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?

So, "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' will be the Statement of Bruce. A slightly less significant but higher Chav rating route than the one of similar name Yorkshire, England.
Isn't it an age old violation of Maritime Law to allow guys named Bruce to go to sea?
[pedantry alert] Pete: the route I think you are referring to is at Lower Pen Trwyn in Wales, not Yorkshire.
Correct pedantry Toby.
great site guys! trip was an eye opener to deep water soloing...and the rugby boys language skill set;) the nicey nice thought of a supposed 'soft' fall or jump into the water was made real with a lovely blue/blk leg. My nickname at the office 'goat legs' is proving hard to shake!

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