2390 maal bekeken, 76 maal gedownload
nabij Shāh, Raʼs al Khaymah (United Arab Emirates)
Jebel Yabanah sits somewhere between 4606ft / 1404m and 4830ft / 1472m depending on your source (3668ft / 1118m According to GeoNames), with a distinct twin-peak with neither being clearly the higher of the two. Three Ridge Lines converge at the Eastern Peak, with the Western Peak sitting on the steep western ridge which this route descends.
Peakery: 4606ft / 1404m
Mapcata: 4682ft / 1427m
Google and Open Cycle Maps: 4772ft / 1455m
My GPS: 4830ft / 1472m
From the Jebel Jais Road at the bottom of the valley (Wadi Shah) the Ascent/Descent on this route is 3690ft / 1125m. The actual time taken was 13 hours 25 minutes at a medium pace, and the route was 21km in length. There are plenty of camping possibilities on the Plateaus surrounding the summit where many farms and villages are placed.
Most of the route is a Moderate Walk. The summit section from the northern side is a Difficult walk. The ropes came out for the western descent, which had 1 clean abseil, 1 messy and 1 rope assist, hence I have classed it as Mountaineering. The rest of this section is an exposed scramble, with a set of steps, and some good exposer. Doing this section in reverse would be Experts Only, purely for dealing with the clean abseil section (the rest I have reversed). The Descent, via Wadi al Fah is then a Moderate walk, with a stairway and narrow ledges at the top of the wadi pushing up the grade.
On the attached images I have drawn on 1 image, 2 thick red lines. These mark 2 key steps in the mountain. Between these is a generally easy undulating terrain with farms on, as well as just below it. However these two steps have vertical cliffs almost all the way along of 10 meters in height and more. The gaps in the red lines are key routing bottlenecks that need to be hit.
The route is made up of 8 key sections:
1. Wadi Shah - Up and out of the wadi - (4km - 1 hour 20mins)
2. Wadi Shah - Up to the Farms - (2.8km - 1 hour 20mins)
3, Jebel Yabanah - Plateaus and the Step (2km - 2 hours)
4. Jebel Yabanah - The North Ridge (3km - 2 hours 30mins)
5. Jebel Yabanah - The Western Ridge (1.8km - 3 hours)
6. Jebel Yabanah - Western Plateau and Farms (1.6km - 50mins)
7. Wadi Al Fah - The Stairway (1km - 25mins)
8. Wadi Al Fah - The Descent (2.8km - 1 hour 30mins)
(Road Section - 2km - 30mins)
Wadi Shah - Up and out of the wadi
Starting just down from the Main road, on a sandy track next to a newly built stone building, head east up into Wadi Shah. Follow the track sticking right and it will divide (02 - Track Junction) off taking you you to another set of buildings/farms. The path is clearly worn away and easy to follow, however finding the start of the path out of the wadi is tricky at night. (03 - Bottom of Path). The path weaves on the micro and macro, with little sense of direction, opportunistically finding solid ground and steps in the cliff side to navigate up. It works its way back around overlooking wadi Shah once more where it eases off and turns south. After a couple of minutes you get to a clearly level traversing path to continue further up the wadi. (05 - Top of the Steep Section). Here is where, on this specific gpx file, I camped, on the large flat rocky slabs overlooking the entire wadi. Stunning.
Wadi Shah - Up to the Farms
Follow the Wadi edge south, on an almost completely flat path, weaving perfectly around the hillside. Quick progress makes this easy section finish all too quickly, and you will find yourself walking through a V gap in the mountain. (06 - the gap). From here you will slowly drop a little height to the wadi again, but this relies more on the wadi gaining height and coming up to meet you. You will meet the wadi (07 - Wadi), where you cross over, and work your way up another steep windy section, but with a well maintained dry stone built path, it quickly works its way past another steep section of the wadi. This is a small section in comparison to the previous uphill section. Follow the wadi up, and the wadi splits twice into tributaries; stick to the left around way point 8 (Bottom of the steep Section). Here a water tank/pump can be seen on the side of the wadi. After this point it is a steep persistent trek up to the top of the wadi and onto the plateau. This is about 1km of sustained zig-zagging up through the scree, and took about 45 minutes. It has a clear finishing point, when you meet the plateau. This is a key resting spot as shade can become hard to find from here on.
Jebel Yabanah - Plateaus and the Step
Once on the Plateaus, you can see villages to your left and right. At the time of year this gpx track was taken this area was covered in Grass and wild flowers, with many insects buzzing around the flowers which carpeted the landscape. One of the prettiest things I've seen in the Region; so clean; so simple.
We followed the path left and arrived at a farm house, still very much in use, with green fields surrounding it. This marked the spot where the path stops. (Way point 10), however a few little hints along our travels from this point on show that we were still on a used route. From the Farms we headed South East around the Eastern side of the peninsular in the ridge line making some height. A wooden post seemed to mark a route at top of the ascent from the village.
Traversing around the hillside, with the 'Lower step' close to our right hand side, we continued until Way point 11 (The step) where the cliff was reduced down to no more than 10m in height. A diagonal break in the rock, and narrow staircase which may have been a partially man made, made for an easy climb up. Once head up onto the top of the slope and you will be looking down onto the 2nd Plateau level. Drop down onto the flatter wadi basin loosing only a small amount of height. At this point, turn and head North East directly up a gulley to Waypoint 12 (Top of Wadi Shah). This last section is the beginning of the summit section, upgrading from trekking to scrambling.
Jebel Yabanah - The North Ridge
From Way point 12, traverse the mountain side, avoiding loosing any height. On your left is another tributary to Wadi Shah, which I have used to ascend for the "Wadi Shah and Ghabib Ridge" and although more direct has some serious scrambling to get past 'The Lower Step'. Once at way point 13 (The Border Ridge Line), it's a solid straight line of scrambling to the summit, with Wadi Bih to your left, and Wadi Shah to your right.
It is possible to go directly from Way point 11 up to the ridge, meeting up some way between 13 and 14 by working your way up the bolder field, however we kept the ascent gradual. For this section try to stick to the true ridge line as often, sticking with the strata of the rock, it pushes you off onto the highly exposed eastern edge of the ridge.
The summit, as stated in the opening section, has 2 peaks of which I'm not sure which is the highest, with my gps getting exactly the same reading (to the foot) and they sit about 1000ft / 300m apart, with 100ft / 30m of prominence to be lost and gained. This section is physically easy, but mentally tiring having spent so much time reaching the first peak!
Jebel Yabanah - The Western Ridge
I have further broken this section down into 7 sections specifically for the climb/scramble, which are shown in the attached images of the descent ridge.
1) A steep scramble with a few 5m steps. We moved together on scramble rope.
2) An easier scramble section then follows. Stick to the south side of the ridge line.
3) You will arrive onto a large Square stone sitting on the ridge. This is the 'Upper Step' and marks the crux. We dropped off the Southern side of this buttress down a clear crack line with a large bolder at the top, encircled by the sling I left behind. (It was too sticky to retrieve the rope from the rock).
4) Another easier section of scrambling now links the two abseil sections. Again stick to the southern side of the ridge.
5) This section is very messy, with loose rock, so it was more of a scramble/climb while having a backup rope which I was reluctant to fully load. This point marks the highest spot I reached when exploring ascending this route on a previous trek. Although I did climb up it, Seeing the Buttress (Abseil) section ahead we realised ropes were needed)
6) The scrambling section, with many steps and high exposure. Stick more generally to the ridge of the arête, as it narrows in. If steps appear to large, usually there are easier ways down on the Northern side of this section.
7) The easier bottom section is a walk/easy scramble and takes you down to the a perfectly flat end section of the ridge. (Way point 16 - Step)
From here on, it may be possible to continue along the ridge and have a large abseil down past the 'Lower Step', however without the time to experiment we U-Turned at way point 16, and with a few tricky steps/down climbs we traversed back around the northern side of Jebel Yabanah, meeting the top of the semi-solid scree at way point 17 (Top of Scree) and headed straight down to Way point 18 (Bottom of Scree).
From here on there are multiple options. I have in the past gone directly from here back to Way point 9 and back down to Wadi Shah. You can also easily head back across to Way point 11 (the step), via the farm house directly in front of you at the base of the scree slopes.
Jebel Yabanah - Western Plateau and Farms
This section is fast and moderately easy. Initially a little tiring on the ankles as we traversed and tried to hold our height, however once at way point 19 (farms on the ridge) it was a smoothly rolling landscape, and a fast and easy section linking up a few large farms, again walking through large areas of grass and flowers. These farm houses offer some of the first guaranteed shade spots for a long time on the route. Continue until way point 20 (Top of Stairs) to complete this section.
Wadi Al Fah - The Stairway
Much like the stairway to heaven route, but a little bit smaller scale, Dry stone masonry work has linked together the steps in the cliff. Each step in the cliff continues laterally either way after the stairway on and off of it, so be careful not to literally get sidetracked. Way points 21 and 22 mark the route through this.
Once at the bottom of the stairs 1 step in the cliff is used to traverse all the way around the top of the wadi. It is a few meters wide (10ft) and is very comparable to Mallam Cove (Yorkshire Dales, UK), with a sheer vertical cliff face on both sides, going up to your left, and down to your right. Again the step in the cliff continues further around than where the stairway joins, so if your coming from the other direction don't walk right up until the end. Once at the end of the traverse, you walk immediately onto the top of the rocky semi-solid bolder-scree lined valley side that will take you all the way down Wadi al Fah. This is at way point 23 - start of the traverse.
Wadi Al Fah - The Descent
This final part of the trek to the road has 3 distinct sections.
Firstly head from Way point 23 to way point 24, traversing while loosing some height. There is a path, but it's hard to follow at times. This will take you all the way down to the base of the wadi.
From here the path has clearly been washed away at times, so although easy to visually follow, it is sometimes hard to physically follow. Without following it too literally, head past some water sections and date palm trees until you come out onto a clear flat open section with a large green field at the end.
This is the start of the final section with a moderately well marked path working it's way through the bolder slopes down to the road. There are usually cairns throughout, and frequently, so if your not seeing them, your generally not on the path. Following these does save a noticeable amount of time.
Finally at the end of this section a set of cemented steps are squeezed between the right hand cliff side and a large rock. These steps are probably the steepest steps I have ever gone up/down, and they should be treated like a ladder. This is about 5 minutes from the road, and the end of the wadi. The remaining section of the route can be avoided with 2 cars, or if you are returning back down, and is the road section back to wadi shah.
Although this is a long route, with various challenging elements, I hope many elements of it can be cut and pasted together for aiding general navigation on this side of Yabanah!