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.
Buy Pot Point Boulders 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.
Corey Harris on Rite of Passage (V2)
The Pot Point bouldering area is one of the best kept secrets of the Chattanooga bouldering scene. Potential for new lines and free camping all within a peaceful setting make this spot perfect for climbers looking for something new.
This area sits on the ridge overlooking the river gorge and Raccoon Mountain and is situated along the Pot Point hiking trail. While only the best select problems are included in this initial guidebook release the area has an abundance of unclimbed rock and well featured boulders. Divided into several mini areas the boulders are strewn about for almost a mile.
Drew Meyer on Love Handles (V4)
Each area has its classics and warmups with the furthest of all the areas being a large maze of rock, otherwise known as the Fortress. While most visitors to the area will hit the Fortress; the other areas hold enough quality problems to keep all but the strongest climbers busy. Keep in mind that since development in 2006 nature has reclaimed some boulders and problems can grow with lichen again and their approach trails become non-existent. This is part of the beauty of the area so embrace it.
From the downtown Chattanooga area head north on Hwy 27 taking the Signal Mtn Rd Exit and head west (toward the mountain) taking a left onto TN-27 W/Suck Creek Rd. Drive 8 miles through the scenic Suck Creek area and turning left on to Choctaw Trail following signage for Prentice Cooper. A left turn onto Game Reserve Rd leads you to the entrance of the Prentice Cooper area. Drive 8 miles to the left turn to the Davis Pond Rd. and park here if the roads are closed.
The roads are closed from December to March or in exceptionally wet times. When the roads are open you can drive the loop just past the pond taking the right fork. You will be able to see the Alpha area from the road.
Buy Norm & Matt’s Powerlinez guidebook 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.
Jeep Trail – Trail Head Entrance
If you are one who is interested in history, then the Powerlinez might be just the place for you. Let me forewarn you – it’s not a place for solitude or escape from the influence of man. Hundreds of years ago, before power plants and landfills, the local Ramapough Indians roamed these hills and especially the Torne Valley region, which is the same valley we climb in today. Rumors of artifacts and old settlements have dated as far back as we remember.
Now, Powerlinez rock climbing is the beginning of a new history. It is the first area in Harriman State Park to be legally opened to climbing. Thanks to all the hard work of the Torne Valley Climbers’ Coalition (TVCC) in 2013; they worked together with the Palisades Interstate Parks Commission (PIPC) to work out a no fee, waiver agreement to get climbers into the area and doing what they love most!
The question is – how long have climbers been climbing here and what history are current climbers going to leave behind?
Krista on Goldilocks (5.6)
Over the last two years, development has exploded in the Powerlinez climbing area. There used to be a total of 100-200 boulder problems and roped routes, and now the first release of the rakkup guidebook “Powerlinez” is poised to have 100+ climbs alone. We’re barely exposing a quarter of the total current routes! When the hardest climbs used to top out at 5.10 or V4, local hard climbers are slaying 5.12s and V9s every month. This summer, during our two year anniversary, is only going to rein in more hard and bold climbing.
Matt on Indulge the Bulge (V7)
This development has spread as whispers around the local climbing gyms, and a couple local Gunks’ celebrities – Russ Klune and Al Diamond – showed us some hard boulder problems that they messed around on in the 90s. When we thought we were getting first ascents, we realized that we still live in the shadows of the true masters of their craft.
How can you not expect routes to be climbed in an area that’s only an hour away from New York City? With so many people, it’s no surprise that a climber or two have wandered through the boulder fields of the Powerlinez. After all, Storm King Mountain was one of the first rock climbing spots in the Northeast in the 1920s, and that’s still another half-hour north of the Powerlinez.
Matt on Indulge The Bulge (V7)
So here we stand, a group of local climbers fielding the interest of an even larger community further south in the metropolis of the city. They all want a taste of local climbing, but what can happen to an area with a new guidebook? Thanks to rakkup, we’re sure that amazing things will happen. With an interactive trail map to stay on the right trail, and waypoints so that you don’t get lost, rakkup is helping climber’s not only follow the rules, but make the most of their climbing experience.
Charlie on Ricochet (V4)
Here’s what we hope: We hope harder climbers will come out and project new stuff. We hope more 5 star problems will become uncovered from their mossy crags by all these climbers. We hope that there will be a responsible stewardship of the area; leaving a legacy of respect for the area, its history, and the locals.
We know that this is the beginning of a long and beautiful history between climbers and state lands. While we look forward to the next hand hold to climb on, may we all remember where we came from, and as more areas open up in New York State Parks, I hope we can remember the little area that started it all. The little yeast that leavened the whole dough: The Powerlinez.
In the clouds of the High Atlas Mountains in Morocco rests a real bouldering treasure hidden from the climbing community for many years. Oukaimeden is the first bouldering destination in Morocco, and is just a one and a half hour drive from the cultural heart of Marrakech. Bouldering in Oukaimeden combines well with a road trip through Morocco or a city trip to Marrakech and is a cultural and exotic experience.
Odielvan Wijkon on Schwartz Walderkirch (V3)
If you thought pioneering was only something done by pioneers in the twentieth century, you are wrong. At 2000 meters above the imperial city of Marrakech you feel the fresh air of nature and splendid views when you get psyched about a new problem you’re working on. Thousands of potential problems are located in the hills surrounding the little village of Oukaimeden. A true pioneer’s experience of exploring new boulders and sending new problems no one has attempted before you.
Irene Pieper on Lost Hold (V3)
Oukaimeden is best visited in the spring months of March, through May and during the Autumn months of October and November. The summer months June, July and August can be hot and the mountains are, by then, covered with shepherds. The winter months December through February can be perfect for sending hard problems but at the same time can be frustrating with thick layers of snow. Nevertheless, the sun is strong enough to melt the snow from the boulders, even during the winter months, at a fast pace.
Leander Rutten balancing in The Bakery
Currently, Oukaimeden has three main areas where most of the problems are located. The lowest (2300m.) area, and probably the most flat one too, is called The Colony. A small area with a high density of documented boulders from balancy plates to high balls and seriously overhang cave problems. The Colony is a 7 km drive from the village and is located in a hairpin turn and provides spectacular views over the lush Ourika valley.
The most developed areas are The Bakery & Rivers of Babylon located near the small village of Oukaimeden. At the northwest side of the road The Bakery is covered with the most problems ranging from v0 to v6. There are also potential hard highball problems in this area. Rivers of Babylon is at the north east side of the river and is a long stretched area at Atlas crest line. Don’t wait, book your ticket to Marrakech today and go send these tasty problems.
The Hillside Dams, once the principle source of Bulawayo’s water supply, are in easy reach of the center of town. Our own climbing and bouldering oasis little more than a hop, skip and a jump away.
Although distinct from the Matopo Hills, this area of broken kopjes and sandy open plains resembles the much larger, better-known World Heritage Site. Yet it lies within the Bulawayo City boundary. Its natural vegetation is still largely intact and it includes a wide range of bird life. It has to be said that there are more species of plants in the park than the whole of England. There are also many small mammals including monkeys, squirrels, rock hyrax and duiker.
Tim Kluckow on Jungle Fresh (V3)
The area has attracted people since the earliest of times. It is not surprising that it was the location of one of King Lobengula Khumalo’s favorite royal villages to which he escaped when the stresses and strains of power at the nearby capital of Bulawayo were too great. In recent history it has catered to generations of Bulawayo residents seeking an accessible place of refuge and winding down. The newly renovated restaurant is becoming more popular and is a great place for a sundowner after a good session of sending.
Dom Stackler on Jungle Fresh (V3)
People have been climbing at Hillside Dams since the 90´s with the likes of Jeff Broome and Haedi Cunningham using the park regularly to keep in shape for the bigger rocks of the Matopo Hills and as a place to introduce those interested to the world of rock climbing. The bouldering potential was never really explored till after 2012. In 2014 Zimbabwe Rock Climbing (ZRC) was formed with the purpose of developing climbing and climbers in Zimbabwe. Hillside Dams with its position within the city and the potential for 300+ boulder problems (not bad for an area of 86 hectares/212 acres, a lot of which is the two dams) was chosen to be the focus of this development. Since the formation of ZRC there has been a frenzy of development including a dozen or so short sport routes and many dozen boulder problems. All of the climbing is easily accessible with most problems less than a 10 minute walk.
Tim Kluckow on Me Jane (5.10d)
The dominant rock is Syenite. This coarse igneous rock is about 2.172 billion years old and is very similar to granite but is deficient in quartz. As far as climbers are concerned it looks like and climbs the same as local granite and is often referred to as granite. Bulawayo´s cool dry winters are the best time for climbing at Hillside Dams, while early mornings and late afternoons/evenings are still great during the warmer months.