Western Hajar, various first ascents.
In December 2004 and January 2005, Geoff Hornby (U.K.) and I climbed on the mountain limestone of the Western Hajar. We based ourselves around Wadi Al Ain west of A1 Hamra, three hours drive from the capital, Muscat. Thanks to Geoff’s extensive knowledge of the area, we were able to climb seven new routes.
Attracted by the huge southern aspect of Jabel Misht (2,090m), we climbed Palestine (800m, TD-), taking the full length of the southeast pillar, via a black band at the bottom and a groove and amphitheater on the upper face. We also climbed Mishts of Time (540m, D) to the right of existing routes on the southwest face. Opposite, on the north face of the isolated Jabel M’Saw, a pyramidal summit between Asala and Misfah, we climbed the first route on the formation, White Magic (570m, TD-), which follows a clean white slab to a surprising traverse through the overhangs. On the east face of Jabel Asait we climbed Buzzy Bee on the loose lower tier and the more satisfying Arch Wall (385m, TD-), which leads to a rock arch on the narrow summit ridge. We finished by climbing the first route on the north face of Jabel M’Seeb opposite the southern pillars of Jabel Kawr. This was the enjoyable Juggernaut (435m, D-), a steep groove festooned with holds.
We climbed from the road each day, carrying just a light wind top, a pair of trainers for the descent, a few liters of water, and energy bars. The rock was hard and smooth in water-worn grooves, but elsewhere it was sharply pitted. We descended by long boulder and scree slopes, which added to the challenge. During our visit heavy rain flooded the roads, and afterwards the temperature was surprisingly cold for several days. Traveling through the country was a pleasure, and we received great hospitality from the people living in the mountains.
Paul Knott, New Zealand