/ Climbing and camping at Wonderwall near Al Ain (Oman)
Anyone been out here? Hoping to drive out here in a 2wd saloon car and camp for a night - any recommendations? Any streams/pools there? The climbing looks great.
The simple answer is yes -- It has been done in a 2wd Hyundai Accent( at least to the edge of the soft sand by the farms). There are some excellent camps sites near the large boulders below Wonderslab
There are some good pools about 5 or 6km away in Wadi Madbah
access is much more difficult nowadays than when it was I 'discovered' the place about 17 years ago. Back then the border was open and there were no effective check points or border fences. You could wander pretty freely as long as you did not stray too far into Oman. Wonderwall actually lies just inside the Omani border and can now only be legally accessed via border check points if you have a valid visa -- there are rumours of a way from Dubai avoiding the checkpoints, but it is risky as any brush with the UAE or Omani authorities could land you in a lot of proverbial bother.
There is an active discussion on the latest access situation on the Real UAE Rock Climbers FB pages and also on the Red Armada blog http://www.redarmadapublishing.com/blog/?p=1762.
I hope you enjoy it when you get there as much as we did when opening the place up.
Thanks for your insight. Will definitely give it a go, but may approach from the Omani side - possibly avoid any problems.
If not this holiday, I'll get there eventually. As I said previously, it looks fantastic.
Thanks for your help.
It's 13 years since I was last there, but keep in touch with some of the UAE guys. They still climb there occasioinally, but getting there is a faff and can be reasonably expensive depending upon what visa you need to get. They tend to save those trips for a long holiday weekend.
Not exactly sure what the access from the Omani side (Sohar Road) is like, as there is a major border / customs post just before where you would need to turn off the main Buraimi highway to get to Wonderwall. An alternative route from Muscat would be through the mountains via Ibri - but that way you pass a lot of the good Omani climbing areas. It's one of the reasons that traditionally WW has been the preserve of the UAE based climbers as the northern end of the ridge is literally 100 metres inside the UAE / Oman border fence.
Back when I was there there were no fences or border posts to negotiate, and it was a good place for a summer's afternoon cragging if you did not mind the heat or the 2 hour drive each way. The humidity was much lower there than at the coasts, and you could always be guaranteed a breeze. The wall gets afternoon shade and many of the first ascents were made in the summer. 'Mad Dogs' was one -- climbed by Englishmen who walked up to the base of the wall 'in the midday sun'.
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