If you’re reading this you’re probably either an international climber contemplating their first visit to the Sultanate of Oman, or you’re lucky enough to already live in Oman and are excited to get out and explore some new rock. If you’re in the second group, you won’t need convincing as to how wonderful Oman is, and if this is your first trip, welcome!
The Sultanate of Oman is an exceptional destination for all kinds of adventure tourism. You may primarily be a boulderer, but in Oman you can also find top-notch sport climbing (see our sport guides here and here), some of the most accessible deep-water soloing in the world (see here), and even Alpine-style rock routes. Besides climbing, there are stunning oasis-like canyons to explore and vast sandy deserts to venture into. The stable climate and vast open spaces make Oman an absolute dream for camping trips. The Omani locals are incredibly friendly and English is widely spoken.
Oman is blessed with an abundance of rock. Almost the entire coastline from the Musandam Peninsula in the far north to Salalah in the south is backed by bare limestone hills and mountains. As spectacular as this is, it can also be somewhat overwhelming for the visiting climber! However, closer inspection reveals that much of the rock is too weathered and fragile for good climbing. In general, only cliffs that are regularly swept by rain, floodwater or ocean waves have that perfect blend of well-featured yet solid rock. Decades of exploration by dozens of individuals, often during the sweltering summer off-season, has created a long list of venues for all styles of climbing. For bouldering, this is generally within the dry river canyons – wadis – that criss-cross the country.
Whether you’re a visitor, a resident or an Omani local, our new guide will provide you with hundreds of boulder problems in spectacular and often isolated locations. Those who live in Muscat have five different after-work venues to choose from, all within the city limits. There are harder lines to project, easy circuit problems and even super-long traverses for those who wish to get fit. Jaded sport climbers will be pleased to learn that Oman’s three main bolted crags – Khubrah, Daykah and Hadash – all offer quality boulder problems as an alternative to bolt-clipping.
Weekend warriors can choose from any of five canyons located along the highway to Oman’s main interior city, Nizwa. All have been developed in the last few years and are documented for the first time in our latest guide. If you’re driving to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and fancy a spot of bouldering followed by a dip in clear blue spring water, then you can use the guide to locate Wadi Damm.
Those with enough time for a proper road trip can reach either of Oman’s world class bouldering venues. A half-day drive north from Muscat, via the UAE, will take you to Damian’s Boulders in Wadi Khab Al Shamsi on the Musandam Peninsula. Alternatively, a few hours driving southeast along the coast road from Muscat, followed by a few hours of hair-raising off-roading, will get you to the incredible Valley of Giants at Umq Bir, above Wadi Tiwi. A superb film by Read Macadam and Miguel Willis documented the bouldering at Umq Bir (see here). A one-day drive south from Muscat will take you to Oman’s tropical second city, Salalah, where recent exploration for boulders has yielded some impressive finds.
So, if you like to mix your bouldering with adventuring in roughly equal parts, you will not be disappointed with a visit to the Sultanate of Oman!
Oman Bouldering by Jamie Moss & Gary Goldfinger was last modified: January 17th, 2022 by Jamie Moss
Once a great mountain range that would rival the Himalayas of today, the Appalachian Mountains that stretch from Canada to Alabama have fought an all out brawl with time and erosion for the last million or so years. The street fight was hard fought, but eventually the forces of nature won out, sculpting the hills, valleys, and the East Coast’s versions of “mountains” that we know today. As the Appalachians fade in Chattanooga, TN, the Lookout and its sister mountains unveil the treasures of the battle with erosion with multiple world class bouldering destinations. Areas such as Little Rock City (aka Stone Fort) and Rocktown draw climbers from the world over to sample some of the best/most accessible sandstone in North America. Luckily for Alabama, it saves the best for last.
Sculpted by the ravages of time, Horse Pens 40 is home to acres of bulbous faces, blunt prows, delicate slabs, crimpy overhangs, and water grooves. The owners, Mike and Gina Schultz, are models for southern hospitality. Mike is one of the best storytellers you will ever meet, while Gina slings some of the meanest country cooking you will ever encounter. HP provides the maximum amount of problems for the least amount of effort. If you are in search of the double digit line, you might want to “go west young man,” because the area lacks the soft sends needed to pad the spraycard. With over 100+ lines from V3-V5 and the same amount from V6-V8, this is the moderate climbers dream come true. Horse Pens is the Fontainebleau of the South, without the arrogance and the stench. Either for a day, a week, or a season, your trip to HP will have you wanting of more. If the weather permits, this is as good as it gets.
Horse Pens 40 Bouldering by Adam Henry was last modified: November 8th, 2019 by ahenry
The Alsek Pass Boulders lie along the shore of an ancient lake located on the border of Kluane National Park in the Yukon Territory of northern Canada. The scene is stunning with a backdrop of vast sweeping vistas in wild grizzly bear country. Well-sized outcroppings of beautiful green and red, climber-friendly stone are set as the main stage. The area is located about 15km west of the small Yukon town of Haines Junction that has a population of around 600 people.
We can all enjoy bouldering in the majestic Alsek Pass thanks to a legend in Yukon climbing, Paul Henstridge. I had the pleasure of experiencing the grandeur of Alsek Pass for the first time in 2008. I was spellbound by the beauty of the place and the quality of the stone. When I heard that Paul had developed the area, I got in touch. Paul has been climbing in the Yukon for decades and has developed uncountable routes, ice climbs and boulders around the territory, concentrating around his hometown of Haines Junction.
When we met, he had recently had a severe motor-vehicle accident from which he has been valiantly recovering despite the doctors’ negative prognoses. I’ve been documenting Alsek Pass with Paul very sporadically over the years on one-day missions. He’s got a perma-psych that is contagious and a playful determination that will put a smile on your face. Every year his body is more able to move around on the rocks but it’s not just the progression that’s inspiring, it’s his authentic and overflowing appreciation for the beauty of life.
Alsek Pass, Yukon|Bouldering in the Wild North by Sierra Allen was last modified: August 18th, 2019 by sya
The quality of climbing at Moore’s Wall is superb. As John Sherman said in his Stone Crusade, the rock is “bullet-hard quartzite”. Large blocky features that force opposition as well as the small razor sharp crimps are common and found in many of the area classics and test pieces such as Stickman, Proper Modulation, The Nick and Tsunami. Further adding to the experience is the mental game of unlocking beta. Large, seemingly good features from the ground, climb very different than they appear and makes for some thought provoking beta decryption. The high-quality rock, its texture and features along with the vision of the locals has produced a movement and style unique to the Southeast.
Chris on Tsunami V8
Located inside Hanging Rock State Park in North Carolina, Moore’s Wall is one of many state parks maintained by the North Carolina Parks division. It is part of the Sauratown Mountain Range (1,700 feet to more than 2,500 feet in elevation). It is comprised of four primary sectors, The Main Area, The Valley, The North End, and Two Mile. One of the great things about Moore’s is that the sun exposure is different for each of the areas. During some of the coldest months you can still climb at Two Mile since it is south facing and will always be warmer than the other areas. On the flip side, if it is warm out you can climb at The North End, which is always ten or more degrees colder than The Main Area or Valley. However, a cooler temperature if it is humid out (and this is North Carolina) will just mean the boulder will feel wet. We don’t make the rules here.
Kitten Mittons V7
As you might expect, the best time of year to climb here is when it is cold and dry. Although you can theoretically “climb” year round, the heat, poor friction, smog of bugs, unreasonably large spiders, and rattle snakes during the warmer months are a deterrent for most climbers. The climbing season can start as early as September if the temperatures stop exceeding 80 and 90 degrees and continues until it gets unbearably cold at the dead of winter. Climbing picks back up in February or March and continues through May/June. Although with global warming you can occasionally climb throughout the so-called cold months. In what roughly correlates, in our calendar, to the month of December, there is a yearly sasquatch migration. They can be quite territorial. When confronted, avoid direct eye contact; it may be considered an invitation or a challenge depending on the gender of the sasquatch. Be especially careful on a lunar leap year.
Buy Yukon Bouldering here and save money versus purchasing from within our app via Apple or Google. It’s exactly the same guidebook, but offered at a lower price on rakkup.com.
Sierra Allen on Credit Card Debt (V4), Rock Gardens
Right next to Alaska is a land less known, but just as vast and rugged. The Yukon Territory is full of potential for discovery. Larger in geographic size than the state of California, and with less than 40,000 human inhabitants, it still contains great expanses of untouched wilderness. It is a land of great potential for climbers seeking virgin stone as only a tiny percentage of the rock here has been explored.
Over the past century, rumours of getting rich off gold brought an influx of destructive human activity to Yukon. More recently, as the global consciousness shifts from extraction of and control over nature to the appreciation and gratitude for it, the Yukon is becoming a destination for folks seeking a different kind of richness: low-impact outdoor adventure in a still pristine landscape.
Sierra Allen on an Unnamed problem in the Alsek Valley
The Yukon is becoming known for being a natural playground for fisherpeople, backpackers, paddlers, dog mushers, cross-country skiers, paragliders and mountain bikers. Rock climbing and bouldering development in the Yukon began decades ago but it is now gaining momentum as more and more people head north, seeking the freedom to play in untamed nature. That desire for adventure is key in really getting the most out of what the Yukon has to offer. Naturally, the climbing areas that have been most developed thus far are concentrated around the Yukon’s capital city, Whitehorse.
Loic Markley on Witness the Sickness (V9), Ibex Valley
Accessibility is the exciting challenge to new development beyond the rock that lies near the Yukon’s sparse highways. Even access to the Yukon’s most prominent bouldering area, the Ibex Valley, requires a 4wd vehicle. Many more possibilities open up to those for whom hiking, four wheeling, and boating are an option. There’s a lot of quality rock out there, rewarding those who are psyched to put in the energy to get out there and seek it!
I invite you to come and experience the wild Canadian north through the simple yet infinitely engaging art of bouldering. The season to climb here is between May and September, with July and August being the months with the best conditions and nearly 24hrs of sunlight. You’ll never have to worry about having to rush to send before dark!
Ethan Allen on Tryndamere (V5) and Jenna Carter on Tryed and True (V0), Ibex Valley
Come expecting a solid variety of world class rock along with some pretty engaging “backyard choss”. Expect quiet beauty, zero crowds, adventure potential everywhere you look, free camping, free clean water and pristine landscapes you’ll be awed by.
Buy Boat Rock Bouldering here and save money versus purchasing from within our app via Apple or Google. It’s exactly the same guidebook, but offered at a lower price on rakkup.com.
Athar Naseer, Gaping Crack (V3)
Boat Rock is a granite playground nestled in the heart of a bustling metropolis. It consists of monstrous boulders hidden within a beautiful southern forest. The contrast between this amazing paradise of sharp boulders and the fast-moving cement city that has enveloped this climbing Eden is stark and dramatic. Boat Rock is an amazing respite for the climber stranded in the city, and is the most extensive and varied bouldering park within a few hours of Atlanta.
Boat Rock boasts a variety of climbers that called the Boat their stomping grounds, including Robyn Erbesfield, Bob Cormany, Ron Kauk, Curtis Glass, Shannon Stegg, Jerry Roberts, and Rich Gottlieb who all have made Boat Rock a destination for those looking to develop technical skills in this slab filled area.
Alex Liu, on Easy Crack Traverse (V3)
Boat Rock is notorious for being saved from urban progress by advocacy groups, especially the Southeastern Climber’s Coalition. Today, the area is divided between being held for climbers, and still owned by others, so climbers have to be aware of where boundaries are. Future plans seem to incorporate the outlying areas that possess interesting problems into use for climbers of Boat Rock permanently.
The pinnacle of climbing season is late January, where it doesn’t usually get blistering cold in this area of Georgia. The closer to summer, the ever-present humidity makes its presence known to climbers. Spring and fall are beautiful times to enjoy this park, but as the foliage is beautiful on the trees, it does inhibit navigating the boulders for beginners and new-comers.
Boat Rock is a place for climbers of varying ability levels. This is a great place to develop great slab climbing skills, as well as crack climbing, edging and balance.