1 February 2013

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.
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.
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.
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.
We walked through the village and headed up the wadi, which quickly became challenging.
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.
Just as I was wondering if it was all going to be like this, the terrain got cruisier again.
And then…
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.
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.
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.
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.
So we retreated, taking a more direct line back down to the wadi.
We managed to find a rib that didn’t bluff out.
Back into the main wadi, with wet rock adding to the degree of difficulty.
I was very glad not to be around when this rock came down!
Steve demonstrates superhuman strength.
When the wadi constricted and became more technical, we knew we were almost home.
The route wasn’t marked as such but it was obvious from the polished rock where everyone went. Polished wet limestone is like ice!
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.
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.


< Deep Water Soloing & Jebel Qihwi Night Hike  The Real Wild Wadis – Hatta Pools>

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