You’re perched at a great height, locked in an awkward one-sided embrace with the cliff. Your back is exposed to a deadly drop while your callused fingers hold onto the rough ruggedness. One wrong move and you’re done. Let’s face it— Rock climbing is a serious adventure sport.
Does that mean you should leave it to the experts? Of course not.
Just like great leaders, great climbers, too, are not born; they’re made. Are you up for the challenge?
Physical fitness: Now that you’ve prepared your mind for rock climbing, check if body’s ready too. Hit the gym and get some strength, endurance and core exercise or check out this article for tips.
Start training: Experts believe that the best way to kick start your climbing adventure is by getting an expert to supervise you. It’s great if you know someone who’s done their time climbing but if you don’t, you can join a group or approach an instructor.
Indoor climbing: It is very important that you try climbing indoors first before setting out on an actual climb. Dubai and Abu Dhabi have a number of spots with indoor climbing walls. Here’s a list:
- Pharoah’s Club, Wafi Mall, Dubai
- Adventure HQ, Times Square, Dubai
- Talise Spa at Madinat Jumeirah, Dubai
- Paris-Sorbonne University Abu Dhabi
- Dorell Sports-Al Ain and Dubai
Where to Climb?
UAE and Oman are home to the mighty Hajar Mountains that are unique in their geography and rich in climbing routes.
Wondering where to start? Here’s a list of spots for rock climbing on Hajar:
1. Dibba, Musandam peninsula, Oman
Head to UAE’s east coast, away from the construction cranes and skyscrapers, and get ready to crawl up crags that drop right into the blue Persian Gulf! This type of rock climbing that completely relies on the water below for protection in case of a fall is called deep water soloing.
What’s more, Dibba is the nearest rock- limbing spot from Dubai—a mere two-hour ride. You can also explore Wadi Khab al Shamis for more climbing routes.
2. Wonderwall, Al Ain, UAE-Oman border
Wonderwall is a huge cliff near the UAE-Oman border with a large number of climbing routes. You might want to take your passport along since you’ll be crossing the border to approach the wall. Fret not, formalities are generally hassle-free. Find more information about Wonderwall here.
3. Ras Al Khaimah, UAE
Home to the highest peak in the UAE, the northern emirate of RAK is the Mecca of rock climbing in the UAE. Wadi Beih is a popular destination for both seasoned climbers as well as beginners. In ancient times, villagers would make stairways along mountains to cross over. Some of those manmade stairways are still intact and have now become havens for climbing enthusiasts.
Among them is the famous ‘Stairway to Heaven’—a shepherd’s trail of sorts that takes you through narrow stone ledges [some just a foot wide] and treacherous exposure because this stairway has no railings! Here’s an interesting blog post about the adventurous stairway.
4. Hatta, UAE-Oman border
Hatta is yet another highly accessible climbing zone from Dubai but is fast disappearing because of the heavy quarrying that is being carried out. Get more info about Hatta crags here.
A word of caution
Rocks can be nasty, you know.
DO NOT attempt rock climbing without undergoing basic training.
On your first real climb, make sure you have experienced climbers to guide you.
October to May is considered the best time for rock-climbing.
It will be difficult at first—there will be chalk in your nails and bruises all over your body—but there’ll be a sense of achievement too, and lots of mind-blowing views.
Rock climbing is like meditation; it teaches you to live in the moment. It’s a great mind-body workout that also lets you explore nature at the same time. And with the wilderness of the Hajar Mountains as your training ground, what more could you possibly want?
Recommended: 5 Gorgeous Wadis in Fujairah You Need to Visit