TOPO Canyoning

Rams Canyon, Ras Al Khaimah

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The Rams canyon, located just above Ras Al Khaimah, towards the Musandam border, offers a lovely route with an aerial view of the mangrove, the sea and the coast of the Emirates on the west coast. Quite similar to the other 3 canyons of Wadi Shah, this one is however longer and perhaps more homogeneous. The approach to the starting plateau is also more solid. With a total of 8 abseils, 2 of which are nearly 60m long, there's no real difficulty except for a few de-escalations to negotiate in the boulders or on the rocky slabs of the cascades that follow. The loop is pleasant and accessible, and the equipment satisfactory. The itinerary is fairly straightforward once you're in the canyon, even if you have to look hard to find the belays.

Technical summary

Type ✦ Torrential canyon
Location ✦ Rams
Region ✦ Ras Al Khaimah
Country ✦ United Arab Emirates
Difficulty ✦ v3-a1-II
Vertical drop ✦ 330m
Max abseil ✦ 58m
Duration ✦ 5h to 6h
Interest ✦ ★

Access to the place

Pass RAK and continue on the E18, which climbs straight up to the border with Oman and Musandam. Pass the village of Rams and its palm grove on the E18 and, just as the freeway takes a sharp left turn back towards the coast, exit to enter the village. Cross the village, staying on the north side of the houses, to find a track that eventually leads into the canyon. You'll soon come to a barrier. Leave the car there, the starting point for the approach to Rams Canyon.

Map & topo

Voir en plein écran

Itinerary description

Hiking to the start 1h30 à 2h

There are no marked paths, so you have to do it on sight. Go up the bed of the wadi on the right-hand side and, well before the right-hand bend (canyon), climb straight up into the cliff and find easy climbing passages up to a 1st plateau, then higher up a 2d and a few abandoned houses. Continue upwards, aiming for the ridge, passing several other small plateaus before seeing the summit and guessing a passage to the right, in the shape of a rocky shoulder.

There's a passage through a fairly obvious gully with traces of passage (polished and blackened rock) and a cairn to mark the entrance. Climb up easily to finally pass a small pass and descend to a large plateau. The start of Rams canyon is under a large white and red electricity pylon.

Course 3h à 3h30

West-facing, we're in the shade most of the day. The equipment in place is good, bolts and sometimes lunules or cables. A 2x60m is required. 8 abseils to negotiate (20m, 15m, 58m, 20m, 20m, 40m, 55m, 15m).

Enter the dry torrent bed to reach the 1st cascade, which is avoided by the left (there are several points but no belays). The 1st abseil is below, with 2 bolts connected by a chain, on a high rock on the right.

Abseil 1 (20m)

The belay is on the right, high up on a large boulder. Inclined abseil in the middle of the rocks.
Rappel 2 (15m)

On a lunula cable, just after, in the next cascade. We descend in the middle of a smooth slab. Then there's an IV+ descent in a rocky chaos. Then walk along the canyon bed with a section in a gully, then boulders again. The canyon narrows.
Rappel 3 (58m)

The belay is on the right, on a large boulder. You can see the first 15/20 m of ledges and kettles. The second part is a large, almost vertical wall that you have to climb all the way to the ground. We touch down at the bottom of a large dry basin.
Rappel 4 (15m)

Left-hand bolted belay. The wall to descend is all smooth with a hole at the end, forming with the R3 the same waterfall. Then walk along the bed, which has widened.
Rappel 5 (20m)

The belay is located to the right of the waterfall, behind a large boulder (the points are not connected). You can't see it when you arrive. It's another deep gorge. No difficulty, slightly inclined.
Rappel 6 (40m)

A little further on in an S-shaped cascade with 2 intermediate landings in the form of large dry potholes. Pass a few boulders to reach the R7.
Rappel 7 (55m)

The belay is on the far right of a tree, tucked under a large boulder (lunula with cable). The abseil is slightly inclined but not too difficult.
Rappel 8 (15m)

Just a few meters further on to exit. Climbed on lunges, no difficulty.

Back

Descend through a large boulder chaos (15′) before finding the flatter bed of the wadi. Follow this to the left to reach the starting parking lot.

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