Tuesday, October 24, 2006


Musandum DWS trip

Since you asked ... the trip report:

A large group travelled in three dhows up the coast of Musandum for three days. We camped on a beach within Khor Habalayn. Thanks to the complex social dynamics of the RAK/ Dubai climbing crew, the group had swelled in the preceding week to include more rugby players than climbers, and way too many drunks. Unsurprisingly this wasn't ideal. Conflicting objectives lost us half the climbing/ exploring time we could have had, plus most people were seriously sleep-deprived by the third day. On the positive side, we were somehow accompanied by an implausibly-cool firedancer. She must have got on the wrong dhow in Dibba by mistake.

As to the deep water soloing, there's almost infinite potential. 'Landings' are generally good, the cliffs being steep and undercut. We looked for interesting lines around 15-20m high that ended somewhere distinct. Descent is a key issue. We had to jump the full height of the routes several times. Entertaining for the spectators, but literally a pain in the arse after a while ...

We climbed in six different places. Describing them all would be quite indulgent and anyone doing a similar trip will easily find better places of their own. But we did find one sea stack that's a good place to start out and next to camping beaches, so I thought some beta on that could be appropriate. Since I sneakily bagged the first ascents, I am proposing to name both the crag ("Golden Stack": the reason is obvious) and the routes.

This map shows the approximate location (click on it!). The stack is about 100m offshore:

And the topo, featuring Everest hero Adrian Hayes and his unsightly Speedos:

1. Tenacity
17m HVS 5b or maybe F5+

The obvious splitter crack.
Repeated about fifteen times within a few hours of the first ascent. I was in awe of the people who were finding this hard yet kept going back and taking the fall. Really inspiring.

2. Words with Bruce
17m E2 6a or maybe F6b+

The face to the right, starting at good holds on the overlap. One very thin move.
Named for an encounter with Bruce, whose profunditude was still echoing around the campsite at 4am on Saturday night: "I am 36 years old and if you think you can tell me go to sleep, you and I are gonna have to have words" ... rising unsteadily from his chair

Two more pictures:

Yon on Tenacity

Carla on Tenacity and Dave on Words with Bruce

When I can get hold of photos I'll also post some of "Barracuda Stack" (my name again) which we found on the final day. This was an exceptional spot.

Finally here's Khor Habalayn at dawn. Pretty, eh?

Monday, October 23, 2006


Family Day At La Gorgette

Here are the first pictures back from La Gorgette, Oman. The place is beautiful and the climbing hard. Some of the local kids are natural climbers and were bouldering all sorts of vicious lines in barefeet. With a bit of equipment and training, this place could produce some fantastic Omani climbers. Lots of UAE folk are still there, so hopefully we'll get some more shots at the end of the week.

Tom on 'Two Tanks'

Lucie, age 6, on 'Two Tanks'

Lucie and Tom high on La Gorgette

Anthony, age 2, on descent

Tom on 'Ludo Sick'

Local enthusiasts

Future Omani rockstar bouldering to the first hanger on 'Encens Interdit'

Potential crack lines on the wall overlooking our campsite at the mouth of Snake Canyon

Happy Campers

Thursday, October 19, 2006


Eid Mubarak

It appears that there should be a good sized group heading to La Gorgette over the Eid break. I will be there for the first part of the week, but it sounds like there will be climbers coming and going for the whole break.

So there should be lots of hero shots posted here in a week or so. And hopefully we'll get some deep water soloing pics from Musandam. Eh Toby?

In other news, for those of you who missed it, or wanted the link, here's Dave Pickford's Oman story from Planet Fear. It seems he didn't do much research before he came here because he thinks the only established routes in the whole region are on Jebel Misht. But it makes for an interesting read nontheless.

Monday, October 16, 2006



Greetings to those who climb to the sounds of the flute! Has anyone actually heard him play since the summer - or is he too busy with the donkey?



You read this in an email but I'm sure you'll want to read it all over again. These are my topos for WW and Hatta crag:


Who all is coming with to Bani Auf?
Heading out Saturday after I get me car inspected in AA...


Free Radatsa

As of today, October 16, the Buraimi border situation is as follows.

Go to the Camel Market Border post. Be prepared to wave your passport at the shebab in the booth thingy. He may or may not ask you for it depending on whether or not he is playing with his phone. Basically there are no lineups or hassles if you've got a passport with you.

The border crossing on the Al Ain Mall side of Buraimi is for GCC passport holders only.

I don't know what's up with the Sohar road (past the Intercon and sand golf course) because I haven't been there in over a year. Anyone else know about this one?


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