Jebel Abu Gasaba
Jebel Abu Gasaba is a high, outlying peak in the wild, westerly parts of the St Katherine mountains. It is a foreboding dome of smooth, red granite known for its far-reaching and spectacular summit views. The iconic Jebel Serbal is seen towering up to the west. Hadabat el Teeh - the great natural cliff dividing North and South Sinai - lines the northerly horizon. To the south, the jagged peaks of Jebel Katherina and Jebel Um Shomer rise high. On a clear day hikers can gaze over the Gulf of Suez to the faraway mountains of mainland Egypt: the summits of Jebel Shayib el Banat, Jebel Gattar and Jebel Um Anab - all in the continent of Africa - are all visible. Jebel Abu Gasaba involves a short, steep scrambling section at the very top and most hikers visit its easier sister summit, Jebel Bab el Dunya. Jebel Abu Gasaba stands in the territory of the Jebeleya tribe and is the second lowest of the Seven Summits at 2187m, a little over 100m higher than Jebel Serbal. As well as its spectacular views it gives a good introduction to scrambling for beginners. Getting here also gives hikers a good feel for the longer, more remote and challenging desert journeys - typically supported with camels - needed to reach the other Seven Summits. Anybody seeking to build experience gradually over the Seven Summits should consider making Jebel Tarbush their second ascent, after Jebel Katherina. The ascent is started from the town of St Katherine.
Jebel Abu Gasaba can be climbed in 1-2 days from the town of St Katherine. It stands in the remote, westerly parts of the highlands and is typically approached from the town of St Katherine. The most direct route starts from the pass of Naqb Abu Jeefa, approaching the peak via the high, open spaces of Wadi Jebaal. Alternative routes taking 1-2 days to approach Jebel Abu Gasaba can be made from the small settlement of Abu Seila, moving through Wadi Shagg to Wadi Talla Kibeera and Farsh Rummana, via the deep blue pool of Galt el Azraq. The fittest of hikers could climb Jebel Abu Gasaba and return to St Katherine within one day but most will need a minimum of two days and 3-4 days on a longer circuit.
Tribes & territories
Jebel Tarbush stands on the western edge of Jebeleya territory. All recommended routes around it are within the territory of the Jebeleya too. Only Jebeleya tribesmen can work on trips to Jebel Abu Gasaba, as with journeys to any other part of Jebeleya territory. Camels will be required for overnight trips to Jebel Abu Gasaba, to carry food, water and bags. St Katherine is the hub of the Sinai's hiking scene and the best place to organise guides and camels. Guides can be found easily in St Katherine. The best places to enquire are the town's Bedouin camps. Fox Camp is the hub of the Bedouin community and the camp we recommend hikers approach when fixing expeditions in this area.
Getting there & away
St Katherine is the launchpad for hikers visiting Jebel Abu Gasaba. Hikes begin and end at the town. No transport is needed to get to the trailheads for the main recommended route. Only if alternative and less direct ascent routes are used - such as that starting from Abu Seila and going via Galt el Azraq - is extra transportation helpful. Fox Camp stands at the foot of Mount Sinai and is an excellent place for hiring Bedouin guides and fixing camels for the trip. Camels can walk to Farsh Rumanna, which is the best mountain basecamp for Jebel Abu Gasaba. From Farsh Rumanna, hikers will have to carry everything they need in daypacks for an ascent of the peak.
Jebel Abu Gasaba is a good peak for beginners. It represents a step-up in dificulty from Jebel Katherina. Jebel Katherina involves mostly well-trodden hiking trails. There are almost no trails whatsoever on Jebel Abu Gasaba. This is an adventurous, off-piste mountain hike on which rugged mountainsides must be traversed. A short, steep section of scrambling on smooth rock is involved at the very top of Jebel Abu Gasaba that will be challenging for some. A rope can be used for protection. A trip to Jebel Abu Gasaba also gives a good introduction to the experience of going deeper into remote wilderness country as is required on more challenging peaks of the Seven Summits.