Скачати

Довжина

17,15 km

Набрана висота

2 109 m

Складність

Посередньо

вниз

2 109 m

Max elevation

1 737 m

Trailrank

72 4,6

Min elevation

240 m

Trail type

Loop

Час

4 годин 35 хвилин

Координати

16388

Uploaded

7 вересня 2017 р.

Recorded

березня 2016
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1 737 m
240 m
17,15 km

Переглянуто 23117 раз(и), завантажено 689 раз(и)

біля Ruḩaybah, Musandam (Sultanate of Oman)

The Stairway to Heaven Loop is probably the most talked about mountain route in the UAE, and it is stunning, unique and exciting to do. However, people get lost frequently, stuck frequently, and worse. I have friends who have been helicopter lifted off this thing, Others who have ended up sleeping on it, and many who failed to find it at all. Basically, it's not to be underestimated.

However: If you, or someone you are with, knows the route or you've really done your research, you have some experience in the UAE's mountains and climate, and know the right time to turn back then I would say defiantly do it! It's a 'moderate' route, with nothing more than grade 1 scrambling and some exciting exposure. It is around 17km/10.5 miles around, with around 5,000ft/1500m of ascent/descent for the whole loop as you pass over Jabal as Sayḩ (a sister peak of Jabal Jais).

Note: If you do not do the loop, and return down the Stairway to Heaven the Ascent/Descent is about 3,300ft/1000m. Going down is considerably harder than going up.

In the last 3/4 years, probably due to accidents, there has been a great effort to improve the route, and now the entire 'Woh Village Hike' ([Sections 1/7 and 6] used for the descent route) has steps, levelling, stone marked edges and even benches to sit on. The route section with the stairways specifically on it is now well marked with cairns, themselves painted white. Sections of the route between the villages (Waypoints 13 and 23) however are not marked at all, although tracks run along some sections.

The time to complete this is very varied, however the average time it has taken me to do this loop with friends (of varied levels of fitness and experience) has been 10 hours. The Range is usually from 8 to 12 hours. It has taken up to 18 hours however...So it's varied. For the following description I will put the time estimations based on the average group, rather than referring to this gps track specifically.

I will break down the route description into 7 sections: (Refer to 'Map 1' in the attached photos)

1) The Walk up Wadi Litibah (1 hour) - (10% complete)
2) The Scree (1 hour 30 mins) - (25% complete)
3) The Stairway to Heaven (1 hour) - (35% complete)
4) The 'Peak of false Horizons' (1 hour 45 mins) - (53% complete)
5) The Traverse (2 hours 30 mins) - (78% complete)
6) The Woh Village Hike Descent (90 mins) - (93% complete)
7) The Walk down Wadi Litibah (45 mins) - (100% complete)

Section 1 - The Walk up Wadi Litibah

The parking place I have used can be reached by a regular car (usually although be prepared for the track to have degraded), and does not require a 4x4 usually. There is a reasonable area by the last few farms in the wadi to leave the car or more than one. Section 1 sets off up the wadi following the river basin. Keep an eye out on your right as the path heads up out of the wadi soon. Steep winding steps take you up a short warm up section to a flatter section (Waypoint 2) Head along to the first set of stairs which curve around the rock to a veiwing point over the wadi. (Waypoint 3). Continue along the right hand edge of the wadi, until eventually stepping back down into the wadi (Waypoint 4) and continue along. The wadi abruptly stops and the well laid path you are following will head off up out of the wadi to your right at waypoint 5 - 'The split'. Leave the main path here, cross over the dry river, jumping over some bigger boulders, to the bottom of the scree slope. It is not obvious.

Section 2: The Scree (Refer to 'Map 2' in the attached photos for this section)

Head to the left to get up the initially worn away wadi side onto the scree-slope. Within 10-15 mins you should arrive at some huge boulders. One distinctly square block has a large clean break/crack down the middle with the two halves slightly fallen apart. This is a very good reference point to return to and can be seen from almost all points along the route. Head on up from here, staying on the more solid ground, looking down on the tributary wadi on your right between you and the vast cliff faces. Keep heading up here until you meet the cliffs at the top, and follow them around the right, heading up a final pencil point at the top of the scree slopes, where you can rest under the overhanging cliffs at the very top. This is the start of the famous stairway section of the route. (Waypoint 6)

Section 3: The Stairway to Heaven

From the top of the scree follow the ledge around to the left. After a short traverse the first stairway section turns you back on yourself. (Waypoint 7) An up-left-up section (zig-zag) with 2 drystone step sections leaves you again heading in the same direction as before for a loose rocky traverse, but still gaining a little height. A closing gully leads you up to a thin ledge turning back on yourself for around 10m. Scramble up a short section and continue again in the same general direction to waypoint 8. If in doubt stick to the rock wall on your right, with scree ledges to your left. This is now the real stairway section, with section after section of dry stone work. You traverse around a large prominent rock (Waypoint 9) before turning back on yourself. The route now continues in this direction to the top, with 4 or 5 sets of steps. Waypoint 10 marks the largest staircase, the usual photo of the stairway to heaven is here. This is exposed but easy with plenty to hold onto and step on. The section after this however is the hardest and most risky with a thin traverse, high exposure and less to hold. This finishes off with a small tree sitting confidently ahead of you. When you reach this, turn back left and scramble up for a minute or two up onto the plateau where small farms are scattered in the valley. Good rest point with absolutely stunning views, going as far as Iran on a clear day after the rains.

Section 4: The 'Peak of false Horizons'

This is the point at which it's decision time. Go back down or complete the loop. As stated above, you are about a third of the way round time wise, and only a quarter for distance. With the cliff to your right and village to your left, the peak ahead of you is where you need to go. (Refer to attached photo 'Map 3') It looks like a short distance, but it is very deceiving, and I refer to it as the 'peak of false horizons' The horizon you think is the top is not, and nor is the next. It has about 4 false peaks; it will mentally destroy you. Anyway! From the top of stairway head right along the flat land (use the vehicle tracks). When the track hits the T-junction (waypoint 14) at the end keep walking straight and head straight up the mountain ahead. From here to summit is usually 1-1.5 hours. Usually you arrive at the ridge line north of the submit, (Waypoint 15) so take a right and head to the peak for another good rest spot. (Waypoint 16).

Section 5: The Traverse

A vehicle track border track goes to the summit as you briefly place your feet inside musandam, Oman. After a few zig zags down follow the track along, making quick progress on pretty flat ground. You will arrive what looks like a lay-by on a highway, filled with various equipment/supplies. (Waypoint 17). At this point you have 2 options.
1) There is a footpath heading North West - This meets back up at waypoint 23. It goes through 3 little villages, but also crossing small dry river valleys between them requiring a bit of up and down. Therefore in this GPS file I have used:
2) The traverse. Following the lay of the land, there is no path, but I find it a quicker, easier route.

For route 2: Keep on _exactly_ the same elevation from leaving the lay-by, traversing around the concave hillside, until you reach a dry river. Cross over this and continue traversing. You will see the villages appear down the hill side in front of you, which historically are the homes for the Shihu tribe. Head down here, occasionally having to do some easy scrambling down the steps in the land. Don't try to traverse around the hillside further as the next river bed sits in a gorge, hundreds of feet deep. Once at the village, you meet a worn path taking you to waypoint 20. At this point I drop straight down to the dry river crossing, (waypoint 21) however it is a short steep scramble, and you can follow the path which does a long zig zag to get down there. Head up the other side of the valley and onto the hill side once more, reaching waypoint 22, a farm. At the right time of year this area is bright green with crops growing in the fields. Head directly to waypoint 23, even if it appears to be leading to nowhere. The Descent track is a few tens of meters to the right of the farm at the far tip of the plateau. A good rest spot!

Section 6: The Woh Village Hike

There is a bench/table here to sit at and look out over wadi litibah from the top of the Woh Village Hike and you can see the route almost all the way down, and sometimes the car at the bottom. However, don't be fooled, you still have about a third of the route to complete, and it will take about 2-2.5 hours. However navigation is simple. Head down the path, and follow it. If it's not obvious you’re on it, you’re not on it! Initially it is steep and the stairs twist down it sharply twisting around the rocks, soon this opens and the route zig zags down to waypoint 24. The path is a little more interesting as it moves around the edge of the hill, passing farms, and then dropping into the the wadi. As you descend you will find yourself walking along flat ledges hugging the cliff face. Water can be found here almost all year around. Only 10 minutes or so after these the path starts to steeply descend and you find yourself back at waypoint 5, the split.

Section 7: The walk down Wadi Litibah

This is the reverse of Section 1. It usually takes about 2/3rds the length of time to head down this as it does to head up it. (Refer to section 1 for more information)

That's my guide to the stairway to heaven; any further questions please put below.
Стоянка

01 - Start/Stop - Parking

  • Фото 01 - Start/Stop - Parking
01 - Start/Stop - Parking
Ріка

02 - Out of the Wadi

  • Фото 02 - Out of the Wadi
  • Фото 02 - Out of the Wadi
02 - Out of the Wadi
Фотографія

03 - View Point

  • Фото 03 - View Point
  • Фото 03 - View Point
  • Фото 03 - View Point
  • Фото 03 - View Point
03 - View Point
Ріка

04 - Back into the Wadi

  • Фото 04 - Back into the Wadi
04 - Back into the Wadi
Перехрестя

05 - Split

  • Фото 05 - Split
  • Фото 05 - Split
  • Фото 05 - Split
05 - Split
Панорама

06 - Top of Scree

  • Фото 06 - Top of Scree
  • Фото 06 - Top of Scree
  • Фото 06 - Top of Scree
  • Фото 06 - Top of Scree
  • Фото 06 - Top of Scree
06 - Top of Scree
Ризик

07 - First Step and Start of Scramble

Ризик

08 - Top of Scramble

  • Фото 08 - Top of Scramble
08 - Top of Scramble
Ризик

09 - Turn Around Point

Ризик

10 - Main Stairway

  • Фото 10 - Main Stairway
10 - Main Stairway
Дерево

11 - Tree at the Top of the Stairways

  • Фото 11 - Tree at the Top of the Stairways
11 - Tree at the Top of the Stairways
Гірський перевал

12 - Top of Route

  • Фото 12 - Top of Route
12 - Top of Route
Гірський притулок

13 - Village

  • Фото 13 - Village
13 - Village
Перехрестя

14 - Bottom of 'Hill of False Horizons' (Jabal as Sayḩ)

  • Фото 14 - Bottom of 'Hill of False Horizons' (Jabal as Sayḩ)
  • Фото 14 - Bottom of 'Hill of False Horizons' (Jabal as Sayḩ)
14 - Bottom of 'Hill of False Horizons' (Jabal as Sayḩ)
Вершина

15 - Ridge

  • Фото 15 - Ridge
  • Фото 15 - Ridge
15 - Ridge
Вершина

16 - Top of 'Hill of False Horizons' (Jabal as Sayḩ)

  • Фото 16 - Top of 'Hill of False Horizons' (Jabal as Sayḩ)
16 - Top of 'Hill of False Horizons' (Jabal as Sayḩ)
Перехрестя

17 - Leave the Track

Гірський перевал

18 - Traverse Point

Ріка

19 - Dry Stream

Ризик

20 - Drop Point

Ріка

21 - Dry River Crossing

Гірський притулок

22 - Shihu tribe Farms

  • Фото 22 - Shihu tribe Farms
  • Фото 22 - Shihu tribe Farms
22 - Shihu tribe Farms
Ризик

23 - Top of Stairs

  • Фото 23 - Top of Stairs
  • Фото 23 - Top of Stairs
23 - Top of Stairs
Рослинність

24 - Top of the S turns

  • Фото 24 - Top of the S turns
24 - Top of the S turns
Ризик

25 - Ridge walk

  • Фото 25 - Ridge walk
  • Фото 25 - Ridge walk
25 - Ridge walk

87 коментарів

  • Фото shulmani

    shulmani 16 вер. 2017 р.

    Nicely written. Well explained.
    Thank you.

  • emilsv 25 лист. 2017 р.

    Great guidance. As I did not bring pictures with me I missed the first stairways. I started at sunrise and it took me 8 hours, 4l water, I even run a bit in last 4-5 km where it was possible.

  • Фото ina1

    ina1 13 січ. 2018 р.

    What are the reasons people get stuck? It is because of the steep incline/fitness levels or is it technically difficult or hard to navigate?

  • Фото Ben Robbins

    Ben Robbins 13 січ. 2018 р.

    Hi ian1, It is a combination of all of those points I presume. People are surprised by how long it takes, how physically demanding it is, and frequently go off route. As with other routes in the UAE, the bare landscape also makes scaling hard, and people often underestimate how far they are from a target in terms of time and distance. It is also a lot harder to descend rather than ascend, particularly if you are off-route.

  • Фото ina1

    ina1 13 січ. 2018 р.

    Thank ben, that makes sense. I know how easy it can be going off route unless the gps is in hand constantly. I think the easiest and prob safest thing to do is first go with someone that's done the track before. Thanks heaps.

  • Фото shulmani

    shulmani 14 січ. 2018 р.

    GPS doesn't help much when you're climbing a vertical route.
    Way too many cairns are put up by amateur hikers that can easily lead yoy off the trail.
    In my opinion the ONLY safe way to do it is with someone who has hiked this trail more than once.
    I trail run this route once every month.

  • Фото Ben Robbins

    Ben Robbins 14 січ. 2018 р.

    I agree with the point of GPS accuracy. It should be noted that it is particularly inaccurate with positioning perpendicular to the cliff edge/stairway. Parallel measurements to the cliff edge are moderately accurate. With this in mind as a consideration the way points are more beneficial. I have actually used the average of many gps tracks, taken from large stand alone gps devices, for this trail and the way point placement, so hopefully they are accurate enough to be of use.

  • Фото ina1

    ina1 15 січ. 2018 р.

    Thanks Shulmani and Ben.
    Shulmani - perhaps if you go on this trail, can we get a small group together? I'm not keen on running it the first time though!
    Are there any routes you both would recommend that is physically challenging, ie steep on the way up that gets the heart rate going - however with minimal scree on the way down?

  • Фото Ben Robbins

    Ben Robbins 15 січ. 2018 р.

    I would suggest: " Wadi Ghalilah to Jebel Jais Route" as an alternative that is easy to find. (search for it in my trails). Same general area.

  • Фото ina1

    ina1 15 січ. 2018 р.

    Thanks Ben! I saw that one (and was super keen) but i noticed someone in the comments section said it was closed (dated 17th December 2017). Do you know if its been reopened?

  • Фото Ben Robbins

    Ben Robbins 16 січ. 2018 р.

    Ina1: The road the person seems to be talking about is the extension at the top end of the Jebel Jais Road which has yet to be opened to the public as it is still under construction. The parking at the top of the road is 1 hairpin lower, and you walk up to the top point in the track (if that is you start/end point). The primary start/end point in wadi ghalilah remains open. All is the same as at the point of writing.

  • Фото ina1

    ina1 16 січ. 2018 р.

    Ben: Thanks for clarifying. I'll give it a go in the next couple of weeks.

  • Фото projeKtONE

    projeKtONE 20 січ. 2018 р.

    Will be doing this as well this week or the next...I've done the ghalilah jais last Jan 5 ..great trail. The guy who commented that the road was closed read the route backwards and was referring to the jebel jais road

  • Michal Mularski 26 бер. 2018 р.

    Thanks Ben, I used your guidance during our hike last week and found it very helpful. 13h for us, last two sections in a dark :-)

  • Фото tigerluk

    tigerluk 2 січ. 2019 р.

    Would love to try this trail with my group, as you said this is one of the most talked about trails in UAE. Although we have been trekking around Ras Al Khaimah, we are not that confident to try this trail on our own.

    So Ben Robbins, when are you going to do this trail again, can we go with you? 😄

  • Фото Ben Robbins

    Ben Robbins 2 січ. 2019 р.

    Set up a date. I've done this route 10+ times, so it wasn't on my list currently, but if you can get together a group of relatively fit people, then I'll take them round.

  • Фото Rory Wheaton

    Rory Wheaton 3 лют. 2019 р.

    This route looks stunning! I've done a couple routes in this area and would love to try this! If you do go with a group as mentioned above I would love to come along if there was a space 😊

  • Фото yavitt

    yavitt 19 бер. 2019 р.

    I have followed this trail  View more

    Amazing trail! Think to do it again, but take someone to join. Before start going down, need to see the sunset. It is unforgettable view, when big Sun dives into the water. Keep your gps on when going up, - easy to lose the way! Enjoy!

  • Фото Path Finder

    Path Finder 11 лист. 2019 р.

    any recommendation for a camping spot at the top of the mountain?

  • Фото Ben Robbins

    Ben Robbins 11 лист. 2019 р.

    you could camp almost anywhere along this route. Best set back from the track, and away from the villages.

  • Фото Path Finder

    Path Finder 17 лист. 2019 р.

    I have followed this trail  View more

    15 and 16 of November 2019, we did the trail in 14 hours of walking with breaks.
    we camped before starting the scrambling part and after the scree.(we started at 1:30 pm)
    it wasn't that easy and some parts was dangerous for beginners, but it's one of the best trails that i've done.
    it's not easy trail to just have coordination and follow, it's tricky.
    thank you Ben again for all your effort and keep up.

  • Фото Ben Robbins

    Ben Robbins 17 лист. 2019 р.

    Thanks for that Path Finder, where did you find i the hardest to follow specifically? I'll try to get more info for that part. Did you camp over that 14 hours the end, or did you do the route mostly in the dark?

  • Фото noorar

    noorar 13 січ. 2020 р.

    Just wondering if the trail/stairway usually gets degraded after major rain ? I want to do it soon !

  • Фото Ben Robbins

    Ben Robbins 13 січ. 2020 р.

    In the past I have not noticed any major changes after the rain. It is a historic route with minimal man made parts, so works well with the natural environment, and avoids the wadi mostly.

  • Фото shulmani

    shulmani 13 січ. 2020 р.

    Agree with Ben. Never seen any major damage to the trail after floods. Although some sections before the split point(right left bank connection) was damaged recently but was restored in couple of weeks.

  • Фото Maarouf BIKDACHE

    Maarouf BIKDACHE 17 лют. 2020 р.

    I have followed this trail  перевірено  View more

    I followed your trail and it was on point, it made it easy to find the stairs on my way up.

    However i think that this type of trail needs to be under the Difficult section as it is on the dangerous side of things. Personally it wasn't difficult to make the full loop happen but rather i get worried about other hikers that might not be up for the challenge.

  • Фото Abracadazza

    Abracadazza 8 вер. 2020 р.

    Anyone walking this in the near future? Would like to join. No issue with fitness etc

  • Sandypants 14 лист. 2020 р.

    I have followed this trail  View more

    We completed the route a couple of days back. Myself and a friend both experienced at mountaineering from Scotland and Europe. An exposed and challenging route, do not underestimate the severity of this climb. It is however stunning and one we will do again. Route finding up the face was tricky, pay attention to the cairns and the well worn rocks along with the great text from Ben. Details provided are thorough and more than enough detail to complete the loop. We were done in 8hrs, tired but a great day out! Thanks again Ben.

  • schebaro 29 лист. 2020 р.

    Great work Ben , one note when halfway and taking a right at the empty containers, your trail is actually 2km longer than the marked trail which goes a bit up then down to cut in the canyon instead of passing the dry riverbed then heading down to crossing point to the right bank top , could save some time and effort .

  • Фото Ben Robbins

    Ben Robbins 29 лист. 2020 р.

    Hey Saadallah; in the description this alternative through the villages is noted in section 5, point 1. The village route is actually longer as it is less direct, and as you note it includes ups and downs. I have done this route in the past a few times, and compared with this, and found this to be a noticeably quicker. Additionally this route meets that 'village up and down' bit again before the last up down, but I skipped the longer gradual path, and dropped straight down to the final wadi crossing (noted in section 5, way point 21 reference).

  • schebaro 29 лист. 2020 р.

    Noted Ben. I have followed your path couple of times now but last time I was way ahead a groul then saw the group cut through there and was surprised, glad to know this is faster. Seems that they cut through the mountain without going through the high point where the border is marked so sticked to the lowest point trekkable then directly to the settlment beside the wadi. Thanks again for sharing.

  • Фото Ben Robbins

    Ben Robbins 29 лист. 2020 р.

    If you skip the peak all together you can reduce the distance slightly, however it's tricky not to loose time on the rocks, rather than the track. Then you either have to come and join the track again anyway at the containers to avoid another up/down delay to the village if you go that way. Personally I feel missing the summit is missing part of the challenge, so I always include it. This route resulted in me getting the quickest time I have done the loop in, which was around 4 and a half hours (Last farm house start/end point, full loop with summit.), however there may be other factors, rather than just this section.

  • Фото Grasp The Adventure

    Grasp The Adventure 30 лист. 2020 р.

    Hey Ben, I am planning on doing this trail but over two days. Camp at the top and head back in the morning. Which point do you recommend camping at and around how long would it take to get there?

  • Фото Ben Robbins

    Ben Robbins 30 лист. 2020 р.

    you could camp almost anywhere along this route. Best set back from the track, and away from the villages. Specifically between 14-15 and 18-19 are areas out of site and out the way of the villages. 18-19 will have more flat spots I would presume. waypoints 15-18 mark a flatter area, and I have camped here, but along a track. This could have noise, and possibly border guards, although I've never been bothered and i have camped there.

  • Фото Grasp The Adventure

    Grasp The Adventure 1 груд. 2020 р.

    Thanks a lot for all the detailed information!

  • Faadil Fasly 1 груд. 2020 р.

    Hey Ben, thanks for all the information you have provided, its been of great help. So me and a couple of my mates want to do this trek really bad but we have no guidance, reading this forum about people climbing kilimanjaro and then considering this hike as a dangerous hike has kept me on my tip toes. So I was just wondering when would you do this hike again because my friends and I would really love to tag along. Promise we won't be dead weight because all of us are fit and really looking forward to it. I haven't slept straight in past couple days thinking about this hike. I feel it would be a really spiritually uplifting climb and was really looking forward to it. If Ben cannot hike with us due to any circumstances anyone else experienced enough to give us guidance please let me know so I can do it during this long weekend. Thank you and hope you all are safe.

  • Фото Ben Robbins

    Ben Robbins 1 груд. 2020 р.

    It's hard to compare this to hikes like kili; its completely different. This is a single day, poorly marked, generally quiet, scrambly and exposed route with comparatively low altitude. It noticeably lacks porters, cabins and signage also, and on the upside it doesn't require park permits. It is a hot dry climate, rather than the mix tropical to alpine climate bands on kili as well. Also, kili has some sort of standard evacuation process. So very hard to compare these two routes.

    I will do this hike again some day, but sadly at this moment in time the travel restrictions between emirates make a 'quick' weekend away rather problematic, costly and time consuming. If you need any more advice on doing it though, just let me know.

  • Фото Obaid Rizavi

    Obaid Rizavi 13 груд. 2020 р.

    Brilliantly captured

  • jeroen_gillekens 15 груд. 2020 р.

    Hi Ben! I tried your route last week but got stuck at waypoint 6 somewhere on the top of the scree, right before the famous stairway section :( Would you have any more photos from the way there so that I can try again this weekend? Thanks so much!

  • Фото Ben Robbins

    Ben Robbins 16 груд. 2020 р.

    Hey Jeroen, I have searched my drive and can't find any photos of this specific spot. I will try to get such a photo next time I do the route. It is very obvious when you are at the top of the scree. If your unsure keep heading up. You literally walk into a vertical wall ahead of you and the scree is entirely below you. Before the last 10-15 min section on the scree it narrows in to a pointy top, and there is a distinct tree at this point. Once at the top, if you face the cliff in the direction you have headed up the scree, the path is on the same level as you traversing to the right. Sorry I can't help more on that.

  • Фото DENNIS DUCRO

    DENNIS DUCRO 22 груд. 2020 р.

    I have followed this trail  View more

    Nice description Ben, many thanks.
    Had a great day out.

  • Фото ben christopher

    ben christopher 1 січ. 2021 р.

    Am planning to follow Ben’s amazing route one fri or sat in January. Can’t think of anyone fit enough to join me so if anyone is up for it, please respond and we can make plans. Lots of experience in the hills just don’t fancy this on my own. Happy NY!

  • Фото NerdyVet

    NerdyVet 4 січ. 2021 р.

    Ditto Ben's comment - planning on tackling this route this week as heading up to RAK from Tuesday 5th Jan through to Sunday 10th. Have not hiked it before despite wanting to for the past 8 years and have absolutely heard the same advice: don't attempt it without someone who has hiked the route before. Keen to join anyone who is planning to hike this week :)

  • Martin.piesker 19 січ. 2021 р.

    I have followed this trail  View more

    Ben, this is an excellent description of the route. I have done it with a friend the other day and it has been one of the most amazing and exhausting hikes I have ever done, although being an experienced hiker and mountaineer.
    The GPS track you're proposing is very precise, the description of the different sections helps a lot. We found the way easily without a guide or someone who has done the route before. Still, I knew your description by heart and was well prepared.
    I struggled a bit with the distance you are quoting, I would rather say it's 20km.
    The timings are accurate, took us 8 hours of hiking plus 1 hour of pause in between.
    Things you don't want to miss on your hike: sunscreen, approx. 4 litres of water, a power bank for your phone, probably walking poles for the way down.
    Excellent route! Unique experience!

  • elton coelho 30 січ. 2021 р.

    Hi Ben, thank you for the detailed post.
    I have little experience with trekking and I was wondering whether I could do this trek on my own following the instructions in the post. Fitness should not be an issue.

    Thank you

  • Фото Ben Robbins

    Ben Robbins 31 січ. 2021 р.

    This particular recording I did do on my own, so it's certainly possible. It just increases the risk. To note: there is phone reception for a large amount of the route also.

  • zoekettle 8 лют. 2021 р.

    Would you still consider this hike moderate level if you choose to do it in reverse ? And can one still navigate oneself as easily in reverse regarding markers ect. Fitness level for us are not a problem.

  • Фото Ben Robbins

    Ben Robbins 8 лют. 2021 р.

    In reverse it is slightly trickier, maybe a grade higher on the stairways itself. It's slightly trickier to see the route coming down, and generally more risky also, which is generally so for decent vs ascent. Additionally you would be doing this section towards the end of the loop, so more fatigue.

  • stuart.mccready 20 лют. 2021 р.

    I have followed this trail  View more

    We went up and did this loop today with four people. Track into the hike probably needs a 4x4 or higher vehicle due to degradation on the gravel road.

    Only saw a couple of others out on the hike when we were there. We completed the loop in the normal direction up the staircase and down the stairs on the other side. Ben’s descriptions we good and definitely helped us self guide the hike. I would say the hike is more dangerous than most would anticipate especially the stair section. We are outdoorsy people and this is the most dangerous hike in the UAE for sure. Without a guide it is a little suspect and I can see why some people have died on there in the past.

    We were also yelled at by Omani Soldiers on the way up to turn around. We were on the stairs at the time so there was no way we could safely do that. However when we got to the top they were gone so go figure. Just be aware of it.

    We also underestimated the time based on Ben’s initial review at 8 hours. But looking at the description again the times stipulated adding up to 10 hours is more realistic so start early to avoid getting caught going down in the dark.

  • Фото Ben Robbins

    Ben Robbins 20 лют. 2021 р.

    Thanks Stuart, good review.

  • Фото craigp20

    craigp20 28 лют. 2021 р.

    I have followed this trail  View more

    Difficult but worth it.

  • Фото Rob_Gill

    Rob_Gill 15 бер. 2021 р.

    Anyone planning to do this hike on 19th march?

  • Фото Bobi11

    Bobi11 19 бер. 2021 р.

    I have followed this trail  View more

    Long day but was worth every second. Excellent description.

  • Фото ruthmann.nicolas

    ruthmann.nicolas 31 бер. 2021 р.

    I have followed this trail  перевірено  View more

    Thanks a lot to Ben !

    The amount of informations you are giving are amazing and precious !

    This hike was in my bucket list for a long time, finally done in 8hours-ish with a friend.
    Would say, if you’re not used to hike, might take much more than that.

    Can’t wait to try another Ben’s-hikes!

    You rock !

  • Фото Rob_Gill

    Rob_Gill 13 квіт. 2021 р.

    I have followed this trail  перевірено  View more

    Did this trail last weekend. As ben says, its more exhausting after the plateau starts. Overall, great hike, must do if you are not scared of heights and have good fitness levels. Information give is perfect

  • jakenorton 24 вер. 2021 р.

    I'm hoping to get out to run this while in Dubai for Expo. Only in for a few days, and wondering what I can expect for temps in early October? Never been to UAE before, so this is a new adventure, and wanting to explore some - this seems like the perfect route. Would love any thoughts anyone wants to share.

    Also, is there a possibility of getting a car to drive me out from the city and pick back up? This may be the biggest hurdle since I won't have my own transport. Thanks!

    NOTE: I have a lot of experience elsewhere, just not in UAE: Everest 8 times, many other Himalayan climbs and others around the world.

  • Фото Ben Robbins

    Ben Robbins 24 вер. 2021 р.

    Hi Jake. An impressive amount of experience, however it must be noted that this is _completely_ different also. It will be hot, that will be your biggest challenge. Depending on if rain comes before then or not, it will be around 36-42C in the middle of the day I would expect. Maybe less later in the month. There are no water stops on route as well. The ground is solid so it's heavy going on the legs/feet. It can be done however for sure...first time I did it was in October. Start off very early to get height before the heat picks up. Ideally get to the top of stairway before the sun hits you at around 9am. Take a lot of water...4-5L, and then generally the faster you move the better. Standing still in the heat will just mean more time getting heated up, rather than allowing you to cool down.

  • jakenorton 28 вер. 2021 р.

    Hi Ben, thanks for the reply, and totally get it that this is a different beast entirely from the things I generally do. Seems like a good challenge though, albeit one taken with care. 42C sounds pretty brutal though, so I'll certainly play it by ear depending on the weather, etc. Couple additional questions, and sorry for asking so many:

    1. Do you think I could find a taxi/car service that would (a) not only get me to the start of the route, but also (b) be willing to get me there early? I'd want to start at sunrise.

    2. If the weather is too hot, or I'm just not feeling up to a sufferfest in unknown terrain, do you have suggestions of something shorter but with some fun Class 4 or easy Class 5 terrain?

    Thanks in advance for any thoughts, and hoping for cooler temps next week!

  • Фото Ben Robbins

    Ben Robbins 29 вер. 2021 р.

    A Taxi will get you as far as the end of the track (25°58'48.6"N 56°08'47.8"E). To walk from here to the start will take around 35-40 mins. Taxi's are available at all hours, and will go anywhere if your convincing enough. However if your based at the expo (or near by) and want to go here and get a taxi back as well, it would be cheaper to rent a car for a week or two.

    For alternatives, check through some of the routes I've uploaded, they would be my suggestions. There is plenty of scrambles, but the rock is baked and loose, so hard to find solid class 5 which aren't multi day hikes.

    Just consider that in the UAE each 500 feet gained will get you about 1'C cooler. Given that it will probably be around 39-40 next week, then you really need to be looking at something high up. (4000' ) There are 2 roads that get to high start points, Jebel Jais Road, and Jebel Mebrah. Both require big treks to get to the more interesting terrain, which typically is along the border.

    Feel free to drop me a PM if you want more info,

  • jakenorton 5 жовт. 2021 р.

    Hi Ben,

    Thanks for the great info and beta on this. I'm just about to get on my flight to head your direction, and after a couple days working and presenting at Expo, we'll see if I'm up to the challenge. I may drop you a PM as well.

    Thanks again, and all best,

    Jake

  • Фото Vinita Machado

    Vinita Machado 23 лист. 2021 р.

    Most brilliant explanation. Thank you

  • Olga Krenta 28 лист. 2021 р.

    We are looking for a guide for this trail. Could anyone recommend someone with a good experience?

  • Alattar 3 груд. 2021 р.

    Any bouldering or technical skills needed

  • Фото Ben Robbins

    Ben Robbins 4 груд. 2021 р.

    Olga: I do guide this route, however will not be free until the new year. PM me if you need to.
    Alattar: In line with the grade I gave it no. Just scrambling/use of hands.

  • Olga Krenta 5 груд. 2021 р.

    Thanks Ben. We are thinking of doing it in December, but I’d we don’t find a guide will contact you for January then.

    Thanks!

  • Rochelle.D 7 груд. 2021 р.

    Hi Ben , I had tried this route before but got stuck after the dry stream point, any suggestions and advice so that I can make it this time ? . Also wanted to know if there is anybody planning to hike this trail on 10 December 21

  • Фото Ben Robbins

    Ben Robbins 7 груд. 2021 р.

    Hi Rochelle, I'm not completely clear where you mean by the dry stream point, can you elaborate? Do you mean waypoint 19?

  • Rochelle.D 8 груд. 2021 р.

    Hi Ben , that's right its way point 19 where i got confused. I did come across the layby which as you rightly described had equipment. From then onwards I didn't know which way to go .

  • Фото Ben Robbins

    Ben Robbins 8 груд. 2021 р.

    2 options, either follow the path right, which is easy to follow and goes up and down through villages/wadis. Or go straight (same direction as the track previously), and don't go up or down, but hold the exact same height. After about 1km turn right and head down to the final village. If you were confused, did you turn back and go all the way back around?

  • Фото chogoree

    chogoree 2 січ. 2022 р.

    I do Guide this hike 5 to 7 times a month from November to March, Alhamdulillah. It's an easy but a bit boring hike after the Omani village.

  • Фото chogoree

    chogoree 2 січ. 2022 р.

    Indeed a great description from you Robin Sir. Thank you so much for providing us new trails and ideas to explore.

  • Rochelle.D 4 січ. 2022 р.

    Thanks Ben for the information .
    Hi Chogoree will you be doing this hike on Jan 08 2022? Do let me know

  • Фото chogoree

    chogoree 4 січ. 2022 р.

    Yee, we have a date for January.
    Please WhatsApp me at 054 7252694

  • Rochelle.D 14 січ. 2022 р.

    Hi Ben thank you for the information and guidance .I thoroughly enjoyed this trail. It was exciting, thrilling and exhausting at the end. We completed it in 14 hours. I was accompanied by a phenomenally inspirational and enthusiastic friend without whom this completion of the trail wouldn't seem possible. I would like to suggest everyone doing such adventurous trails to choose your companion wisely as it motivates one to accomplish what they want to. Cheers

  • Фото Ben Robbins

    Ben Robbins 14 січ. 2022 р.

    Thanks Rochelle.D, you're welcome. You are right, pick your companions carefully, because at times you'll need some of their energy, as they would yours.

  • Фото vl-sher

    vl-sher 18 січ. 2022 р.

    Dear Ben,
    Let me thank you for the excellent descriptions of you routes. At the first week of February I'm going to make Stairway to Heaven and some surroundings (Jebej Jais and further to the south, I will have 4-5 days). I will really appreciate if you could kindly answer all or some questions below.
    - Are there any water sources (any quality, I have the filter) on top or not far from top of the ridges (villages, farms, springs, etc) or I should carry the water for the full trip with me?
    - Is it safe to cross the border (along the route) and trek on Oman territory (I mean soldiers and border guards)?
    - Is there GSM coverage (inet only) on the ridges in this region? If yes, Etisalat or Du?
    - Maybe you know some shop in RAK (not far from the bus) where I can purchase gas for my Jetboil (100 or 230 grams canister)?
    - Maybe you know some lonely beach in RAK (not far from described route) where I can spend a night in my tent?
    - Could you give some advises on the exact route (my normal speed is about 15 km along 800 m ascent per day)?
    Thank you in advance,
    Vladimir

  • Фото Ben Robbins

    Ben Robbins 18 січ. 2022 р.

    Hi Vl-Shet,

    - The only potential water source is the village at the top of the woh village hike if they have barrels, and if there is someone there to ask, and if they say yes. Also there is a water catchment well at 25.963046, 56.176146. I would not bet on either of these ever. The well is often dry.

    - The border, in my experience has never been guarded. For this route, it's questionable if you ever go over the border. The borders drawn on the main public aerial imagry sites, are not very accurate. There is a border marker at the top of Jebel al Sayh, and another on Jebel Jais. It's a straight line between these points presumably.

    - The phone reception is patchy along most of the ridge. I have not tried Du. There is a good line of site, but the distances are large. The signal tends to come back in and be relatively reliable on the decent down woh village hike. I have received calls on the way up stairway as well. So it's the loop in the middle that has weaker signal.

    - I havn't purchased gas in town, but the best place to check would be one of the 2 main malls. These are either Manar Mall, or RAK Mall. Neither are on route, since the new bypass has been built.

    - For camping, I tend to camp close by. It depends on the privacy and views you want though. I have camped down by the wadi ghalalah damn a few times, as there are plenty of spots around here, and a 15 mins drive up the wadi in the morning.

    - What advice are you asking for on the exact route which isn't mentioned above? If you specify I'll try and elaborate. This route is more than 15km (17km~), and has over 1600 meters of gain with a few other ups and downs in there also. Therefore based on your daily limit, it would be 2 day trek.

    Hope that helps
    Ben

  • Фото vl-sher

    vl-sher 18 січ. 2022 р.

    Thanks a lot for your fast and detailed reply. Concerning the last question - I plan 2 days for the Stairway, maybe up to Jebel Jais. I definitely want to visit these two points, but have no exact idea on the route for 2-3 days more (keeping in mind that the the less water I will carry the easier will be the way). As your knowledge of surroundings is very good, maybe you could suggest me the rest (or the beginning?) of the route.

  • Фото Ben Robbins

    Ben Robbins 18 січ. 2022 р.

    The village at waypoint 12 may have water also. They have vehicle access although it is remote. With that in mind, camping anywhere between waypoint 12 and the top of the woh village will work, and have many flat areas.

  • Фото Ben Robbins

    Ben Robbins 8 лют. 2022 р.

    Thanks for the link vl-sher, nice read. FYI, the OSM trail that you mention I mapped, and based in on some averaging from many routes.

  • Фото vl-sher

    vl-sher 8 лют. 2022 р.

    I have followed this trail  View more

    A lot of thanks to Ben Robbins for his descriptions of Stairway to heaven and Wadi Ghalilah!
    My first impression is that I would not like to repeat the route.
    Second impression - it is not hiking (at least as I understand the term).
    Third impression - it looks like a parachute jump: one do not require any special skills or training to perform it but there is a non-zero chance of getting directly to heaven (or somewhere else, depends on your behavior :) ).
    Please click here for the details of my route.

  • sailorbobby@gmail.com 10 бер. 2022 р.

    I’ve heard that the big boulder is gone? Is this true? Want to give this a try this weekend.

  • Фото vl-sher

    vl-sher 10 бер. 2022 р.

    If you mean the big one at the beginning of the scree (mentioned by Ben) - a month ago it's been there.

  • sailorbobby@gmail.com 10 бер. 2022 р.

    Thanks Vl-sher. I was talking to someone who hadn’t done it in a while and said she’d heard it was gone. Bad info. Thanks!

  • sailorbobby@gmail.com 13 бер. 2022 р.

    Excellent description. My impression is that the only real danger here is getting lost and losing the trail, losing time and getting into general bother that way. If you have a head for heights and can move confidently it is actually pretty easy. There are no dangerous moves to be made but some mental fortitude is a great asset.. The other thing I would say is forget the GPS track! Use the way points and study the description between over and over. There is a lot of small detail that can be missed by just reading it once. I must have read it 40 times. I ended up meeting another group anyway and later a guide. While I felt I would have made it from the description. It is easy to lose the trail and miss little markers like black rocks etc. some cairns are wrong on the lead up to rounding the boulder sending you up a blind gully. When you know the right route it seems obvious but it’s not at all obvious beforehand. The guide was a great help. Crucially saved us time and helped the more vulnerable in the group to succeed. Highly recommended.
    It’s just spectacular. It’s long. The peak of 4 horizons is tough with terrain that saps the energy. The payoff is fantastic on the other side when you can see the cliffs and what you’ve achieved. We were a slow enough group with some cramps and delays with fear of heights etc and managed it in 12 hrs.
    The car park is not accessible with an ordinary car. The road especially near the village is badly degraded. I attempted the first little hill in a minibus! Didn’t succeed and parked at the dam and got a lift with a local to the village. There are plenty of cars going up to hitch a ride.

  • Фото Ben Robbins

    Ben Robbins 13 бер. 2022 р.

    Valuable feedback there, thanks

  • sailorbobby@gmail.com 13 бер. 2022 р.

    Thank you Ben. I’ve been in the UAE on and off since October. I’m from Ireland and not used to this terrain. It’s a different animal. I’ve used a few of your trails and the descriptions are always note perfect. But.. nothing can replace experience and every time I’ve gone out I’ve learned something new. While I was confident, I was realistic and prepared to turn around at any point going solo. I must admit that the easier and more intelligent thing to do was get a guide from the start. He knew you. A great guide. Nasir feom Greenway. Thanks again. You’ve made my stay in the UAE very memorable. I was always in safe hands. 👍

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