Feb 11 02
Popular Egyptian iconography conjures up images of a land of ancient monuments and world famous diving – what is not commonly known is that this North African country offers some of the most diverse and unique climbing opportunities on the continent. Whether your penchant is for scaling massive relics or bouldering on sand stone cliffs in the middle of the largest hot desert on earth, Egypt holidays offer the climbing enthusiast the opportunity to scale the ancient world.
St Catherine and Mount Sinai
Renowned as one of the hottest diving spots on the planet, the Sinai Peninsula is framed by exquisite coral reefs and sweeping beaches, but it’s also home to the highest peak in the region. Mount St Catherine summits at 2,629m, whilst the neighbouring Mount Sinai, the fabled location at which Moses received the Ten Commandments from God, summits at 2285m. The terrain favours both trekkers and climbers; the ascent of Mount Sinai is a number one tourist activity for the region – offering amazing views of sunset or rise over the vast craggy plains of the peninsular, whilst St Catherine offers excellent opportunities for bouldering and trad climbing.
Just 20 minutes from the coast at Dahab – Wadi Gnai is the only place on the Sinai Peninsula for sport climbing, but also boasts trad and bouldering. The area caters for pretty much all abilities, with miles of huge granite boulder fields and sand stone faces, which offer endless climbing scenarios – just a short ride from the beach and lagoons.
A string of volcanic mountains run along the coast of the Red Sea and whilst Hurghada is a popular tourist destination for diving and beach holidays, the area to the south, all the way to Bernice, has opened up over the past 15 years to allow intermittent access to little climbed peaks, including Gebel Gharid, Gebel Qattar and Gebel Shayib. Permits do need to be obtained for climbing in this region, with the situation changing from year to year.
Hugging the banks of the Nile and dripping in antiquity, Luxor is best known as a base for exploring the many tombs and monuments, including the Valley of the Kings, resting place of King Tutankhamun. But the arid river beds created by the damming of the great river Nile at Aswan have also created some amazing climbing opportunities, with giant bolder fields and craggy pockets in the heart of the great Sahara Desert.
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