Shifting Sands: The Bedouin Climbers of Wadi Rum, Jordan

By Climbing Staff ,

“Some places in the world you just want to be away from everything, it’s nice to not have any people. Wadi Rum isn’t like that at all—it’s as much about the people here as it is about the actual desert.” —Rob Durran

A tale of the friendship and camaraderie shared between the Bedouin community and climber Rob Durran, Shifting Sands takes us on a journey into the sandstone towers, or ‘jebels," of Wadi Rum, peering into thousands of years of climbing history.

For the last fifteen years, Rob Durran has been one of the most active and prolific climbers to frequent the area. Hosted by the Bedouin on each of his trips, he’s formed a bond and a relationship with these "cheeky, honorable, proud nomads," finding a community of people both young and old that puts climbing at its very heart, just for different reasons.

On a previous trip to Wadi Rum, Rob noticed signs of an old Bedouin route marked by a pile of stones at the base of a mountain. In Shifting Sands, Rob teams up with Abdallah Al-Zalabeh, a Bedouin tribesman and founder of Wadi Rum's first climbing club in order to return to see where the route leads.

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