.The second pitch of the following morning was a difficult crack petering out into intermittent pockets for gear and some friable limestone. I was fully awake by the time I reached the belay. There was a little bit of confusion (despite this excellent topo) as it turned out I finished this pitch about 8 meters below where I was supposed to. A bit of exciting face climbing and we were back on track. Some quality crack climbing followed (including a bit of wideness) and we finally popped onto the summit plateau in under 4 hours from the bivy site. Could’ve made it the previous afternoon. This is a pretty cool transition as you go immediately from vertical terrain to a flat-as-a-table summit plateau.
Photos, hugs, kisses and it was time to get moving as we were down to the last third of a nalgene bottle of water. In retrospect, the descent down the north slopes is straightforward. However it does have some soul crushing moments when you have to back track to escape being cliffed out…particularly so when you’re out of water. We finally reached the bottom of the valley and the dirt road some three hours later. At this point we had ~5 km to a village on the back side of the mountain followed by ~25km of road hiking back to the south side of the formation and up the wadi to our camp. We were out of water and baking in the earlyafternoon sun. Though it took a while, we finally saw a car and flagged it down for the quick ride to the village and its coffee shop.
.As we were waiting for the place to open, several villagers stopped by and chatted. One guy gave us half a small bottle of water he had (did I mention how hospitable Omanis are?). They all assured us that the place had water and would open by 4. By 4:15 we were not so sure. Shirley walked around the back of the place and found a mosque there – and of course a water hose. We drank and drank and re-filled our nalgenes and started hiking out of the village. It took all of five minutes for a car to stop and pick us up. Despite our looks and smells (including cracked, bloodied lips – the whole package), Ahmed invited us inside the cab of his shiny pick up and drove us to the mouth of the wadi…offering to drive us into the wadi and directly to our camp as well. An overly generous offer we declined given his nice new car. Instead he gave us his cell number and told us to call him if we had any problems. Above and beyond a reasonable level of help to two strangers.
That evening we drove out of the wadi (an E5 6b+ task in darkness…at least) and back to Nizwa for some Turkish food (excellent & cheap) and a room & shower at a hostel (shitty & expensive). At that point we had ticked off our main goal for the trip, had two and a half days left and felt little desire to put our rock shoes on again.
Go to The Saiq Plateau page.
Go back to Oman page.