We carried out some Internet research and found the site ClimbLebanon run by Eli Abu Tayeh with a detailed list of mixed climbs and difficulty, with links to maps to rock climbing sites. Other searches provided us with exciting images of the amazing potential for rock climbing and adventure that a trip here would be worth while.
We arrived May 13 in the late evening and did a short walk around our hotel to grab some street food and got a feel for this bustling city.
Next day we walked to many of the must see tourist sites in the downtown area, the Roman Baths ,The Blue Mosque , St Georges Cathedral and the New Souk shopping area. There is a reason they called Beirut the Paris of the middle east! We walking through the narrow back streets and were treated with cute shops, cafes and a wonderful Lebanese lunch. We continued heading east till we crossed the Beirut River, into Bourd Hammound “Armenian Distric” this is where many Western Armenians settled to built a new life. Including many of my relatives, my Grandparents lived there during WWII and Beirut is the birth place of my father.
Board Hammoud has one of the few shops to sell rock climbing equipment, Shogun Sports. We knew we must stop by a meet the owner, Adrunish Tykermanian, who was a great source of information and Introduced us to Marcin Sip who one of the main rock climbing route developers for the last four years. One of Marcin’s climbing partners John Redwine founded Beirut’s closest new climbing cliff. Over the past few years they have established more than 20 routes, some of them 3 pitches long. This is a big step for climbing in Lebanon because it allows locals to get out and climb after work or school.
Most of the over cliffs in Lebanon are in the mountain valleys north of Beirut and take more than a hour by car. They vary from just 4 routes, to some cliffs which have over 30 pitches established by Europeans while working or traveling in Lebanon.
The potential for establishing new walls near small villages is huge. Its could have a big eccomicial impact for local amenities. From hotels and even potential camping sites. The groceries and restaunant would get a boost from the climber days spent near by. Nothing like have a nice meal with beverages after a hard day on the rocks!
We chose to do a site survey here because of the excitement of going somewhere that is misunderstood and to judge it for ourselves. Lebanon was the perfect place to do this. We couldn’t have been treated better and encountered an openness and hospitality that is found few places in the world. Thank you. W&K