Mt Sinai

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Mt Sinai view at dawn

Mt Sinai view at dawn

Hiran Karunaratna

Mt Sinai (2285 m) and the midnight climb to reach the Summit for sunrise are a memorable excursion available from many Sinai resorts such as Dahab and Sharm. Muslims, Christians and Jews alike believe Moses received the 10 Commandments on top of Mt. Sinai. St Katherine's monastry at the base of the mountain has a unique library as well as the Burning Bush of biblical fame.

It is possible to climb the mountain in the middle of the night, starting at around 2.00 AM, and be on time to view the sunrise. Since you will not be the only one going to the top, you will see a chain of lights clinging to the mountain, a very special sight. Another possibility is to go up at around 8 or 9 PM the previous evening. Bedouins have started small shops on the way and at the top, so you will have something to drink and eat (cookies mostly) and at the top it's possible to hire some blankets, so you don't have to take along a sleeping bag. The climb is steep enough without one. Whatever time you go up, don't forget to bring enough water, a flashlight and some dry clothes, since the t-shirt you have worn on the way up will probably be soaked with sweat and you will need dry clothes to stay warm.

There are two different routes: one is the way the camels take and the other one consists of the so-called Steps of Repentence, 3000 steps going up. Most people take the camel route up and down, but it is nice to take the steps down. Even if you take the camel route, some way beneath the summit the normal trail meets the steps, and you will have no choice but to climb the steps up.

If you are get tired, it's possible to ride a camel up and down, but be aware that the last part of the way consists of the remaining part of the Steps of Repentance, and the camels stop at the base of these steps.

December 04, 2005 change by wendy cuijpers

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