Location ✦ Mibam, Umq Bir
Region ✦ Wadi Tiwi, Hajar Oriental
Country ✦ Oman
Length ✦ 6kms (?)
Elevation gain ✦ 350m
Difficulty ✦ D / V / Scrambling
Duration ✦ 6h, 8h + ?
Interest ✦ ★★★
Access to the place
Map & topo
The Bedouin trek route (in sky blue) is indicative! The yellow one represents the descent of Wadi Tiwi.
Hiking to the start 1h30
Continue through the village of Mibam. Exit through a gate, follow the path and at a fountain, climb steeply to the right to look for the upper path, which is easier to follow than going through the palm grove, which is very confusing (unless you have a local guide with you). On the upper path, follow the cairns to reach a very large cavity under a wall on the right.
Continue without descending into the wadi bed. The path remains on the right-hand side and, after a bend, finally descends into the bed of Wadi Tiwi, which is already much more deeply incised. From here, walk up the boulders to a pool that is difficult to cross or swim in. Finally, keeping an eye on the left, a large sloping dihedral rises upwards with a series of ropes and chains, marking the starting point of the trek.
Long, difficult and very exposed! Bring 60m of rope, helmet, harness, descenders, quickdraws and friends. For the abseils, which are not equipped, you'll also need quick links, rope to connect the points and possibly a bumper and 1 or 2 emergency pitons. To save time, the idea is to climb and pass the most exposed passages in alpine roped parties of 2. However, some passages are very exposed and absolutely not equipped.
Part 1: Climbing the dihedral (180m)
This is simply a climb in IV+/V, with no particular difficulty, but only a few damaged ropes dangling along the way... to be climbed with a rope party, using the bolts in place for protection. After a start on the expo slab, there's about 180m of fairly easy climbing, going straight up then turning right at the end (follow the bolts). We finish on a small ledge.
Part 2: Access to the main ledge
The next part is vertiginous. Follow the bolts to cross a flat rock face with 200m of empty space on the right. The passages are logical, but very, very daring. It's hard to believe you're going to make it! After about 150m of traversing, you come out on a large flat area. From here, climb diagonally upwards to reach the Bedouin steps, and after several more exposed passages and a fairly steep climb, you finally reach the main ledge overlooking the Wadi Tiwi.
Part 3: the ledge, a balcony over Wadi Tiwi
This time, the trail follows a system of rocky edges that form beautiful ledges, easy to follow despite a few exposed passages to get from one to the other. You also have to get past the entrances to the side wadis, which come up from the left, so you have to take a long detour to get to the opposite side and continue along the ledge. In particular, there's a very exposed passage on one of the last wadis to be crossed, with no possible protection. At the very end of this walk, which offers fantastic views of the Tiwi gorges and sometimes a glimpse of the pools 250m below, you come to a cul de sac. Here begins the abseiling to Umq Bir.
Part 4: abseiling
The Bedouin descend barefoot, shoes in hand, facing the wall, with the help in places of half-broken ropes and existing chains. So you have to equip or re-equip with the means at hand. This section was completed and opened at night.
R1 (50m ) - Connectable points between a bolt and a piton with a good piece of rope. 50m vertical, then after touching the ground, continue down the rocky gully to the edge of a second wall.
R2 (60m ) - Connectable points between 2 bolts. Don't descend vertically, but follow the series of chains that descend to the left (looking down), placing points of deviation. You end up on a mini ledge. Continue by going lower (not expo) and then following the route.
R3 (15m ) - 2 points connectable with a piece of rope. Vertical abseil to the bottom of another waterfall.
R4 (40m ) - 2 connectable points here too. Go straight down beside the chain in a magnificent white gully. At the bottom, cross to the right with the chain and rope in place (good condition) and exit onto a small ledge. Descend a further 3m with chain and rope to reach another small ledge leading to the final abseil.
R5 (25m) - a single point. At the bottom, cross the slab and follow the ledges to exit onto a large flat area.
There's still about 30′ to go to Umq Bir. Follow the track that curves around to the left and heads towards the village's palm grove. For the return journey: either spend the night in the village to descend the Tiwi wadi the next day and do the full Tiwi, or take a 4×4 to return to Mibam in a good 3 hours via the plateau (very nice track!).