TOPO Canyoning

Wasat Canyon, Wadi Shah

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Cheminée à rappeler

3rd open and equipped dry canyon in the Wadi Shah, RAK inland. Situated between the other 2 (Thunder and Trident), we had to climb it to discover it, as we had no indication of how to access it from above. Shorter than its 2 neighbors, but more steeply sheltered, we were able to climb up to its supposed starting point, even though the ridge was still a long way off. Only the 1st cascade (60m) requires climbing, but the route is equipped, and the rest can be done scrambling, avoiding or going around the cascades - with a bit of trad gear it's still better to protect yourself. So, after leaving the small defile at the top of the interesting part, we headed back down with 7 abseils, some of them avoidable, to finish on the almost vertical 60m of the final cascade. A good alternative to the other 2 for discovering the activity without too much difficulty, all that remains is to find the path that takes you directly to the starting point.

Technical summary

Location ✦ Wadi Shah
Region ✦ Ras Al Khaimah
Country ✦ United Arab Emirates
Type ✦ Dry canyon
Difficulty ✦ v4-a1-III
Max abseiling ✦ 60m
Duration ✦ 4h to 5h

Access to the place

See access to Wadi Shah from RAK. The bottom of the canyon is after the Cleavage spot, on the left, at the level of a small bridge, before the bends that go up on the right and opposite the 3some spot. Park on the roadside, and you can see the 60m waterfall, a little bleached, from the road, 200 or 300m away.

Map & topo

Itinerary description

Hiking to the start 5'

We did it from the bottom on the way up. Follow the path to the bottom of the waterfall, from where the 3 short pitches start.

Course 3h

If you're climbing the canyon before descending, you'll need the same gear and equipment as for the big trad routes, mainly to climb the 1st big 60m waterfall. After that, wedges can be used to protect yourself as you go around other waterfalls.

1st part: climbing up the canyon

Start with the big waterfall. Take the central bolted route (see topo). A V+ L1 (25m) on rock that's a little polished but with some nice cracks. L2 (15m, IV+) and L3 (20m, V+) are easy to link up. We end up in the dihedral on the left and the final belay is a little above the one on the right that will enable us to abseil. Then follow the torrent bed and the following cascades, skirting them to the right, sometimes with a detour. You then come to a more recessed entrance that leads to the narrow, winding central section. The next waterfall, around 25m long, can also be bypassed to the right, with a few protective friends. After this, the polished and whitewashed overhangs and mini-cascades can be climbed without difficulty to finally emerge and see the more open and splayed continuation, the ridge much higher up but with no additional difficulty. This is where we decided to turn back.
Part 2: descending the canyon

The way in reverse! A good series of abseils, some avoidable but less obvious to de-escalate than to climb.
R1 and R2, each about ten meters long, can be de-escalated, but R1 in particular is exposed, so it's best to get the rope out. R3 (25m) is the one that slides into the shadow of the chimney, almost vertical and not difficult, but you could end up with your feet in the water with a little more rain. The R4 (30m), mounted on a cable around the rock, is in 2 stages, with a small overhang in the middle, not easy to negotiate. It can eventually be bypassed to the left.
Next, follow the torrent bed and unclimb a large 10m rise, obviously not equipped (or relay not seen) and really exposed (not difficult). You then emerge with an open view of the road. The R5 (20m) passes the wide waterfall before heading for the final abseil R6 (60m), which has been climbed on the left. Vertical but not completely so, a pretty aerial abseil to finish.

Back

It's immediate, with the car in your sights and taking the approach path in the opposite direction.

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