TOPO Canyoning

Wadi Kamah, Sayq Plateau

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A splendid new canyon starting from the Sayq plateau, Wadi Kamah was opened in 2013 by Khaled Malak and his team from Oman. The route is fantastic: a 1st dry part with a series of beautiful waterfalls and a 2nd aquatic part, quite heavenly. The itinerary is simple even if the commitment is high (no exit possible before the village of Kamah). We set out to complete it in 2 days, but in the end the 4 of us managed to finish it in 10/11 hours, without rushing too much, so it could be done in 1 long day. We even took the opportunity to add to the equipment already in place. In 2 days, you can bivouac just before the aquatic section, on a large, more or less spartan slab about halfway out of the canyon. All in all, Wadi Kamah is an attractive and varied canyon for an accessible descent with no great technical difficulties.

Technical summary

Type ✦ Dry / aquatic canyon
Location ✦ Al Manakhir, Sayq Plateau
Region ✦ Dakhiliyah, Western Hajar
Country ✦ Oman
Difficulty ✦ v4-a2-III
Vertical rise ✦ 1260m
Max abseil ✦ 60m
Duration ✦ 11h à 12h
Interest ✦ ★★★

Access to the place

With 2 cars, leave the 1st one at the village of Kamah and drive up to the plateau and the starting point, leaving the second one there. The disadvantage is that at the end of the 1h30 climb, you have to go back up to the starting point of Wadi Kamah.

With a single vehicle (or to avoid the return trip), leave it at Kamah and hire the services of an Emirati to take you up to the Da'an El Hamra starting point (the day before or very early in the morning) and pick up your vehicle(s) at the end of the canyon.

Map & topo

Itinerary description

Hiking to the start 30'

From the parking lot, head south behind the village to reach the edge of the canyon, which is shallow at this point. Pick up a side path that leads eastwards to the bed of Wadi Kamah. Once in the bed, after a short descent, head due west to reach a 1st waterfall that can be de-escalated, then a second one for the 1st abseil, the start of the canyon.

Course 7h à 8h

The canyon, oriented South, South-West, descends from the village of Da'an El Hamra 1870m to the village of Kamah 620m, a difference in altitude of 1250m. There are 9 abseils, 7 of them compulsory, the longest being 60m. In winter, you may need to bring a shorty suit for those who prefer to stay in the cold. All belays are linked, but it's a good idea to bring a few links and cords to complete them if necessary.

DRY SECTION

Abseil 1 and 2 (30m, 30m)

The belay is on the left. R1 is inclined to finish on the rocky slab then just behind the more vertical R2, paying attention to the friction on the ridge at the start.
Transition

Continue on to a pretty rocky couloir and turn left. Further on, you'll come to a small, steep waterfall to the right (IV+) and exit facing a pile of characteristic rounded boulders. Continuing on, you come to a triple inclined waterfall that leads to the 140m abseil. This passage is not equipped, but can be bypassed to the right (cross and descend on the side before returning to the axis just above the last waterfall and finally accessing the rocky lip at the start of the 140m).
Rappels 3, 4, 5 and 6 (35m, 25m, 25m, 60m)

R3 is about 35m long. Let yourself descend into the gully. Watch out for 2 or 3 boulders, so as not to rush them on the way down.

R4 continues for 25m, still on the same axis, to end in a narrowing between a platform and the main wall (belay on the left).

R5 comprises 10m of vertical climbing, followed by an incline to reach the next belay, far to the right.

R6 is the longest. We now overlook the wadi almost to its exit, which we can make out in the distance. After 60 m, you land 30 m above ground on a rocky ledge which you follow to the right to exit completely.
Transition, abseil 7 (55m, optional)

We're now at the start of the large corridor of boulders that runs along the bed of the torrent. When the chaos of boulders becomes difficult to cross, extract yourself to the right of the wadi Kamah to return further on and find the 1st water source, under a small slab and in the vegetation. Further on, you come to the edge of a large, unequipped beige tufa waterfall. The passage is on the left.

2 possible options. The best is to call back to R7 (55m) from a tree near the small buildings and return to the torrent bed, then follow the bed of the Wadi Kamah and find the large slab where you can bivouac. Or continue along the left flank, staying high to avoid this whole section and return to the bed much further on, but the terrain is broken up and difficult in places. Further down you'll find another water source. This is the start of the aquatic part of the canyon.

WATER SECTION

Extraordinary aquatic hike in the lower part of Wadi Kamah, tuffs and basins filled with translucent water and forming small waterfalls. After this passage, you come to the final string of waterfalls, the first of which you can swim over or bypass to the right.
Rappel 8 (15m, optional)

A lunula, but this abseil can be avoided by climbing to the right to access a ledge that leads back down to the last abseil (not exposed).
Abseil 9 (15m)

2 possible belays, right or left. Steep descent into the waterfall, ending in a reach that requires swimming. If you look above R8 on the right, a lifeline has been installed to escape from the top and bypass this waterfall. A final step down to the right into a gully using a knotted rope or a 4m jump to the left to swim the last pool, end of canyon.

Back

All you have to do is finish descending Wadi Kamah to the village of Kamah. To avoid spending too much time in the bed, which is often full of boulders, alternate paths on the right and left sides, which are fairly well marked once you're there but not easy to find, 4 or 5 times, passing through the torrent bed from time to time, to finally reach the falaj and follow it to the 1st houses.

Video

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