Rappelling from the last dry fall
The route type:
Rappelling trip. All dry falls of this route can be easily bypassed so you can either to rappel or just to hike down the canyon.
The canyon is dry all the year round but be wary about floods during winter rains.
So, bring you own equipment to build the stations.
Drive to Neve Zohar community settlement
which is located on the highway 90, 1km to north of the "Tsomet
Zohar" junction (junction of Highway 90 and
Highway 31). A dirt road marked with blue marks branches from the
Highway 90 just opposite to the entrance to Neve Zohar settlement and leads
west to "Metsad Zohar" - an ancient Roman fortress (which is pretty
interesting and worth exploring for a ten minutes).
Park your car at "Metsad Zohar" and walk on the trail marked with red marks. The trail goes up gradually and leads to the main plateau (height gain 380m).
Eventually, after 3.4km, the trail ends at a T-junction with a trail marked with blue marks. Take the right-hand branch of the "blue" trail (actually just continue straight). After 460m the trail crosses a very flat wadi which is nahal Izrah (point 1 on the map below). Leave the marked trail and walk down the wadi for about 1.1km till the first big dry fall ("1st rappel" on the map below).
Rappelling route description:
Approaching the nahal Izrah rappelling route:
There are 6 obvious dry falls which can be either abseiled or bypassed:
R1. 20m (ledges, then vertical). Can be bypassed on the left (watch rujums)
The station can be establish on rock bulges on the right side.
There is a relatively long walk (650m)
which brings you to the edge of the second dry fall.
While approaching the edge don't follow the main channel. Keep right and climb down some rocky steps. The station is placed on the wall near the right end of broad gap. One spit is visible from the approach but the glue-in bolt is placed "behind the turn" and is invisible.
R2. 9m (vertical). Can be bypassed on the right (narrow ledge which starts just from the rappelling station)
Anchor: one glue-in bolt and one spit on the right side. *
There is a natural through hole under the glue-in bolt as well.
The next rappelling point is just couple of tens meters down the canyon.
R3. 20m (sloped, then vertical with some short and easy overhang at the very end). Can be bypassed on the left (watch rujums)
Anchor: A rope loop placed under a big boulder on the right side of the main channel.*
About 100m further you come to another dry fall:
R4. 19m (sloped). Can be bypassed on the right.
Anchor: A rope loop placed around stuck stones on the right side of the main channel.*
The next dry fall follows immediately after the previous one.
R5. 35m (sloped). Can be bypassed on the left (watch rujums)
Anchor: A rope loop placed on a stuck stone in the middle of the channel about 3m from the edge. 2 to 5 meters farther you can find another stuck stones and cracks to reinforce the station.*
About 50m further you come to the last dry fall:
R6. 40-55m depending on the place where you will establish your rappelling station (sloped, then vertical with some sloped ledge in the middle of the vertical descent). Can be bypassed on the right.
There is a long (about 15m) steep and narrow crack with stuck stones which leads to the edge of the wall. If you plan (as we did) to establish the station as close to the edge as possible you should fix an auxiliary rope for the safety reason (15-17m long rope would be enough). There is a some (honestly bad-looking...) through hole under small stuck stones near the edge. (Must be backed up by means of the fixed rope coming from above!) In such a case your rappel is 40m long only. *
Fixing a rope to approach to the edge
R6 rappelling station (the "bad-looking through hole")
A view from the rappelling station
From below the wall continue straight down for 150m to join the trail marked with black marks. Hike the trail to the dirt road, leading back to "Metsad Zohar" (2km from the last rappel to the fortress).
Actually this exit hike is the most impressive part of the trip in terms of natural beauty. The landscape with all these white laminated towers and green acacia trees is strikingly beautiful:
***** - 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...