I went to St. Catherine’s monastery on new year’s eve along with Annelie and Carl. None of us being some kind of a party person, we thought it was interesting to take the opportunity to get away and do something reasonably different for a new year. At least, you remember that 2006 was the year you went on top of Mount Sinai rather than the nth year where you went to a restaurant and ended up in a bar half-drunk with 2000 other people. I had some interesting proposals to stay in Dahab and hang around but thought it would be nice to be something ‘different’. Note that there is absolutely nothing religious in our trip.
Initially the plan was to climb around 22:00 to get on top of Mount Sinai and celebrate New Year and come back before sunrise and look for rock climbing spots. In the evening, after some food and beduin tea around the fire at Fox Camp, we changed our mind and thought it was better to get some sleep, wake up around 02:45 and climb to see the sunrise. Which we did. After some good walking from the base camp (altitude 1500m), we had to cope with 2 steep sections of about 650 and 100 stairs to end up the climb and wait for the sunrise on top of Mount Sinai along with a handful of Americans (where were they coming from ? there are none in Dahab !), Colombians, Japaneses, Koreans and many other nationalities. It’s hard to give a numbers but I would say at least over 200 people.
The climb was not cold and I was fine by wearing a traveller pant, a t-shirt, a light sweat-shirt and another sweat on top. Annelie was freezing by wearing 4 layers of tight technical clothes which makes me wonder whether she is really swedish or from somewhere else (note that she was still ‘freezing’ (her own words) at the base camp in the morning when the temperature was around 17C with no wind at all). You would sure get a bit cold by staying still for a couple of hours, so YMMV. Keep in mind though that Mount Sinai is not exactly empty. You get “shops” full of chocolate bars, water, soda, tea and such on the way a s well as at the top. At the top you will also be able to get mattresses and blankets. Everything is of course at rip-off tourist price, egyptically speaking.
We left from the top at around 07:00 and slowly made our way to St. Catherine’s Monastery that we reached around 08:30. After a well-deserved breakfast, we went into the village to try to locate the place used for rock climbing, so that Annelie could come at a later time to get quicker access and probably setup rock climbing expeditions from Dahab.
There is a couple of nice pictures of Annelie (aka Annelie Pompe). She is well known in Sweden. Apart from being a personal trainer and having a website where she does online personal coaching, she’s a sport addict and hyperactive person who does everything which involves jumping around: ninjitsu, yoga, mountain biking, running, rock climbing, freediving, scuba diving and a hundred of others things. The most annoying for a normal person is that she’s good at everything. She’s working at Desert Divers for 3 months now as a yoga teacher, rock climbing instructor, freediving instructor and divemaster . She’s also training for the freediving world championship next year. At the moment, she performs around 5min30s in static apnea (breath holding) and freedive to 50m. Beside being blonde, swedish, cute, and proficient in a lot of things, she’s a very nice person to hang with and she likes Banofee pie, Snikers and Mars bars as well as Nutella (I have very compromising pictures, should it prove necessary ).
If anyone is interested about rock climbing, freediving, scuba-diving, desert trips, they can get in touch with Desert Divers and ask for Annelie.
As for Carl, Carl and Annelie went to school together a couple of years back and lived 300m from each other in Sweden. They somewhat managed to bump into each other in Dahab by pure accident. Small world eh ?