On Top of Mt Sinai

There are two ways of getting to the summit of Mt Sinai – and you cannot really say, the easy way and the long way.

The longer and shallower route, (Siket El Bashait), takes about 2.5 hours on foot, though camels can be used. The steeper, more direct route (Siket Sayidna Musa) is up the 3,750 “steps of penitence” in the ravine behind the monastery.

We took the “easy way” which was the longer shallower way – and I question whether it was that easy considering how we felt after riding a Camel for almost two hours. Whilst we couldn’t see, we had to trust that the camels knew where they were going. It was only as we came down the mountain in daylight did we realise that on either side of the track the camels walked along were very steep drops on either side.

As Heather was not able to come with us to the Summit, I was entrusted with Hamish so he could tell everyone about the climb. Thanks to my trusty GPS, we were able to collect some useless but interesting statistics.

  • We started just near the St Katherine Monastery at an elevation of 1543 metres at 1:11am.
  • We travelled by Camel to an elevation of 2052 metres and arrived at 3:07am
  • We relaxed and recovered in a Bedouin Hut for around 30 minutes – we were pretty sore from the Camel Ride.
  • We climbed the last 245 metres to arrive at the summit at 4:54am. Plenty of time till sunrise !! This last climb consisted of over 700 steps (of varying height). A person with reasonable fitness didn’t seem to have too many issues getting to the top.

At the top of Mt Sinai is a mosque which is still in use. There is also a Greek Orthodox Chapel which is not open to the public. I have since found out that this is the place that has the rock which is considered to be the source of the “Tablets of Stone”. Also at the summit is a Cave which is where it is believed that Moses waited to receive the Ten Commandments.

Once we arrived at the top of Mt Sinai, I couldn’t get over the number of people at the summit – by the time sunrise was to start it was almost standing room only. Fortunately we did arrive at a good time and was able to find a reasonably good position to experience the sunrise – sitting on the stone wall and legs dangling over the edge.

The photo above was taken looking along the length of the wall at a small part of the crowd. There were plenty of other vantage points below us and to our left for people to experience the sunrise.

For more information about Mt Sinai

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