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Flagpole variant, Ras Al Khaimah, Emirates

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Wadi Ghalilah, above Ras Al Khaimah, in the northern Emirates. A wide wadi heading straight for Oman. At the foot of one of the small villages, a huge 400m pyramid. We try to repeat a route opened by Phlippe and Aiden, Flagpole. It's going to be a long, hard day. After 8 hours on the rock, we make our way to the summit with a slight variation on L8, perhaps a little easier. The rock is of fairly good quality, especially on the 1st part up to the intermediate vein, a little less good above that. Nice atmosphere.

Dans L7

Technical summary

Access to the place

From RAK, head up the E18 towards the Omani border. Pass Rams, then further up, pass a huge cement factory. Just after, on the right, a fork in the road leads to Wadi Ghalilah. Follow this road into the valley. Park near the 1st village. The cliff is clearly visible from the road. There's a distinctive large pylon.

Itinerary description

Hiking to the start 30'

Cross the village and climb up to the base of the pyramid in a scree slope. At the start, a small roof and vertical to the start of the ramp.


The route is about 350m long and can be covered in 8 pitches. No equipment required. You'll need a full set of friends, doubling from 0.5 to 1 (3 and 4 are essential), as well as stoppers and extra straps. Compulsory level is V+.

The 1st section consists of 4 pitches that ascend slightly diagonally to the right of a huge, slightly sloping ramp. The rock is a little bleached but of excellent quality. We then arrive on a wide ledge, halfway up the route. The start is under a small roof with a tricky step for V+ climbers.

The 2nd part starts on a slightly steeper pitch, followed by an easier second pitch. Here you have to cross over a narrow ledge to reach the L7 on the right. Delicate exit and dihedral (V+) at the end to finish on L8, climbing without really being sure (IV+). Reach the summit by weaving in and out of boulders. Extraordinary view over the wadi, the sea and the Musandam range. Opposite, to the north, is the Stairway to Heaven cliff.


It's quite long and not so easy. Descend due north into the gorge. There are a few exposed passages to descent. If all goes well, we finish on a 15m abseil equipped with a piton. At the bottom, take the left-hand track back to the starting parking lot.

Map & topo



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