TOPO Via ferrata

Ferrata of Jebel Shams, Jebel Akhdar

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The Jebel Shams via ferrata, set in the heart of the grand canyon, is short and acts more as a logical extension of the W6 hiking trail leading to the abandoned village of As Saab. Both sections are very well equipped: cables like thumbs, right out of the store, huge belay points attached to the Sikadur, optimum number of nails to help. The route presents no major difficulties. You have to climb with the rock, with a few slightly technical steps and, on the other hand, an atmosphere of great emptiness under your buttocks, even if it's not so aerial. Just below the start of the 2nd section, there's a lovely basin which, if you're lucky, will cool you off a little. The exit along the side of the wall is also worth the detour. All in all, a great opportunity not to be missed to discover Oman's grand canyon through the front door.

Technical summary

Type ✦ Via Ferrata
Location ✦ Ghul, Al Hamra
Region ✦ Dakhiliyah, Western Hajar
Country ✦ Oman
Length ✦ 400m
Vertical rise ✦ 100m
Difficulty ✦ K3
Duration ✦ 1h30 to 2h
Interest ✦ ★★

Access to the place

From Al Hamra. Drive up the valley to Ghul. Once past the village (magnificent view of the canyon entrance, the abandoned village and the palm grove), follow the road for 30 km as it dips to the east, facing Jebel Kawr, then climbs steeply to the north. Keep to the right and left forks. Finally, the asphalt gives way to a track in good condition which continues to climb to the right until it reaches a plateau at around 1950m (4×4 preferred, but feasible in a sedan).

Continue along the road (asphalt back) to reach the large antenna on the canyon rim (panorama ++). Finally, continue downhill for 5kms to end up on the track at the hamlet of Al Khitaym, end of the road. This is the starting point of the W6 hiking trail, which links up with the W6a, which climbs from Ghul towards the start of the Jebel Shams ferrata.

Map & topo

Itinerary description

Hiking to the start 1h30

Via the W6. It's a long crossing on the side of a canyon, very impressive. After 2 large left-hand bends, you come to a wide indentation with a huge waterfall and a sort of arch below. The abandoned village of As-Sab is there, built under the rock, in ruins. The waymarked path ends on terraces below the waterfall. Look for a way up to the cliff to the right of the waterfall. There are cairns, and it's easy to find the start.

Course

The via ferrata at Jebel Shams is divided into 2 sections, allowing you to cross the waterfall to the right and access the plateau. There's no problem with the equipment (we're on the same basis as the snake canyon ferrata- concrete equipment!), and the climbing is done with nails and often with the help of a lifeline, leaning on the rock. The climb is fairly short, taking no more than an hour.

Part 1

Very vertical, especially at the start, and zigzags a little to reach the first small ledge. Follow this to the left for a few metres and continue up to a second, much wider ledge. You then have to walk to the left (without a lifeline), climbing a little to reach the waterfall after a right-hand bend. If you're lucky, the main basin overlooking the void is full and not too muddy for a dip.
Part 2

Start here, a little above a ledge formed in the waterfall with a beautiful basin. Exceptional panorama! This part is very short and easy, even if you find one or two steps, and you end up directly at the 1st waterfall, on the plateau. You can then admire the succession of waterfalls leading to the bed of the wadi, some 1000m below.

Back

From the upper slab, look for a ledge that crosses about 30 m below the summit to finally emerge a little below the antenna (a few exposed passages but no difficulty). Then follow the edge southwards, alternating paths and tracks, until you reach the village of Al Khitaym by cutting off at the end.

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