| Masada: The Un-Fourteener
Masada is located in Israel near the Dead sea. A famous landmark with summit ruins dating back to Herod the Great, who built a palace on top! Here's an aerial photo of the route.
Bokor Tov! Hebrew “Good Morning” learned while touring
OK, Masada is officially an Un-Fourteener because when measured from the sea (Dead Sea elevation is minus 1378 ft.) to the summit (Sign on top read +33 meters MSL, or 108 ft above sea level), the total altitude is 1378 + 108 = 1486 ft! Which makes Masada an indisputable 14er when measured from Dead Sea level! Note that the majority of this 14er is below regular sea level, hence the Minus-Fourteener category for this peak- the only one on the planet I know of!
A cable car goes to the top also as this is a major tourist attraction in Israel.
I traveled with a big church group. Half of the group hiked the route, seen starting off here below, and the other half took the cable car up. All of the group took the cable car back down. Not sure what the cost is to visit Masada- it was part of the tour deal?
“Snake Path” route includes nice rock steps and guardrails around steep drop offs.
I need to follow this guy = Looks like there could be a summit lunch in that there cooler! hmmmm
A look at the Dead Sea in the background. The other side of the sea is Jordan. I was blown away at how easy it is to float on this water! Compared to the oceans, the Dead Sea contains about 6 times the concentration of salt in the water, which makes folks a lot more buoyant.
My tour roomie Larry leading the way... Larry is a great guy, a retired Colonel in the Air Force, and he taught kids math/computers for 30 years!
If you hike the trail, you’ll likely see IDF forces carrying weapons. In uniform and out, I noticed several IDF men/women everywhere on the tour. I have not done that many international adventures, but it was a pleasure to have a young Israeli gentleman approach me right in this area, kindly ask where I was from, and then say “Thank you for visiting Israel and blessing us with your culture!” as his group continued their descent.
The snake path goes under the cable route a couple times…
Nice flat sections
Nearing the top
Seems like a vast wasteland between here and the Dead Sea!
A look down from near the summit area. Haha, thought it was funny this summit is lower than where most of us live! No need to pack O2 bottles on this climb, even the summit is at the oxygen rich altitude of +100 ft!
Here the summit ruins come into view, with palacial remnants still standing. The former Herodian palace is an archeological gem and fascinating to explore! If you like history, discoveries of ancient civilizations/cultures and excavation digs, Israel is a magical place loaded with sites!
Tour group leader Jacob – Very informative with a good sense of humor- He’s a strong climber too! He lives in Israel and has hiked up this peak dozens of times.
After the Roman destruction of the 2nd temple in Jerusalem about two thousand years ago, a group of almost a thousand Israelis fled here and overtook the palace. The Romans beefed up and came back with 15,000 to lay siege on the group, eventually building a ramp up the side of the mountain so they could gain access and crush the resistance.
Ruins from the community bath/spa with heated pool. The pillars elevated the floor for heating…
Rather than serve the Romans or die under their swords, the group decided that death was better and cast lots deciding how to take their own lives.
This made me wonder… ‘Would you choose to die with the group and follow along?’ Wow -- that question was way too hard to answer without being in the actual situation. A question to ponder…
The Romans were ordered to take all of them alive, back to Rome, so the whole group would have been humiliated, tortured and/or forced to serve as slaves before ultimately being murdered at some point.
The group appeared absolutely determined to live for the Lord and nothing else. So this sign made me think of the New Hampshire state motto “Live Free or Die.”
I think it took the Romans about 3 years to build the ramp to the top Masada.
This is the ancient ramp to the summit constructed by the Romans.
Israeli flag on the summit. The summit is used for a ceremony for Israeli soldiers after they’ve completed basic training. At sunrise with torches, here they vow that Masada will “NEVER fall again!”
Back at the hotel by the Dead Sea. Bougainvillea and palm trees everywhere - Beautiful place!
The Dead Sea is a trip to try and maneuver around in! Walking = Okay, but try to tread water and kinda steer around without contacting the bottom is tough because the legs and torso keep wanting to pop up to the surface! Don’t get any in your eyes or mouth as it’s super
powerful stuff. I got a very small droplet in my eye and wow did that sting.
Taken from a manmade 14er! (14th floor of the hotel- haha)
The hiway from the hotel that leads to Masada and Qumran, the latter being the site of the Dead Sea scroll findings. This is a fantastic and special place to visit if you ever get the chance!
Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):