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Rick and Joyce visiting Oman

 
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RickandJoyce
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Joined: 03 Dec 2007
Posts: 6
Location: Darwin Australia

PostPosted: Tue Dec 04, 2007 3:22 am    Post subject: Rick and Joyce visiting Oman Reply with quote

Hi we are from Darwin Australia

We have done a lot of trekking around Kakadu and also in Canada and Nepal

we are hoping we can touch base with people with info on good treks / tap into any planned trips - and share info if you are ever going to Aus:)
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TonyR
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Joined: 19 Feb 2006
Posts: 356
Location: Port, Portugal

PostPosted: Tue Dec 04, 2007 3:16 pm    Post subject: Trekkking... Reply with quote

Hiya Guys

I'm hoping that Hamza our newest member is going to step in here as he is the trekking king of oman.... will email this link to him and see what he adds...

there is loads to do over here - you have chosen the right time of year to come aswell... I hope we get a chance to hook up... what are your lpans -- any detail yet?

even at the airport you can pick up the Oman Trekking Guide - 10 routes with nice maps and descriptions.. done some of them and they are really nice - have you got transport organised yet?

so - Hamza?

Keep in touch, Tony.

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Will Try Anything... once... or twice if I didn't kill myself...
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kimbill
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Joined: 19 Feb 2006
Posts: 162

PostPosted: Tue Dec 04, 2007 9:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hamza is out of the country right now.

For information about hiking in Oman, check out the trekkingoman.com website. The routes are the ones that are in the book that Tony mentioned. Those walks are all well marked with red/yellow/white blazes so it is easy to find your way. It is necessary to have a 4WD vehicle to reach many of the trailheads, but not all. Just doing the 10 hikes in the book would take your whole holiday.

There is another book, Adventure Trekking in Oman by Anne Dale and Jerry Hadwin. This is the original hiking guidebook for Oman. It has written descriptions, sketch maps and a few GPS points for the 10 walks above, and many others as well. The others described in this book are not marked, although there may be cairns on some.

It is fairly difficult to find the way on some of the unmarked walks, even with GPS points from the book. There arenít always trails, and the trails that do exist are not always continuous. If youíre not going with someone who knows the way, itís much better to stick to the marked routes.

Another book worth getting is Oman Off-road, from the Explorer series, the same publisher as the Oman Trekking guide which Tony mentioned. Itís available locally and through Amazon. It shows many of the walks in the two books above, and can be very helpful in finding the start points. It also includes several shorter walks not in the other books.

Many of the walks in Oman are steep up and down, one thousand meters or more. The terrain is rocky and the rocks are sharp. Good boots are essential. Water is not normally available on the walks, so you have to carry all you will need on a trip. This is an important aspect of planning if you are going to do an overnight hike. A GPS is very useful if you go off the marked trails; you can always use it to find your way back. Temperatures in December are quite pleasant during the day. You wonít need a jacket while walking. However, if you camp, nights at altitude are cold. There is a marked trail to the summit of Jebal Shams, 3000 meters, which is worth doing but nighttime temperatures will be close to freezing. Many other walks either start or finish at 2000 meters, so temperatures are 10 degrees or less at night. You need light, quick-drying clothes for walking, and warm clothes and sleeping bags for the evenings in the mountains.

Weíve done many of the walks in the books and are happy to try to answer any other questions you have.
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RickandJoyce
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Joined: 03 Dec 2007
Posts: 6
Location: Darwin Australia

PostPosted: Wed Dec 05, 2007 2:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

thanks for that reply
we are staying with friends in Muscat and don't have anything set yet except Dubai around the 20/12

if we could tag along on a 'club' trek it would be great- do you think thats a possibility?

one delema is what to bring- do we need our large backpacks, all sleeping gear, stove etc - can we rent gear/buy a new tent there- can one stay in a village on a walk? sounds like GPS is not essential

we can hire/ borrow a car if need be

we are not as fit as we used to be- probably aim for a medium level to start with and see

Rick

any advice welcome
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RickandJoyce
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Joined: 03 Dec 2007
Posts: 6
Location: Darwin Australia

PostPosted: Wed Dec 05, 2007 2:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

PS

could you personally recommend the best walks ?

say a day walk fairly close to Muscat

scenic walks with moderate grades -

are most overninght or is extended through towns /villages possible?-

we are assuming its more or less completely safe-- (I guess all treks have their issues in Nepal its falling off a trail / altitude sickness- Kakadu its snakes and the like)


cheers
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kimbill
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Joined: 19 Feb 2006
Posts: 162

PostPosted: Wed Dec 05, 2007 9:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

There arenít any regular ďclubĒ walks that we know of, just loose groups that meet sometimes for hiking. Probably not a lot will be going on during the time you will be here. Itís the holiday season, and many people will either be traveling or having visitors. If we hear of something, we will let you know.

Generally we do day walks or overnights. Here are some of the best walks that you can do without much local knowledge of the trails:

There is a good walk in the capital area, not too long or steep, with views over the harbor. Itís the C38 walk in the trekking guide, from Riyam Park to Muttrah.

Further afield, walk number 25 from Wakan to the ridge and back is a very pleasant day hike. Itís about 600 meters of elevation gain, and has nice views. Itís about a 2 hour drive from Muscat, depending on what part of town youíll be staying in. A 4WD is essential, as the last 30 km are on a wadi road thatís not always smooth. Count on 2-3 hours to the ridge and less coming down; with the drive itís a full day out.

From Sharaf Al Alamein, which is the road pass (2000 meters) between the coast side and the interior side of the Western Hajar mountains, there are several possibilities. This pass is accessible in saloon cars from the interior (Nizwa/Al Hamra) side. There is a marked trail that runs along the ridge for quite a ways, then there is a turn to the left that takes you downhill and around a ways to the village of Misfah. (Path W9) From the cars, it would probably take more than 4 hours to get to Misfah. Itís a varied walk with interesting geology and a couple of very small inhabited villages near the trail. The problem is the cars; you either have to have two cars or a driver who lets you out at the pass and picks you up in Misfah.

Alternately, continue along the path from Sharaf. A ways beyond the Misfah turn-off is a path that goes down to the village of Bilad Sayt in Wadi Bani Awf. This is path W 8. It would take around 2 hours from the cars at Sharaf Alamein to get to this point. This is a spectacular trail, but more interesting maybe to go up than down. Itís 1000 meters of elevation gain from Bilad Sayt. A 4WD is necessary to get to Bilad Sayt, either from the coast side or the interior side. But you donít have to take this trail. Continue along the ridge line as long as you want. The views get better the further you go, and thereís a nice stone wolf trap to look at. The yellow/red/white marks disappear, but there are white paint blazes. Itís not possible to lose your way in any case, as you just stay on the ridge looking over into the valley 1 km straight below you. Turn around and walk back to the cars whenever you get tired. Itís not a flat walk; there is a lot of up and down but no huge climbs or descents.

A spectacular trail is the ďBalcony WalkĒ starting from the village of Al Khatim (2000 m) on Jebel Shams. People do get rental saloon cars up to the Jebel Shams plateau where the village is, but a 4WD is a much better option. From Al Khatim (be ready to buy a keychain from the villagers!) the trail follows ledges near the top of Omanís most impressive canyon. This is a short hike, 1 Ĺ hours or so, to an abandoned cliff village. The path is marked and not at all difficult, and the views are impressive. Normally you return on the same trail.

Mentioned in our first post is the Jebel Shams summit trail. It starts 5 or 6 kilometers before Al Khatim, and follows the canyon up to the summit ridge. When you can see down into Wadi Sahtan, you go to the right another ninety minutes or so to the south summit, which is at about 3000 m. There are nice views over a large part of the Western Hajar mountains. To do the whole walk up and down takes about 9 hours if you move well and donít linger for photos. We usually do it as an overnight trip. Itís cold up there at this season! Itís also possible to just walk along the trail as far as you want and then return.

In Oman you donít walk from village to village as in other parts of the world. There are no guesthouses or accommodations in the villages. If you plan to be away from your base for a night or more, you have to camp. A backpack large enough for overnight gear would then be essential. We seldom go on treks of more than one night, however, because itís necessary to carry all water. To be able to actually enjoy the trip, itís important to keep weight to a minimum. Paths are often steep. Above 10 kg/person, including water, a walk starts to feel more like a forced march.

It is possible to buy cheap tents in Carrefour (a big European style hypermarket). We usually share one of these (leave the pegs at home) with 2 pads to lie on and one rectangular sleeping bag opened up and spread over us like a quilt. There is some wood if youíre away from car-accessible places, so we have campfires for cooking instead of carrying a stove. Itís probably not possible to rent gear, but you can buy some things and your friends could probably help you round up enough borrowed gear for overnight trips.

Oman is very safe. There are snakes, but we seldom see them. Falling off trails is a possibility, so normal care should be taken not to. Probably the biggest danger is twisting an ankle and having a long painful limp to a road. There isnít a rescue system to rely on.

We hope this helps you plan!
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RickandJoyce
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Joined: 03 Dec 2007
Posts: 6
Location: Darwin Australia

PostPosted: Sun Dec 09, 2007 4:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

thank for that reply - very helpful!

Rick
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RickandJoyce
Rock Magnet


Joined: 03 Dec 2007
Posts: 6
Location: Darwin Australia

PostPosted: Sat Dec 15, 2007 4:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

hi

we are looking for any tips on getting to the start of some of these walks

preferably someone who can take us - happy to pay the going rate- a company perhaps that does this?
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kimbill
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Joined: 19 Feb 2006
Posts: 162

PostPosted: Sat Dec 15, 2007 6:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi,

You might try Muscat Dive and Adventure Center. They are located in Al Kuwayr and their number is 24485663.

On Sunday, our afternoon walking group meets for a short walk in the hills near the university. If you would like to join us, we meet at the Al Maha petrol station at the A'Rusayl / Al Khoud / Sultan Qaboos University exit from the Nizwa road at 4.30. This time of the year the walks are rather short because of the early sunset, and the group is likely to be small because of the holidays and visitors. It's possible that someone is planning something in the upcoming days, or could be inspired to plan something.

I'll send you a personal message with my mobile phone number. Let me know if you're interested and I'll try to give you better directions to the meeting place.

Bill
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moserberni
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Joined: 18 Jul 2008
Posts: 11
Location: Austria

PostPosted: Sat Jul 19, 2008 2:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi,
i also bought the book "Oman trekking", and i want to do some of the walks described there.
Is anybody interested in joining us between 29.9. and 15.10. to go on trekking tours?
Greetings
Berni
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