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Asia, Saudi Arabia, Jabel Dalfa and Jabel Haddad Massifs

Jabel Dalfa and Jabal Haddad Massifs, West Central Arabia, 1989. On January 12, 1989, I made the first ascent of a prominent granitic pinnacle which rises abruptly from the surrounding flat, sandy desert, two miles west of the main mass of the Jabal Dalfa massif, about 20 miles southeast of the village of Raynah. Five hundred feet of 4th-class scrambling ended on top of a large shoulder high on the northeast comer of the pinnacle. Steep, but easy (5.0), slabs led upward to the base of the summit block. An exposed step around an overhanging comer provided access to a fist-sized jam crack, which I followed to the summit. The only difficult moves (5.5) on my route are in the bottom and near the middle of this crack. On the following day, I made the first ascent of a granitic dome on the southern end of the nearby Jabal Hadad massif. My route followed an obvious crack system in the center of the west face. The only difficulties were 30 feet of continuous jamming and laybacking (5.6) near the bottom of the crack and a short chimney (5.4) near the summit. Other than nesting colonies of Egyptian vultures, I found no evidence of prior visits in the summit rocks of either peak. A wealth of new route possibilities on high quality Precambrian granite exist on numerous nearby inselburgs, but access to this area is extremely difficult.

Walt Vennum