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.
Posts Tagged ‘sport’
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.
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.
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?
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)
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.
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
Theo kindly contributed this update for Abu Dhabi emirates’ only substantial sport climbing area. I am quite amused by the TLA names.
I have just uploaded five new topos to the new route page. Here is a list of the new stuff with direct links:
- Aiden’s Snakecharmer, the huge Ghalilah face of Jebel Ras Al Qays
- the Blindspot crag
- Paul’s (no longer) Secret Boulders. Be discreet at this one.
Still neglected AFAIK.
Pete Thompson went back to his Stairway Headwall route with Pete Myers in February and made a one-day ascent. The route is now called Black Dog.
John Gregory has been cleaning and climbing new routes at Transition, another area in Wadi Shahah. No details available yet. Apparently Ralph Heath and friends have also been developing routes elsewhere in Wadi Shahah. No details available.
Very neglected. More reports of people failing to gain access even using the Dibba approach.
Lots of action at Tawiyan, both new routes and repeats, all noted in a February blog post.
Gordon Rech and friends have added more new stuff at The Narrows and also have a secret hard project on the go elsewhere in Wadi Khab Shamis. Matt Pfeifer completed the excellent slopey steep project at the Strip Club at about F7b, after quite a lot of effort. No name forthcoming so far. I made the second ascent in April.
The main excitement was the strong Brit/ Canuck team visiting in April, about which I have already written extensively and added an update guide. A few new routes have been added since their visit, notably at The Salt Mine, by Matt Pfeifer, Jose Molina and I.
At Hatta I climbed the trad crack project near Open Wide and Say Ahh in February.
Theo Giani has been bolting new stuff at NPZ. No details yet.
The Red Armada Publishing Ascent of the Season should probably go to Read Macadam for his first ascent of Parthian Slots F8a on the Dibba Coast, especially given the sponsored-heros snapping at his heels. But Matt Pfeifer deserves an honourable mention for his rapid progress through the grades within 18 months of starting to climb: two F7b+ redpoints and an F7b new route. Similarly Maddy Stocks has reached F6c within less than a year.
If anyone knows of anything significant I have missed, please let me know.
There is a wall in my house where there are always three photos of routes on show. I call it the “Project Wall”, as the routes are ones I have yet to complete (and, sometimes, yet to even try). As soon as the project is done, the photo comes down. At the moment it has: Freeway, an eleven pitch 5.11 trad route in Squamish (Canada), which has been there a long time; the unclimbed Caracal Tree extension at Tawiyan here in the UAE; and La Guerre Sainte, a twelve pitch F7b sport route in Wadi Rum (Jordan). As I am flying to Amman in four days time for a ten day session in Rum it’s La Guerre Sainte that’s very much on my mind.
As ambitions go this is quite a major one. Twelve pitch routes are usually all-day climbs even if the grades are amenable. In this case there are four pitches in the F7 zone, and I am only confident of onsighting up to about F6c. And one of the F6c pitches is notorious for sparse bolts and christened the “Climb or Go Home”. So I anticipate some swearing, bolt grabbing and possibly even outright failure. But I feel compelled to go and try it, and am lucky to have a climbing partner who is prepared to indulge me.
Why this route? The routes often talked about as the “best in the world” have some common characteristics: long enough to occupy a day, ascend a striking rock feature, have classic climbing and distinct historic pitches. There is no official “list” but a few names always come up when climbers debate the topic. The preeminent example is Astroman in Yosemite with its “Enduro Corner” and “Harding Slot” (no, I have not done it and I am not sure I will ever be capable!). Astroman is so iconic that the “Astro” prefix gets slapped on classic new routes all around the world. The crazily-overhanging Fiesta de los Biceps in the Riglos, which I have climbed, though in poor style, is another example, as is Squamish’s Grand Wall, which I have done twice in good style.
La Guerre Sainte is much younger than those routes (the FA was in November 2000) but it seems to be gradually building a reputation. The wall it climbs is certainly astonishing: vertical and flat for 400m. It also summits what may be the world’s tallest desert tower, North Nasrani. This giant block has 400-500m walls on all sides with no non-technical route up it, unlike all the other major summits in Rum. So I am guessing it is heading for the “list” and am nerdy and egotistical enough to want to be able to say “oh yeah, I have done that” once it is there! Hopefully the actual attempt will be enjoyable too …
Wish us luck!