I was so excited to find out that you can go rock climbing in Palestine! Having used indoor rock-climbing walls once in a while, it was great to do some proper climbing outdoors... and the best thing is that the site is only a 15 minute drive from Ramallah and as such it does not need to be a full-on day trip that requires lots of planning, and real enthusiasts could go before work...
The climbing scene here is really in its infancy - but two enthusiastic Americans have a vision to make climbing a more popular sport here. Over the last nine months, the guys from Wadi Climbing have equipped a number of spots around Ramallah with climbing facilities, which really just means drilling holes into the rock and adding bolts to make routes. They were making routes when we went with them as well.
Wadi Climbing attracts both a Palestinian (~70%) and an international crowd (~30%), and I was surprised by the number of expert rock climbers in the group!
According to the pros, the site we visited is very decent, both for beginners and experienced climbers, and this particular one also offers shade after midday, which is perfect because temperatures are now around 30 degrees during the day.
It is also nice to know that Palestine has very few dangerous creatures, so the chances of coming across a snake, scorpion or spider are low enough for me to risk it (and I'm very risk averse). A hawk, apparently a rare sight these days, did try to swoop down onto a local climber, but that is understandable given that he was getting quite close to the nest - a reminder that we are impacting the local wildlife in the area.
It was a fun day out and I am looking forward to going again and persuading my Palestinian friends to join. Wadi Climbing aims to make this a sustainable business and hand ownership to the local community over the next year or so. They are also working with local investors to obtain funding to build an indoor rock climbing centre.