Although largely undeveloped as a climbing destination, Ethiopia boasts some of the most spectacular and challenging rockscapes in Africa, from the sandstone escarpment of Gheralta to the kilometre-deep cliffs that enclose the gorges of Simien Mountains National Park.
- Most tourists who visit the Gheralta region concentrate on the ancient rock-hewn churches that have been carved into its burnished sandstone cliffs. But these cliffs also offer some fantastically challenging rock climbing, as documented in the book Vertical Ethiopia (http://www.majkaburhardt.com/vertical-ethiopia), which describes a climbing expedition undertaken there by four women climbers in 2007.
- Ethiopia’s tallest mountain ranges, protected within Simien and Bale Mountains National Parks, are both developed primarily as hiking and trekking destinations, and their highest peaks can easily be reached by foot and 4x4 vehicle respectively. However, the Simien Mountains in particular offer a wealth of potential for technical climbing, on cliffs so sheer they support Africa’s only indigenous goat, the fearless Walia ibex.
- Facilities for commercial rock climbing have yet to be developed in Ethiopia. Currently the country is suited only to experienced climbers who bring their own equipment.