HOMEPAGE

Nahal Asael

Judean Desert

 

 

Asael 0.0 Main.JPG

Lower nahal Asael

 

 

 

The route quality:   ***  

 

 

The route type:

   

Rappelling trip.

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

Some rappelling stations are equipped with bolts while others are not. Be prepared to build stations on natural anchors. *  

Attention: this route is not on the list of officially allowed rappelling routes. Take it into the account while making your decision. 

 

Getting there:

 

Drive on road 90 along Dead Sea to Nahal Mishmar that is between Ein Gedi and Masada.
Between road marks 235km & 234km a side dirt road branches to the west and leads up the wadi of Nahal Mishmar. This dirt road is marked with red marks. There is a night campground 100-200m farther on this road. The safest spot to leave your car is here or near the main road.
Generally speaking, you have 2 options to get to the upper reaches of nahal Asael. The first is fairly straightforward but longer, while another is pretty hard and not so obvious but it is shorter.

1. Via the ascent “Maale Mishmar”. It is the obvious but longer approach. Follow the nahal Mishmar trail marked with red marks all the way till “Maale Mishmar” and then ascent to the main plateau. While on the plateau, continue to follow red marks for 1km or so. The first obvious wadi your trail crosses on the plateau is nahal Asael. If you have GPS, you can cut directly to point 6 (31° 24' 04.5"N 35° 20' 34.4"E; see the approach map below).
Overall: 7-8km, the height gain 600m, allow 4 hours.

2. Via the ascent “Maale Asael” (another name: “Maale Sakinei Mishmar”). It is much more adventurous approach. Take in account that there is a very faint trail, if any, all the way up (especially in the beginning) so having a GPS is essential. Leave the nahal Mishmar trail at point 1 (31° 22' 49.6"N  35° 21' 59.3"E), cross the plain and climb up a loose slope to a big and prominent rujum which signs the start of the steep ascent (point 2, 31° 23' 20.0"N 35° 21' 32.9"E). The faint trail is present. The steepest part of the ascent goes along an obvious ridge (sometimes wide, sometimes as narrow as knife – “sakin”). The point 3 (31° 23' 23.1"N  35° 21' 26.3"E) serves as a reference. You have to climb grade II rocks in a couple of places. The ascent ends on a “summit ridge” (point 4, 31° 23' 23.8"N 35° 21' 11.5"E), which leads to the main plateau. While on the plateau, keep north to the edge of the Asael canyon (point 5, 31° 23' 46.1"N 35° 21' 06.3"E). Then follow the edge of the canyon in the west direction till point 6 (31° 24' 04.5"N 35° 20' 34.4"E) where you can easily descent into the canyon close to the first rappelling spot. Go down the canyon for about 100m till the first rappel.
Overall: 6km, the height gain 600m, allow 3.5-4 hours.

 

 

 

Asael map - approach.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

 

   

The approach via “Maale Asael” (“Maale Sakinei Mishmar”) ascent:

 

Asael 0.1 approach.JPG

Ascending the “Maale Asael”

 

Asael 0.2 approach.JPG

Ascending the “Maale Asael”

 

Asael 0.3 approach.JPG

Ascending the “Maale Asael”

 

 

 

 

Asael 0.4 approach.JPG

On the “summit ridge” which leads to the plateau

 

Asael 0.5 approach.JPG

A view on nahal Asael from the approach

 

Asael 0.6 approach.JPG

In nahal Asael

 

 

 

 

  

Route description:

 

 

Asael map - route.JPG

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There are 4 rappels in this canyon:


R1.  18m (vertical)

There are two expansion bolts with a mailon on the far right. Natural anchoring is possible but be prepared for longer rappel. *

 

 

Asael 1st fall 1.JPG

The R1 rappelling station

 

Asael 1st fall 2.JPG

The 1st rappel

 

 

 

 


The edge of the main wall is about 150m meters from the foot of the first rappel. There is a small nice arch in between that you should pass through.

 

Asael 1st fall to 2nd fall 1.JPG

The “small nice arch”

 

Asael 1st fall to 2nd fall 2.JPG

On the way to R2

 

 

 

 

The rappelling station R2 is located inside a narrow channel which leads to the edge of the main wall.

 

R2.  125m (about 80m vertical, then 20m of overhanging which ends on a big terrace, then stepped descent onto the second terrace)

As for now, the station must be established on natural anchors. The most obvious option: a big lug on the left side. *
The rappel leads to a huge first terrace some 100m below, followed by a stepped descent to the second terrace, where the next station is placed.
It seems pretty obvious that it is possible to set an intermediate station on the first terrace if you haven’t 125m ropes, but we had them and the option is not finally proved…
There are loose rocks on the wall. Be careful while rappelling!

 

 

Asael 2nd fall 1.JPG

Approaching to the R2 rappelling station

 

Asael 2nd fall 2.JPG

The R2 rappelling station

 

Asael 2nd fall 3.JPG

The R2 rappelling station

 

 

 

Asael 2nd fall 4.JPG

The R2 rappel

 

Asael 2nd fall 5.JPG

The rappel onto the second terrace and R3 rappelling station

 

 

 

 

The second terrace is not high, but steep. There is a single expansion bolt with the hanger (“ear”) on the far right.

 

R3.  6m (vertical)

A single expansion bolt with the hanger. *
This step can be down-climbed with a caution. Not recommended for the first.

 

 

Asael 3rd fall 1.JPG

The R3 rappelling station

 

Asael 3rd fall 2.JPG

The R3 rappel

 

 

 

Walk down the wide canyon through boulders for 1km. Eventually the canyon narrows and after 50-100m you come to a dry fall which should be descended by rappelling.
Important: An “escape trail” starts on the right side just before the canyon gets narrow. The trail runs high on the right-hand slopes till the very exit from the canyon.

 

Walking between the main wall and R4:

 

Asael 3rd fall to 4th fall 1.JPG

 

Asael 3rd fall to 4th fall 2.JPG

 

Asael 3rd fall to 4th fall 3.JPG

 

 

 

R4.  24m (mostly vertical)

There are 2 expansion bolts in left wall near the edge and 2 artificial spits interconnected by a metal cable with a ring for last rappeller. *

 

 

Asael 4th fall 1.JPG

Approaching to the R4 rappelling station

 

Asael 4th fall 2.JPG

The R4 rappelling station

 

 

 

 

Asael 4th fall 3.JPG

A view from the R4 rappelling station

 

Asael 4th fall 4.JPG

The R4 rappel

 

 

 

 

Walk for 1km till the exit from the canyon and then cross the plains keeping Sought-East to your car parking spot (another 2.7km).

 

 

Asael Exit 1.JPG

Walking in the lower stretches of nahal Asael

 

Asael Exit 2.JPG

Walking in the lower stretches of nahal Asael

 

 

 

 

 

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 February 2019. Try to check it before starting on your trip.