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Wadi Ta’ab, Fins

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On the road from Sur to Quryat, south of Muscat, two large canyons end in the Gulf of Oman: Wadi Tiwi and Wadi Fins. Ta'ab Canyon is the lower part of Wadi Fins, from the small village of Ta'ab. It's also the most aquatic section, and probably the most incised. Although not technically very difficult, apart from a few tricky climbing steps, the route is long and above all very challenging, with no way out before the steep exit after 4 hours of descent. Several abseils, including 2 large ones (50m and 35m), 1 under a waterfall, a few small jumps and splendid pools to swim in, all in a splendid setting. An impressive approach to the incredible village of Ta'ab, followed by a festival of colors: green or sometimes midnight-blue, translucent water, white, orange, brown and gray walls. An absolutely exceptional trip.

Technical summary

Location ✦ Fins
Region ✦ Charquiya
Country ✦ Oman
Type ✦ water canyon
Vertical drop ✦ 110m
Difficulty ✦ v4-a2-IV
Duration ✦ 4h to 5h
Max abseiling ✦ 50m

Access to the place

From the coastal highway leading down from Muscat and Quryat towards Sur. Exit at the village of Fins, and take the road that heads towards the mountains in the direction of Wusal (signposted at 58 kms). In fact, only a few hundred meters of asphalt, and it's a fairly good track that first leads to a plateau opposite the canyon's entrance. Follow the track to the right, downhill a little, then uphill again to pass over the mountain, through a few hamlets and finally along the canyon (on the left as you go up). After 8 or 9 kms from the freeway exit, there are a few houses on the left, on a small promontory above the canyon. Leave the 1st vehicle here, as this is the exit (see photo). To get back to the starting point, continue along the track for just a few more minutes, then turn off at the first track on the left, which leads downhill to the bed of a secondary wadi. Park here.

Itinerary description

Hiking to the start 30'

It's very beautiful. From the parking lot, cross the bed of the wadi and head uphill on a stony, winding track leading to a small pass with a 1st view of the canyon. From here, descend along a small, more or less marked path, which twists and turns before veering off to the right to reach the palm grove and the village of Ta'ab, hidden at the bottom of the wadi. Before the village, reach the stream bed where the canyon begins.

Course 3h à 4h

The canyon is fairly short in distance but concentrated and therefore ultimately long to descend. The equipment is good, with bolted or lunula belays and rope aids. Plan on a 2x60m, and possibly a dynamic 50m, and 6 or 7 quickdraws for the climbing sections that are equipped. A full wetsuit is welcome in winter, otherwise a shorty may be sufficient.

Start

Follow the bed of the torrent, threading your way from one rock to another, with a few jumps to negotiate. This is followed by a series of small basins, some of which can be unclimbed using a rope either in place or to be placed in a lunula. We soon come to the 1st waterfall, which is blocked by a huge boulder: this is the 1st abseil.
Abseil 1 (50m)

On the left-hand side, climb a few metres up the white/grey rock. There's a passage under a boulder to access the belay, hidden in the hollow of a smooth ledge at the edge of the waterfall. 50m further down, we land in a large dry pot. To get out of the hole, climb 5/6m up the opposite side using 2 bolts (short ladder to reach the 1st...) for the leader, a knotted rope if necessary for some, as you can for others, any technique is accepted!
Abseil 2 (35m)

Just below R1 after turning right. We land on a ledge not visible from above, facing a splendid pool of green water. To reach the water, jump 3m, use the rope on the right or pass to the left. With less water, simply finish the abseil in the water. A little swimming is then in order, as the scenery is sumptuous.
Abseil 3 and 4 (15m, 15m)

Next come abseils 3 and 4, which are quite close together and shorter, at around 15m. Swimming with swimming pools, little slides that don't slide, a few jumps, little jumps and finally, after passing under a huge boulder, a white gallery before tackling a long, winding, hundred-meter-long swimming pool.
Final, rappel 5

A final abseil, no. 5, arriving in the water or a little further out on the left flank, a possible jump of 6 or 7m. Then walk a little to reach a chaos of white stone. Look up to the left, where a tunnel/cave marks the end of the route.

Back

Climb back inside the tunnel to exit higher up. At this point, climb the ramp to the right, possibly with the help of the bolts along the way (easy climbing in III/IV, but exposed). Continue higher up, turning left again, then wind up on a slope that joins the houses of the finish point hamlet. If there's only one vehicle, it's a 20-30′ walk back to the starting point.

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