We give the latest account of an ascent of this remarkable mountain (Conder, Tent Work in Palestine, 1:261 sq.):
"We commenced the ascent of some 5000 feet about 10.30 A.M. (from Rasheyah, which is three hours distant), passing first through the fine vineyards, into which the bears often come down, from the summit, to eat grapes; thence among lanes with stone walls, passing clumps of wild rose, of oak, and of hawthorn, and honeysuckle in flower. We thus reached the bottom of the nimainl peak, consisting entirely of gray rocks, worn by snow and rain into jagged teeth and ridges, covered with loose shingle or gravel. It seemed impossible for horses, and still more for laden mules, to toil up; but the breeze grew fresher, and the bracing mountain air seemed to give vigor to man and beast. Resting at intervals, we gradually clambered up, passing by the little cave where the initiated Druses retire, for three or four months, and perform unknown rites. Ridge above ridge, of rock and gray gravel, appeared, each seemingly the last, each only hiding one above. Not a creature was to be seen, except an occasional vulture, and. not a tree or shrub, for the snow covers all this part of the mountain till late in summer. By two o'clock we reached the summit.
"A glorious panorama repaid us for our labor. South of us lay Palestine, visible as far as Carmel and Tabor, some eighty miles away; eastward a broad plain, with detached hills on the dim horizon beyond; westward the Lebanon and the golden sea northward, mountains as high as Hermon, Lebanon, and Anti- Lebanon. As the sun sank lower, Palestine became more distinct, and appeared wonderfully narrow. The calm, green Sea of Galilee lay, dreamlike, in its circle of dark-gray hills. Tabor was just visible to the south; and from it the plateau ran out east to the Horns of Hattin. The broken chain of the Upper Galilaean Hills, 4000 feet high, lay beneath the eye, and terminated in the Ladder of Tyre. The mole of Tyre stood out black against the gleaming water; and the deep gorge of the Litany could be Jeen winding past the beautiful fortress of Belfort. Dim and misty beyond, lay the ridge of Carmel, from the promontory to the peak of Sacrifice. The white domes in Tiberias were shining in the sun, and many of the Galilsean towns, including Safed, could be distinguished. The scene presented a great contrast on the east and west. In the brown, desolate, and boundless plain to the east stood the distant green oasis of Damascus, and the white city, with its tall minarets. The flat horizon was broken only by the peaks of Jebel Kuleib, the 'Hill of Bashan,' some seventy miles away. South-east of Damascus was the terrible Lejja district, a basin of basalt seamed with deep gorges, like rough furrows, and with isolated cones, into which one appeared to look down, so distinctly were the shadows marked inside the hollow, broken craters. No. trees or water relieved the dusky color; but the great dust whirlwillds were swirling slowly along over the plains, the bodies, as the Arabs tell us, of huge malignant spirits, carrying destruction in their path. At the foot of the mountain little villages were perched on the rocks, and a stream glittered in a green valley. In most of these hamlets there is a temple facing the rising sun, which appears first from behind the great plain on the east. On the west, high mountain walls, ridge behind ridge, reached out towards Beyrut, and, on the north, cedar clumps and ragged peaks, gray and dark, with long, sweeping shadows, were thrown in strong contrast against the shining sea. The sun began to set, a deep ruby fluish came over all the scene, and warm purple shadows crept slowly on. The Sea of Galilee was lit up with a delicate greenish-yellow hue, between its dim walls of hill. The flush died out in a few minutes, and a pale, steel-colored shade succeeded, although to us, at a height of 9150 feet, the sun was still visible, and the rocks around us still ruddy. A long pyramidal shadow slid down to the eastern foot of Hermon, and crept across the great plain; Damascus was swallowed up by it, and finally the pointed end of the shadow stood out distinctly against the sky —a dusky cone of dull color against the flash of the afterglow. It was the shadow of the mountain itself, stretching away for seventy miles across the plain — the most marvellous shadow perhaps to be seen anywhere. The sun underwent strange changes of shape in the thick vapors — low almost square, now like a domed temple — until at length it slid into the sea, and went out like a blue spark.
"Our tent was pitched in the hollow, and six beds crowded into it. Until one in the morning we continued to observe the stars, but the cold was very considerable, though no snow was left, and the only water we had was fetched from a spring about a third of the way down, and tasted horribly of the goat-skin. In the morning. I ran to the peak, and saw the sun emerge behind the distant plain, and the great conical shadow, stretching over the sea and against the western sky, becoming gradually more blunt, until it shrivelled up and was lost upon the hills beneath.
"The top of Hermon consists of three rocky peaks; two, north and south, of equal height — the third, to the west, considerably lower. On the southern peak are the ruins called Kiisr esh-Shabib — a rock-hewn hollow or trench, and a circular dwarf-wall, with a temple just below the peak on the south.: On tile plateau is a rudely excavated cave, with a rock-cut pillar supporting the roof, and a flat space levelled above, probably once the floor of a building over the cave. Of all these objects of interest we made careful plans, as well of the shape of the summit. "There is one remarkable natural peculiarity of Hermon still to be noticed — namely, the extreme rapidity of the formation of cloud on the summit. In a few minutes a thick cap forms over the top of the mountain, and as quickly disperses and entirely disappears.'