TOPO Climbing

Wheelers Wisdom, Ras Al Khaimah, Emirates

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Wheelers wisdom
At the entrance to Wadi Litibah, a large pillar on the right, Barun Nose, offers several accessible trad routes, including Wheelers Wisdom, a large trad route announced in V over 180m. The route climbs a series of wide dihedrals to finish on the main ridge, but the rock is average and some exposed passages are difficult to protect. Once out on the intermediate ledge, the cliffside return on a path that's very exposed in places doesn't lack spice either. The view is certainly splendid, but the route could be even better with some cleaning and 1 or 2 bolts to protect the exposed passages.

Technical summary

Type ✦ Big route in adventure terrain

Location ✦ Wadi Litibah

Region ✦ Ras Al Khaimah

Country ✦ United Arab Emirates

Lengths ✦ 4

Elevation gain ✦ 180m

Difficulty max ✦ vs-4b / V+

Direction ✦ North-West

Interest ✦ ★

Access to the place

From RAK, take the E18 heading north. Pass Rams along the mangrove, then after the huge cement factory, turn right into Wadi Ghalilah (signposted). Follow the road past the main village and turn right towards the dam painted in UAE colors.



Cross over to the right and continue along the track in the bed of Wadi Litibah on the left. The Barun Nose is the 1st large pillar on the right. Park on the left on a pebble esplanade, almost opposite the bivouac track.)

Map & topo

Itinerary description

Hiking to the start 20'

Cross the wadi bed and look for the gentlest slope in the scree to reach the base of the cliff. Follow the slope southwards to reach the corner of the pillar. The climb starts here, with a small cairn at the start. The string of dihedrals is clearly visible.

Course

The route faces northwest, so it's in the shade until mid-afternoon. Approx. 180m in 4 pitches (40m, 50m, 50m, 40m). The route is generally V, sometimes steady, but with a well-exposed V+ traverse at the end of L3 (rated English VS in A.Stark's 2005 topo). You'll need a full set of friends, doubling the big ones from 1, and a set of jammers.


Length 1 (40m, V)

Climb the 1st landing to reach the first dihedral on the left side of the ridge. 1 or 2 steps thinner in the middle and above, you can climb the R1 belay on a small, very comfortable platform below the second dihedral.


Length 2 (50m, V)

The next dihedral is of interest, before exiting onto easier terrain and climbing the R2 belay under the next large dihedral.


Length 3 (50m, V+)

Climb the dihedral, which gradually closes and verticalises. The end is tricky. Above, we see a small triangular roof that cannot be climbed, so we cross with an exposed step and a horizontal traverse, still exposed (no way to protect yourself for 5 or 6m). Rejoin the ridge and climb steeply upwards on unreassuring boulders. The R3 belay is just above on a platform under a beautiful rocky head.


Length 4 (40m, V)

Climb a few meters and below the head, take the crack on the left with a pretty aerial passage that's not very difficult, then exit still taking the crack furthest to the left. End on a pecked slab, but difficult to protect unless you have 2 large n°4 friends in stock. Exit just below the return ledge. A large cairn marks the summit and the R4 belay point.

Back

From the ledge at which you reach the R4 belay station, head due north on the left. You'll have to cross 2 large cirques, the last of which is the Shady Circus with its characteristic waterfall. Above our heads, we can see immense walls that rise for another 400 or 500m - impressive!


Several passages are very narrow, the place for feet with 350m of emptiness next to it. Be careful, it's very exposed. Finally, after a final bend to pass an overhang, we reach a slab gully with an inclined waterfall. After a gentle descent, you reach a stone embankment which you can then walk down to rejoin the main trail and return to the car.

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