HOMEPAGE

Nahal Sdakim (Orion)

Judean Desert

 

Sdakim 0-0 Main - from 3rd fall

A view from the 3rd dry fall

 

 

The route quality:   ***   

 

 

The route type:

   

Rappelling trip.

The canyon is dry all the year round but be wary about floods during winter rains.

All dry falls are equipped with anchors (mostly with climbing bolts and rings to pull the rope). *  

 

 

Getting there:

 

Drive on the road number 90 along Dead Sea to the south till a junction with the side road that leads to Mitzpe Shalem village and "Ahava" plant.

If you want to leave your car at the end of the route, continue to drive on the main road for 1.9km after the junction. Just after

the road mark 254km (coordinates on the trails map, black grid: 105.84, 187.69) you will arrive to the mouth of Sdakim canyon.

For the starting point drive to Mitzpe Shalem village and park your car in the village or nearby.

From here you have two options to get to nahal Sdakim:

 

1. The shorter and the harder one: you can climb the Maale Hatzatzon ridge (4.7km from Mitzpe Shalem). From Mitzpe Shalem walk down along the north bank of nahal Hatzatzon looking for a place where you can get to the floor and then cross the wadi. Climb up the south bank to a less steep terrain and then traverse the lower slopes of Maale Hatzatzon keeping west - to under the rocky band of the main ridge. No obvious trail found by us under the rocky band, so keep right (west) and follow easiest way when climbing it (grade 2 rocks). Be aware of some loose rocks in very last section of the band, it may cause you uncomfortable feeling. Little climbing skills would be advisable. The ridge is much less steep above the first rocky band and a trail with rujums runs along it. At the very end you should negotiate another steep section (grade 2) with mostly good rock and you are there…

 

 

Sdakim 0-1 approach

Going up the Maale Hatzatzon ridge

 

Sdakim 0-2 approach

Maale Hatzatzon ridge with Mitzpe Shalem in the background

 

 

 

 

 

Once on the plateau follow a dirt road marked with green marks until it crosses the wadi of nahal Sdakim.

Allow approximately 2.5 hours for this approach.

 

2. The longer but the easier one: you can go around nahal Hatzatzon (7.8km from Mitzpe Shalem). The description below is about this option.

Take the obvious trail marked with blue marks that starts just in front of the Mitzpe Shalem main gate and leads up to the main plateau and then to the upper approaches of nahal Hatzatzon. Walk along the canyon of Hatzatzon till the place marked with a big information-board that signs the entering point into nahal Hatzatzon. The wadi of Hatzatzon is very flat and wide here. Leave the dirt road and turn into the wadi. Follow down the wadi for about 900m till a conjunction of the main wadi with a very obvious canyon coming from the right side (from the south). Right at the conjunction climb the south slopes of Hatzatzon to the plateau above and then keep south-south-east following up the small side wadies of nahal Hatzatzon. There are no obvious reference points on the plateau so just go in the mentioned direction and keep in mind that nahal Sdakim is the next big wadi to the south from Hatzatzon. GPS or compass (such a small ancient widget with a funny dancing arrow...) would be advisable.  

At some point you will cross a dirt road marked with green marks that is running on the watershed between Hatzatzon and Sdakim. After crossing the road continue to walk in the same direction and then follow down any dry bed as all of them flow into the main wadi of nahal Sdakim.

 

 

Sdakim 0-3 approach

Maale Hatzatzon seen from above Mitzpe Shalem

 

Sdakim 0-4 approach

A view of nahal Hatzatzon from its south slopes

Sdakim 0-5 approach

On the plateau between Hatzatzon and Sdakim

 

 

 

 

A short time later you will cross the "green" dirt road for the second time. 100m down the wadi you will come across a dry fall that should be bypassed from the right side and 250m farther another small dry fall will be bypassed from the left. Immediately after that you will come to the first dry fall rappelling station.  

Allow 3 hours for this approach.

 

 

Google - Sdakim

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Route description:

 

 

Google - Sdakim1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There are up to 14 dry falls that can be abseiled. 12 of them (more or less unavoidable) are described here:

 

 

1.  26m, overhanging

There are two bolts (both of them with rings to pull the rope) in the right wall near the edge. *

 

 

Sdakim 1st fall 1

The 1st dry fall rappelling station

 

Sdakim 1st fall 2

Rappelling down the 1st dry fall

Sdakim 1st fall 3

The 1st dry fall

 

 

 

 

2.  55m; stepped:  13m vertical and 2m overhanging followed by a ledge, then 15 vertical followed by another wide ledge and then final 25m of vertical wall.

There are two bolts (both of them with rings to pull the rope) on rocks on the left side. *

Attention! Be careful while rappelling as the wall is very loose and stones fall. Be careful while pulling the rope because the friction is high and the significant danger of rope to be stuck is present.

Our rope got stuck while pulling that has forced me to practice in some "jumaring"... 

 

 

Sdakim 2nd fall 1

The 2nd dry fall rappelling station

 

Sdakim 2nd fall 2

The 2nd dry fall

 

 

 

 

 

After a number of tens meters from the 2nd fall you will come to a pair of dry falls that can be easily bypassed from the right side. The 3rd dry fall rappelling station is at the foot of the second bypassed dry fall. 

 

3.  8m (vertical)

There is a bolt with the ring to pull the rope in the right wall near the edge. *

 

 

Sdakim 3rd fall 1

The 3rd dry fall rappelling station

 

Sdakim 3rd fall 2

The 3rd dry fall

Sdakim 3rd fall 3

Walking from 3rd dry fall to the 4th one

 

 

 

 

Following 7 dry falls are coming one after another, sometimes separated by a short chain of waterholes no one of which requires wetting your shoes.

 

4.  12m (vertical and sloped)

There are two bolts (both of them with rings to pull the rope) in the right wall near the edge. *

 

 

Sdakim 4th fall 1

The 4th dry fall rappelling station

 

Sdakim 4th fall 2

Rappelling down the 4th dry fall

Sdakim 4th fall 3

The 4th dry fall

 

 

 

 

 

5.  23m (vertical)

There are two bolts (one of them with a ring to pull the rope) in the right wall near the edge. *

 

 

Sdakim 4th to 5th fall 1

Waterholes between 4th and 5th dry falls

 

Sdakim 5th fall 1

The 5th dry fall rappelling station

Sdakim 5th fall 2

The 5th dry fall

 

 

 

 

 

6.  15m (very sloped, can be easily down climbed)

There is a single bolt with no ring on the left side near the edge and there is a 3mm steel cable loop with a ring to pull the rope - on the wall farther from the edge. *

 

 

Sdakim 6th fall 1

The 6th dry fall rappelling station

 

Sdakim 6th fall 2

The 6th dry fall rappelling station

Sdakim 6th fall 3

Climbing down the 6th dry fall

 

 

 

 

 

7.  20m (sloped).

There are two bolts (one of them with a ring to pull the rope) in the left wall near the edge. *

 

 

Sdakim 7th fall 1

A view from the 7th dry fall rappelling station

 

Sdakim 7th fall 2

The 7th dry fall rappelling station

Sdakim 7th fall 3

The 7th dry fall

 

 

 

 

 

8.  30m (sloped).

There are two bolts (one of them with a ring to pull the rope) in the left wall near the edge. *

 

 

Sdakim 8th fall 1

The 8th dry fall rappelling station

 

Sdakim 8th fall 2

Rappelling down the 8th dry fall

Sdakim 8th fall 3

The 8th dry fall

 

 

 

 

 

9.  11m (sloped, can be down climbed)

Two bolts on the floor near the edge. The bolts are connected by 3mm steel cable loop with a ring to pull the rope. *

 

 

Sdakim 9th fall 1

A view from the 9th dry fall rappelling station

 

Sdakim 9th fall 2

The 9th dry fall rappelling station

Sdakim 9th fall 3

The 9th dry fall

 

 

 

 

 

10.  Less then 40m (one third vertical and then overhangs).

Two bolts on the floor near the edge. One of the bolts is equipped with a ring to pull the rope. *

 

 

Sdakim 10th fall 1

A view from the 10th dry fall rappelling station

 

Sdakim 10th fall 2

The 10th dry fall

Sdakim 10th fall 3

Rappelling down the 10th dry fall

 

 

 

 

From the foot of the 10th dry fall you have to walk (sometimes to scramble and to climb down...) for about 800m in order to get to the final cascade of dry falls. Midway, there is a small (4m) dry fall equipped with a rappelling station which is not really needed as the fall can be climbed down easily.

 

11.  13m (vertical and sloped).

There is a single bolt with a ring to pull the rope found on a big boulder on the left side near the edge. As well there is a tree with some old rope loops on it. *

 

 

Sdakim 11th fall 1

The 11th dry fall rappelling station

 

Sdakim 11th fall 2

A view from the 11th dry fall

Sdakim 11th fall 3

Rappelling down the 11th dry fall

 

Sdakim 11th fall 4

The 11th dry fall

 

 

12.  4m (vertical)

There is a single bolt with a ring to pull the rope - on the floor a couple meters from the edge. *

Actually this dry fall can be easily bypassed from the right side.

 

 

Sdakim 12th fall 1

The 12th dry fall rappelling station

 

Sdakim 12th fall 2

The 12th dry fall

 

 

 

 

 

There are two more dry falls just before coming to the main road, but they are so miserable and the bypass from the left side so obvious and inviting that it seems a little idiotic to complicate one's life with a rappelling...

Nevertheless, there is a rappelling station in form of a steel cable loop around a boulder. *

If you decide to rappel keep in the mind that you will be perfectly seen from the main road and this route is not on the list of allowed rappelling routes... 

 

 

Sdakim 13th fall 1

The last (bypassed) dry falls rappelling station

 

Sdakim 13th fall 2

A view from the bypassed rappelling station

Sdakim 13th fall 3

A view back on the bypassed dry falls

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The route quality:

 

*****  - The only one of its kind. A "must do" trip!

****    - Very interesting, highly recommended!

***      - Pretty nice route.

**        - Inexpressive one.

*          - Do it if you have nothing to do...

 

 

* Pay attention! The information is updated for May 2017. Try to check it before starting on your trip.