Climber and globetrotter Sam Elias has been exploring the untapped stone of the Middle East, where tufas and stalactites hang from a plethora of limestone walls. On a recent trip, Elias established one of Lebanon’s hardest routes, but reports that much harder lines are still awaiting suitors.
I recently returned from a short trip to the Middle Eastern country of Lebanon. I went at the invitation of my friend Will Nazarian and his organization R-A-D (Rock Climbing Association for Development). He’s been traveling to an area known as Tannourine for years, with the mission to assist the community in harnessing the local climbing potential with sustainable development, which will lead to economic empowerment and cross-cultural understanding. He’s been working tirelessly with the help of several local Lebanese climbers to bolt and clean climbing routes and establish trails in cooperation with the municipality and mayor of Tannourine.
I climbed for six days in several different sectors. Nazarian toured me around and showed me the established routes and open projects. The rock is high quality limestone with a variety of features and angles, and the sectors are all within relatively close proximity to the village. At the moment, there are roughly 70 developed routes, but there is potential for many more. I climbed several of the established routes, and then set my sights on trying some of the open projects.