As we are heading down Highway 20 through Tel Aviv, I realize that I will not see these skyscrapers again. The drive marks the end of our climbing trip in Israel. Right now I do not mind the soldiers who are standing at the bus stops on the highway anymore.
“Why Israel?”, was the reaction of my friends when I told them that I am about to go to the Middle East. To me the answer was clear: Apparently there are a lot of amazing climbing areas. Nine friends of mine joined me and we decided to check out Israel’s climbing potential together. In fact this trip was Heiko’s idea. He met an Israeli climber, Or Wechsler, at the climbing world cups and talked with him about the rock in his home country. Or was very happy that foreign climbers are interested to see his areas and volunteered to be our guide for the time we were there. This is how the idea of a trip to Israel was born. We climbed in a lot of different areas all around the country. But the first one left the most impression on me. Maybe because it was our first day. We drove through Jerusalem and suddenly we saw a huge wall, which we passed. We entered Palestine’s West Bank. The difference was obvious: Worse houses, worse cars, not a lot of electricity at night. We drove into a Jewish settlement and told the guards that we would go bird-watching, which is more accepted than climbing. We parked our cars and hiked back out of the settlement and through agrarian fields of the Palestinians. We talked a lot about the history of the country and about nowadays’ situation. At home I never quiet grasped what the Israeli settlement policy means. Now that I drove through the gate, stood in this area and looked outside the barbwire I got a better picture of this situation. On both sides people want to live their lives.
Climbingwise we saw a lot of different areas all around the country. My favourite was “Keshet Cave”, which has long routes on great limestone. I also like the oldest area, called “Gitta” a lot, because it's climbs are powerful and short. All in all climbing in Israel offers a great variety and I am happy that I paid this interesting and exciting country a visit. I have to say that without Or’s help everything would have been more complicated, therefore a huge THANK YOU goes out to him!