TOPO Climbing

5 to 7 on the Iron, wadi Naqab, Emirates

Topo published on |


At the end of the approach up the flanks of Wadi Nakhab, crossing the torrent bed opposite the Red Wall, there is a large area of tangled boulders. On the left, as you begin the final ascent to the foot of the walls, there's a huge boulder on its side that looks like an iron, offering a long, smooth, slightly sloping slab. After placing a belay at the top bypassing the boulder, trying a line rather to the right and another on the left ridge, we equip the right with 5 points. Balanced climbing, on rounded mini-edges and a more difficult step in the middle to reach a small exit ledge. The left-hand route, on the ridge, is also very interesting, a little easier but very fine, to be equipped on a future visit to the area. To end the day, we climbed back up to the foot of the Red Wall to try and finish setting up the end of a project on the big slab on the right, which is very (too?) difficult, especially at the end of the day!

Technical summary

Access to the place

This is the same as for all Nakhab roads. From the E18 from RAK to the airport, turn left at a Toyota store (do a U-turn there). Head for the mountains, take the fork on the right (large speed bump at the entrance), then turn left at the T junction. From the asphalt, you enter the wadi, then a good track, then a medium-sized track, turning right each time. After the last buildings (small stone houses on the left), continue for a while in the torrent bed. Today, the track is totally broken up and impassable. Leave the car before the chaos. Allow a good 30 minutes on the track. See the Google Earth image below or download and open the Google Earth file showing the waypoints to the parking lot (rename the .jpg extension .kmz).

Map & topo

Itinerary description

Hiking to the start 1h

From the last parking lot, continue along the wadi bed. Pass the first large bend to the right, with huge boulders on the left. Continue following the cairns, then cross to the left to find a large cairn and the entrance to the system of ledges. Climb following the cairns and the bluish marks on the rock (polished by repeated passage). Successive switchbacks follow one another above the wadi, occasionally crossing a scree slope. Then you reach a large platform (see photo), which you have to cross and then join more switchbacks that finally lead to a flat area and an opening in the wadi above. We're now opposite the Red Wall, which is on the right-hand side, with a huge boulder zone below. Cross the wadi bed and climb up to the wall to the left of the boulder zone. Follow the cairns and very quickly on the right, you'll spot the iron and its sloping slab.

Course Les voies

The Fer à repasser slab faces north-east and is in the shade all day, protected from the morning sun by the large cliffs. The top belay can be reached from the right, and a 4 or 5 quickdraws can be used.

Cinq à Sept (12m, 6b)

Start at the bottom, under the 1st nail, then cross to the right and climb slightly. Those are there on 2 or 3 moves to the right to reach a small hooking ledge and recover. End with a 6a pitch to reach the belay.

Le Fil du fer (12m, 6a)

Start at the same point, then take a step to the left at the 1st nail to join the ridge. Climb the slab, using the rounded edge as an opposition. Follow to the summit.

Project on the right slab, Red Wall

The practically equipped L1 is very difficult (7a/7b?), with very few holds and a series of increasingly hard moves on the way up. We're still missing 1 or 2 nails to finish L1 before a diagonal L2 that promises...

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