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7th Hole to Tahri cave, Selma Plateau

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Selma Plateau, Eastern Hajar. The 7th Hole, one of the most spectacular entrances to the underground network that runs through the interior of the mountain. The first level takes us into the splendid, gigantic chasm and its first 120 metres, before we pass the second 150-metre level and end up in the dark. From here begins the incredible journey through a veritable underground canyon, over 300m from the surface. A short excursion down a perpendicular tunnel to Selma Forest, where stalactites and stalagmites gradually block our way, with less than 1m of ceiling. Then the immense galleries gradually give way to a narrower, more incised final corridor, with numerous obstacles to overcome - rope climbs, aerial crossings on handrails, abseils, short swimming pools - before finding the exit, Tahri Cave, an enormous 80m-high hole that lets in the light of the fading day. A challenging but unique experience.

Technical summary

Type ✦ Caving canyon
Location ✦ Selma plateau, Fins
Region ✦ Hajar Oriental
Country ✦ Oman
Length ✦ 6kms ?
Vertical drop ✦ v5-a2-V ?
Difficulty ✦ TD
Max abseil ✦ 60m
Duration ✦ 9h à 10h
Interest ✦ ★★★

Access to the place

From the coastal road linking Quryat to Sur, exit at Fins and climb to the right on the mountain side. Follow the track for a while, pass the entrance to Ta'ab and tackle the steep climb to the plateau. Before the summit, leave the 1st car at the end of the return trail. Continue on to reach the plateau and cross it. Pass Majilis El Jinn and continue on before turning left onto a track and reaching the edge of the 7th Hole (GPS points on the Google map indispensable).

Itinerary description

Hiking to the start 15'

The descent can of course be made directly from the 7th Hole, but requires 120m of rope and special abseiling equipment. We accessed it via an entrance a little further south, in a nearby wadi. Walk towards the small gorges visible from the plateau. Find a small gully and then easily climb out to reach the bottom of the wadi. Follow the path to the right and quickly descend to reach the 1st abseil, in a small kettle. This is the 1st abseil.

Course 7h à 8h

Technically, 3 ropes of 60m are enough to descend to the bottom of the chasm. We used 2 fixed ropes of 40 and 50m for the first 2 abseils, then a 200m fixed rope for the next 2 abseils of 50 and 100m (with the inconvenience of having to return the next day to retrieve the ropes and climb back to the surface).

For the rest of the trip, bring at least 1 Jumar handle (+ 1 Basic is better for making pedals on some of the overhanging ascents) and, for those who are a bit chilly, a wetsuit for the possible water sections in the gallery's narrow passages (we passed 5 where swimming was compulsory). All abseils and rope ascents are equipped with fixed ropes in average condition. It goes without saying that a headlamp is vital, so bring enough to last 8 hours in the dark!

Part 1: Access to the main hall of the 7th Hole

The 1st abseil (1 point) is about 30m long, with a deviation after 20m. Walk a little, then climb 5m easily with a fixed rope in place. Pass through a kind of natural gate to reach the 2nd abseil (1 point), 40m long, which ends in a kettle.

At this point, you also have to climb 6 or 7m using the Jumar to extract yourself. Go to the other side, which leads to a larger room. Climb down a little, then finish with a 7m abseil on a fixed rope. From here, keep walking and pass through a small corridor under the rocks to enter the large, immense room below the 7th Hole. Splendid view of the opening, radiant with daylight, 120m above.
Part 2: Access to the bottom of the chasm

Head towards the big hole to find the next 50m abseil (2 points), which leads straight into a long, narrow, vertical waterfall. At the bottom, a large cauldron from which you must once again extract yourself using the Jumar for 10m (fixed rope in place, pedal welcome!).

Climb a little further and pass through a hole under a large boulder to reach the final 100m abseil (2 points). This abseil can be completed in around 2x50m using the belays on the wall. At the very bottom, a tiny window of daylight remains high up, looking strangely like a map of Africa. In front of it, absolute darkness. Headlamp a must.

Before starting the traverse, it's possible to venture further right into a side gut that leads to Selma Forest. No difficulty, but the space gets narrower and narrower... claustrophobes please refrain.

Then follow the main gallery, which looks high and wide. On the ground, there are small, easy-to-clear boulders. Gradually, the space narrows until you reach a sort of corridor or tunnel the size of a Parisian metro station. This is where the numerous obstacles begin, to be cleared 1 by 1. Short abseils on fixed ropes of 3 to 6 or 7 m maximum, sometimes tricky ascents on Jumar ropes, crossings at the top of the torrent bed following handrails, swimming in short reaches.

It should be noted that these aquatic sections may not be there, but that's to be expected and the water is not particularly warm. You'll need a wetsuit for added comfort. Getting out of the water is often tricky, either on a muddy slope or directly on a vertical rope climb à la Jumar, with shoes made slippery by the mud and water. The scenery is astonishing, with magnificent folded rock formations sculpted in the shape of basins. On one of them, a strange 8 seems to have been drawn by nature.
Part 3: the way out to Tahri Cave

After this long series of obstacles and this steep section, you come to a fork in the road where you have to turn right. From this point onwards, there are no big obstacles and no more water. Further on, you come to another huge, pitch-black hall. Then a few more abseils, traverses and descents on existing caving ladders. There are also small fluorescent labels indicating the way.

After a final abseil of around 40m, we keep walking, descending slightly to catch a glimpse of the exit. The gaping hole of Tahri cave approaches. Soon you can see daylight at the far end, a small halo that grows larger and larger. Final exit.


Leave the cellar, passing through and under the large boulders, to reach a more or less marked mule track on the left. Climb up the side of the path and begin to cross it. You pass a number of wadis, returning inland at times, before setting off again on large outside switchbacks. The lights of Fins can be seen at the very bottom, along the coast. After about 1 hour, don't miss a fork in the road to the left at a tree to head back up towards the parking lot (highly visible yellow and red markings). It climbs steeper before crossing again and then attacking the final steep slope towards the track where the car is located.

Map & topo



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