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Little Princess, Wadi Naqab, Emirates

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Départ de L2 (7a)

A wonderful discovery this Saturday: the wadi Naqab, south-east of RAK, on the road to Taiwayin. Long approach, asphalt then track to end up in the bed of the wadi in a sumptuous setting. The canyon is deep, the rock fantastic, the atmosphere wild. In short, perhaps one of the most beautiful spots in the UAE. What about Little Princess? A magnificent route, demanding, hard, very hard! Minimum 2x50m rope, 20 quickdraws, one set of belayers, one set of friends, doubling 3 (blue), tripling or quadrupling 1 (red) and 2 (yellow).

Technical summary

Access to the place

Not easy. Fork on the E18 between the RAK (the bell) traffic circle and the airport traffic circle, turn due east at a Toyota warehouse. Follow the road, then turn right then left into the wadi. At the bot of the road, the track continues, then forks right once to pass through the bed of the wadi, then forks right again to end up on a difficult, very stony track to the end of the track, where there is a small parking space. Allow almost 30′ of track (4×4 compulsory!).

Map & topo

Itinerary description

Hiking to the start 1h

Continue up the winding wadi bed. We pass through large boulders. After about 1/2 hour, climb up the left flank of the kairn to reach a higher ledge and avoid the rocky chaos. The passage is impressive and you arrive at the bend at a large opening. Opposite, on the other side, you can now see the Little Princess cliff. Continue along the ledge to find the bed of the wadi, cross it and climb up on the opposite side, skirting to the left to reach the foot of the route.

Course

The route is 125m in 4 pitches (50m, 20m, 20m, 35m). 2 trad pitches (L1 and L4) and 2 sport pitches (L2 and L3). For trad, plan to double the large friends between 1 and 3, or even 4 for L4 in a wide crack.


L1 (50m, V+, VS)

Start with 2 bolts of protection, then follow the crack diagonally. A more vertical passage halfway up is easily protected and the end is easier. The equipped R1 is just below a nice more vertical wall.


L2 (20m, 7a)

Place the 1st quickdraw, then descend a good 2 meters to head off to the right. Very, very fine start, mini rulers and a big step before the 3rd point, all in balance. The rest is very hard, slightly sloping and technical. Higher up, a dynamic step out of a bulge to reach the equipped but uncomfortable R2 (so we went on to L3).


L3 (20m, 6c+)

The first 10 meters are incredibly difficult, with tiny, round, elusive holds... fortunately, we can switch to active' in A0. The second part is more accessible but still demanding. Only the last few meters are easier to reach the R3, very comfortable on a small platform at the foot of the final crack.


L4 (35m, 6b+, E3)

10 meters to reach the crack and then it's very hot. With the energy left below and the jamming style of climbing (jamming your fist into the crack, the only valid hold), it's more than 6b+! An exhausting and very physical length, all in trad. End of the route on another platform, before the summit. 4h30 on the route!

Back

Rappel from the right-hand belay to reach R3, then in one go, aiming for a belay below R1 (on the right, lower down, with 2 straps on a rock), then in one go to the ground.

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