scorpions, probably the general name given to the ridge containing the pass between the south of the Dead Sea and Zin, es-Sufah, by which there is an ascent to the level of the land of Palestine. Scorpions are said to abound in this whole district, and hence the name (Num. 34:4). It is called "Maaleh-acrabbim" in Josh. 15:3, and "the ascent of Akrabbim" in Num. 34:4.
The mountains visible from the camp were likely the chalk hills beyond the "Ascent of akrabbim."