Desert Rock: Wadi Rum or Red Rocks
Desert rock is a stunning climbing experience: guaranteed good weather, rock that’s generally some of the best around, an environment that is harsh and beautiful…
There are 2 areas that are personal favourites of mine. Wadi Rum in Jordan is a wild area of sandstone canyons, easily accessible by a flight to Amman and then Aqaba, and based in the village of Rum itself. I was lucky to be working with Tony Howard at Troll for many years, who put Rum on the rock climbing map. The routes are up to 14 pitches long, and their length requires an alpine approach to navigating and time keeping!
The base in Rum is the village itself, and the routes are mostly within walking distance, though there are also some great trips like the Burdah rock bridge or the Barrah canyon accessed by Bedouin four wheel drive, or by camel if you fancy a more relaxed approach. A night out in the desert is a must.
At the other end of the cultural scale, Red Rocks near Las Vegas is a place of wild contrast. Within an hour of the strip in Las Vegas with its casinos and associated full-on madness, there are rock routes from single pitch to 10 or 12 pitches in a tranquil land of deep canyons and towering walls. I visited the place on holiday with Mike “Twid” Turner in 2007 and came away very impressed with its potential as a mid grade climbing venue. A week here can easily be combined with a big wall experience in Zion just a few hours drive away in Utah.