Mt. St. Cathrine (Jebel Katrin)  
     
 

Mt. St. Catherine is the highest peak of south Sinai’s high mountain range. It is also Egypt’s highest mountain (2638 m. above sea level). It stands directly south of Mt. Moses. It has two peaks which can always be seen from a distance while driving to the area from Dahab or Nuweiba.

 

 

For the ascent of Mt. St. Catherine it is mandatory to register with the tourist police and to take a local Bedouin guide who is quite useful as there are no decent maps and a number of confusing trails. This is organized by Sheikh Mussa who lives in the village of Al-Milgah.

The way starts along a valley (Wadi el Arbein), below Mt Sinai which has some walled gardens with beautifully blossoming trees. The route becomes much wilder, winding up on an excellent trail amongst spectacular rocky scenery. It reaches a spur from which the rocky summit with its chapel comes suddenly into view. The path zigzags up an open hillside to the foot of the final rocky cone. It is a little disappointing to see at this moment a jeep track, made by the Israelis, which comes up from another direction and terminates in a wide basin below the mountain's twin summits.

 

The higher peak is soon reached from here up some rocky steps. It is crowned by St Catherine's chapel which, like the one on Mt Sinai, is locked and falling into ruin. This commemorates the fact that, when Catherine died her body was carried by angels to the summit of this mountain, where it was found by monks three centuries later. The monks also built the trail to the summit of the mountain. On the southern peak of Mt. St Catherine lie the ruins of an Israeli military check point.

 

 

 

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