24 January 2009


If you build it, they will come. And it seems that if you start an alpine club in the UAE, the nation’s mountains will start to look alpine…

For only the second time in recorded history (a media term that usually means in the memory of that particular reporter and any others within shouting distance), snow fell on the mountains of Ras al Khaimah.

So much for global warming! It was a sufficiently rare event that WAM, the famous state news agency of the UAE, felt compelled to put out a release.

ثلوج تغطي جبل جيس برأس الخيمة ..
راس الخيمة في 24 يناير /وام/ غطت الثلوج التي سقطت فجر اليوم قمة جبل جيس في راس الخيمة لاول مرة بالكامل فيما انخفظت درجات الحرارة دون الصفر
منصور بن محمد بن راشد يشهد السباق الخامس للخيول بجبل علي .
دبي في 23 يناير / وام / شهد سمو الشيخ منصور بن محمد بن راشد ال مكتوم جانبا من فعاليات السباق الخامس للخيول العربية والمهجنة الاصيلة الذي اقيم بعد ظهر اليوم علي مضمار جبل علي
عناوين صحف الإمارات..


This was the English version, in WAM’s unique use of the language:

RAK’s Jess Mountain covered in snow
Jan 24, 2009 – 06:52 –
WAM Ras Al Khaimah, Jan. 24, 2009 (WAM) — In a rare phenomenon which is happening for the first time, snow has covered the peak of the Jess Mountain here in Ras al Khaimah as temperature fell sharply to below zero degree centigrade.
Although limited snowfall had been recorded on the mountain some years back, it is the first time the peak of the mountain is fully covered in about 20 centimetre-thick snow, while the mercury plummeted Saturday afternoon to below zero degree centigrade in most part of the Ras Al Khaimah.
The Jess Mountain, which stands at about 1900 metres above sea level, is located 25 kilometres north east of the Ras Al Khaimah city, which witnessed in the early morning of today medium to heavy downpour and on the mountains located north of the city. The rains, accompanied by thunder and lightening, flooded the valleys and sharply brought the mercury down.


The photos in The National newspaper demonstrably showed the Sheikh’s house below what – as we found out recently – is the UAE’s highest point. And it had a name after all!

And that name was جيس which they translated as Jess or Jais.
The article in the National quoted a RAK resident saying that the local dialect of Gulf Arabic did not have a word for snow.


Appropriately enough, all of this occurred within 24 hours of the inaugural meeting of the Abu Dhabi Alpine Club. There had technically been other ADAC meetings but this one was the first to involve someone not directly connected to Chris’, Stacey’s and John’s social circles.

Mark had been in Abu Dhabi since June and, like us, was going spare because of the overwhelmingly boozy/sedentary life of most the expats.

That week, we noticed that the Abu Dhabi Alpine Club site at adalpine.wordpress.com and John’s blog at henzell.com were the top two results when you search Google for “UAE’s highest peak”. But instead Mark found us via a post at one of the expat website forums about starting the Abu Dhabi Alpine Club.

“I caught your post online about starting an abu dhabi alpine group and was interested in joining or assisting…” he wrote. “Have you had any takers? I’m looking for similar minded people to connect with.”

So we met up at Le Meridien hotel, where I met his wife Elia. Chris and Stacey turned up and we had a fun night through to the early hours. Now we’re making plans to tackle the Jebels of Musandam and Oman.



 UAE’s Highest Peak >


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