"Not all those who wander are lost"

Damian’s Boulders

“There were no holds so I had to use skill.”




Thankfully there was no rain and the Climber den stayed dry.  We roused slowly, nobody wanting to exert too much energy after the previous day.  After coffee and breakfast the camping stuff slowly migrated to the vehicles and people migrated to the rocks.

We started out on a boulder right at the camp spot since it had a good mix of grades to appease everyone.  I did the most difficult problem using some compression movies on tiny edges only to realize after that it was probably a full grade harder doing that than using the rounded edge of the boulder.

(The route I mentioned is far left…the only one not being climbed)

Our next move didn’t take us far; people stopped at a highball about 10m away.  After climbing it I sat on top to watch as other people try and nearly got knocked over when the wind kicked up to gale force.  Despite the sunny blue skies the wind continued a cycle of total calm and hurricane force gusts throughout the rest of the day resulting in lots of time spent chasing crash pads and trying to avoid getting our skin sand blasted off.

When everyone had either finished or given up we finally worked our way into the heart of the boulder field to the smooth polished rock.  We bouldering, ate, hung out, enjoyed the sun, and move on to a different spot when we felt like it.  I did several fun problems, the most notable of which was a very thin V6 on a polished face which I did on my second try, but like lots of the climbing in the UAE, I suspect it’s pretty soft for the grade.  I spent a while working on a problem that nobody has done before hoping to make the first ascent.  It starts on a V3 but instead of doing the route traverses left to a tiny pocket and a thumb press or crimp then moves down to match hands on a undercling sloper just above the nonexistent feet and continues over to some pockets and then finally finishes on another problem.  After I began getting close Gordon came to work on it too.

(One move past the undercling match, photo by Samantha Sitterson)

(Trying to reach for the pocket, photo by Samantha Sitterson)

Despite all our attempts we weren’t able to get to the pocket at the end of the miserable undercling part.  Unsatisfied with not finishing the route we headed out early since people were tired and sore from the race.


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