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.
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.
The trail marked with black marks starts from the parking lot. It follows the road that leads to Masada Visitor Center for some 200m and that turns left to "Maale Elazar" ascent.
Ascent with the trail to Mount Elazar plateau and walk west along the edge (400m of height gain; the views of Masada are great; ruins of the Roman camp up on the plateau).
Eventually the trail turns to south and after 1km of easy walking crosses a stream bed. This is nahal Kanaim and the rappelling trip starts here.
Provide 1.5-2 hours for approach.
Leave the marked trail and follow the canyon for 850m till the first big dry fall.
There are up to 4 dry falls to be abseiled:
1. 28m (vertical, then 8-10m overhang)
Anchor: one self-made spit on the right side. It can be easily reinforced putting a rope loop under a big boulder just above. *
The 2nd and the 3rd dry falls (immediately one after the other) are just 50m down the canyon.
2. 20m if measured from the spit (sloped)
Anchor: one self-made spit in the wall opposite to the edge, on the right side. Options to reinforce the station are scarce: there are only narrow cracks hardly suitable for stoppers. We used a small camming device ("friend") for first rappellers. *
The third dry fall is just under the second one.
3. 55m (vertical with ledges, then sloped; last 8-10m can be down climbed)
Anchor: one self-made spit behind the large bolder, which rises in the middle of the "saddle". The spit is not visible from the edge saddle, so climb down around the bolder from the left side (black arrow on the picture below).
Another option (which we used, because we didn't found the spit till I started to rappel…) is to place a rope loop around a stuck stone on the right side (white arrow on the picture below).
Anyway, keep left side throwing rope and while rappelling and don't enter into a narrow gully on the right side.
Be careful while rappelling because of some loose rocks on the wall!
Walk (and sometimes down climb) another 500m along the canyon till the 4th dry fall
On the way to 4th dry fall:
4. 5m (vertical in a narrow gully)
Station: you can put a rope loop on a lug
("hourglass") on the right side. *
This dry fall can be down climbed either through the gully (harder) or down the face on the left side (easier)
From below the 4th dry fall walk through the
lower conglomerate part of nahal Kanaim for some 200-300m and use first
suitable "feeble" in the left wall to get out of the canyon.
Hike north, following more or less obvious trails till the parking lot of Masada (approximately 1.7km).
Walking through the lower part of nahal Kanaim
A view of "carved plains" from a trail
between nahal Kanaim and
***** - 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...