Mt Catherine


A long challenging day walk to the highest mountain in all of Egypt.

Bird Watching
Navigation Required
Dogs Permitted
Arid or Desert
Maximum Elevation

Getting there

The walk started from the village of St Catherine - a short walk from the Sheikh Mousa Bedouin Camp.

Route/Trail notes

The walk starts from the village and quickly turns steep as you zigzag your way up the side of the cliffs flanking the village. As you reach the top you will commence a short descent into the valley that leads to Mt Catherine. The walk through the valley is mostly flat passing through dry creek beds where local Bedouins have dug deep water wells. After about an hours walk the real ascent will start as you climb up the side of the range to the left of the valley. The walk has some fairly easy scrambling sections but is predominately uphill walking. Reaching the ridgeline you will have your first view of the summit. The gradient from here is fairly consistent - steep but not diabolically steep. Once you reach the zigzag section you will know you aren't too far from the top. You will reach the saddle - the peak on the right has a small abandoned monastry, the peak on the right (the true summit) has an Egyptian Defence Force radio tower. Return via the same route.


You will need a Bedouin guide to undertake this hike. Unlike the walk up Mt Sinai this walk could be quite tricky attempting solo. Recommend speaking with the people at the Sheikh Mousa Bedouin camp as they can organise transport, accomodation and guides - in addition to food and water for the hike. 

Other References


GPS Tracks

  • No GPS available for this walk yet.


This was quite a bit more challenging than Mt Sinai - which we had completed the day before. Like Mt Sinai you are legally required to have a local guide accompany you to the summit. Our guide from Sheikh Mousa camp was fantastic! He even gave us a bit of commentary along the way showing us ancient ruins, and local water sources. We also had a dog co-guide who started following us as we departed the village early in the morning. I figured he would give up after around 10 minutes but to my surprise he came all the way to the summit, and all the way back down! Upon reaching the final zigzag section our guide allowed us to make the final push to the summit on our own while he remained and prepared our lunch. The view from the top is incredible, it's a landscape I have never encountered before, so much more barren than the view from any Australian desert mountain. I would probably only recommend this to peak baggers and experienced hikers, anyone else would probably prefer Mt Sinai. Mt Catherine is far quieter, we didn't see any other tourists in stark contrast to the hundreds of people who do Mt Sinai daily. It was very cold, we passed a waterfall frozen solid on our climb to the summit. If you go in summer prepare for intense heat, and the polar opposite in winter. Overall a great day out and a very worthwhile adventure.

Vonsnrub on 5 Feb, 2023


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