TRAD CLIMBING ROUTES

 

Resources in trad climbing are very limited and close to non-existent. However, for the trad enthusiasts there are some places where it is possible: Hafroun, Tannourine / Ain Raha, Chabrouh, Afqa.

Here are a couple of trad climbing routes put up by Marcin Pius, Cedric Hofstetter, and the late John Redwine:

 

1- NEW ROUTES ON HAFROUN ROCK FACE NEAR LAQLOUQ

Climbs 4 – Rocktype Limestone – Altitude 1731m a.s.l

This site was put up by Marcin Pius, Cedric Hofstetter and the late John Redwine

Distance from Beirut is appr. 62.2 KM


On Friday we went again to Hafroun and put yet another trad route – so now we have four routes on this cliff. Below is combined info for those four lines.

As I wrote before there is huge potential for many trad gear routes on this face. The intention is to put many easy-ish trad gear routes for climbers who want to make a transition from sport to trad climbing. 

Counting from the right, the first route is called Reservoir Dogs and it is the first obvious line from on the right hand side of the face. The route has 3 pitches: 40m grade 3, 50m grade 4 and 20m grade 3+. At the moment there is no fixed gear on the route but I am planning to go back and put belays on natural anchors with 12mm static rope.

Next line (going left along the cliff) is Goat Lover: has two pitches, 45m grade 3+, and 55m grade 5a+. The protection on the second pitch is tricky in some places, so we are Rain Man Goat Lover Reservoir Dogs Gardener planning to put 2-3 bolts in those places. We already put a proper double bolt belay at the end of the first pitch, and at the top of the second pitch so this is now officially the rappelling line for the cliff. If you climb a different route than Goat Lover just walk along the ridge (uphill if you climbed Reservoir Dogs and downhill if you climbed Gardener or Rain Man) as close to the edge of the face as possible, until you see a cairn (see picture). The chains are on the edge of the cliff about 10m below the cairn next to obvious balcony/ledge.

The third route from the right is Rain Man. It has a rock scrambling section at the bottom (20m, grade 1+) that you could pitch if you want or just solo up until the starting crack. We roped up just below the start of the crack. There are two parallel cracks, and we used the right hand one as it was cleaner and offered great pro. The crack pitch (55m) has 5b section of climbing in the crack followed by easier terrain (grade 3+) but the rock is loose so requires great attention. Pro is OK. The rope drag was significant at the end of this pitch. You arrive at a massive ledge at the foot of a smooth wall. Move your belay to the left end of the ledge and continue climbing (second pitch) bypassing the smooth wall on the left (traversing 2 meters) so you can climb up around or on the edge of pillar.

The second pitch is 60m, grade 4, on sound rock and with great pro. You will arrive almost at the summit. Once there, rock scramble a bit more up until you can traverse easily right above and around a steep face. Then walk down along the main cliff, along the ridge till you find a cairn marking the abseiling station on top of Goat Lover. To abseil this wall using this abseil chains you will need double 60m rope (or at least double 50m but we did not check if 50m is long enough).

As I mentioned before instead of rappelling you could go to the summit, rock scrambling for maximum 150 vertical meters (easy) and then walk off easily from the top (but very prickly walk) towards south, south-west (obvious way, which we used after first two climbs) or towards south east (but we did not try it yet). But I have to admit that the rapping shortens the prickly walk significantly.

The last route is in the upper part of this cliff (Gardener). You will need to walk for 10 minutes along the cliff to get to the base of it. It starts with some rock scrambling (50-60 m or so), but if you are not comfortable with it you can pitch it (good pro if you need it). Then you get to a ledge where the climbing starts. First pitch is around 45 m (grade 3+) and ends at the tree behind a big rocky flake.

The second pitch is short (20-25m grade 2), from the tree traverse left and then go up where the wall ends quickly. Last belay is at the large ledge on top of the cliff, close to the summit (lots of crosses). The route is very easy but the protection at times is tricky. There is no fixed gear on this route yet, but I am hoping to put belays on natural anchors using 12 mm static rope soon. Return either via the path into the gully going down below the cliff or walk and rock scramble along the ridge to the abseiling station on top of the Goat Lover route.

Sunday was too warm for Nabaa Assukkar so we went to Hafroun instead - our trad cliff - to do first winter ascent there. We (John, George and I) went for Reservoir Dogs (first route established there) and despite warm conditions we had good time.

The names and grades are suggestions only. Grades are really hard to asses on the first ascent especially trad. So, please let me know if you find it easier or harder then suggested. Thanks.

Cheers
Marcin
 


2 - Trad climbing at Wadi Ain Raha, Tannourine

Please refer to this topo in the Multi-Pitch section.