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.After a short night and a late morning, we picked up our rental SUV and started driving west towards the cities of Nizwa and on to Ibri where we stocked up on water, pita bread and hummus. We thought that we could reach our destination early enough in the day to still scout out the approach. We were wrong. Though the roads are in excellent condition our map of Oman was not worth its weight in toilet paper. We wasted time getting lost around the lush Bat area before finally finding our way to the village of Al Ayn near the base of Jebel Misht. We then burnt the remaining daylight hours driving across a 300 meter wide dry river bed full of boulders the size of microwave ovens. It is possible that we were in a rush and perhaps missed an easier access point. The routine went something like this: drive 20 meters only to be stopped by boulders, walk a 100 meters trying to scout a passage way through the boulder field, finally give up and manually clear the way for the car. We finally crossed it just as it got dark and drove another rough 2 or 3 kilometers up the wadi towards Jebel Misht. We set up our car camp and were debating whether or not to go for the climb the next morning without reconnoitering the approach. Ultimately we decided to sleep in. In retrospect, a wise decision.
.Next morning we got our first clear view of Jebel Misht’s southeast face. The thing looks huge and intimidating, a bit like seeing El Capitan for the first time. A thousand meters of steep, golden-colored limestone reported to be the tallest face on the Arabian Peninsula . I think we both had similar thoughts throughout that day: why do we do this shit to ourselves? Why can’t we just be normal fucking tourists?
We checked out most of the approach hike that day, lazed around camp eating and reading but I can’t say it was a relaxing day. Not with the monster staring us down. Also, the camp is inside a sunny and hot wadi full of jagged dark rocks and thorny vegetation – not really idyllic, perhaps a bit godforsaken. Given how painful it was to get the car in, we nixed the idea of driving around the mountain to scope out the descent and stash food and water on the other side. We went to sleep early and set our alarm for 3:30 am.
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