Nahal Ben Yair
Rappelling R4 (the 2nd pitch of the main
The route type:
The canyon is dry all the year round but be wary about floods during winter rains.
You must have your own equipment to reinforce existing stations, bring maillons and ropes to connect between spits.
It is possible to get to the route either
from up - from Arad via road 3199, or from down - via road 90. This description
refers to the second option which looks most logical and convenient.
Drive on the road number 90 along Dead Sea to Masada junction, turn to Masada National Park and park at a big parking lot just before the main entrance barrier.
From the parking lot walk as for the famous "Snake Path" which climbs up to Masada. After 500m a trail marked with red marks branches to the right. Follow this red trail as it runs north skirting the Masada mountain. After 1300m a trail marked with green marks branches to the left. Leave the red trail and follow green marks that lead up to the main plateau and to the upper Masada parking (end of the road 3199, coming from Arad). The climb involves 260m of height gain. Follow the paved road 3199 for 800m to the point where a trail marked with blue marks branches to the right. Follow the blue trail for 1km to the point where it crosses a distinct wadi. It is the entrance point into nahal Ben Yair.
Provide about 2 hours for the approach (5.5km and 390m of height gain).
Leave the marked trail and follow the canyon for 150m till the first small (7-8m) rocky drop which can be bypassed on the right side easily:
Walk another 100m to the first rappelling spot.
There are 4 walls in the canyon involving 5 rappels:
R1. 9m (vertical)
Anchor: one self-made spit on the right
By the way, the dry fall seems to be climbable down, but why you should do it in the presence of a spit...
The second dry fall is found just at the foot of the first one.
R2. 24m (mostly vertical with 2-3m overhang in the last part)
Anchors: 3 self-made spits in the wall on the right side. *
It seems possible to escape the canyon after the second rappelling (ascending slopes on the right side), but we didn’t check this option.
Walk 250-300m down the canyon to the head of the main wall which is 72m high. It should be divided into 2 pitches: 47m and 25m because of a huge prickly three growing on the ledge on which you land on after 47m of rappelling. It looks impossible to pull the rope through such an obstacle.
R3. 47m (vertical, then 25m overhang)
Anchors: 3 self-made spits in the flat floor of the canyon on the left side.
It is highly advisable to bring your maillon to the edge as close as possible (not as we did, as you can see on the picture below…). It’s really important because of the significant friction which develops while you pull the rope standing on the ledge below.
Be careful while rappelling (especially with your friends staying on the ledge below) because of some loose rocks on the wall!
R4. 25m (vertical)
Station: a rope loop on the tree. *
The 5th (and last…) dry fall is located about 30 meters from the foot of the 4th one. The approach involves descent through the blocks on the right side - to an intermediate ledge. There is a spit here and a long rope (10-12m) with a myllon at the end was fixed to it. Thus, the beginning of the descent was taken far down - to a convenient ledge at the very edge of the cliff. In between there are additional points (spits and natural features about 5-6m from the edge) are used to reinforce the station.
R5. 55m (alternately vertical and overhanging sections without getting far from the wall)
Anchors: multiple spits and options for
natural anchoring. *
From the foot of the last dry fall you have some happy bouldering experience for about 150m and then an easy 1km walk brings you the “red” trail.
Follow the trail to the Masada parking
***** - 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...