"take it to a higher level"

Back at The Ranch

This past weekend was my first weekend climbing in three months and what better place to go spend the weekend then at the best climbing area with in two hours of Dubai, The Ranch. It felt amazing to be back out on the rocks again especially because it was shared with a few good friends. We all had an amazing time climbing for two days and making new bonds of friendship.

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I still hold firm that Wadi Khab al Shamis and Dibba  is the best area for climbing with in two hours of Dubai; even with the current border restrictions. There is no other place with in two hours of Dubai (that has been discovered) that has what Dibba has. Wadi Khab al Shamis is special; the energy there is quite different to that of the other climbing places. It has the best rock in the region; as well as the highest concentration of routes in the area. There are many areas to climb and camp, plenty of trails to trek and explore, you can even bring your mountain bike out for a nice ride or head to the beach for a swim.

I might be a bit bias when it comes to climbing in Dibba especially at The Ranch because it is the area I have been working hard (with the help and support of some awesome friends) to develop for the last two years for UAE based climbers. For me there is nothing in comparison to it; I have also gotten much positive feed back from many UAE based climbers and visitors that put The Ranch at the top. Over the passed two years all the hard work has more than been worth it, not only because it’s a great climbing area but mostly because of all the wonderful memories that have been shared weekend after weekend. Every weekend there is always a great adventure, sharing it with friends is the best part. We climb and have fun all day and end the night with fire, food and more fun.

There is still much potential for new routes in Dibba (trad, sport and bouldering) and still many routes that need to be put up in the vicinity of The Ranch. A few people think I should abandon it and find a new area (if you can find an area with as much potential as this then I will happily start developing there) for me when I set out to start developing this area I set out on a long term project that has blossomed into something beautiful. The Ranch has grown and has expanded from the original corner area to about 50m up the road and 100m down the road. Last season about 15 new routes were added and I plan to try to add at least 20 more myself in the coming season (I am also looking for anyone who wants to help bolt).

Just this past weekend I scouted about 8-10 new routes on one face and hopefully this up coming weekend will allow my to start the first route to the top as my access route. Hidden away I found a beautiful 10-12m hand/fist size crack that runs up to the top of the cliff face I plan to bolt. As soon as I saw it it was one of those moments of awe-inspiring wow; that needs to be climbed. The crack looks rather consistent in size the whole way and easily protectable with trad gear and minimal cleaning. This weekend I plan to trad up the line and set anchors at the top then come back down and bolt it. I’m not a purist trad climber so I have no objection to bolting this route as it will serve three purposes. 1. It is an awesome line. 2. It will be my access route to the top of the face to get over the other lines. 3. I have sevral people who want to learn to place trad gear and having a bolted  line that they can climb and practice placement on until they learn and get confidence is perfect. So I can’t wait to get back out there and get started.

I am also planning on bolting another trad line that is at The Ranch as well. This route was originally set up as a sport line. Two years ago when I started the line I placed anchors at the top and practiced top roping it to mark bolt holes. At the time my strength and technique were not good enough to complete the route so it was temporarily abandoned. Another climber attempted the route on gear a while back which ended badly as when he fell his placements popped out and he shattered his leg. He asked that this line stay as a trad line. I can no longer honor this request as no one will likely ever attempt this route on trad again (too dangerous). The consensus from those that regularly climb at The Ranch is to bolt the line. So by popular demand the route will be bolted this season. Last season I successfully worked the route on TR; so this season I will rework it marking bolt placements to bolt the route.

So I still plan to try to get permits every weekend for those who want to climb in Dibba because its well worth the effort, there is much that needs bolting and many more great weekends to be had with friends.  My contacts in Dibba are still doing the permits for me for free, however, I will still be charging the mandatory 50dhs donation for permits per person per entry. It is a lot of effort and my time to do the permits and worth it. 100% of the donations  go towards the bolting efforts in Dibba.

So I look forward to many more memories and great times with friends, lots more climbing, bolting camping and good ole’ cowboy fun at The Ranch.

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