Wadi Daykah: climbing, dam and Desert Mushrooms

As we had promised, we went climbing in Oman. First climbing spot was Wadi Daykah (also written as Wadi Dayqah). What is wadi, anyways? Wadi is a dry river gorge with very high cliffs. Well, it's dry most of the time, but when the rainy season starts the river bed fills up and the water is flowing through th wadi.

Wadi Daykah is relatively close to the capital city of Muscat - only 90km to the south. To reach it, set your navigation to the Hail Al Ghaf village. At the end of the village, the wadi starts. This is the point where you will have to park your saloon car and walk further into the wadi. But if you have a 4x4, like we did, you can continue driving up the river bed for another 3km until you reach the climbing area.
We were really happy to have Toyota LandCruiser, because walking in the wadi for another 30 minutes when it's 40°C outside was just not an option :)

Wadi, our car and climbing area on the right
Regarding the climbing, it was great start! The rock is a dolomite, solid but not sharp, only notice that most of the holds are wholes, so be prepare your fingers well ;)

Actually there are 3 climbing sectors in Wadi Daykah: Middle Canyon – North, Middle Canyon – South and Lower Canyon. At the time of our visit, only the first one was still in the shade, so we parked our car under that cliff and started climbing fast, before the sun reached this wall as well. The motto of this climbing area is »Wake up early or fry« and we can definitely confirm that. At 9am it was already 40°C! In April we definitely recommend you to wake up earlier and start climbing with the dawn.

North cliff was the only one still in shade
To locate the climbing area and the routes we used this pdf. guide: Wadi Daykah climbing guide, Ross Weiter, 4th Edition, May 2007. Without it we wouldn't be able to find routes, since there are no signs on the rocks, neither the names nor the difficulties (like we are used to in Slovenia). 
Difficulties of the routes span from 5a to 7b, they all have a belay at the top, so make sure you bring slits as well.

After the sun hit the routes we decided to call it a day, as it was just to hot. So, now what? We could continue up the wadi with our 4x4. In the guide it said that there is only 3km to the other end of the wadi, so off we went. But the surface was getting rougher and rougher, no more tracks were visible, no phone signal ... we didn't want to risk it, so we turned around and drove back to the village.

Off road in Wadi Daykah
What we wanted to see on the other side of the wadi was Wadi Daykah Dam, biggest dam in Oman, which is capable of storing 100 million cubic meters of water! Pretty amazing, right?! With the construction of the dam it was assured that the nearby villages have constant water supply and no floods during the rainy season.
And the surrounding of the dam is very nicely organized as a park with trees, shades and an Indian restaurant.

Wadi Daykah dam
Park at Wadi Daykah dam
Another natural phenomenon can be found in the vicinity: Desert Mushrooms! Those are rock formations, shaped by strong wind in the form of a mushroom. The reason for this curious shape is different type of rock at the top and at the bottom of this "mushroom". The rock at the top is hard and firm, while the rock at the bottom is soft and crumbly. Strong winds have damaged the lower, softer, parts, but the upper parts are still fighting the forces of nature. And this is how desert mushrooms were formed. 

Desert mushroom - on of the smaller ones :)
If someone will be looking for them, here are the coordinates: 23°4'51''N, 58°55'31''E ;) We tried to find them with the instruction from Lonely Planet. Not possible! The roads have changed, new houses were built ... and the Lonely Planet says turn left at the pink house ... Which pink house?! Luckily we could use Google, so we searched for a photo of Desert mushrooms and showed it to locals, so they took us there :) No English was spoken either :) But it's well worth the effort, because Desert mushrooms are really amazing! 



No comments:

Post a Comment