Hatta update

I have been climbing at Hatta a few times recently. The cliff doesn’t seem to be as fashionable as it used to be, maybe because the core Dubai crew have done most of the routes. Still there were 5-10 cars there on each occasion I have been, and I even caught a glimpse of legendary Everest-and-the-poles-man Adrian (presumably mainly there for the grim approach hike?). It is still the best place to go for grade 5 and 6 sport routes.

A few years ago Gordon Rech and Tom Kendall cleaned and top-roped a steep corner in the Eastern Buttress area but didn’t bolt it as it contains a continuous finger-width crack in its back that sucks up trad gear (very unusual for Hatta). They also never got around to leading it. After getting permission (thanks Gordon …), I led it last weekend after a failure the week before:

The Aberration 15m E3 The obvious line in the bay left of Open Wide and Say Ahh (p145 of the guidebook). The climbing is pumpy as the top half of the corner overhangs in two dimensions, but there are good fingerlocks and some spots to bridge. The crux is a quite wild and committing pull from the top of the corner rightwards to hidden holds around the arete, after which the climbing is easy. There are bolt anchors above. Take wires and a rack of cams to hand-width, with duplicates in finger-width sizes (blue and yellow Metolius, or green and yellow Alien, or whatever that now equates to with BD or Wild Country cams).

It may be soft for E3 – I am not sure as I only do trad routes sporadically. For what it’s worth, my belayer on the successful ascent declined the opportunity to second the route despite being happy enough on grade 6 sport routes.

Elsewhere at Hatta, as I have mentioned before, there are at least five bolted routes that aren’t in the guidebook courtesy of Jerry Spring but no-one has details at the moment (please Jerry …).

Of more importance than any of this for the long-term, the hillside behind the cliff is under inexorable assault by the quarriers. It looks like the cliff will be consumed in due course, starting from the eastern end. At the current pace, could be impacting actual routes within three years?

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4 Responses to “Hatta update”

  1. Pete says:

    Great effort Toby; good to see that the trad DNA has not died off.

    Interesting what you say about numbers at Hatta; when I first went there 5 years ago I had the crag to myself for the whole summer while developing the first sport routes there.

    Whilst numbers may be down from the peak when the crag became widely known, it is good to know that it is still popular. I agree that it does provide the largest concentration of bolted routes in the F5 -6 range but there are other locations available now.

  2. admin says:

    Yeah but nowhere else yet where you can do lots of 5s and 6s in a day without changing to change location (ie Wonderwall).

    BTW it may be time to replace some of the chains there?

  3. Pete says:

    At Hatta or Wonderwall?

  4. admin says:

    Hatta. But WW too probably. Some of the 2005/6 vintage chains seem to rust quite fast.