Val­ley of the Moon


In re­cent years, there’s been a flurry of hard new big- wall free climbs on the desert sandstone of Wadi Rum, Jor­dan. “As we worked on the

Sul­tan route close to town, we en­joyed lis­ten­ing to the call to prayer as it echoed melo­di­ously off the walls and into the vast desert space around us,” says Madaleine Sorkin, pic­tured here jam­ming up the crux pitch of Sul­tan ul

Mu­jahidin ( 5.13+; 14 pitches; 1,800 feet). Eliav Nis­san and Elad Omer equipped the route in 2014– 2015, putting in long, hard days on the wall to sort out the line. In Jan­uary 2017, Sorkin joined the team, nearly red­point­ing the crux pitch. ( The red­point of the full line went to the Czech clim­bers Jachym Srb and Ma­tel Svotjka the fol­low­ing month.) “As a wo­man, I felt re­spected by our Be­douin hosts for be­ing the stronger climber in my party, and I felt in­spired to of­fer the same re­spect across our dif­fer­ent cul­tures,” says Sorkin.

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