5.13 on Jordanian Sandstone


Heidi Wirtz checks out the view near the team’s desert camp.

The experience on these routes convinced the North Americans to look for a new route that would go with traditional gear where possible but use bolts to protect the blankest and best rock. They chose a long black streak on the same wall that holds La Guerre Sainte. After three long easy pitches, they reached steeper rock with a 30-meter 5.10+ lead protected by threads and two bolts placed on the lead. After another, mostly bolted 5.11a pitch, Wirtz took the lead for a steep 5.11c pitch. “Having gained some experience drilling on lead…in Morocco, Heidi was tready to tacked the steep, pocketed ground that lay ahead,” Kalous wrote in an email. “Employing hooks and bold free climbing, she climbed the 35-meter pitch in great style, often drilling from very difficult stances and brittle hooks.” 

The ground ahead was thinner and steeper, and the 40-meter seventh pitch required 18 bolts and went at 5.12a. This pitch intersected a classic line called Muezzin, and the lead climbers were careful to cross it at a ledge, so they could avoid placing bolts on the existing route. 

The last pitch aimed up a body-wide streak of bulletproof black varnish that they nicknamed Bahka Lahka Dahka Street (a Team America reference). After aiding up few meters, Kalous realized it would be next to impossible to find stances, even with hooks, in the shallow groove they were following. Since ropes were already fixed to the top for filming, they decided to rehearse the pitch and bolt it. During several days of filming and redpointing the lower pitches, the team worked on the final crux, which involved intense smearing and balancy stemming. 

Kalous was convinced the pitch would go free: “After two toprope ascents, I started to work out very intricate stemming beta in the three-meter crux. The concave was only slight at this part, and the "holds" were nonexistent. The advantage was that it was slightly less than vertical…. I devised a series of minuscule movements to overcome the crux section, sometimes moving my feet and hands in opposition several times to gain just a few inches.” On his last day on the route, with the draws in place, he managed to redpoint the 35-meter pitch. The route has not had a continuous free ascent. 

Date of Ascent: March 2007 

Sources: Heidi Wirtz, Chris Kalous

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