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Jebel Rum, Sultan Ul-Mujahadin

A very difficult new free route on the east face of Jebel Rum (1,754m) was redpointed in February 2017. In 2014, climbers Eliav Nissan (Israel-USA) and Elad Omer (Israel) began work on the 14-pitch, roughly 1,800’ route. Over two winters and seemingly endless days of determining the line, cleaning soft, loose rock, and placing fixed protection, Nissan and Omer worked doggedly to establish a challenging yet relatively well-protected route, close to the village of Rum, which would attract strong climbers to Wadi Rum. In collaboration with their local Bedouin host and friend Muhammad Hussain, the route was named Sultan ul-Mujahidin, meaning “spiritual warrior,” a name meant with good intent by these good men.

In January 2017, I joined Nissan and Omer with the aim of freeing the line. We decided to circumvent the difficulties of the original fifth pitch with a variation to the right, making the third and fourth pitch the hardest. I freed the third pitch at 5.13 and set to work with Omer on the fourth pitch. The rock is a delicate sandstone, and we added a little glue (as little as possible) on critical holds so they can bear future free climbing impacts. With the route prepared and all pitches freed aside from the fourth, I spent two more days attempting to redpoint the crux pitch. I came heartbreakingly close before it was time to leave. We proposed a grade of 5.13+.

The following month, two climbers from the Czech Republic, Jachym Srb and Matej Svotjka, obtained a blessing and topo from Omer and gave a very impressive effort to free the route. First, they worked on pitches three and four for several days, then made a continuous two-day free ascent. Srb and Svotjka praised the first ascensionists for their work on the line, saying it has some of the best climbing they’d ever done.

– Madalein Sorkin, USA