Jabal Asala, Lulu
Asia, Oman, Western Hajar
During our two-week stay in Oman, Marc Kuhn and I climbed one possible new route on the north side of Jabal Asala. Initially we wanted to repeat Petit Journée (D+ F5/5+, Frédéric and Magali Salle), but we had no proper route description and only a photo of the face. We found ourselves too far right of the route. (We now think it is on a different face.) The first 100m were a system of easy ledges (3) followed by a compact black slab. We roped up above the slab and left a sling through a thread at the first belay. The next four (50m) pitches, over slabs with cracks, were F5+ and led to a series of overhangs, below which we traversed left (60m, 6a/b, the crux). We left slings in place on this pitch. We then followed the easiest line, which slanted left to reach a large ledge. We followed this ledge rightward to the crest of the pillar and then climbed straight up for 200m (3/4) to the top, exiting 100m left of the summit. We climbed this route, Lulu, on January 14, 2010. Although it is 550m long and TD, only the first 250m are difficult. The main five pitches have excellent rough rock with lovely gouttes d’eau [pockets common in limestone].
Pascal Trividic, France
Editor’s note: Lulu appears to follow similar ground to (though perhaps left of) Sigi Brachmeyer and Albert Precht’s 2001 North Pillar (TD), before moving left, crossing Rock Fascination (TD, UIAA VII-, Brachmayer-Precht, 2001), and eventually slanting right to finish on the top section of North Pillar.