The Deep South
For want of a better name, this is what I call the most southerly, remote part of South Sinai’s mountains. Giants of the Sinai, like Jebel Umm Shomer at 2586m, tower up here. This was the wilderness through which monks, pilgrims and traders once travelled to the Monastery of St Katherine too. Their old paths and waystations still stand scattered across the wadis and hillsides today. Climbing here is harder than anywhere: it’s a long walk in, the peaks are separated by even more long walks, and there are few easy summits. Moreover, you have to carry everything from start to finish; usually using a camel. Everything’s a challenge here – but it’s an adventure too.
I’m making a list of mountains in this area below. Soon, you’ll be able to click on each to go through to a blog post. I’m still filling it all in; writing the peaks up, and adding new ones. But it’s on the way.
JEBEL UMM SHOMER A foreboding mass of jagged peaks and pinnacles, this is the Sinai and Egypt’s second highest peak at 2586m. Europeans first climbed it in 1867 and their route to the top is still followed: it’s one of the Sinai’s best scrambles, rewarded with one of its best views.
JEBEL EL THEBT A giant of the Deep South, towering up in one of its most remote stretches and looking out over both the Gulfs of Aqaba and Suez. The Sinai’s coastal towns can be seen from the top at night and an iron drum stands on the summit, put here in an early mapping survey.
JEBEL EL REEH This means ‘Mountain of the Wind’ in Arabic and it’s one of the Sinai’s most untrodden peaks. There are no trails here – except those left by wolves and ibex – and it’s a tough ascent, with a short rock climb at the top. From the top, you can look out over the epic wilderness of the Deep South.
JEBEL EL KHALA The slightly-higher neighbour of Jebel el Reeh. It has a huge, foreboding north face – one of the biggest in the Sinai – but there’s an easy scrambling route to the top. It’s a much simpler peak than Jebel el Reeh and you get the same beautiful panorama to the south.
JEBEL RIMHAN This is one of the Sinai’s highest mountains and it’s pyramid peak is a tricky climb. It stands near Jebel Umm Shomer, on an old trade route to the Monastery of St Katherine. At the foot of the mountain is Deir Rimhan, one of the region’s earliest monastic retreat.
JEBEL MUWAJID This appears as a twin peak of Jebel Rimhan and is often called by the same name. Actually, it’s slightly lower than Jebel Rimhan; but it’s still one of the region’s toughest peaks. A long, tricky scramble with a rock climb up the final summit section.
JEBEL ABU SHAJARA This is a high, but gentle, peak that’s rarely done in its own right: it’s simply on the way to Jebel Umm Shomer. It’s one of the best viewpoints in the Sinai: with brilliant views to Jebel Umm Shomer and Jebel Rimhan, plus panoramas to mainland Egypt and Saudi Arabia.
JEBEL SHEIKH EL ARAB This is a gentle highland that rises over the wide open spaces of Wadi Rahaba. It doesn’t have the same drama and majesty as other peaks here; but it offers views to all of them, along with those of the High Mountain Region, and it gives a different type of adventure.
MORE MOUNTAINS ON THE WAY…