Nahal Yaelim

Judean Desert


Yaelim 0.0 Main.JPG



The route quality:   ***   



The route type:


Rappelling trip.

The canyon is dry almost all the year round but some water pools are possible during the rainy season. Be wary about floods during winter rains.

All rappelling stations are equipped with either glue-in bolts or spits. *

Bring your own rope loops to connect the bolts and to reinforce some stations.


Getting there:


Drive on the road number 90 along Dead Sea to the south. If you have more than one car, leave one car at the mouth of nahal Yaelim (4.3km before hotels area of Ein Bokek. Point 3). Continue to drive south.

At about 212km road mark you will arrive to the entrance of Ein Bokek hotels area. Park your car here.

Follow the marked trail (red marks) that gradually climbs to the main plateau and turns into a dirt road when on the plateau. Follow the dirt road till a junction with another dirt road marked with black marks and turn right to the "black" road. From here follow the "black" dirt road for some 2.5km until a T-junction and turn left to the "blue" road and 100m after that turn right to the "green" one. After about 200m the dirt road marked with green marks crosses an obvious wadi and this is nahal Yaelim (Point 2). Follow down the bed of the wadi (which is pretty narrow in places) for 1km and you come to the first rappelling spot of the canyon.

Alternative approach: you can hike up the “Maale Yair” dirt road (blue marks) all the way from road 90 to the main plateau. Once reaching a monument (in memory of Yair Peled), leave the road and pass directly to the main wall of the canyon. This approach is significantly shorter but I didn’t try it.

Allow about 2 hours for the approach (about 1.5 hour for the alternative one). Height gain is 420m.



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Route description:



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In winter you can found some water pits on the last part of the approach (all easily fordable):


Yaelim 0.1 approach.JPG









There are up to 5 dry falls to be abseiled:


First short 20m rappell leads to the edge of the main wall of the canyon (126m high) which normally should be descended in a single rappell. There is an option to split it into two rappells (26-30m and then 96-100m) but I definitely wouldn't recommend it because of the nature of the intermediate station.


R1.  20m – stepped (10m vertical, than about 7m horizontal and then the last drop of some 2-3m).

Anchor: two glue-in bolts on the right side of the narrow fissure which leads to the edge of the main wall. *


Yaelim 1st fall 1.jpg

R1 rappelling station


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R1 rappelling station







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R1 rappell


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R1 rappell leads to the edge of the main wall and R2 rappelling station






R2.  126m (26-30m of sloped to vertical “gutter”, then 96-100m overhang)

Anchor: two glue-in bolts on the right side near the edge. *

The bolts are placed in very appropriate manner which allows to retrieve ropes relatively easy (it doesn’t take for granted for almost 130m long pitch…).
There is an intermediate rappelling station at the end of the “gutter” (described below).



Yaelim 2nd fall 1.JPG

R2 rappelling station


Yaelim 2nd fall 2.JPG

R2 rappelling station and the “gutter”





As said above, there is an intermediate rappelling station placed at the very end of the “gutter” just before the overhang part of the wall.
Pay attention! I definitely wouldn't recommend to use it for following reasons:
- There are two not certificated spits only with no possibility to reinforce the station using natural anchors.
- You cannot double the rope which links between the spits, you can only replace it with a new one.
- The station is hanging. Clipping to the next rope may be problematic for not fully competent canyoneers.

Don’t rely on this option! Acquire 130m rope, come and do it in the safe manner.



Yaelim 2nd fall 3 (R2a).JPG

R2 rappelling station (white arrow) and the intermediate station (black arrow)


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The intermediate rappelling station






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Rappelling from the main wall (R2)


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Rappelling from the main wall (R2)






From the foot of the main wall you go through a long boulders field, then the terrain becomes easier:



Yaelim 2nd to 3rd 1.JPG


Yaelim 2nd to 3rd 2.JPG






After 500m of varied scrambling and hiking through the beautiful canyon you come to a pretty sloped and stepped drop which is for some not so obvious reason was equipped with a rappelling station.


R3.  17m - stepped (very easy slope, then horizontal, then 2-3m of more steep drop)

Anchor: one glue-in bolt and one spit on the right side. *



Yaelim 3rd fall 1.JPG

3rd dry fall rappelling station


Yaelim 3rd fall 2.JPG

Rappelling from the 3rd dry fall


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Rappelling from the 3rd dry fall




This descent leads into a wide water pit (a chance of water after heavy rains...) at the steep other side of which the next rappelling station is placed.
As the necessity of R3 station is questionable but it is present and is being in an excellent shape, the R4 station seems to be really essential but the bolts are flattened by some morons. Sorry for being rude... 


R4.  20m (sloped with 2m overhang at the very end)

Anchor: two glue-in bolts on the right side flattened by some inadequate guys. Only a tape or 6mm rope can be used. *



Yaelim 4th fall 1.JPG

R4 rappelling station viewed from R3


Yaelim 4th fall 2.JPG

R4 rappelling station






Yaelim 4th fall 3.JPG

R4 rappel


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R4 rappel






Another 500m of walking (and sometimes down climbing...) brings you to the last rappelling spot.



Yaelim 4th to 5th 1.JPG


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R5.  20m, sloped.

Anchor: one serviceable spit and the other one - not really. *



Yaelim 5th fall 1.JPG

R5 rappelling station


Yaelim 5th fall 2.JPG

R5 rappel


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R5 rappel




From the foot of the last rappel hike another 1.25km down the canyon to get to the main road.




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 December 2017. Try to check it before starting on your trip.