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# on Topo: 

Via del Papa Giovanni Paolo 1


First ascensionists' grade:

V+, 5.8

Max estimated grade:




First Ascent:


Daniele Chiappa, Carlo Duchini

Year of FA:


# of bolts en route:



The route is well visible from the village. Approaches on large scree take about 40 minutes.[Misha] Either head up from Fox Camp directly towards the foot of the climb or continue on the hiking path until you’re more even with it and then contour across. [t]

Route description

NW Face


Older Topo of NW Face


From israeli wiki:

N19:Scala del Cielo; N8:Geissenpeter; N18:Elio’s Route; N5:Black Dyke; N2:The Skull; N7:Com kal; N6:The Mask; N4:Klostersporn; N14:Via del Papa Giovanni Paolo 1; N20:Saturday Night Fever; N11:Warsaw - Tel Aviv Direct; N16:Via del Papa Oct'87 variation; N12:Non-Stop (Warsaw’s variation); N15:Grand Hand Traverse (Papa's Variation); N3:Arba VaKhetzi; N13:Bonch; N1:NE Ridge of Safsafa; N17:Darkness at Noon; N10:Why not?; N9:Geissenpeter (variation)

Regional classic. A beautiful logical route along the crack on the right side of the wall of the second summit of Safsafa. Approximate difficulty 5c+.

P1. 60m. 5a-5c. Start at the bottom of the obvious system of cracks, gullies and chimneys. This pitch is a good wake up call to remind you how a IV feels in St Catherine (like something around 5b-6a if you’re only used to sports climbing). Up the wide crack/corner 10m 5b, then a small chimney 5 meters 5c, further along the couloir to a large ledge on easier ground. Build the belay on a ledge slinging one of the features or further up in the crack.

P2. 30m. Below 5a. Up the gully. Where it forks go right onto the slab and build the belay in a vertical crack on a good ledge. Do not build it higher as that can lead to a stuck rope on the overhang.

P3. 45m. 5a-5c+. From the ledge continue 10m upward along the slab under an overhanging inner corner. Then 30m up to 5c+ further up the inner corner, bypassing the overhang on the left, then continue in a chimney. From the chimney go straight to a belay in a niche on a ledge.

For the “Grand Hand Traverse” variation instead of this belay you head more to the left onto a ledge at the bottom of the large dihedral.

P4. 25m. 5a. This pitch basically circumvents the steep offwidth you will find above your belay in that niche. Leave the belay station with a pendulum 3 meters to the gully to the right. Up and to the right along the gully, then after leaving it go to the ledge to the left. Build the belay at the beginning of the chimney with a fig tree near its top. Good ledge.

P5. 30-40m. 5c+. Up the chimney in rough “back-knee braces”. The fig tree at the end of this chimney is a hassle and so is the bush in the next shorter chimney. The belay station is on a large ledge on the left at the beginning of the couloir under a large chimney, big pieces or spread out pieces help building a solid belay here.

From here the general steepness is less, so alternative belay stations and pitch lengths can occur.

P7: 30-40m, 5c/6a The original line heads left into the big chimney which gets steadily harder towards the top until escaping under the large chock stone to a belay above.

P8: 20m 5c/6a up corner crack and then slab to easier ground and the final colouir leading to the saddle on the summit.

P9: 40m Below 5c following the col up to the saddle, escape onto slab where the col gets too chossy or whenever comfortable.

An alternative escape can be taken at Pitch 6, handy if it rains or time runs out since not harder than 5b/c and away from the waterway to some degree:

P6. 40-45m. Below 5a. Head up 10-12m to the next large ledge and then along it to the right another 15-20 m until the first logical move up along a system of cracks and ledges over the face of the wall avoiding the big chimney. There is a few possible ways here so route finding can be tricky and rope drag can be strong.

P7. 40-50m. Up to 5c. Simple climbing with a general direction to the left up the system of cracks and ledges. Good protection with medium and large cams. Belay on one of the ledges at the bottom of a steep dihedral.

R8. 60m. 4a-5c. Leave the belay traversing a little to the left into the final narrow and very straight colouir that leads to the saddle. Near the end it becomes more chossy, escape out right onto the unprotected but easy slab as soon as comfortable.

“Grand Hand Traverse” variation:

P3: for this variation ends on the bottom point of the dihedral, out left from the gully.

By Misha:

P4. 25m. V. Up the inner corner. The station is in the inner corner before the beginning of the oblique traverse to the right up. The station is at its points, plus there is a metal ring fixed on old dubious hardware.

P5. 30m. V+, A0. Exposed traverse to the right up 15m V+ or A0. Further up the inner corner 5 meters IV. Further traverse to the right along the [slab] 2 meters. From the [slab] it will carefully go down into the fireplace to the right. Up a simple fireplace 5 meters to a large [slab]. [slab] station.

P6. 30m. III-IV. Go up to the left into the large fireplace and move up the fireplace to a ledge with a bush before the start of the more difficult section. Station on a ledge.

P7. 30m.V. Up the wide sheer chimney. Crawl under a large wedged stone and exit onto a ledge. Station on a ledge.

P8. 60m. V, II. From the station to the right up the crack in the inner corner 10m. V, further along a simple fireplace - couloir 50m II. Exit to the saddle on the summit plateau.


From the saddle move to the right and slightly up, going around the summit tower on the left, and focusing on the cairns. While descending a little you will see a “slot” or “corridor” towards the south. Hike up and through this corridor. From here, to the left, you have a view of Mount Moses. Go down the couloir towards Mount Moses to a small chapel and garden.

The fastest descent back to Wadi Shrej follows the wide col straight south from the garden. (See picture below)

Circle around the garden on the left and either head south towards that col.

go out onto a paved path leading from the gates of the monastery to the foot of Mount Moses. From here, go down the Monk's stairs to the left to the monastery of St. Catherine - a standard tourist route.

Other paths:

it is possible to go to Wadi Arbain turning off the paved path onto an inconspicuous path to the right a bit more south than the col(unconfirmed) or go down to the road between the village and the monastery of St. Catherine, turning left from the first monastery into a rather steep gorge. [Misha]

It might be possible to descend even further north of the col, it was wrongly marked as a path in the earlier print guidebook edition. Probably this will take a few rappels.

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