Jabel Safsafa

Descent ways from the Safsafa

The Safsafa plateau is an elongated rugged area about 1 km by 3 km in size, at an average altitude of 2050m with several peaks emerging to higher levels, notably J. Musa (2285m) and Ras Safsafa (2168m). Between the peaks there are several farshes (typical Sinai mini – cwms), connected in a row by a clear and easy path see picture.

There are two main walking paths, and one century – old stairway descending from the Safsafa plateau to the neighboring wadies, but one can also find several other “less comfortable” paths, which the climber will find useful to know.

First possibility – cross the Safsafa plateau with its many crisscrossing small valleys. Follow direction S-SE till a gully reaching an inner valley enclosed by Safsafa and Jabel Musa (chapel), the path left bring to the monastery the path right (and up to a small pass) reaches wadi Shrej. With brings back to the foot of the north wall of Safsafa. Instead of wadi Shrej it is possible to reach wadi El-Leja and the field school passing a further pass.

Second possibility – take one of the first gullies descending from the plateau to wadi Er-Deir (valley of monastery), you need some scrambling and at least 3 abseils (rappel), but Boustan Gully is easily descended without any abseil

There are 5 main climbing areas of Jabel Safsafa (from East to West):

1. East block of NE wall, above Monastery.

2. Middle block of NE wall above upper parking lot of Monastery with characteristic triangular pillar about 1/3 of wall size reminiscent Africa.

3. Boustan gully of NE wall above lower parking lot of Monastery.

4. Right (West) side of Boustan gully of NE wall above lower parking lot of Monastery.

5. North and West – North wall faced to St.Catherine village.

Routes of Jabel Safsafa from East to North and West:

1. East block of NE wall, above Monastery

E1. The peg  -  overview  -  picture  -  picture  -  topo

First accent: Benny Agur, Dima Kharitonsky, 1987, 8 pitches, 6a, VI-, J.Safsafa NE face (east (monastery) part).

A nice climb with several very enjoyable points.

Walk past well and tree (200m left) to base of route.

Description: Start up crack (III-) then left into wider crack (30m) towards two pillars – stones on the right. Follow left of it through mantle shelf into upper crack (V+), then more pitch (III+) heading for two cracks. Follow the left crack identifiable by chimney with chockstone (V+). Continue one more pitch of (III+) 10m of poorly protected face climbing (6a crux). Turn right and up to chimney, climb on right side the fissure. Piton left in place at end of fissure then easy scramble to top.

Descent: follow gully up to Safsafa Farshes, the head for J.Mussa, then down the step – path.

E2. Wrong direction  -  overview  -  picture  -  picture  -  topo

First accent Benny Agur, Dima Kharitonsky, 1987, 10 pitches, V+, J.Safsafa NE face

Walk past well (spring?) (150m left) to first ridge on right. Start up slab (III) to corner. Traverse left 5m (V+) with one move of 6a (possible avoidable). 5 more easy pitches (III+) to top of first ridge. Down dyke (3m) then left and up along fissure below the face (III). Straight up to first summit (not continued to top of Safsafa)

E3. In memory of Beni Agur  -  overview  -  picture  -  picture  -  topo

First accent: Dima Kharitonsky, Bella Finkel, 1992, 13 pitches, 6c, 5.11a, J.Safsafa NE face (east part)

“In memory” is the “straight up” variation of the “Direct start” route opened by Beni in 1987. Beni disappeared in an avalanche in the summer of 1990.

It is a very beautiful route of sustained severity 5-6, with a variety of styles.

Description: Follow first 3 pitches of original route to p3. Pitches:

Pitch4: Climb 30m directly up on slabs (5.10c, 6b or A1) to second bolt. Continue 5m on slab (5.11a, 6c) to wide crack then climb 5 more meters (5.9) to ledge.

Pitch5: Up 10m through big holes (5.8) then 30m up and left on slabs with cracks.

Pitch6: Continue 10m up (5.8 crack) to big ledge. Traverse 30m right (5.7) on ledge.

Pitch7: Continue right the traverse (5.7) on ledge to vertical corner of the roof above.

Pitch8: Climb 5m up and left onto slab (5.9), then 30m up and left along the joint of slab with roof (5.10, 6a) until it becomes horizontal.

Pitch9: Traverse 5m left on slab under (5.8) roof (great view!).

Pitch10: Climb up and left in undercling (5.10a, 6a), then 5m (5.9) in cracks. Traverse 30m up and left (5.7) to bottom of gully.

Pitch11: 15m in gully (5.9) to chockstone. Surpass chockstone (5.10a, 6a) to crack with a stuck friend.

Pitch12: Continue 30m in gully (5.8) keeping right, scramble to fork with L-gully (5.5), 50m.

Pitch13: Climb 20m on rocks to the right (5.7), then scramble to summit in 5-10 minutes.

Descent: 20 minutes descent to Farsh – path, marked by cairns but not obvious.

E4. Direct Start  -  overview  -  picture  -  picture  -  topo

First accent: Benny Agur, Dima Kharitonsky, 1987, 8 pitches, V+, VI-, J.Safsafa NE face (east part)

A superb route of continuous beauty!

Walk 200m right to big face, then right 100m to the left of a small dry waterfall.

Description: Start at “stepped” rocks (IV+) to chimney. Climb chimney (V+), turn right to slabs, then up fissures (V) to base of wide crack on left with two conspicuous stones. Up crack to its end (V+), then right in “canal” to the right of face. Two more pitches of III, then up corner (2 pitches of V) to summit ridge.

NB. The corner between the pitch1 of “Direct Start” and slab to the right is now protected by bolts and pitons, making a more attractive (VI-) first pitch.

NB. There are 3 bolted ways from base of slab to first station of “Direct Start”. All three graded V+ to VI.

E5. Diamond depression  -  overview  -  picture  -  picture  -  topo

First accent: Chanina Kali, Airan Ziss, 1988, 5-6 pitches, IV+, 5.8, J.Safsafa NE face (east part)

The route starts about 50m to right from “Direct Start” directly under characteristic diamond – shaped depression (slab).

Pitch1: go directly up 30m (5.7) on slab to lower corner of “diamond”.

Pitch2: go right follow lower – right side of “diamond” 40m (5.8).

Pitch3: go left follow upper – right side of “diamond” 30m (5.7). From 3rd station up and right hand – jam crack (5.9) (crux).

Pitch 4 - 5 go up and right (5.5 – 5.7) via cracks towards shoulder on skyline (lower part like pass of ridge on right hand).

It is possible to rappel down from first 3 stations (without crux) (rappel sling, pitons and bolt).

Descent: From shoulder easy scramble down on other side of ridge into unpleasant gully (loose stones in upper part)

E6. May Day  -  overview  -  picture  -  picture  -  topo

First accent: Daniel Peikes, Danny Wolfstein, 1989, 2 pitches, VI+, 5.10, V, J.Safsafa NE face (east (monastery) part).

Approach: Walk up the road leading to the monastery, about 500m, past the gate, to the junction in the road. From there go straight up head to the obvious slab. Start on the left side of the slab, some 20m right of a chimney.

Pitch1: Go up a water groove (5.7) and then up and left in a corner (50m).

Pitch2: Continue up and left over broken terrain (5.8) to bottom of obvious corner (50m).

Pitch3: Up the corner (5.9)(50m).

Pitch4: Go to end of the crack and thru the roof (5.10+), to end of crack, hard to protect (small tricams), slab move (5.10) to pvo. 50m.

Pitch5: Walk up and right to right side of next slab (IV) 50m.

Pitch6: Up corner (5.9+) and traverse right 15m (5.6) to big corner. 50m.

Pitch7: Out right (5.9) onto slab and up slab to top. 40m.

Descent: Right to main gully and down to bottom.

E7. Better late than never  -  overview  -  picture  -  picture  -  topo

First accent: Danny Wolfstein, Nir Yarkoni,1985, 2 pitches, IV-, 5.7+, 80m(400m), J.Safsafa NE face

Approach: The route is following the obvious crack/gully line leading to a block with a big hole (3m high) underneath it. The line starts above directly above the North end of the Monastery, some 500m left of Friday Rush.

Description: Avoid first pitch in gully by climbing wall on left and returning to gully above steep part (50m, 5.7). Continue 10m to where gully stepping into crack, climb this till above 2 small chockstones (40m, 5.7+). From here it is best rappel back down or it is possible to continue 4 pitches easily up gully (5.3) till chockstone and then exit right and up in system of big cracks to top of Safsafa

E8. Swamige has no watch  -  overview  -  picture  -  picture  -  topo

First accent: Doron Erel, Krysztof Pankiewicz , 1987, 4 pitches, V, J.Safsafa NE face

E9. Khamim VeKarir  -  overview  -  picture  -  picture  -  topo

First accent: Daniel (Danny) Peikes, Danny Wolfstein, 7 pitches, VII, 5.10+, J.Safsafa NE face ().

Approach: From the parking lot and gate on road to monastery, walk 500m up to before Y - junction, then straight up to middle of big slab. The route goes up obvious crack splitting the slab.

Description: Go up the crack (5.9) to an exit right thru a small roof (5.10+) - some 150m (3 pitches). Walk up and right some 100m on easy ground to crack line at right side of second slab. Climb crack (5.9+) to belay. Then right and out to face. Climb up face in system of corners (5.9) to top of ridge.

Descent: to right to main gully.

E10. Kham Midai  -  overview  -  picture  -  picture  -  topo

First accent: Sigal Bergman, Daniel Peikes, 1989, 7 pitches, VII, 5.10+, J.Safsafa NE face ().

This is a fine route, good protection.

Approach: The route begins about 150m SE of the end the parking lot of the monastery. 

Description: Start between the triangular granite (leaning on the main wall) and the wall.

Pitch1: 30m, easy chimney at right side of triangular, can be climbed unroped.

Pitch2: 50m, 5.8 exit chimney and climb the face of the triangular with several slots for protection, stance at top of triangular.

Pitch3: 45m, 5.9. Follow the crack which is the continuation of the chimney of pitch1. Good protection points, stance at end of crack.

Pitch4: 50m, 5.10+. Head for wide crack (up and right) which climbs 45 degree (up and right), then straight up in a fissures system. After about 25m traverse (up and right) for 15-20m to wide ledge (1/2m wide), walk about 3m to slab, heading for arched roof with fissure at the roof's joint to the slab, some 4m above ledge. Climb slab (5.10+ crux) to "hanging belay" at fissure. Attention! no protection at all for the last 10m before stance. Stance is about 20m from the left and lower edge of roof.

Pitch5: 50m, 5.9+. Traverse left along fissure. At end of fissure continue straight up, then about 200m easy(5.6) up and right to shoulder of Crag.

Descent: On the other side, to the big Gully

2. Middle block of NE wall above upper parking lot of Monastery with characteristic triangular pillar about 1/3 of wall size reminiscent Africa

E11. Hatchala Meshuleshet ***  -  overview  -  picture  -  picture  -  topo

First accent: Rani Calvo, Yoni Pantenovitz, 1985, 6 pitches, IV+, J.Safsafa NE face

Approach: The route starts at right side of characteristic triangular pillar about 1/3 of wall size reminiscent Africa.

Pitch1 and 2: 50x2m. Up crack of Africa’s right side (IV-, mixed slab/handjam climbing), good protection. There are many rappelling slings (per 30m).

Pitch3: 50m. Continue straightly up easy (III-) (slab, shallow cracks and half-pipes) till chimney with horizontal floor and loose separated boulders. Place for breakfast :).

Pitch4: 30m. Crux. It is possible to up directly overhang chimney (6a+, A0) or pass it around from left (V, steeped slab, poor protection) or right (V, crack and slab, poor protection on slab)

Pitch5: 40m. Up crack till easy terrain

Descent: It is possible do rappel down after 3 pitches (many rappel slings). After 5 pitches regular descent follow ridge from right (movies to III)

E12. Friday Rush, continuation of Hatchala Meshuleshet to the main summit -  overview  -  picture  -  picture  -  topo

First accent: Rani Calvo, Andrea Anati, 1985, 7 pitches, V, J.Safsafa NE face

Description: From first summit (end of Hatchala Meshuleshet route) scramble down gully on left and up adjacent buttress heading (unroped) for owla - looking rock. Towards the end: two short pitches III+ and V, then descent to Safsafa farshes by easy descent if daylight, cumbersome at dark.

Descent: To Boustan gully easily from farshes to road.

E13. The Route of Tamar, left traverse variation of Hatchala Meshuleshet *overview  -  picture  -  picture  -  topo

First accent: Sigal Bergman, Daniel Peikes, 1989, 7 pitches, VI, 5.9+, J.Safsafa NE face

This is a continuation of the first two pitches of "Hatchala Meshuleshet" left version (left of regular route)

Pitch1 and 2: same as "Hatchala meshuleshet".

Pitch3: Traverse left 20m unroped to base of crack, so turn right and up.

Pitch4: 5.8 20m, up slab parallel to crack, good protection in crack, station also in crack.

Pitch5: 50m, 5.9 exit left to slab and up till crack (~5m to left). ~25m of slab no protection (need bolts), continue to crack from right and up (need to start the crack high enough).

Pitch6: 5.9+ Traverse easy right till "pipe" of "Hatchala Meshuleshet" and up wall right follow crack system (5.9+), good protection, then straight up to belay (50m).

Pitch7: 5.8, 30m straight up till shoulder and right to descent ridge.

E14. Wounded Rock, right traverse variation of Hatchala Meshuleshet ***overview  -  picture  -  picture  -  topo

First accent: Chanina Kali, Airan Ziss, 1988, 3 pitches, IV+, 5.8, J.Safsafa NE face

This is a continuation of the first three pitches of "Hatchala Meshuleshet" right version (right of regular route)

Pitch1, 2 and 3: same as "Hatchala meshuleshet".

Pitch3: 25m, V-. From station under crux crack of regular route up small crack on right (7m, movies to V-) and delicate traverse right slab to horizontal crack between wide sloping slab and belt of vertical rocks. Good place for station is about 10m of traverse.

Pitch4: 50m, IV. Follow this line (traverse of horizontal crack to right) for full pitch till end of vertical wall on left hand (IV) (friends, tricams, good protection). Station under big granite block reminiscent matchbox stays vertical 7x3m.

Pitch5: 50m. Continue traverse and up stepped slab till easy terrain (III).

Descent: easy down follow ridge from right or to Boustan gully.

E15. Miguel’s Beautiful Sister  -  overview  -  picture  -  picture  -  topo

First accent: Doron Erel, Krysztof Pankiewicz, 1987, 5 pitches, VI+, J.Safsafa NE face

E17. Beleit brera  -  overview  -  picture  -  picture  -  topo

First accent: Yoav Nir, Amnon Shiloni, 1987, 4 pitches, V, J.Safsafa NE face (middle (Africa) part).

Approach: about 25m right of "Hatchala Meshuleshet"

Pitch1: 30m, III. Up easy slab to base of belt, belay by two friends.

Pitch2: 15m, III+. Traverse left along base of belt to left corner, belay in small cave.

Pitch3: 30m, V. Exit roof of cave. Proceed along brown dyke, poor protection but good friction, general direction straight up and slightly right. Continue along brown duke until 1/3 of upper slab (above first belt). Traverse some 5m right to clear stance.

Pitch4: Continue along brown duke III to end of slab, then easy walk right to descent ridge.

Variation: Pitch4 alternative: 25m, V+. Traverse base of belt (above upper slab). As belt curves to become almost vertical, leave belt left, slab diagonal some 5m, then 3m descent to join "Hatchala Meshuleshet"

E18. Kharitz Sheli, also known as Monday Rush ***overview  -  picture  -  picture  -  topo

First accent: Gil Alexandrovitch, Daniel Peikes, Doron Erel, Krysztof Pankiewicz, 1987, 4 pitches, VI, 5.9+, J.Safsafa NE face

Approach: the route is starts ~ 50m right from "Hatchala Meshuleshet" at down point of big slab.

Pitch1: III, 40m Go up good protection slab till ledge under rock belt and base of crack (good station).

Pitch2: up crack (5.9+ crux) till it end (handjam, tricams, frends). Good station by 2 bolts.

Pitch3: III-IV, 40m Go up and right slab (10m of IV, protected by bolts), after that easy slab till ledge with loose boulders (station).

Pitch4: V+, 50m Up classic parallel crack between detached “matchbox” and wall straightly up (7m, 6a (for leader) handjam or layback) (at end of “box” placed bolt), after that slabs till easy terrain.

It is possible to finish after 3 pitches by going right and up stepped slab till easy terrain (III).

E33. The Dark corner overview  -  picture  -  picture  -  topo

First accent: Andrea Anati, Malka Machlus (probably), 4 pitches, 4a-4b, J.Safsafa NE face
This is the route comprising a dark corner in the same sector as "Miguel beautiful sister" and "haritz sheli". The easiest route in the sector, to the right of "Haritz sheli". Has been climbed in the 80'th of the 20th century by beginners or by whoever was short of time. First ascent (prbably Andrea Anati and MalkaMachlus). Starting to the right and then following the base of the bel to the base of the dark corner. A hole of the left of the corner provided a good protection point before the exit from the dark corner. A poory protected easy slab brings to the 3rd pitch of "Haritz sheli". Easy escapes to the right provide exits from the route, if desired, above the dark corner and 1 pitch above it.

3. Boustan gully of NE wall above lower parking lot of Monastery

E19. Fistuq Halabi ***overview  -  picture  -  picture  -  topo

First accent: Amnon Shiloni, Beni Sarabi, 1987, 3 pitches, V-, J.Safsafa NE face (left wall of Boustan gully).

Approach: Up the Boustan Gully, past the Boustan, past the huge boulder, past the narrow steep little gully on the left wall.

Description: The route following the obvious diagonal crack for 5 easy (III+ to IV) pitches, except for one short (2m) passage of about V- at the end of the 2nd pitch. Solid protection by "friends" in slightly flared fissures. Scramble one more pitch to the foot of steep wall on left. It is possible to finish this route by “Chapa Wapa”

Descent: Descent after 3-4 pitches (before unclimbed summit block) is easy forward (i.e. up) and right down to Boustan gully

E20. Chapa Wapa  -  overview  -  picture  -  picture  -  topo

First accent: Andrea Anati, Alon Newton, 1988, 4 pitches, V+, A0, roof VI+, J.Safsafa NE face (left wall of Boustan gully).

Approach: "Chapa" is one of the possible continuations of "Fistuk Halabi" to the summit

Pitch1: 35m, V+, A0. Start climbing at fissure right of the wide crack. First couple of meters slightly overhand (A0). Estimated free-climb difficulty VI- to VI. After that, the fissure splits into 2 cracks, follow the right one, a V+ fist jam to easier mixed-style climb to saddle - point (col).

Pitch2 60m, second half unroped, one passage of IV. Traverse right and down along boulders for about 15m (III), then turn left and up for about 15 more meters (IV-). Continue through narrow passage then right to base of crack.

Pitch3: 25m, IV-. Relatively easy to base of wall. Pitch4: 20m, V A0. There are three main possibility: A. delicate face climbing on left with numerous steps locks easy but totally unprotected (not even attempted). B. wide vertical crack, well protected, at the corner, but in the horizontal crack (right, after about 7m) no protection could be found. Attempted but retreated. C. Narrow crack right of corner in center of face. We follow this last (C) option. Mixed finger jam and layback (V), well protected. A0 (pulling a sling) at the flared exit of crack. Continue easily to stance just below the out.

Descent: as in "Friday Rush"

Next time "Chapa Wapa" will go FREE!!!

E21. Ha-Sroch  -  overview  -  picture  -  picture  -  topo

First accent: Amnon Shiloni, Daniel Peikes, 1987, 6 pitches, VI+, A1, 5.10, J.Safsafa NE face (right wall of Boustan gully).

Approach: up through Boustan gully (talus) almost it’s end. At right (south) wall of the gully you can see a big cliff with large vertical chimney with some boulders inside as plugs; a route starts at base of parallel crack 20m right from chimney.

Pitch1: 30m, III, up no protected

Pitch2: 50m, IV+, follow crack till small roof with corner from left.

Pitch3: 30m, VI, up and left to corner till ledge ????Hebrew????

E22. Roza Marzipan  -  overview  -  picture  -  picture  -  topo

First accent: Chanina Kali, Yoav Nir, 1989, 2 pitches, VI+, 5.10, V, J.Safsafa NE face (left wall of Boustan gully).

A very nice short route well suited, when strung together with the adjusted route "Max", for a shorter day of climbing.

Approach: Ascent "main gully" above two cement pools. Pass "Fistuk Halabi" gully route on the left. At upper half of gully a reddish brown wall rises to the left. "Roza Marzipan" route is the first obvious route on this wall. A second line not climbed yet. Max is the third obvious route up this wall.

Pitch1: Scramble up and right till base of first face, which leans in the direction of the gully's upward grade below. Climb up face via crack system, past small tree to belay at ledge below dihedral and second face. 45m, 5.10.

Pitch2: Climb face up and diagonally left via thin crack system, continue up and right to belay on slabs above. 45m, 5.10

Descent: Left, then up and right, then down to top of gully.

E23. Max  -  overview  -  picture  -  picture  -  topo

First accent: Chanina Kali, Yoav Nir, 1989, 2 pitches, VII+, 5.11, V, J.Safsafa NE face (left wall of Boustan gully).

A very nice short route well suited, when strung together with the adjusted route "Roza Marzipan", for a shorter day of climbing.

Approach: Ascent "main gully" above two cement pools. Pass "Fistuk Halabi" gully route on the left. At upper half of gully a reddish brown wall rises to the left. "Roza Marzipan" route is the first obvious route on this wall. A second line not climbed yet. Max is the third obvious route up this wall. Superb 5.10+ - 5.11 climbing create an impressive though slightly improbable line of ascent.

Pitch1: Go up thin crack. Layback and step for left then up crack, belay on flakily pointed ledge; 20m, 5.10+.

Pitch2: Traverse left, and then up off-width to corner on lightly colored rock. Traverse up and left (5.11) up to ledge, then up second corner to crack. Follow this crack till top, belay on slabs 40m, 5.11.

Descent: Left, then up and right, then down to top of gully.

E24. Monastery Chimney  -  overview  -  picture  -  picture  -  topo

First accent: J. Mothersele, S. Amley, 1987, 5 pitches, VI+, J.Safsafa NE face

E25. Yes route  -  overview  -  picture  -  picture  -  topo

First accent: Ken Rosebery, Alon Parnes, 1984, 4 pitches, IV+, 5.7, J.Safsafa NE face

Approach: the route is located in one of the inner valleys of Safsafa. From "Farsh E-Luzza" (valley with almond tree) walk towards J.Mussa, after 50m walk down small valley that opens to a "Farsh E-Luzza" on the left cross the Farsh and climb up 2nd gully on left. The route is on left (E) face of this gully.

Description: 50m up crack, after that crux 15m up flake and easy through overhand, after that up crack till summit.

E26. Too Late  -  overview  -  picture  -  picture  -  topo

First accent: Danny Wolfstein, Alon Parnes, 1984, 3 pitches, V-, 5.7, J.Safsafa E face

Approach: The route is located on the SE left (when ascending) side of the first big gully which ascends from wadi Er-Deir (wadi of monastery) about 2/3 of the way up the gully (on the larger left-hand branch).

Description: The route follows a diagonal crack/ chimney which starts from the bottom left hand corner of a large pinnacle (~100m wide), above which is a large face. Start right of the crack and straight up into the crack, till below a short off width. Climb this straight up a right onto the face (crux, 5.7) and then follow crack to top of pinnacle.

Descent: right back to main gully thru steep minor gully

E27. Shity end of the rope  -  overview  -  picture  -  picture  -  topo

First accent: Yoav Weiss, Gil Dugon

4. Right (West) side of Boustan gully of NE wall above lower parking lot of Monastery

E28. Job's Tribulations(Yisurei Eyov)  -  overview  -  picture  -  picture  -  topo

First accent: Yoav Nir, Chanina Kali, 1989, 8 pitches, VII+, 5.11, J.Safsafa NE face

Approach: From "base-camp", above and right of monastery parking lot , walk up  a short distance to the two cement pools at the base of main gully leading up to the farshes of Safsafa. Continue up to the base of slabs at the convergence of main gully with "descent gully". The route starts at these slabs up to prominent reddish - brown face .Then up to cracks leading to an arch shaped crack which in turn leads to a very prominent V - crack at the top of the cliff. In general the route is the first obvious route to the left of  "Zig Zag".

Description: 

Pitch1: Climb easy slabs 50m, 5.5. 

Pitch2: Climb crack and continue up slabs 45m, 5.6. 

Pitch3: Climb crack and continue up slabs 45m, 5.6.

Pitch4: Up choppy blocks, 45m to base of prominent face, 5.5

Pitch5: Delicate face and crack climbing up face (left hand side of very open dihedral), 5.11 to 5.10, then traverse left (5.10, 40m)

Pitch6: Up knob (take many slings, much rope drag), exit right and then traverse far left till "hidden" dyke/gully (5.8,45m). 

Pitch7: Reestablish belay on the other side of gully, climb cracks then step left and continue up to arch crack (it like a frown, not a smile). This crack is actually a flaring off-width but it's well protected. The top half is a walkable traverse, left to half hanging belay. 45m, 5.10

Pitch8: Take right hand arm of V crack system. This off-width chimney is protected from deep inside it's "bowels", then climb from outside and up to hand-jam cracks till belay on sloping slabs above. 45m,5.10.

Descent: Left to gully, two fixed rappels lead to "descent gully".

E29. The ZigZag route  -  overview  -  picture  -  picture  -  topo

First accent: Yoav Nir, Daniel Peikes, 1987, 7 pitches, VII- , J.Safsafa NE face

Pitch1: start left of tree and up the big block. Straight up slab 40m to belay in cracks in middle of slab. Reasonable protect.

Pitch 2: straight up to base of belt wall then left traverse under cling (IV+, 30m) to belay. Pitch 3: continue to corner, past crack system after 30m, then up and left to stance at base of overhanging open book (IV+), 40m the whole pitch.

Pitch 4: up open book (VII-) to crack at upper slab, then traverse up and right to stance at grove.

Pitch 5: up the grove 5m to obvious crack system leaning to right. Continue up and right to base of wall (IV+).

Pitch 6: traverse right on slab along horizontal line between brown and yellow granite (III) 50m.

Pitch 7: up corner (V+) then right to the ridge (III)

Descent: easy directly from end of route

E30. The Zag (variation of ZigZag)  -  overview  -  picture  -  picture  -  topo

First accent: Johan Lange, Gaby Manobla, 1989, 7 pitches, VI., 5.9, J.Safsafa NE face

Approach: The climb starts on the left side of the big (300m long) slab on whose right side the ZigZag.

Pitch1: start up the big chimney/crack line which heads up to the left side of the head wall. Climb 50m up (5.8) at first (10m) a chimney, touring into a hand crack.

Pitch 2: continue over broken ground and an easy slab (5.5), 30m to belay at left edge of headwall.

Pitch 3: go up through crack systems, left at first, and then traverse right 1m and up 10m(5.9) to belay at big ledge - 25m.

Pitch 4: climb up and left in a thin ascending crack to obtain slab (5.8), then up the slab 10m and traverse horizontally right at small solution hole and brown spot to obvious corner (5.7), up corner and then another 5m to belay.

Pitch5: traverse right for 2 pitches (5.7) to crack line of NE wall. Then up and slightly right for one more pitch to top

E31. Nordostwand  -  overview  -  picture  -  picture  -  topo

First accent: Peter Frei, Gadi Yutty, 1978, 9 pitches, 300m, V+, J.Safsafa NE face

300m, good rock.

Description: Start at base of slab with overhanging belt at half height.3,5 pitches on slabs (IV-V) to conspicuous crack dividing belt. Up this for 15m (A2), then open book (1 pitch VI-) to good stance. One pitch keeping right (V), then left to broad crag (II), 40m to foot of stepped wall. Traverse right bulging rock then keep left to stance at base of 40m’s open book (V+). Turn left (V+) to stance.1+ pitch to summit (III-IV)

E32. Savir, Mitporer BeKalut (Fragile, Easily Breakable)  -  overview  -  picture  -  picture  -  topo

First accent: Daniel Peikes, Danny Wolfstein, 1989, 7 pitches, VI, 5.9, J.Safsafa NE face ().

Approach: Walk up ridge on left of main gully on left side of North face, above junction of road to monastery. Walk up ~200m vertical, entering gully about 200 vertical meters up. At big junction with gully from right thorny tree/bush, head right some 20m and scramble up 20m to start of climb.

Pitch1: Start up broken rock (10m) and curve right on brown dyke, to belay on hole in the rock(5.8)(unprotected).

Pitch2: Go straight up (5.10) - unprotected on bad rock, or traverse 15m right and back left(5.6) and the up crack.

Pitch3: Follow the crack (5.9) 40m.

Pitch4: Straight up (5.7) 40m.

Pitch5: Continue up (5.6) 40m.

Pitch6: Up a crack - 10m (5.9) and out right under a big block, 40m.

Pitch7: Cut back left and up to summit (5.5) 40m.

5. North and West – North wall faced to St.Catherine village.

N1. NE Ridge of Safsafa  -  overview  -  picture  -  picture  -  topo

First ascent Terry Taylor, Steve Gault, 1976, 7 pitches, V, J.Safsafa NE ridge

Little information is known now. The first ¾ of route have an easy/moderate slope and are easy. The last few pitches are sleep and difficult (V).

N2. The Skull  -  overview  -  picture  -  picture  -  topo

First ascent: Victor Kaftal, Steve Gault, 1976, 14 pitches, 500m, IV+, J.Safsafa N face

The route starts in the gully separating the 1st and 2nd Safsafa.

Description: 2 pitches diagonally left following a dyke (III) and then easy slabs (II), 2 pitches directly up the wall till the terrace (III+). Scramble into the gully and up till big chockstone, up on the left of it and 10 meters to small wall (attention: rotten), climb it on the right (III+) cross left out of the gully to a terrace on the buttress and up to a smooth wall broken by a crack, up the crack (IV) to another wall broken by a larger diagonal crack, up it left (IV), then up diagonally to a small terrace below a big round boulder (the skull), up to a chimney on the right of the skull (III), climb the narrow tricky chimney (IV+) follow a ledge to it’s end and climb a short crack on the left (IV+), climb a wall with big holes to the summit rocks (III+).

Direct Approach (Skull’s variation)  -  overview  -  picture  -  picture  -  topo

First ascent: Victor Kaftal, Steve Gault, 1978, 14 pitches, 500m, IV+, J.Safsafa N face

Description: Starts on the left of the triangular pillar of slabs up a chimney (IV+) to a terrace follow easily sloping crack/gully from left to right till the summit of the triangle and the base of the smooth wall with the crack of the original route (Skull).

It is possible to finish on left of skull (IV+).

N3. Arba VaKhetzi  -  overview  -  picture  -  picture  -  topo

First accent: Yoav Weiss, Gil „Doggy“ Dugon, 1992, 10 pitches, V+, 5.9, J.Safsafa N face.

Description: Start at gully between the skull and Klostersporn. Crawl under chockstone and continue (easy) to Y-splitting into the separate gullies, between then around wall with a crack. Follow crack (hand jamming) then fist jamming (5.8). Continue one easy pitch to slab. Follow slab diagonally up and left (exposed 5.9) then in the crack (identified by its beginning to the right) then straight up. Follow to roof. Traverse some 5m left under roof, the 3 easier pitches to summit.

N4. Klostersporn  -  overview  -  picture  -  picture  -  topo

First accent: Peter Frei, Gadi Yutty, 1978, 11 pitches, V, J.Safsafa N face

Good rock. Stat at base of conspicuous spur at left limit of central buttress. 2pitches of IV, then 3 pitches II on slabs. Turn right to wall (4 pitches IV-V), up to stance at edge of first summit, circumvented left (III). From here 2 pitches of II to the Safsafa cross

N5. Black Dyke  -  overview  -  picture  -  picture  -  topo

First ascent: Victor Kaftal, Bruce Devensg, 1977, 18 pit., 700m, IV+ A1, J.Safsafa N face

Approach: The route starts at the lowest point of the triangular pillar (the mask) attached to the 2nd Safsafa.

Description: 2 pitches right (III-IV) till crack. 2 pitches follow the crack towards left till large lodge under vertical band halfway up the mask. One short AID pitch up a slab (3 pitons) to concave stance, then exit right up thin crack on bad rock (2 pitons, 5 chokes) (V- A1), one pitch traversing up left (IV), 3 pitches following crack directly up leaving mask on the left and reaching wall of the main mountain (III-IV), 2 pitches up a beautiful black chimney of smooth rock, negative dike (IV-IV+). Up the chimney behind medium chockstone (IV), get out on the right (very exposed V-) and up to stance. 2 pitches following the chimney till it ends under a steep wall (III+). 2 pitches in a gully on the right till a weak point in the wall and up till the summit rocks (III).

N6. The Mask  -  overview  -  picture  -  picture  -  topo

First ascent: Tony Zamir, Edna Goury, 1977, ? pitches, 500m, IV+, J.Safsafa N face

Approach: The route starts on the blackish crack line on right hand side of a mask.

Description: Starting from center of mask diagonally left for one pitch to a cave and the end belay, then 3 pitches right to the start of crack line. 5th pitch (the crux) follows the crack until one is forced out to the left where a move up a flake leads to a cave. A delicate traverse (short but hard) regains crack (5.8). From here 1,5 pitches leads to a platform below the final wall on the left.

N7. Com kal  -  overview  -  picture  -  picture  -  topo

First ascent: Chanina Kali, Airan Ziss, 1988, 14 pitches, V+, 5.9, J.Safsafa N face.

N8. Geissenpeter  -  overview  -  picture  -  picture  -  topo

First ascent: Ruedi Homberger,F. Roth, Alex,1983, 10 pitches, VI+ roof VII-, J.Safsafa N face

N9. Geissenpeter (variation)  -  overview  -  picture  -  picture  -  topo

First ascent: YYoav Nir, Amnon Shiloni, 1987, J.Safsafa N face

After the second VI+, take right traverse on obvious ledge on the slab at the exit crack of pitch 4. Traverse right (V+) around corner to an overhanging groove (VI). Beautiful and very exposed.

N10. Why not? (upper half of Geissenpeter) -  overview  -  picture  -  picture  -  topo

First ascent: , Krysztof Pankiewicz, Doron Erel, 1987, 4 pitches, VII-, J.Safsafa N face

N11.Warsaw - Tel Aviv Direct   -  overview  -  picture  -  picture  -  topo

First ascent: Krysztof Pankiewicz, Doron Erel, 1987, 10 pitches, VII+, A0, roof VIII, J.Safsafa N face

Approach: The route starts at crack 20 right from “Geissenpeter” and 20m left from “Papa GPI”.

Description: Only rock (stoppers) and friends up to #1 requered. On the crux pitch (4) protection (2 pitons and 2 bolts) left in place. Rock (except p7 and p8) excellent! Route very steep and “compatible” in beauty and difficulty to some famous routes in the Dolomites. It is possible to join “Geissenpeter” after 6 pitches by traverse left (VI-, poorly protected) and then up thin crack (VI+).

N12. Non-Stop (Warsaw’s variation)  -  overview  -  picture  -  picture  -  topo

First ascent: Yoav Nir, Chanina Kali, 1988, 10 pitches, 5.10a, J.Safsafa N face

N13. Bonch  -  overview  -  picture  -  picture  -  topo

First accent: Chanina Kali, Yoav Nir, 1989, 8 pitches, VII, 5.10+, J.Safsafa N face.

This excellent route is going between "Warshaw-Tel-Aviv direct" and "Via del Papa", conversing with the "Grand hand traverse" and "Chockstone" chimney variations of the latter. Five pitches at of eight are highly recommended, four of these five being continuous 5.10 climbing on solid rock, positioned beautifully with much exposure and the thrill of being high up yet well protected and safety "jammable".

Approach: Same as other routes (Papa, Warshaw). Morning is shade, afternoon sun; take at least 2 liters water per person.

Pitch1: Climb fine lines between chimneys of "Warshaw" and "Papa" till ledge full rope length above (5.10).

Pitch2: Walk up from the ledge roped or unroped till base of crack system leading to blackly ledges (5.4) 50m.

Pitch3: Climb finger/hand - jam crack, exit onto ledge via easy off-width corner then up to second ledge below small roof (5.10) 40m.

Pitch4: Climb down and right (to the right and below is roof variation of "Via del Papa"). Go up thin cracks in thin dyke. Continue up double cracks till belay at base of leaning off-width (5.10+) 45m.

Pitch5: Climb easy off-width then enter "Grand Hand Traverse" going diagonally right. Belay at end of traverse (5.10+) 30m.

Pitch6: Straight up from end of traverse, bad rock, face and off-width moves. Pass ledge at the right, continue up and through "needle-eye" hole to the right (5.9) 25m.

Pitch7: Up easy but bad rock till base of "chockstone chimney". Up chimney to belay above chockstone (5.8) 45m.

Pitch8: Climb up crack till it eases of to form narrow gully (5.8) 30m

N14. Papa Giovanni Paolo 1 route *** overview  -  picture  -  picture  -  picture  -  topo

First accent: Daniele Chiappa, Carlo Duchini, 1978, 10 pitches, V+, 5.8, J.Safsafa N face. 

Approach: Located between the Black duke and Elio's routes

Description: Head for big crack, start from right branch at base of cliff. Easy at first then short climbing V, Enter the main crack and follow to base of overhand. Traverse about 2-3 meters left to avoid overhand and proceed through vertical fissure (VI-), than back into main crack. Follow to tree then circumvent pillar by long traverse right (about 20 m), then back behind top of pillar. Diagonally left then obvious route to top

2nd ascent Victor Kapal, Dany Wolfstein 1976  -  overview  -  picture  -  picture  -  topo

Start (direct) at base of crack reaching the big obvious overhang in first part of the route. 1st pitch: IV (5 meters V) up crack. 2nd pitch: IV+, 40m. up crack. 3 pitch VI-, 15m (crux): avoid overhand climbing crack 6m on right. Piton on place. 4 pitch: 3m right into chimney (IV+), 20m up (IV+, V). Choose left crack ending with big overhand (V, 5m): we has taken by mistake the left crack, better take the central one. Go up it to a tree (V) and on ledge. Walk right 15m on the ledge around big block and further 15m up and left.6 pitch: 15m up to base of big chimney formed by pillar and wall and closed by a choke-stone: try to climb the chimney and overcome choke-stone!! Then 20m (III) diagonally right. 7 pitch: 40m (III-V) first (easy) diagonally left, then (difficult) up cracks and overhands.8 pitch: 45m(IV) diagonally up left through gullies and cracks to stance in gully(6m above choke-stone and top of pillar.9 pitch: 45m(II) up gully to col)

Descent: Walk East and then up and down gullies till you find gully leading South to flat enclosed valley between Safsafa and Musa. Walk up (W) to col and then down to wadi Shrej. Then down towards village via wadi Shrej (good path)

N17. Darkness at Noon  -  overview  -  picture  -  picture  -  topo

First accent: Danny Wolfstein, Yaron Bashen, 1984, 5 pitches, V, 5.9-, J.Safsafa N face

The route follows Elio's route for first 2 pitches.

Description: 1st ascent followed Mickey's variation - start from left side of gully, traverse right and up crack for 10m(5.7) and then to top of crack (5.8) in wide rotten crack level with head of large tower on right. From here traverse left and up for 15m to base of obvious hand jam crack. Follow this on beautiful rock (except for hollow flake on 4th pitch) for 2 pitches (5.9) to head of crack. Traverse right 3m in wider crack/chimney and up slabs, then thru wind blown holes to summit (full 45m, 5.8)

Descent: from summit descend SE on slabs, then 15m’s rappel to gully on W (can perhaps be omitted) and walk down to valley

N18. Elio's route  -  overview  -  picture  -  picture  -  topo

First accent: Elio Scarabelly, Victor Kaftal, 1977, 5 pitches 300m, V, A1, J.Safsafa N face

Approach: Walk up 200m in the gully between 2nd and 3rd Safsafa (walking 1 degree) start at the bottom of a vertical wall left of a characteristic tower Elio's.

Description: Climbed the wall on the left (V A1). Climbed the same crack on the right (V+) then up small overhand to a stance on the right (V), up diagonally to the right for two pitches (IV+) to a stance on smooth slabs facing west from here again left for 2 or 3 pitches to the top (IV - IV+)

N19. Scala del Cielo route  -  overview  -  picture  -  picture  -  topo

First accent: Daniele Chiappa, Andrea Anati, 1978, 18 pitches, IV, J.Safsafa N face

Approach: 18 pitches, two peaks, probably possible descent left after first peak (13 pitches), highest severity IV with a delicate variation V+. This is a crest between Elio's route and the main through of wadi Shrej. 50 minutes approach from field school.

Description: Start climbing at center of buttress follows the crest to first yellow tower; proceed to upper tower then to peak in 13 pitches (IV-). Then abseil to col (piton). Here descent through hole in the floor left into cave, then climb the middle one among three parallel cracks. Reach the main crack in four pitches (IV-). Variation: after abseil climb direct 2 or 3 meters then traverse left to belay.

Descent: first walk down North, then SE into small valley (follow cairns), descending into flat enclosed valley between Safsafa and J.Mussa. Walk up (W) to col and then down to wadi Shrej. Cross the wadi, walk up to col in the Fara's chain and then down in wadi Leja. Second possibility: walk down via wadi Srej towards village (to North) (good path)

W1. Haarokh im meaara  -  overview  -  picture  -  picture  -  topo

First accent: Danny Wolfstein, Alon Parnes, 1984, 9 pitches, VI-, 5.10, J.Safsafa W face

Approach: when descending wadi Leja (below Safsafa) pass big gully separating main Safsafa from lower peak and continue 200m till first major ridge. There are 2 ways to start the route: from the bottom of the ridge and then up and left to crack that starts 30m up and then up this crack (5.6,5.7,5.7+ with much scrambling) or up crack on left (North) wall of ridge (5.7,5.8). Both routes meet here. Continue up left of 2 gully systems (40m. 5.3) to crack on (15m, 5.9). Go up wide crack/gully (40m, 5.3) to o/w crack on left. Follow this crack (5.10, 5.8, 5.7) thru small cave to top. Descent right (South) to saddle... Protection: big hexes or #4 friends. Rocks good in the hard sections

W2. The silk way (derech HaMeshi)  -  overview  -  picture  -  picture  -  topo

First accent: Danny Wolfstein, Alon Newton, 1985, 10 pitches, 350m, V+, 5.9, J.Safsafa W face

Approach: the route is located on the W face, about 500m up the valley from opposite the ridge of "Scala del Cielo".

Description: Start below a big smooth block (100m up the wall). Climb a hand crack tending left (5.7) to left of block. Continue up a series of cracks rising left, passing block on left (5.8) and then 2 pitches right up easy gullies (5.4) till large (2m wide) gully, going left up this 1 pitch (5.4) to right facing layback corner. Climb this for 20m (5.9 crux) to large ledge. Continue in system of easy cracks (3-4 pitches 5.7) to top.

Descent: go left (North) some 50m to main summit of Safsafa and then descent on ridge to large cross (same 500m) till easy descent on slabs leads to saddle of large gully going down to Farsh (valley)

S2. Helenina cesta (Helen's road)    -  overview  -  picture  -  picture  -  topo

First accent: T.Shantavy, M.Novotna, 1981, 14 pitches, IV+,  J. Safsafa, SW face

Approach: 

Description:

Descent:

S3. Via Praga    -  overview  -  picture  -  picture  -  topo

First accent: J.Kotrei, Z.Lukesh, 1981, 12 pitches, V+,  J. Safsafa, SW face

Approach: 

Description: by Shahar Kadmiel, Joel Ettinger and georg heiss, repeated in June 2004
Remarks: 
1. The original topo is correct
2.The repetition was done in 6 pitches, rather than 12 in 1981
3.The route marked on the photo is erroweous. The correct route is now marked as a dashed line rather than the dotted old line
4.The difficulty is underestimated in comparision to the standart Sinai grading; thus the flared bridging move (~25 m above the base of the route) is estimated at 5a , andthe last two pitches at 6a.
5.Towards the end of the route, the quality of the rock leaves much to bedesired but the protection is good.
6.There are several "windows" on the route, one of then,at stance 8(orig. route), is very conspicuous, 5m high by 3m wide. Called "fenster" in old description. Avoid climbing it and continue on the wall itself.
Descent:

S4. Left pillar of central depression   -  overview  -  picture  -  picture  -  topo

First accent: K. Jerhot, K. Kashpar, 1981, 8 pitches, V,  J. Safsafa, SW face

Approach: 

Description:

Descent:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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