3 September 2010

“Outdoor activities in the summer? In this country? No way!” This tends to be the reply when you invite the average UAE resident to an Alpine Club trip in summer. But after several weeks not getting out of air-conditioned flats and offices, we felt it was time to start the new Alpine Club season early this year. Despite a delayed flight and a Ramadan-Thursday hangover leading to some last minute cancellations, 12 people showed up early in the morning to make a day-trip to Hatta pools.
After a bit of confusion looking for a road marked “E33” on the map but actually named “E20”, all cars finally arrived at the natural rock pool in Hatta. Walking a few minutes from the car park to the pool, the air was already hot, but bone dry, so it actually felt quite nice.
Wadi

The next surprise was the amount of water left in the pool, and that it had a very pleasant temperature!
Tom immediately jumped to see how far it goes….

Tom

 Upstream Canyon The upstream section started with a swim up the main pool and some easy climbing further up the canyon. The water was still flowing in parts of the canyon, and the steep walls provided shade. There was a little bit of rubbish in the pool – a few plastic items (bottles, bags,…) floating on the surface – but not as bad as it apparently can get during busy times in the winter months.

half time

We returned the same way to the pool and had a rest before starting the downstream part of the canyon. This time we bypassed the steep start (so we didn’t need a rope) and swam back to the waterfall. There we found out that the magic “shower tap inversion” (turning on the cold tap in the shower actually gives you hot water in the summer) is a natural phenomenon – even the waterfall was hotter than the pool it was flowing into!
The downstream part is actually more spectacular, with a few pools and some nice boulders to climb over – you can find lots of photos of this nice little canyon in the 2009 report A survival guide to an Arabian midsummer. 45C

Returning to the car, it was a full 5C cooler than last time – just 45C – not even warm enough to completely melt the frozen water bottles in the cooler!

thg

(Note: Although in Oman, there are no visas required coming from the UAE – you pass 3 checkpoints on the way where they just occasionally want to see your passport, but never stamp it. The last bit of the road is unpaved, but as long as no recent floods have washed away the wadi bed, you don’t need a 4×4 to get there.)

< Austrian Alps   -50C Temperature Shock >

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2 Responses to “Hatta Pools Canyoning”

  1. Charlie said

    Had a great time on our first outing with ADAC. Bit of a drive, mind you, but worth it for the experience of seeing natural, free-flowing fresh water in the UAE!

  2. Wendy Couch said

    Another great ADAC outting! Our 3 cars arrived in a haze of dust at Hatta Pools after only a minor bumpy detour! The rocks were scorching hot, but there was plenty of ‘water time’ to cool off. Highly recommend it and watch out for enormous scarab beatles lurking amongst the rocks!

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