.2014

Wadi Rum 2nd time…
Relax and drink a tea is their favorite invitation, which you will experience at any time and any place in Wadi Rum. The Beduoin live another lifestyle. They are on easy mode. In village most of them live from tourism, guiding tourists in desert for adventuring, trekking and climbing. The Beduoin routes are quite easy, but to find the way is impossible without them. The route always begins and ends with the most sweet tea in the world. After one month you get used on drinking tea like this.
Relax and drink a tea
Chicken on the run
Preparing for the night
Suleman preparing perfect chicken
2nd time we came here just two of us. Before entrance to Wadi Rum, we did some sightseeing in Aqaba. Shopping in city was very fun but exhausting. In the mid time waiting for taxi we met a very good friends from France Arnaud Petit and Stephanie Bodet which they recommended some nice routes to climb. It was nice chatting with them and drinking tea.
Desert camping
Night shot by full moon
On the top of the route
The next day we went to recomended route Inshalah Factor 6c­, 400m. Sport route Inshalah Factor is well equiped with belays on the beginning pitches of the route. So from there you can easily abseil down.  For continuing pitches is all trad, so you must start route  early in the morning. But our bio rhythm for waking up is usually late so we started the route too late and finished it at night. After all day climbing the real adventure just began. How to get down from the mountain? We could never imagine how difficult it will be to find rappels to descent from the top. 4 hours searching for descent never ended, so Arnaud Petit offered us to rescue us from the mountain. He came up with Hansjörg Auer and they saved us from sleeping on a ledge in the middle of the wall with a nice romantically but cold view on a village of Wadi Rum. We are very grateful having friends like this to save us in the middle of the night.
Waiting for rescue on the lost ledge
The big action caused also reaction, so our consequence was to make abseil piste in the lost descent. Next day we went up on the route The Eye of Allah and rappel down the same way we got lost. But this time we put some belays and renew old ones. Everything happened with a reason and ours was to make an abseil piste. Now everyone can go down easier from the mountain and you can reach bottom of the route much faster.
Making new abseil piste
New abseil piste is much faster than normal descent

Wadirumela, 8b+

One day we had a chance to visit some remote part of the desert, near Saudi border. Our friends from big city pick us up from Sulemans house and exploring the places began. 40 minutes Bedouin massage on a jeep is a good way for waking up.
Evening with the locals
We went to on area with some easy sport routes from 5 to 7a. While gathering wood for fire little further around the corner we saw a big black wall. I ran up there to see if it's possible to climb there and soon I saw a nice line. After a while I also saw one route already existed there and was traversing the wall just to the point where I wanted to finish my route. I climbed it (around 7c, 50m) and start cleaning and trying new line. Rock was solid so I didn't have a lot of work. I glued in 12 bolts and try to find the way over blank black wall. It was hard but soon I did all the moves. Next day I tried it again. First try I fell almost on every crux (someone had to test if bolts were installed properly :)). Second try I felt much better. I was Climbing really good and I managed to get to the last crux 45m high where I almost fell. I rested a bit, relax and did the final few meters of the route. In my opinion this is one of the best routes I have ever climbed. You really must know how to climb if you wanna get to the top. Only power or technique will get you nowhere. You also need some imagination.
First view on the wall
Start is not so easy

Middle crux
Enjoying small holds

Finally holds
Furthermore we climbed some classical routes: Inferno, I.B.M., Beauty, The rock Empire (first hard pitches), Jihad and others. We also bolted 4 new sport routes in Slovenian cave in the desert fro 6b to 8c.
Beauty 6a
2nd pitch of Beauty
On the top of Jihad
Jihad 7b
Relaxing on the top
View from the top
Slovenian cave
Making new route Jok in smeh 7a+
Waiting for the new route
Cleaning loos rock
That was cool
After more than one month climbing in Jordan we have seen just a little bit of what it offers. But enough to know we wanna go back as soon as possible and continue exploring where we left.
Luka, Mina, Klemen and Anja.
We will be back soon