Photo by J. Vranjes
|Best months for climbing:||Jan, Feb, Mar, Apr, May, Jun, Jul, Aug, Sep, Oct, Nov, Dec|
|Year first climbed:||not known, definitely in the BC era|
|Nearest major airport:||Tel Aviv|
Thanks to J. Vranjes for adding this peak.
Masada is a mountain-fortress which has played an important role in the history of Jewish people in the first century. It is a unique mountain which is almost all below the sea level. It starts at a negative altitude because it raises above the Dead Sea that is the lowest depression on the Earth. The surface of the Dead Sea is around 420 meters below the world's sea level. The bottom of the Sea is another 430 meters lower. With respect to the surface of the Dead Sea, Masada is around 460 meters high and this is the only appropriate way to give its altitude because this is what one has to climb, regardless of its altitude with respect to the world's sea level. The top of the mountain is around 550 m by 270 m and it is covered by ruins of the fortress and the palace of the king Herod.
Presently there seems to be only one route to the top, it is called snake path and it zigzags up the eastern side of the mountan, from the Dead Sea side. The route starts slightly above the car parking and below the cable car station, and its beginning is marked by a green flag. On the way up you will have gondolas above your head all the time. There are stone stairs along the route at many places. The route joins the passage from the upper cable car station at the altitude of +33 m and just a few meters after that you are at the top where you can replenish your bottle with the free and excellent tap water. The route can be climbed within 35 minutes, it is a simple walk with a stunning view to the Dead Sea and Jordan across it. There seems to be the fee of 26 NIS to be paid for climbing. However this is to be paid at the lower cable car station which is not along the route at all and one has no reason to go there and therefore may not be aware of it. On the other hand, once you reach the top there is no place where the payment of the fee is checked because the route passes off the upper cable car station. The mountain area is on the attractive road from Jerusalem to Eilat, and can be reached from Jerusalem in around 90 minutes.
Thanks to J. Vranjes for this description.