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Last year I visited Kumzar, a tiny village on the very tip of Arabia at the Strait of Hormuz, to write a story about their unique language — a mash-up of Arabic, Farsi, Baluchi, Portuguese, English and others that is spoken and understood only here.
Since then I’ve been vowing to get back to experience the village again.
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So on February 1 we returned, this time to climb Jebel Kumzar. Or the peak I named Jebel Kumzar, having selected at random the highest peak on that part of the peninsula.
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We ranged in age from me (official old duffer) to nine-year-old Drea.
We managed to pick one of the handful of days when it rains in this part of the world.
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I brought copies of the newspaper article I wrote, which included a front-page pic of the woman who lived in this house.
I assumed they’d already have seen a copy of the paper but it seemed they hadn’t. Much hilarity ensued.
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We walked through the village and headed up the wadi, which quickly became challenging.
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It took a while to work out this diversion that involved climbing out of the wadi onto a shelf with a big and commiting step across a void.
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Just as I was wondering if it was all going to be like this, the terrain got cruisier again.
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And then…
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The only beta I had was from Google Earth, which suggested we had to leave the main wadi where a stream came in from the right.
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And a wadi did indeed come in from the right but it wasn’t the right one and after wombling up it for an hour or so, we took off up the hill.
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Drea turned out to be a badass climber chick in the making.
It helped that, unlike many parts of Arabia, the rock here was pleasantly trustworthy.
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Jebel Kumzar! But that’s as close as we got to it. I’d thought this would be a six-hour return hike but it took us four hours to get to this point.
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So we retreated, taking a more direct line back down to the wadi.
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We managed to find a rib that didn’t bluff out.
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Back into the main wadi, with wet rock adding to the degree of difficulty.
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I was very glad not to be around when this rock came down!
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Steve demonstrates superhuman strength.
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When the wadi constricted and became more technical, we knew we were almost home.
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The route wasn’t marked as such but it was obvious from the polished rock where everyone went. Polished wet limestone is like ice!
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It continued to rain on and off. Not enough to worry (too much) about a flash flood in the wadi but enough to keep most people inside, making it a much quieter affair than last time I was here.
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This was one worn-out rock chick!
And then we drove to Dubai and partied* at Nicky Vanlommel‘s farewell until 5am…
(* Partied = fell asleep on the couch)
We’ll head back here for a weekend on the far side of summer and finally climb Jebel Kumzar.

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