Posts Tagged ‘sport’

Musandam publicity ramps up

Friday, December 27th, 2013

 Screen shot 2013-12-26 at 13.14.39

In 28 years of climbing I’ve never seen rock formations as magical.

This month’s National Geographic carries Mark Synott’s article about the TNF/ NatGeo sponsored trip that he, Alex Honnold, Hazel Findlay and others made around the Musandam coast in October 2012. The website also has various supporting material including a nice DWS video. It is probably no coincidence that Alex and Hazel have also been talking about the trip for the first time in interviews. For example, in Hazel’s podcast interview at the excellent Enormocast.

I was slightly involved in the article. Mark gave my name as a source for fact-checking, which resulted in a quite lengthy email exchange with a NatGeo sub-editor in – oddly – Toronto! Mike Nott in the UAE also helped out. I was pleased to see Mark’s final article contained no mention of the team’s original claim to be the first to visit the area. However there was no mention of the active “local” climbing communities in the UAE and Oman; a shame in my opinion. Nor the beta on where to find the existing DWS routes (ie from this site!). Anyway, the stunning photos definitely justify the price of the magazine. Go buy it!

Elsewhere Gripped magazine in Canada has also just published an article about sport climbing near Muscat in its latest edition, focused especially on expat-Canuck Read Macadam’s new hard stuff at Hadash.

topos for new wadi khab shamis additions

Monday, November 25th, 2013

Stephen Hyndman just sent me details for new stuff in Wadi Khab Shamis (Dibba Inland area). These are one new sport area with routes to F7a and one new multi-pitch E2 trad route with bolted anchors. Uploaded here.

shannon

Shannon Borowy following pitch 3 of Inshallah Crack, E2

 

another new topo – “The Ranch”

Friday, December 28th, 2012

Gay_cowboys

I have just uploaded an up-to-date topo for the Ranch cliff in Wadi Khab Shamis. Brian Coones and friends have been developing routes there for the last couple of years. The topo is Brian’s work.

some updates

Wednesday, December 19th, 2012

IMG-20120407-00070

3Somes is the area midway up the gully left of centre. Viewed from the Wadi Shahah road.

Ralph Heath has uploaded details of some of the new crags he has developed in RAK over the last few years to SummitPost. A mix of trad and sport.

3Somes

Zombie Skull

Thunder

Birthday Crag

I repeated some of the 3Somes routes about a year ago: some good stuff there.

Maurizio Piccoli has been busy repeating routes in Wadi Ghalilah, including Acquiescence and Exit Surprise (maybe the third ascent – I blogged about the second ascent last year). He sent me a hand-drawn topo for Exit Surprise that may be useful for some people. Again it seems the guidebook’s E2 is a very low grade estimate for the route … it sounds like E3 at least.

I also now have a written account of routes done in Musandam by the TNF/ Nat Geo team. I am hoping to obtain some photos to go with it. Then I will upload it.

access to Dibba climbing areas

Sunday, August 26th, 2012

Over the summer months, various people have reported problems entering the Oman side of Dibba. Specifically the men with uniforms and guns (*) managing the two border crossings have been turning back expats unable to evidence a hotel stay or pre-booked activity with a known Dibba Omani company. This is obviously awkward for climbers who are unlikely to be in either category. As so often in the UAE, this “rule” is not being applied systematically, so some people are getting through OK.

A few other things that I have read about this:

  • people on tourist rather than residence visas aren’t having the same problem. [don't rely on it]
  • Oman-side businesses don’t like the situation and are lobbying to have it relaxed. [we hope]
  • Sharjah is building its own tourism “island” on its slice of Dibba bay, and so may have vested interest in keeping people on the UAE side of the border. [this is conjecture, of course]

If it becomes a permanent constraint, it is pretty bad news for “UAE” climbing, as Wadi Khab Shamsi and other wadis inland from Dibba have been a major focus of new route development in recent years. Then there’s the DWSing, though I guess it may be easier to produce paperwork for the border people for those trips, as they are almost always pre-booked with Omani dhow operators (if rather informally …)

* I have never been sure to what extent these are UAE military or local Sharjah police? does anyone know for sure?

mystery Cleavage route and other RAK notes

Saturday, July 14th, 2012

Yesterday Dave Watson, Paul du Toit and I did a midsummer tour around the Roadside and Wadi Shahah area. I redpointed the mystery bolted line left of Hanging Haemorrhoid at the Cleavage. Unless anyone else claims it and has a name, I am calling it Lidocaine (*). The grade is F6c or F6c+. Hanging Haemorrhoid is slightly harder than it used to be since the removal of the cheat blocks underneath, maybe F6b+ or F6c.

Dave Watson on Hanging Haemorrhoid. Lidocaine is the line to the left.

A few other notes:

- the excellent Thug Monkey at Roadside needs a proper lower-off.

- Dave managed an almost-redpoint of Pokemon at Roadside despite the heat. Grade estimates for this route continue to vary wildly. Dave thought the guidebook grade F7b+ seemed about right.

- Crackrocksteady (Andy La Bonte’s E3 + F7b right of Tim’s Tipple) at Nearside is no longer climbable in its original form as a huge starting block has been removed by the Shahah road crew.

- I plan a topo for John Gregory’s Transition crag in Shahah when he has reached a suitable stopping point – October?

 

(* I have changed my mind on the name a few times, but I think this is my last edit. 14 Aug 2012)

mid-summer bolting at Wonderwall

Sunday, June 24th, 2012

Circus Sands and the Gutter project (new bolts in red)

Some bolting work has been done in the Circus Sands/ Central Wall sector of Wonderwall. Circus Sands itself has six new bolts, four on the first pitch and two on the top pitch. This makes the route significantly safer, especially on the easy initial slab, where 20-30m ground falls were previously possible. Hypothetically this might be considered retro-bolting as the slab has been climbed many times without protection. However consensus has swung firmly in favour and everyone who has completed first ascents in this area either gave their blessing or actually placed the new bolts. The route still retains some run-out flavour. In its new form it is highly recommended to anyone climbing around F6a or above, who has multi-pitch and abseil experience, as it crosses very spectacular and exposed terrain en route to a cool summit.

In the new route category, Theo Giani has bolted the whole of the Gutter project, which had previously been looked at and partially-cleaned, but abandoned. When complete this will give a classic sustained 40m pitch in the F7s, similar to, but possibly slightly steeper than, Exile.

Tawiyan PDF update and a new open project

Wednesday, June 6th, 2012

I am using the free time I have right now to tidy up a few things in the guidebook coverage. Just uploaded is an update PDF for the popular right side of Tawiyan, since the guidebook was published.

Also an announcement: I am abandoning my rights to the Caracal Tree Extension project. It should now be regarded as an OPEN PROJECT. But if anyone does it, please tell me!

Toby on the lower 7a+ section of Caracal Tree in 2011

NPZ Update

Tuesday, May 22nd, 2012

Theo kindly contributed this update for Abu Dhabi emirates’ only substantial sport climbing area. I am quite amused by the TLA names.

new topos

Wednesday, April 4th, 2012

I have just uploaded five new topos to the new route page. Here is a list of the new stuff with direct links:

Beyond RAK
- Aiden’s Snakecharmer, the huge Ghalilah face of Jebel Ras Al Qays

RAK Inland
- a 3D (yes: 3D!) update to the Cube boulder
- the Little Princess on Red Wall mentioned yesterday

Dibba Inland
- the Blindspot crag

Al Ain
- Paul’s (no longer) Secret Boulders. Be discreet at this one.