"Not all those who wander are lost"

Borders and Boundaries

Travel is more than the seeing of sights; it is a change that goes on, deep and permanent, in the ideas of living.

-Miriam Beard


1/8 – Wonderwall day 2

We slept in after the previous evening’s epic.  Finally I mustered the energy and rolled out from under my blanket (I still didn’t get my sleeping bag or pad back so I was just using a blanket).  I started a fire using the well earned wood.  I loaded my pot with the largest portion of oatmeal that could fit, cooking the mix of oats, raisins, walnuts, apple, and banana on the open fire.  It was amazing.  Part of that may have been due to my residual hunger, but it was pretty tasty anyway.  We ate, packed up camp, and headed over to where we wanted to climb.  Ironically camping at the crag didn’t get us started any earlier in the morning.

We started on High rise, a moderate 3 pitch sport route.  I climbed to each set of anchors and set up the belay.  Much to my chagrin the more I climbed the more I realized I could have linked two of the pitches if not all 3.  At least the climb got Sam’s average down to 50% epics on multipitch climbs.  The route put us on top of a big ledge.  To the side were two more great looking climbs on the vertical face continuing up.  I choose Zoot Allures (5.11a) because it was harder and looked less confusing.

(Inspecting my route up Zoot Allures)

I set my camera up using my gear to angle it up at the climb, but unfortunately the ledge wasn’t big enough to get the entire route in the frame.  I started off on some not too difficult but pumpy moves on an overhang.  Pulling through that the route continued on a very sparsely featured face with tiny crimps, smaller than half a pad on my finger.  The climbing continued like this 80 feet to the anchors with occasional good holds thrown in.  It was an excellent climb.  If that description somehow didn’t bore you then you might be interested in checking out the full climb here.  We walked off down a chute between the cliff and the huge slab of rock that High Rise was on.  Back at the bottom we decided to head over to the opposite end of the crag to check out a couple different areas that looked to have some good routes: Mordor and Gondor.

On the walk there we spotted a cave at the base of the cliff.  Depending on where you were the dark and light blotches on the wall of it made it look like there was either a large cat, G’mork from Never Ending Story, or some even larger beast.  The final scramble lead to a shelf at the base of a small face with an 8 ft wide roof at the top.  This is what I came to Mordor to climb: the Uruk-Hai Overhang (5.11a).  I gave Sam an anchor so she couldn’t risk stepping back and tumbling down the slope and started the route.  The face was fairly space, but not especially difficult.  The roof was a beast.  There were good holds through the roof, but by the time I tried to pull the lip back onto the vertical I had no energy left in my arms and no love for the razor edges on the hold I was pulling on.  Sadly I didn’t get it clean, but I managed to grab the sharp rock and pull myself up to the chains.  Cleaning my draws off the route while on rappel was quite an adventure too.  Finishing that I decided there was enough daylight to get in one last route so we headed over to Gondor and climbed My Precioussss.  It was another moderate face climb and ended up being a great end to the weekend.  We headed back down to the car and made it there at the perfect time to get as close to dark as possible without having to actually hike down in the dark.

Thoroughly exhausted from the weekend of climbing and unanticipated hiking we headed back toward Buraymi, the UAE, and Dubai.  We only got as far as the first.  We waited our turn in line at the border crossing again, but instead of the slew of questions this time they just said no.  I, of course, was the problem.  I had officially exited the UAE, but never received an entry stamp from Oman and they would not issue a new entry stamp for UAE unless I had entered and exited another country.  We were handed a set of poor directions that didn’t really show anything and told we needed to go 50km back the way we came.  Annoyed that we hadn’t received any instruction on what to do the first time through when we had told them we were only going to Buraymi we headed back through the land of no country to find the mysterious Oman border.  It actually wasn’t hard to find since it was back the way we came.  In fact, we even passed the small turn off that lead to Wonderwall on our way.  We found the building and went in to get our stamps.  I handed him 200dhs and he stamped my entry and my exit at the same time.  We turned back around and headed for Buraymi, again.  Once again, we didn’t get far.  There was a small shack with a guard collecting slips of paper from everyone who had gone through the border.  We had no piece of paper.  Whether it was because we didn’t actually go through the border or because the guy had just forgotten was unknown, but we were beckoned to pull off the side.  Sam explained our lack of the all important paper to the guard and he got on the phone.  It was decided that a couple dumb Americans were not a security or customs threat and we were allowed to continue on.  Our second attempt to re-enter the UAE proved successful, although the wait in line was much less exciting (they have a TV and on the first attempt they were playing something about climbing).  Back on the right side of the fence we headed back to Dubai, two hours after we first got to the border crossing.


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