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The Outdoor MTB & Wadi Issue

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THE FIRST OUTDOOR MAGAZINE FOR THE UAE AND THE MIDDLE EAST pathways to

ACTIVITY

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Ian tells us how and where to begin mountain biking

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Wadi

WARRIOR

Wadi Wurrayah explored with our Laura

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CLASSIC

HIKING ROUTES Simon lists a few great routes to challenge your boots

Discover more and visit us online: www.outdooruae.com

George & nauts

the argo

camping + kayaking in Musandam

stairway to heaven

how NOT to do it. Mike braves the wild and wonderful hike alone

Issue 13, January 2012


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Editorial Take a bike, run or hike and leap into the New Year! In Print:

Managing Editor Daniel Birkhofer Editors Kim Perks Laura Snook Marilena Cilta Graphics & Design James Russell Sales & Marketing (advertisement enquiries) Tara Atkinson Tel: 04-447 2030 Mobile: 055 9398915 tara@outdooruae.com Published by: Outdoor UAE FZE P.O. Box 215062 Dubai, U.A.E. Tel. 04-447 2030 contact@outdooruae.com www.outdooruae.com Distributor: Tawzea, Abu Dhabi Media Company P.O. Box 40401, Abu Dhabi, U.A.E. Printed at: Galadari Printing & Publishing LLC P.O. Box 11243 Dubai, U.A.E.

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ell one thing I can say about these past few weeks in December is wow…what a month! We’ve had the Rugby 7’s, National Day, long weekends, a Black Friday, The 92 Cycle Challenge, Sky Dive competitions, DMX Racing, Dhow Cruises, Gulf For Good Challenges, Christmas, New Year and not to mention the plethora of outdoor activities, events, exhibitions, shop openings and adventures to cover! Our team has certainly been busy. With such a busy month, I am now writing this just before Christmas and I get the feeling for many who have stayed here over the holiday season - like myself, it really doesn’t feel like the holidays up until the very last minute here in the sunny UAE! This may be great for some who aren’t really bothered by the festive season, but for others like myself; a mad dash to the closest shopping centre in order to buy presents for friends and family at the last minute is not ideal! (I just hope they don’t read this :) ) From the past to the present and with the holiday season coming to an end, we are now

into the New Year and focusing on 2012! Exciting times, and with so much ahead for events, activities and fulfilling those New Year Resolutions, we have a whole 366 days to get fit, motivated and Outdoors (yep that’s right folks, it’s a leap year so keep an eye out for any leaplings and women proposing to their husbands!). With a whole load of interesting and motivating articles from all our contributors this month, we dive into the mountain biking and the wadi adventure scene. We also focus and uncover how people challenge themselves by being outdoors and giving back to those less fortunate. For the future - on a final note, I ask just one thing: Write down 5 New Year’s resolutions, and then in 1 year look back to see if you have completed any of the challenges you have set; whether it be going camping for the first time, or learning how to ride a horse, we want to hear your stories and achievements! And just remember - safety first. Happy Reading! Tara & The Outdoor UAE Team.

between the lines Daniel Birkhofer

Founder and Editor in Chief daniel@outdooruae.com

James Russell

Graphics and Photography james@outdooruae.com

Laura Snook

© 2011 Outdoor UAE FZE Issue 13, January 2012

Kim Perks

Copywriter and Editor

Business Development and Editor laura@outdooruae.com

The information contained is for general use only. While we have made every attempt to ensure that the information contained in this magazine has been obtained from reliable sources, however the publisher is not responsible for any errors. All information in this magazine is provided “as is”, with no guarantee of completeness, accuracy, timeliness or of the results obtained from the use of this information. In no event will the publisher, its related affiliates or anyone else be responsible for any decision made or action taken in reliance on the information in this magazine.

Marilena Cilta

Tara Atkinson

All contents are under copyrights and may not be reproduced in any kind without written permission. © 2012 Outdoor UAE FZE

Reg. at Creative City Fujairah P.O. Box 4422, Fujairah, U.A.E.

when you’re done reading, please recycle!

Management and Administration marry@outdooruae.com

Sales and Marketing tara@outdooruae.com

our experts and contributors Tori Leckie

Ian Ganderton

Kit Belen

Pete Aldwinckle

Mike Nott

John Basson

Toby Foord-Kelcey

Cecile Guillemot

Writer, runner, blogger, adventurer and adidas athlete

Our fishing pro

The 4x4 expert

Climbing Expert

Kayaker, climber, mountainbiker and snowboarder. Enthusiastic jack of all trades, master of none.

Climber and all-round adventure seeker

Moto/ATV and all round adventure seeker

Our equestrian pro

our list of contributors is always growing so please get in touch if you want to be one of them!

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contents

Contents

54 Best Shots

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Events Calendar

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My Experience on a Fitness Adventure Pathways to Activity: MTB Climbing Route Development Mountain Biking in the UAE

Events Reviews and Reports

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People

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Spots & Locations

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Directory

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One-day event at Desert Palm Do you have what it takes? 2012 Wadi Bih Dreamland Aquapark PSNF Expedition Re:charge @ Aloft Spinneys Cycle Challenge The Physio Centre DMX Upon Kilimanjaro Sky Dive Dubai North Face Wild Guanabana

Laura’s Location Classic Hiking Routes

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Travel & Adventure

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Products

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Our Experts

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George and the Argonauts Vinson Massif

Adventure Chick The Fishing Kit Stairway to Heaven: How NOT to do it. 3rd Al Ain Fun Ride Flying Trike

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Andy Whittaker Heather Le Rest

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Best Shots The photos on this page are from our readers. If you want to see one of our photos here please send them to contact@outdooruae.com We are looking forward to more great shots from our readers!

Ian Ganderton Canon 550D

best shots

John Weston

Marina By Night - Palm Jumeirah

Peaches

Canon Rebel EOS 300D 18-55mm

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Events Calendar Stay up-to-date with the latest events. Be sure to make an appearence and you might even be lucky to meet the OutdoorUAE team! If you would like your particular event listed here, simply contact us: contact@outdooruae.com. Entries listed in green are media partnered events.

Dubai World Cup Carnival

Meydan - 5th, 6th,12th, 20th of January

events calendar

The Dubai World Cup, worth US$10 million in prize money alone, is classified as a ‘Group One Flat Race’ for four-year-old thoroughbreds and above, and spans a distance of 2,000m (one mile, two furlongs, previously run on dirt it is now contested on an All-Weather surface. www.dubairacingclub.com

Wadi Bih Adventure Race Dibba, Oman - 6th of January

The Wadi Adventure Race is a multi disciplined (MTB/mountain run) adventure race set in the dramatic and stunning Hajar mountains near Dibba Oman for individuals and teams of 2 people. The event comprises of mountain biking and mountain running. www.wadiadventure.com

Dunlop 24h Hours

Dubai Autodrome - 12th to 14th of January

The Dubai 24 Hour Race is both a sports car and touring car automobile endurance race held annually at the Dubai Autodrome. It was inaugurated in 2006 and serves as a one of the ultimate tests for both the endurance of the driver and machine. The race starts at 2pm on Friday and ends 24 hours later at 2pm on Saturday. www.24hdubai.com

ABRaSAC Mina 10k Series Race 2 Dubai, Mina Seyahi - 13th of January

Media Partners

This popular Race Series is back for another season and again will be held within the grounds of the Meridien Mina Seyahi and Westin hotels. Race HQ and the 10k course offer runners a wonderful environment utilizing open grass areas, ocean views and the beautifully landscaped hotels grounds. The flat, fast course follows 3 laps taking runners out onto the Marina quay, through the hotel gardens and alongside pristine white beaches. www.abrasac.org

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DMX, Round 5

Dubai, Jebel Ali Track - 20th of January

Get yourself down to the DMX (Dubai Motorcross Club) in Jebel Ali to check out some thrilling and exciting motorcross and quad biking action. With classes ranging from cadets all the way to masters, this is an event where you can watch all the different categories on the newly revamped track, not to mention the awesome atmosphere and food. www.dubaimotocross.com


Zayed Sports City Run, Race 2

Abu Dhabi, Zayed Sports City - 20th of January

A unique 10km run that takes in the sports facilities of Zayed Sports City including running in and around the hallow turf of Zayed Sports Stadium. www.abudhabistriders.com

Desert Adventure Challenge Run – 27th of January to 2nd of February

events calendar

Register at www.dubaimarathon.org to run the 10k or 3k as part of the Desert Adventure Challenge Team. Call 04 4456842 or email cncf@urbanevents.ae to let them know you are running and come in to collect your Desert Adventure Challenge fund-raising pack. For the adventurous the 7 day challenge includes cycling, hiking, kayaking and deep water solo diving – there will be experienced guides to support the participants all the way. www.urbanevents.ae

Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon Dubai, 27th of January

To be held on January 27, the 2012 edition of the classic 42.195km race will now see the runners start beside The Pavilion in Downtown Dubai, in the shadow of the imposing Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building developed by Emaar Properties, before heading along the spectacular, 3.5 km Emaar Boulevard and turning left onto Doha Street with The Dubai Mall, the world’s largest shopping and entertainment destination, on the left. www.dubaimarathon.org

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One-day event at Desert Palm

event reviews and reports

Desert Palm hosted the first one-day event of the season With the first one-day event completed, the UAE eventing community will be looking forward to the next at Desert Palm event on the 13th January as the stunning setting of the Desert Palm Resort and Hotel offered both spectator and competitor alike a wonderful day full of thrills and spills, and top notch catering on the lawns. The early morning start of the dressage section produced some very closely placed riding with all the open class competitors within 0.5 and 1 percentage of each other which meant the pressure was on to complete the perfect show jumping round, and so they did with all the Open class entering the Cross Country phase on equal jumping penalties. With clear rounds on the course it was down to timing on the cross country as the placing decider. Their own Desert Palm rider, Becky Hunt on Super Deluxe won the class on the best course time followed very closely in second place by a step perfect Natalie Christodoulou on her own horse Nakich Quattro Nuevo from Al Hamra Stables with Laura Jurs on Desert Palms famous Bally Gally in third place with just one stop on the cross country course. The second class jumping the 80 cms phase of the competition was made up of a record 25 riders providing the spectators some great

riding. At the end of the dressage phase the lead rider was Attila Kinyo on Zakarado from Zabeel and with a perfect show jumping round entered the Cross country in the lead but with a stop at the water that dropped him down to overall 6th place. Desert Palm livery client, Jacquie Quinn, grasped first place with her clear show jumping round and a great cross country clear with the best time closely followed by first timer young junior rider Bromyn Buys Du Pleessis on Rhythum of Sport from Jebel Ali Equestrian center. Rona Newton completed the cross country with the same points as Bronwyn but with one fence down in the show jumping her super horse Memasse secured third place. Placings were presented up to 10th place cutesy of the overall sponsor HorseWorld Equine supplies. The Desert Palm would like to thank the UAE Equestrian Federation and Horseworld in helping this event take place. The Next One-Day –Event at Desert Palm which is open to the public will be held on Friday the 13th January.

For any details contact: Vicky Duke at ridingschool@desertpalmllc.com

Do You Have What It Takes? Gulf for Good – giving kids a chance around the world Would you cycle 400km on rough steep tracks and through deep sand, camping along the way in order to help disadvantaged kids in Ajman? 28 people did! These intrepid cyclists rose to Gulf for Good’s challenge to ride through the back roads, mountains, deserts and wadis of all seven emirates … all to make a huge difference to the children attending a charity school in Ajman. They hailed from 10 different nationalities, had a huge variety of age (28 – 60), experience and ability, but they pulled together as a team in the tougher sections, with stronger riders giving encouragement and support. Raed Dabbous (Lebanese restaurateur) described the challenge as, “An awesome experience of a lifetime. It was tough but, when our heads weren’t bent low with the effort, we were stunned by the spectacular scenery of some of the remotest parts of the UAE“. Raed added, “That effort was made worthwhile when we visited the school and discovered the great need there for help to improve the situation for the 2,600 pupils.” The challenge raised over AED 300,000 and was organised in association with Fitness First by local adventure charity, Gulf for Good (www.gulf4good.org). Established in 2001 and operating under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Gulf for Good has organised

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36 amazing adventure challenges ranging from high altitude treks to hiking, cycling, kayaking, rafting and even camel trekking, and has raised over US$ 1.8 million for children’s charities in the Middle East, Asia, South America and Africa. So, if you think you have what it takes, simply get involved with this great organisation, as Gulf for Good has 4 more exciting adventure challenges in 2012 that includes a Gulf for Good Information Evening at Adventure HQ, Dubai on Wednesday 18th of January at 7pm where you can find out everything you need to know to decide to take the challenge.

Go to www.gulf4good.org or call 04-368-0222 for more details.


On the move to explore

More of a mountain goat than a racing snake

At last, its wintertime and you can really start to enjoy the outdoors of the UAE and neighbouring Oman. For me this usually means getting up very early in the dark, on my own, putting on my Bergan (rucksack) and running some obscene distance, sucking in air from China to raise money for charity. Over the last couple of years I have taken part in many of the wellknown races around the UAE, running them all in boots and always with a 16kg or 35lb Bergan. These races were particularly useful to prepare and test equipment for the 25th Marathon des Sables in Morocco in 2010. I realised that if I was going to run 250 km’s across the Saharan desert I needed some pretty tough bench marks before I set off. I started with a UAE Everest challenge where I went up and down the highest mountain in the country Jebal Yibir 7 times to equal the height of Everest. I set the challenge of carrying 35lb at all times covering 150kms and to be completed in under 48hrs, which I did in 46.5hrs. I then did a number of half marathons around the Emirates waiting for Wadi Bih to arrive. Wadi Bih as a solo and unsupported runner was ‘Jedi’ hard. I started out at 0200hrs in the pitch black heading into the mountains. My starting weight was 18kg / 40lb with over 30lb in water. The route at the start is pretty steady and I settled down into a routine of walking and running. After about 6hrs and approaching the half way point there are some very cheeky switch backs that test your sense of humour. Until the half way point I had only seen two other solo runners and their support vehicles and so as I head back down the switch backs I see ‘the racing snakes’. As with all the events I have done around town the running community really helped with words of encouragement and other things from some of my friends and work colleagues! 9hrs inn, the sun is up and the temperature is rising and I am drinking water like it’s going out of fashion and so need to be careful of what’s left for the last few hours. The last 10kms were really hard as the wadi opens up. The sun was beating down on me and I ran out of water about 5kms from the finish. Loads of people offered water and food along the whole route but I was determined to do the whole thing unsupported. 12hrs and 42 minutes later and ‘the mountain goat’ crosses the finish line which is nicely placed at the end of a 100m’s of beach sand, thanks guys! As I cross the line Adrian Haynes pulls me up on stage and asked me “how was it?”... I replied “never again!” Well here I am again, preparing for Wadi Bih 2012 and hoping to beat my last time and raise a little bit of money for charity along the way. Jim McIntosh.

event reviews and reports

2012 Wadi Bih

When Arabs ruled one of the largest stretches of land in the old world, they travelled and explored lands that were only known to their native inhabitants. Travelling was a way of life to many. It involved courage, a yearning to learn and a strong will to educate. As decades passed, those who crossed all these borders were known as Rahhalahs, a term that translates to English as those who are always on the move to explore.

We want to entice you to live your dream adventure. Come and join us explore the world and become a Rahhalah yourself.

Some of our adventures • WILD Borneo; The last of the four remaining rain forests in the world. • Vietnam; The Mysteries of the Northwest, 7 days adventure trekking and reaching the peak of Fansipan • Thrilling Nepal; hike, cycle, raft and explore • East African Dreams; comfortable and challenging Safari adventures that are not for the fainthearted in both Tanzania and Kenya. • Climb Kilimanjaro; an achievable big challenge that takes you to the roof of Africa.

Read more about WHO we are, WHERE we go, our SUSTAINABILITY and our “PAY BACK” promise on

rahhalah.com

Tel +9714 4472166

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t h g i n Over

g n i p m a C nce e ri Expae t

For those on the lookout for a private and exclusive shelter at Dreamland Aqua Park, its camping facility is the perfect place for you. Available in tents and cabanas in full board or half board basis, rent one for the entire day or stay for overnight camping and enjoy complete camping gear, chairs, sun beds, inflatable mattresses, sleeping bags, barbecue station, and sound system provided for your comfort and relaxation. The half board camping package includes accommodation, camping gear, barbecue dinner and breakfast. However, the full board camping package includes a sumptuous lunch the following day. Rates range from 325 to 450 Dhs and are subject to additional 15% service charge. Rates are subject to change without prior notice. Check in time is at 3:00pm whilst check out on the following day at 12 Noon. For inquiries and reservations, call +971 6 768 1 888 or visit: www.dreamlanduae.com Booking must be done 3 days prior to date of visit.

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PNSF Expedition Goes Solar with GoalZero

After the roof top tent and awning, we decided that our next investment was going to have to be some method of powering our 45 litre Waeco fridge, as well as the laptops, iPads, GPS’s, emergency beacons, telephones and cameras which will accompany us on the Expedition. Since the PNSF Expedition has a heavy environmental bent, a solar panel or two were going to have to form part of the solution, and so we set about reading countless reviews to weigh up the pros and cons of various manufacturers of power packs and solar panels. GoalZero was rated very highly by numerous critics and therefore it’s fair to say we could barely contain our excitement when we saw their distinctive re-purposed and solar powered shipping container stand at the ADIHEX earlier this year. In addition to having had the opportunity to try out a range of their products, the team at GoalZero Middle East has since offered to sponsor the PNSF Expedition with the ultimate solar power system, the Extreme 350 Base Camp Kit. Space is at a premium when planning the contents of an overlanding or expedition vehicle, however, nowadays there is no need to undertake a trip The singer-style, with only the barest of essentials. Our car fridge has therefore made the shortlist, but a prime concern of ours is that if we are not careful, it could end up running the car battery dry. The Extreme 350 power pack is the ideal solution. A fully charged

Extreme 350 power pack can run our fridge on the freezing setting for four full nights, and the Extreme 350 Base Camp Kit comes with two of them for a combined power output of 700 watt-hours! This means we can power the fridge for over a week. Coupled with a set of four Boulder 30 solar panels (which can be mounted to the roof rack or the GoalZero tripod) we now have no need to draw on the car for powering any of our luxuries, which is not only far more environmentally friendly than having to turn the car on to give our electronic gadgets a boost, but is a much safer alternative. Anyone that camps regularly will agree that there is usually an unacknowledged contest to see who can set their camp up the fastest and with the least hassle. GoalZero is streets ahead in terms of functionality, design and ease of use and truly has developed a “plug-and-play” system. Whilst everyone else is rummaging through their car looking for batteries, we can just plug our Light-a-Life lanterns into our solar charged pack, and have enough light to perform microsurgery on our dinner. They have also clearly thought hard about the needs of the end user, by providing a range of sizes and designs. The smallest panels are foldable, extremely lightweight and can fit into a large pocket. They are ideal to lay out anywhere or you could fix them to a backpack if you are the hiking and biking type. With regard to durability, we have taken

our Boulder 30 solar panels and Extreme 350 power packs out on quite a few trips, including three days bouncing across the Liwa in a sandstorm, and neither the packs nor the panels seem to have suffered as a result. We also took along the Escape 30 briefcase style solar panel and the Escape 150 power pack, both of which look like they might have been designed by a Star Wars fan. We were pretty impressed with the portability of the Escape range, and these two units braved the sandstorm the longest, due to the fact that we could lay the briefcase out on the bonnet of the car. With all of the power packs having USB power outputs, and the larger ones having inverters with 12 volt plugs and AC power outlets (as well as inputs enabling the power packs to be charged from the mains or via a 12 volt cable), it’s fair to say that even with our pretty vast array of electronics, we are unlikely to find ourselves short of power, come rain or shine. All in all, GoalZero solar gear is extremely durable, easy to set-up, versatile and extremely cool. They will power all your needs when out and beyond, indefinitely. Check out their full range of solar gear now available in the Middle East at www.goalzero.ae.

GoalZero. Solar Power Anywhere! www.pnsfexpedition.com David Wernery.

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event reviews and reports

The PNSF Expedition will be an eighteen month trip around the world in our Ford F150, which will be our home, office, kitchen and means of transport (hopefully!). We are avid followers of the overlanding scene in the US, and so there aren’t many new camping gadgets and gizmos which we haven’t studied in detail to assess whether they will form part of the equipment list.


Re:Charge at Aloft The Aloft Abu Dhabi Hotel has just opened up fifty new membership spots for Re:Charge, the hotel’s fitness center (right on time for those New Year Resolutions we think!). The savvy fit in fitness whenever it works, so why not add some zip to your day, by slipping in any day of the week from 6am to 11pm, to squeeze in those AM ab crunches or that PM power walk. Re:charge will put the pep back in your step, with a full cardio collection: stationary bikes, treadmills, and elliptical machines from Life Fitness. A stretching zone with mats gives yogis space to limber up, or fire up your muscles with strength machines and free weights. Wind down after a workout or just take a quiet timeout for yourself at Splash, the refreshing outdoor pool. With a spectacular rooftop setting and sprawling landscaped deck area, this trendy outdoor pool in Abu Dhabi is great for a leisurely swim, or even some poolside email catch-up, thanks to free wireless internet access. Early birds and night owls are equally welcome, with hours from 6am to 9pm weekdays and 11pm weekends. Not a water baby yet? Build up your water confidence in Splash Pool with swimming lessons tailored to your ability and age (children welcome from 5 years), available in single sessions or a bundle of ten sessions. Re:Charge membership is available for 1, 3, 6 or 12 months and all members receive a free consultation upon arrival as well as a customized exercise and nutritional plan

if required. Membership perks also include a 15% discount on the hotels Best Available Rate on rooms (subject to availability), a 20% discount across the hotels bars and restaurants, and a 30% discount on laundry. For more information and pricing reach out directly to Iana.Atanasova@alofthotels.com or give her a buzz directly on 02 654 5148 (and don’t forget to tell her Outdoor UAE sent you)! Simple to find, the Aloft Abu Dhabi hotel is located at Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (ADNEC), just a short spin away from downtown, so buckle up and you'll be there in a wink of an eye. For more information about the hotel check out aloftabudhabi.com

Spinneys Cycle Challenge Friday 16th December saw the second Spinneys 92km Cycle Challenge take place. With nearly 700 participating in the main ride and 150+ youngsters in the kid’s ride this is easily the biggest cycle event in the region. This event is all about participation, it’s about getting out and riding in whichever way floats your boat. If you want to be super competitive then the elite class can be for you; with its ‘take no prisoners’ racing and team tactics, this was a great race to follow and watch unfurl. This year Team BMC were the one to watch and they cleaned up with first and second in the men’s race and first in the women’s. Bader Al Thani (Team BMC), who will be representing the UAE at the next Olympics, used his sprinting power and pipped Luke Pledger (Team BMC) across the line by a tyres width and just 1/100th of a second. Not far behind in the peloton Vicky Norvall (Team BMC) was the first woman. It wasn’t the elite riders that got the fastest time though, it was Group B rider Ian O’Hara (Team Cycle Safe Dubai) with a time of 59 minutes 45 seconds and there are plenty of Facebook comments that put this down in large part to the excellent development

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programme that builds up to the 92km event. It’s this development programme that is in my opinion the best story. Stewart and Nick have done an outstanding job of putting into place a pathway that can take someone with no experience at all through a series of easy and friendly steps that can then get them having a fantastic time riding in an event like this one. For more information on how to get involved in the Cycle Safe Dubai programme and events go to www.cyclechallenge.ae or to find the super friendly and supportive community that revolves around the programme; search for Cycle Safe Dubai on Facebook. Hopefully see you at a one of the Legendary Saturday Morning Coffee Runs soon. Ian.


The Physio Centre Are you heading off skiing for the very first time this winter? If so, you need to think a few things through first. Are you fit? How are your knees? Skiing puts a lot of stress on your knees and the problem is, if you’re a beginner, you fall. Most beginner falls happen with your feet going one way, whilst your body goes the other, causing a twist at the knee. Unfortunately, this is the perfect set-up for a big knee injury. As you twist in a fall, the vice-like bindings are supposed to release under your weight and pressure. If they don’t, the long ski grips the snow and the force of the twist has a high rate of breaking the main stabiliser of the knee, more so than most other sports. The main stabiliser of the knee is the Anterior Cruciate Ligament or ACL. Many studies have been carried out to look at how to reduce the chances of breaking your ACL because it is the major and most important stabiliser of your knee. Contrary to popular belief, studies can categorically tell you, as opposed to teeth, braces/supports won’t help you.

Source: Wikipedia.org

So what reduces the risks? Equipment

Are your bindings set for you? Is the tightness of the bindings right? Get them thoroughly checked. The higher the tightness, the harder it is for the binding to release. So if you’re a beginner, tell the rental company to have your bindings set low.

Fitness

Control of your nervous system and muscular system is the key and studies in men and women have shown that preseason strengthening (especially hamstrings), balance and control training reduces non-contact knee injuries by 60% - 90%.

Gender

Did you know, that girls are approximately eight times more likely than boys to rupture the ACL? This trend continues as we mature and is due to hamstring strength, co-ordination and knee angulation.

How do I know if I’m at risk?

A great test developed to identify people at risk of severe knee injuries is the ‘Drop vertical jump test’, which simply tests stability and strength. It involves dropping off a box and upon landing immediately jumping up in the air as high as possible. If your knees come together or ‘kiss’, then you are in a much higher risk group. This is much more common in the female population. Women’s knees ‘kiss’ more often because of hip angulation, as well as a tendency to land with less cushioning through the hips and knees. This creates an increased stress through the ACL and where it attaches.

So the moral of the story is that if you are female and heading off skiing in the next couple of months, get yourself in for a check up and some pre-ski conditioning before heading to the hills. It makes the trip that much better and the recovery that much easier – remember, prevention is the best cure.

References: Mandelbaum, B.R et al. Effectiveness of a Neuromuscular and Proprioceptive Training Program in Preventing the Incidence of Anterior Cruciate Ligament Injuries in Female Athletes. American Journal of Sports Medicine, 2005; Vol. 33, No. 7. p1-8. Renstrom, P et al. Non-contact ACL Injuries in Female Athletes: An International Olympic Committee Current Concepts Statement. British Journal of Sports Medicine, 2008; Vol 42. p394-412.

If you would like to find out more, or test your knees, contact The Physio Centre – www.physiocentre. ae.

Happy Skiing! 13


OutdoorUAE Official Media Partner

www.dubaimotocross.com

Rider Profiles and Standings Jonathan Harel: 85cc Class Photo: Wayne Gray

event reviews and reports

Name: Jonathan Harel Nationality: Zimbabwe How old are you? 10 Years Old What is your passion? Motocross and going over big jumps.

How is the season going so far?

We were wating for the 85cc to arrive at the start of the season, but it didn’t come through so I’m riding a 65cc in the 85cc class and coming around 5th place. I can’t wait till the 85cc gets here so I can start winning some races.

What is your biggest achievement?

Clearing the tabletop, one of the biggest jumps on track. Also getting my first sponsorship in 2011 so I get free clothes and stickers and get to be apart of the sandstorm team.

What is your main focus this year?

Hard practising for the next season so when What would you recommend to our I get my 85cc I can hopefully start winning readers? Keep practising, you will get betraces. ter and it’s great to come to the DMX with What inspired you to get into Moto- your family on the weekends. cross? I’ve always been into scooters and fast things so motocross was something that I’ve always wanted to do.

Sean Gaugain: 450cc (MX1 / MX2) Name: Sean Gaugain Nationality: South African How old are you? 39 What is your passion? Racing How is the season going so far?

I’m leading in both classes (MX1 and MX2) overall for championship points.

What is your biggest achievement?

Since the age of 4 I’ve been racing and my biggest achievement since then was finishing 3rd overall in the 450 cc class of the Rally WC. I competed in the Dubai Desert Challenge, which was a leg of the Rally WC.

What is your main focus this year?

It is to win the 2 championships and get back on top because I was out for a year and a half with a shattered femur. Now I’m back I’m racing against new competitors, so there’s much more competition because they are young, hungry and fit.

How do you train for Motocross?

I run 2-3 times a week, and ride 2-3 times a week for endurance.

What inspired you to get into Motocross?

My family are one of the founders of Motocross in South Africa- since the 1940’s. You could say it’s a family thing.

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What would you recommend to our readers? Come down to the DMX and do

something a little different, experience the growing community. There is also a school for those who want to try out every Tuesday and as it is a great spectator sport, it is suitable for all types of people.

Photo: Wayne Gray


Junior Class

Rider NoRider Name 88 Alexander Mortado 77 Keylan Hashemian 222 Ethan Lane 8 Kevin Pearson

Top Standings Total 191 162 141 44

Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Round 4 Round 5 Round 6 Round 7 Round 8 Round 9 50 50 40 50 44 44 50 44 38 38 40 16 16 16 40 40 38 38 30 0 0 0 28 36

Total 190 182 132 112 106 64

Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Round 4 Round 5 Round 6 Round 7 Round 8 Round 9 47 50 50 50 38 42 40 44 42 11 0 0 34 0 10 0 25 0 0 0 0 0 22 0

Total 197 164 53 44 25 22

Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Round 4 Round 5 Round 6 Round 7 Round 8 Round 9 50 40 50 50 42 36 44 44 31 42 31 40 36 38 36 32 42 25 40 18 15 33 31 33

Total 190 166 144 142 125 112

Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Round 4 Round 5 Round 6 Round 7 Round 8 Round 9 50 50 50 50 31 36 31 36 28 30 36 40 38 0 44 44 36 44 29 15 33 40 0 32

Total 200 134 134 126 124 105

Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Round 4 Round 5 Round 6 Round 7 Round 8 Round 9 44 50 45 47 0 38 44 47 26 30 28 28 38 36 0 36 34 36 0 32 14 42 0 40

Total 186 129 112 110 102 96

Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Round 4 Round 5 Round 6 Round 7 Round 8 Round 9 42 50 47 44 25 30 40 36 47 0 47 25 45 29 0 39 34 38 0 40 28 30 0 32

Total 183 131 119 113 112 90

Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Round 4 Round 5 Round 6 Round 7 Round 8 Round 9 47 45 47 47 37 47 47 47 38 34 38 38 29 24 27 26 26 27 25 28 27 22 20 23

Total 186 178 148 106 106 92

Rider NoRider Name Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Round 4 Round 5 Round 6 Round 7 Round 8 Round 9 12 Sean Gaugain 47 50 50 50 18 Ben Menzies 47 42 22 44 50 Jinan CD 38 25 38 26 75 Janne Tuohino 16 32 38 36 13 Shannon O'Connor 25 25 31 29 7 Mohammed Al Balooshi 0 36 38 34

Total 197 155 127 122 110 108

Cadet Class

Rider NoRider Name 5 Joseph Mortado 4 Kyle Hashemran 9 Daisy Carrington 22 Anatole Kunegel 14 Ashley O'Connor 11 Malia Gregson

65cc Class

Rider NoRider Name 48 Jessie Lea Davidson 67 Godfrey Buisson 33 Alexander Darling 111 Emily Mann 7 Jonathan Harel 10 Tim Pearson

85cc Class

Rider NoRider Name 10 Dean Jullien 73 Darren Berry 22 Nicolas Kefford 115 Mathew Mann 271 Jordyn Hamilton 7 Jonathan Harel

125cc Class

Rider NoRider Name 14 Mitchel Malpass 272 Jake Porter 75 Ramon Brand 4 Ryan Wynn 897 Reagan Laue 11 Eric Landgren

Masters Class

Rider NoRider Name 26 Nic Bac 999 Brent Gregson 63 Bradley Manser 50 Philip van der Walt 1 Sean Holder 27 Corrado Meneghello

Pro Quad Class

Rider NoRider Name 1 Alex Macfarlane 37 Fayyadh Ahmed 67 Sebastian Husseini 13 Obaid Al Kitbe 11 Nick Black 47 Daniel Duke

MX2 Class

Rider NoRider Name 12 Sean Gaugain 411 Ross Runnalls 11 Dale Jullien 49 Shelby Ingrilli 33 Joshua Brodalka 115 Saeed Al Shenqiti

MX1 Class

*Each rider can drop one round from the over all results.

event reviews and reports

Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Round 4 Round 5 Round 6 Round 7 Round 8 Round 9 47 47 50 47 40 42 40 40 47 47 0 47 0 0 44

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Upon Kilimanjaro

Standing on the roof of Africa was my life’s transformation adventure, what is yours?

I met Anis one night a few months ago around an Iftar table. When he heard about some of the mountains I climbed, his eyes sparkled. I knew his interest was genuine and his desire to climb one day will eventually become real, sooner than later. Today Anis stood on the summit of his first mountain. You can only imagine the sparkle in his eyes and the fire in his soul standing on the highest point in Africa! Anis researched and asked so many questions during the last couple of months. Rahhalah was with him every step of the way from training tips, gear advice and check, route discussions and the focus on getting mentally and physically prepared. In all our discussions, we always highlighted how this is all about the process and not the summit. ‘’We couldn’t be happier, every time a new client lives their dream adventure with us, it gives us a priceless satisfaction, there is nothing more rewarding and inspiring than helping people doing that and going through the transformation”, says Suzanne Al Houby CEO of Rahhalah. “It wasn’t easy, we had to deal with blisters, aching joints, nausea, diarrhea, headaches but we continued; “Pole, Pole”, which means slowly slowly in Swahili. We continued until the team finally reached the summit and watched Africa from its highest point: Uhuru at 5,896 meters, where Oxygen saturation level is half of that we have on sea level” What makes Rahhalah different up on Kilimanjaro? Besides being run by the first Arab Man and Arab Woman Everest Sumiteers, Rahhalah’s local guides are the best on the mountain with more than 300 summits under their belt. A great and flexible approach to climb Kilimanjaro through a slightly longer route - instead of the faster, cheaper and rushed up routes, resulting in one of the highest success rates on the mountain 98%. All our guides and assistant guides have a Wilderness First

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Responder Rescue certification and Cardio Pulmonary resuscitation certification, as well as National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS) training. “This is once in a life time journey, so we are committed to safety first and we do everything possible to have our clients enjoy a great journey and to push themselves to new boundaries.” Says Suzanne.

“No summit is guaranteed, and we encourage our climbers to always focus on the days’ goal and always see how much height they gained, not how much is still left. One day at a time can go a long way in alleviating the burden of a long strenuous climb, so our focus is on enjoying the mountain” Rahhalah runs a low impact operation with a strict code of conduct on the treatment of our porters. We stick to porters weight limits set by Kilimanjaro National Park regulations, all our staff are trained in first aid and we ensure that all our porters have the warm clothes, proper sleeping gear, and are well fed up the mountain. Our porters are properly employed and not picked at the gate because they are cheap labor. We leave no trace up on the mountain to help preserve the environment. We have a payback promise: 1% of our revenue goes back to help building a school in the remote village of Laiboni Shule. Whether you have managed to finally live your adventure in 2011 or not, it is always worth reminding you to just make it happen. Please check Rahhalah.com on more information about our Kilimanjaro Climb and other adventures as well. www.rahhalah.com


event reviews and reports

Floating through the Sky On the 29th of November and running right through to the 10th of December, the Sky Dive Dubai site witnessed some of the best teams and athletes of the skydiving world fly through it’s airspace. Taking place in Dubai, this competition is one of the World’s biggest and richest Parachuting Championships, held under the patronage of High Highness Shaikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of the Dubai Sports council, with nearly 400 jumpers, including ladies from 43 different countries. Going beyond limits and organising an even better competition set up for 2011 was one of the main motivations for the Team and organising committee this year. With more daring acts, entertainment and new stunts, this competition wasn’t one to miss out; even the famous Hungarian flying sensation Zoltan Veres and The Red Arrows made an appearance to wow the audience, there was plenty to see and experience even as a spectator. Prizes worth 1 Million Dirhams were presented to the winners across the different divisions. The Divisions within the championship featured:

2. 673 RUS CF4 Seq National 3. 671 USA CF4 Seq National

Canopy Piloting (CP) where speed, distance and zone accuracy will be the key to scoring points Formation Skydiving 4-way (FS) and the accuracy landing (AL).

Formation Skydiving 4-Way Open 1. 419 FRA National 2. 417 BEL Hayabusa 3. 410 USA II

All events were open to all participating countries that are affiliated FAI members and invited Guest Teams that are not yet FAI members. Accuracy Landing Female Individual 1. Cao, Yan CHN 2. Lepezina, Olga RUS 3. Wei, Ning CHN Accuracy Landing Male Individual 1. Maximov, Dmitry 2. Tabor, Hynek 3. Vedmoch, Jindrich Canopy Piloting (Speed / Distance / Accuracy) 1. Barthomolew, Curtis USA 2. Batsch, Nicholas USA 3. Moledzki, Jason CAN Canopy Formation 4-Way Sequential 1. 672 FRA CF4 Seq National

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Canopy Formation 4-Way Rotations 1. 654 Russian Wolves CF Rot 2. 655 FRA CF Rot National 3. 652 KAZ CF Rot National 4. 653 USA CF Rot National 5. 651 EGY CF Rot National Canopy Formation 2-Way Sequential 1. 611 RUS CF2 National 2. 609 AUS CF2 National 3. 610 FRA CF2 National I Formation Skydiving — 4-Way Female 1. 452 GBR Team Blue 2. 453 FRA Female National 3. 451 RUS Female National Formation Skydiving — 4-Way Open Gulf Cup 1. 453 QAT Tigers I 2. 434 UAE Team Red I 3. 430 UAE Team Gold II

The standings saw a mix of all different countries within the winning 3, with Russia, France, USA, Qatar, China and Britain dominating the top 3 in most divisions. Well done to all the jumpers and the organisers at Sky Dive Dubai!

For more information about Sky Dive Dubai, and if you’re interested about getting involved in get online to: www.skydivedubai.ae

www.skydivedubai.ae


The North Face opens its 2nd flagship store in The Dubai Mall

The North Face is the world’s premier supplier of authentic, innovative and technically advanced outdoor apparel, equipment and footwear. The vibrant & striking backlit of The North Face logo at the store entrance grabs attention of the shoppers. This is followed by the distinctly integrated contemporary blend of raw, industrial design and natural wooden elements in-store, surrounded by earthy tones and a modern shop layout.

event reviews and reports

On the 4th of December, The North Face opened its 2nd flagship store in The Dubai Mall. With an appearance of Sun and Sand’s Chariman to cut the ribbon and give a profound speech to the store’s staff, eager to promote the sale, this humble opening was a taster of the ethos behind the down to earth store.

Tara.

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com

www.wildguanabana.

d l i W Guanabana Wild Guanabana are hosting a 5 day short escape to Rai Lay, “Between a Rock and a Nice Place”, starts at just $499 USD per person - get in touch now to book your spot! Thailand, despite the massive surge in tourism, still safeguards havens for an authentic off the beaten path experiences. A journey for the intrepid traveller can still be found- one only an hour from the popular beach town of Krabi- a haven for the more sophisticated of adventurers. Wild Guanabana offers five tips to ensure a Thai adventure in Rai Lay is an experience like no other, combining elements of adventure, exploration and relaxation set in a mystic world that engages the senses!

Adventure to the Adventure!

Rai Lay is a beach paradise. Its glory doesn’t just begin when you land on its white sandy beaches and sample its delightfully fresh seafood cuisine but can begin before that - in getting there! After flying in to the bustling city of Bangkok, fly into Krabi airport to begin a journey on the road less travelled. Travel by road for three quarters of an hour until you reach the shore and board a long tail motorized wooden boat that takes you all around the coast and over the tip of the beautiful peninsula. Make sure you are brought to the bay where a beach lies completely inaccessible by road and only connected to land by a series of intimidating impassable cliffs that tower over the crystal blue water adjacent to it. Your own private island!

Visit Climbing Utopia

Rai Lay’s charm is not just about its location but what you can do once you find it. The granite sheer cliffs that infest and circle the island from every side render it into a rock climber’s utopia. Deemed as one of the world’s top sports climbing destinations, the rock puzzles are smack on the beach, plenty abound and there’s something for all levels. Make sure you are in the hands of the world’s best instructors to help you get to grips with climbing or finesse your technique!

Don’t Miss Andaman Sea

This island is compact with entertainment; ensure you don’t miss the best of it. Voyage on a beautiful boat into the Andaman Sea

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where you can relax, snorkel and for those seeking more adrenaline, sail right up to those sheer cliffs so that you can touch them with your bare hands, start climbing and when you think you can go no further, kick off and dive into the waters below. What a feeling!

Take Advantage of the Diverse Nightlife

By night there’s never a dull moment. You can enjoy a quiet romantic dinner on one side of the island, dance the night away on the other, watch Muay Thai kick-boxers battle it out at the local Yaya bar rink or witness the locals twirl fire in the moonlight – the choice is yours. Just make sure you get involved as there is so much culture to be enjoyed and cherished.

Travel to the Enigmatic Lagoon

The absolute cherry on top, too good to be missed, is an enigmatic lagoon that eludes the regular traveler as it lies at the heart of the island buried within its mountainous core. Travel like Indiana Jones trekking your way through intricate cave systems, crawling up thick vines, mud and often-slippery rock to a destination like no other. The serenity and beauty of the lagoon is something out of a high budget movie set and will astound you in every way. Enjoy resting completely still on your back, floating over the warm turquoise waters looking up over the cliffs and through the fish-eye volcano-esque opening above you, enjoy the silence, and give yourself a proverbial tap on the back for dodging the herd and choosing to come here. Get in touch now to book your spot! www.wildguanabana.com


Gwa-nah-buh-nuh. Go ahead ‘n say it out loud – fun isn’t it? Just like us. Join us on the world’s most incredible journeys; from dancing Tango in Argentina, to rafting Costa Rican rivers, climbing to the roof of Africa or kicking back on Zanzibar’s paradise beaches – and that’s just the start of it. We believe travel should be nothing less than life changing so we do it differently… let us show you how!

Email us now at GetMeOnAPlane@WildGuanabana.com or Call us on 0567954954 WILDGUANABANA.COM

facebook.com/wildguanabana

@wildguanabana


travel & adventure

George and the

Argonauts by George Foulsham

Beach camp

It is the best adventure in Oman.

To kayak and camp your way around the majestic headlands and coves of Musandam. This stunning Peninsula is a peculiarity of modern geography: mountainous and inaccessible, except by sea. Its peoples’ tribal allegiances to Muscat stopped it becoming the 8th United Arab Emirate during unification of the Arabian Peninsula in the early 1970s. Isolation from the rest of Oman gives it the feel of a forgotten land.

My appetite for exploring this coast had been whetted a year earlier during a liveaboard scuba diving trip along a small section of the east coast of Musandam. The diving was phenomenal: beautiful blue and yellow Gorgonion soft corals; flamboyant fan worms; squid; lionfish; and schools of damselfish, triggerfish, seargeant majors and fusilades. But above all else was the incredible experience of seeing a whale shark cruise by. After regaining a measure of composure, I’d paddled hard to stay beside this amazing creature as it effortlessly glided along. For several minutes we swam respectfully together sharing the same Indian Ocean waters, before another appeared out the gloomy waters ahead. For a moment I floated between the two of them as they passed. It is an experience I will not soon forget. The whale sharks in Oman waters are almost all juvenile females in contrast to the Seychelles, Maldives and Ningaloo in Australia where mostly males are seen. Along with my good friends Dominic and Ian, I spent the winter training and plotting our voyage around the Musandam Peninsula. Timing was everything: around Christmas time, the winds tend to be strong and the water cold, but wait too long and summer brings temperatures and humidity that make the

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region unbearable. After several false starts we locked in a departure date in March. Paddling out of Khasab harbour on the western side of the Peninsula, we’d follow a clockwise route until we reached one of the only coves on the east coast with vehicle access. A straight line journey of 85km it would be much further on the water. And we’d have to be totally self sufficient for five days. We may not be the first to take on the trip, but we were the first we’d heard of to do it without the assistance of a support vessel. Logistics sorted, and a few car shuffles later, we finally had everything ready at the harbour. Knowing this was our last chance of fresh food for some time, we cooked a grand meal of steaks and vegetables over an open fire. All the while the local population of feral cats circled. It was well after dark before we finally settled on camp beds and endured a

Sunset paddle

restless night dreaming of what was to come. Busy harbour activity woke us early as fishermen prepared their nets, cargo was loaded and the sound of engines hummed over the scene. We attracted some strange looks as we prepared our kayaks, but one local boat owner, Sulaiman, was intrigued enough to wander over and say hello. He couldn’t fathom what we were doing but kindly helped carry our gear to the water’s edge and wished us well. Before pushing off he passed me his card asking me to call if I was ever in the area again. Begged, borrowed and bought, the kayaks we’d brought with us from Abu Dhabi were sturdy, water tight and stable on water: ideal for carrying loads.They weren’t however, made for speed. Stowed below or lashed on top we carried 60 litres of drinking water each, food, sleeping equipment, fishing gear, cameras and various other bits and pieces. In total, we each had close to 100kg of gear! Nevertheless our kayaks were comfortable and easy to manoeuvre, and we felt buoyant both in mind and matter as we paddled steadily out to sea. The first part of our route involved crossing the main bay, so we charted a course for a prominent crag of rock in the far distance. Each of us found our own paddling rhythm and we slowly separated as we made progress across the calm water. Reaching the coast first, I looked back at the others who were still some way out. As I watched, a flotilla of about 15 speed boats appeared on the horizon and sped towards them. Passing without pause, this was a group of Iranian smugglers notorious for operating off this coast. They ferry cigarettes, clothing and other items across the Hormuz Straight between Khasab and Iran, a distance of about 70km. Travelling in groups they split up near the Iran coast to increase the chances of


Rescued.

and shapes below the surface. We were finding that as we ventured further north, the water became clearer and the corals more diverse. The bountiful seas certainly compensated for the arid landscape above water. The Gulf holds about 35 hard coral species that are critical to reef building. They appeared well represented here, including some species that are in decline elsewhere in the Gulf. After lunch we continued on until The Gap loomed ominously ahead. This was to be the most critical crossing of our trip. It’s here that we would leave the Gulf and enter the open ocean. Approaching with caution, we’d not only noticed that the wind had started to pick up in our faces but the incoming tide was still strong. We quickly concluded we would have to wait till morning before attempting to go through. According to forecasts we had one more day of light winds before strong westerlies were due so we needed to make it count. In the absence of any obvious beaches we perched ourselves on a precarious ledge for the night pulling the kayaks up as high as we could manage. Ian slept in his while Dom

and I found precarious overhangs to rest our heads. We waited in earnest for first light. The next morning we awoke to find large grey clouds streaming over the mountains. Our camp was sheltered but as we paddled round the corner, the true conditions were revealed. The tide was racing out of The Gap but the winds were howling in; a conflict creating large standing waves and white water. Edging out we quickly found ourselves getting buffeted. It was clear that going out to sea would be a mistake, but we still needed to cross it to reach safe shelter. The further out into the channel we got, the more the winds swung our kayaks about violently. The waves compounded the torment. Keeping deep strokes I made slow progress. Ian was ahead and also struggling against the current. He was steadily being sucked towards the

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travel & adventure

getting through. Unlike the Oman authorities, the Iranian coastguard don’t turn such a blind eye to this behaviour. Paddling over deep clear water, we continued along the coast in the shadows of the high coastal cliffs. Yellowbar angelfish darted about playfully. After a time I noticed a grey shape gliding towards us with a very distinctive fin. Slowing down, we watched as a meter long black tipped reef shark swam at the surface. Later we saw several others of similar size. Finally as we found a ledge and tied up for lunch another, even larger reef shark passed by. We’d stopped at the southern end of Goat Island, 8km from our chosen camp site. Following a lunch of tinned vegetable soup we set off again, the arms a little sluggish after the morning paddle. Despite big tuna being seen breaching the surface at times, our efforts at trolling fishing lures from the back of our kayaks had little effect. We made good time and our evening campsite drew into view. But just as we hit the final stretch, two camouflaged boats sped towards us from the Island. They called us to a halt and the two officious, uniformed men from the Oman Navy requested our identification. In broken English they explained that there was a navy facility on the Island and we’d entered a portion of the channel that was off limits. They ordered us to go back and around the outside of the Island. The prospect of adding hours of extra paddling to get back to the beach that we had almost now reached was very unappealing. We argued with them and eventually got put through on radio to someone in the command centre. Dom determinedly stepped up to argue our case, but it didn’t seem to help at first. Then someone more senior came on the line and Dom again pleaded. Finally after much discussion and to our great relief they relented. We drifted across the shallow waters, vivid corals below, and nosed onto the soft, sandy beach. It was stunning. Cutting across a thin peninsula, the beach linked the western and northern coasts. There was a little shelter and water tank used by local fishermen. Goats grazed on rocky hills that lay on either side of the beach, and turtle nesting mounds could be seen in the sand. We lit a fire using drift wood and settled in for a peaceful evening. We slept that night in sleeping bags on our sleeping mats on the sand. The long, tiring day’s paddle meant we drifted off to sleep effortlessly. The next morning we woke to a glorious

sunrise. The warmth of the sun on our aching muscles slowly took effect and we rose for a new day on the water. As we launched the kayaks Ian noticed a strange creature lolling in the waves. It was a female argonaut with egg case attached. Related to octopuses but with an ornate outer shell, these amazing creatures live near the sea surface chasing crustaceans, molluscs and jellyfish. While females grow to ten centimeters, males are much rarer, only grow to two centimeters and have a much shorter lifespan. Ian gently coaxed her out to deeper water. We set off on Day Two, the longest and most treacherous of our trip. The Indian Ocean feeds into the Arabian Gulf through the Hormuz Straights. The volume of tidal water that moves in and out is immense and navigating through the islands involved playing a game of cat and mouse with the tides. There are two big straights, Mid Point and The Gap, that are particularly difficult. Hope to reach them on the slack tides; on an incoming tide watch out! Just like the first day, conditions were ideal and we made steady progress. The waters were thick with jellyfish and salps. The salp is a peculiar gelatinous creature that often forms long chains of individuals and whose numbers Surviving the crossing can bloom in phytoplankton rich waters. On one occasion we watched on as a mini feeding frenzy took place, with sardines herding little red shrimp up to the surface. A pod of humpback dolphins made a brief appearance, and the odd green and hawksbill turtle could be seen breaking the surface. After several hours we approached our first challenge: Mid Point. This 600-metre-wide channel lies between a large island and the mainland. Another large spire of rock towers up from the middle of the channel. We pushed into a gentle current, the start of the incoming tide! Eddies of water swirled about us. On we paddled, managing to be out the other side before the incoming waters took over. Another long open stretch of water lay ahead. We paddled for the rest of the morning and lunched on another tranquil beach. A cooling swim revealed an explosion of striking colour


were now in, the wind seemed to whip down. We pulled ourselves up into a rock cave to take shelter and huddled there for most of the day, our plans dashed. With the strong winds The Gap was like a wall of water repelling against us. We would have to head back to Khasab. Over the course of the day the winds dropped enough for us to head towards home. We used the strong winds out our tail to drive us along. We raced across the water, retracing the same ground we’d covered the day before in a fraction of the time. The wind powered us as far as Mid Point before dropping further and the strong current picked us up to shuttle us through. On the other side, we watched as the ripples across the water slowly and ominously altered

travel & adventure

Flying turtle

Whale shark

dangerous cliff edge. I couldn’t even see Dom he was so deep within the pounding waves. Seeing the difficulties Ian and Dom were having I changed direction so that I was paddling almost directly into the current. This was the only way to avoid being sucked out. Giving everything I slowly clawed my way out the back using some of the waves to assist. Even relaxing the pace for just a minute I could feel the power of the current drawing me back in. Ian narrowly avoided the treacherous water along the cliff edge and pulled himself out into safer water also totally spent. At this stage Dom was still deep in the midst of it all. We watched as he fought just to stay upright. Waves were breaking all around him and despite his best efforts he was struggling to push through the current. He was still way out in the middle of the channel. He later described how he was screaming at himself to keep going. We also willed him on. After desperate moments he finally emerged. Safely on the other side we regrouped to take stock of our predicament. It had been an unnerving experience. We clearly understood how close we had come to disaster. If one of us had capsized or been washed out to sea in those conditions there was little anyone could do to help. The bad weather had come early and it seemed unlikely that it would relent soon. We still had plenty of supplies but we were on the furthest and most isolated extent of the Peninsula. With the high seas no other boat was likely to be out. Even in the more sheltered bay that we

24

Paddling.

direction. The predicted westerly winds were suddenly here with full force. We were back into the strong winds once more. Pushing our bows on through the waves we eventually reached the beach we’d been on two days earlier and collapsed in a heap. That night the winds howled. We were forced to create small rock shelters to sleep behind. Later we heard the winds caused big sand storms in Abu Dhabi and Dubai. The next morning the winds were still unrelenting. Beyond Goat Island we could see white caps and even within the channel the water was churned up. Not wanting to antagonise the navy any further we decided to transport the kayaks further round the coast. This involved lugging them up a cliff face with ropes and then carrying them and all the gear across the peninsula which took all morning. We were now safely ensconced on another protected beach and it was clear that the wind was set in for some time. Even some of the navy vessels had come into the bay for protection. We, and our small kayaks, weren’t going anywhere. Our best hope was to try and find a boat to pick us up. We tried Dom’s phone and remarkably he had some coverage. Not knowing who else to call he rang Sulaiman, the fisherman we’d met on the first day. After a frustrating conversation involving Dom’s attempts to explain our predicament


not to have made it round the whole peninsula. Our small kayaks on a big ocean were very vulnerable to the winds and waves. At that time of year it is difficult to get continuous calm conditions. Just one extra day of good weather would have been enough to get through to some of the big bays on the east coast where we could have hugged the shoreline during the strong winds. However, the winds had come a day

earlier than forecast. We took solace from the fact that we had made it out to the furthest point of the Peninsula and seen the remote northern coast at its best. Plus it was simply a great adventure. The mountainous coastline is stunning and the marine life and wildlife are abundant. It is an amazing place to visit. George Foulsham.

travel & adventure

and location, it wasn’t clear if the message had got through. But ten minutes later we received a call back and Dom spoke to one of Sulaiman’s friends who spoke more fluent English. They were willing to help and seemed to know our rough location at least. Dom hung up hopeful but not confident. Half an hour later another call came through; they’d tried, but the seas were too rough. They would try again in the morning. That evening we built a large fire and played cards with bottle tops for money. A fox sniffed around the edge of our camp and the ubiquitous goats grazed along the foothills in the distance. None of us got much sleep. As the sun rose we watched and listened intently for possible signs of the rescue party. Time ticked by. Conditions out to sea still looked hazardous. The arranged pick up time came and went. No calls came through. As we were starting to lose faith the distinctive sounds of an outboard engine had us racing down to the water’s edge. Pointing and grinning at us, Sulaiman greeted us as the boat pulled up with the words “crazy, crazy”. We warmly welcomed him and his two companions. After strapping the kayaks and gear aboard we made the long and rocky trip back to port in excellent spirits. On reflection, we were all disappointed

From left to right Dominic, Sulaiman, Ian and George

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travel & adventure

Vinson

Massif by Atte Miettinen

Weather had delayed our

flight from Punta Arenas in southern Chile to Antarctica by several days, so when the time finally arrived to go, the entire expedition team was excited to board an Ilyushin cargo plane, leased from an airline in Kazakhstan.

In the plane’s cargo hold was a Motley Crue of researchers, mountain climbers and people looking to ski the last degree to the South Pole, to celebrate the centenary of Roald Amundsen reaching the South Pole on 14.12.1911. In addition, right behind our seats was a giant snow cat vehicle, which we hoped would stay still – otherwise it would turn us into snow-cat food. Our flight took off just before midnight and just 4.5 hours later we landed on the blue-ice runway at Union Glacier, some 1000km from the South Pole.

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Antarctica enjoys 24-hour sunlight during this part of the year, so it looked like middle of the day, despite us arriving at 0430 in the morning. The views all around us were stunning! We spent only a few hours at Union Glacier before a small Twin Otter plane flew us into Vinson Base Camp, located at 2140m altitude, from which we would start our climb towards the summit of Vinson Massif, the highest mountain on Antarctica. Due to the amount of gear and food we need for the expedition, we made two trips to each camp; first a “load carry” taking roughly half the gear on an up-and-back trip and then the next day, another trip with the remaining gear. This process of “climbing high and sleeping low” also helps our bodies to acclimatize i.e. getting used to the lower amount of oxygen in the air at higher altitudes. At 5000m altitude, the amount of oxygen is roughly half of the amount at sea-level, so for every breath of air you take at sealevel, at 5000m you need to do it twice, which makes even simple tasks a bit harder. The first load carry was straightforward; we used

backpacks and sleds to move the gear to Camp 1, located at 2900m. Vinson Massif is riddled with crevasses so whenever moving we followed glacier travel guidelines, which means everyone wears harnesses and roped up in threeperson teams. The idea is that if any of the climbers slip on a steep ridge or fall through a crevasse, the other two should be able to arrest the fall. Lady luck seemed to be on our side as the weather was great all day – on Antarctica that means sunshine and low winds, but very low temperatures, which often reach -35 degrees centigrade and even lower! The loads were not too bad either – I had spent endless hours climbing the stairs of my 55 floor apartment building in Dubai Marina with a 25kg backpack in preparation for this trip and I was finally feeling the payoff. The round trip, with only a short stop at Camp 1 to dig a hole in the snow and cache our gear and food, took 9.5 hours. Despite the relatively easy day, I got a reminder to stay switched on. Moving in the snow with a heavy load, your body heats up quickly, so you need to adjust your layers. However, you also need to add layers whenever stopping to trap the heat and avoid your body cooling down, which at subzero temperatures can happen very fast.


At Camp 2 it was very cold, therefore we quickly cached our gear and headed back down to Camp 1 – finishing the round trip in ten hours. Back at Camp 1, our guides Mike and Chris prepared a Thanksgiving dinner. Although I was not celebrating the holiday like my American teammates, I was thankful for the salami starters as well as the chicken dinner with mashed potatoes and vegetables – a gourmet delight! The following day was a rest-day. We spent it eating and chillaxing with most people plugged to their iPod’s – showing how technology is penetrating even the most extreme locations! The next day, we packed up our camp once again and headed up the now familiar ridge – again moving a bit faster than before as we were all well rested and better acclimatized. Our daily weather report brought positive news with the forecast suggesting that the great weather we had been enjoying would continue for another 48 hours. Great weather on Antarctica is not common, so we made a decision to take advantage of the weather window and push for the summit the very next day. Summit day was the first time when our three rope teams struggled to stay together as a few of the climbers began to experience problems. However, after adjusting the teams, we managed to keep a good pace and shortly after 1600, seven hours since we had started, my team reached the top. Just 30 minutes later all of our three teams were standing on the roof of Antarctica! Exhilarated but short of breath, we soaked up Antarctica’s stunning views for 30-45 mins in -30C before heading back down – remembering that the summit is just half way! Reaching the summit always gives you a boost of energy, so we had a spring in our step that took us to our camp in just three hours. Freezing, most of us headed straight to the warmth of the sleeping bags and were fast asleep by the time dinner was ready. Despite the long summit day, we got up early and began our almost 1700 vertical meter descent to Vinson Base Camp. My rope team led the way down and we managed to keep a very good pace, stopping just long enough to dig up our cache before continuing onwards and downwards. On arriving at Vinson Base Camp, we dug up the last cache, pitched our kitchen tent and cooked some food. The mood was terrific with excited chatter punctuated with laughter while waiting for a Twin Otter to come and take us back to Union Glacier, where our expedition had started about a week and a half ago. Eight hours later, the Twin Otter touched down and 45 minutes later we walked into

the heated mess tent at Union Glacier. We had hoped lady luck was still with us and we would have an immediate return flight to Punta Arenas, but apparently she was too busy with someone else and the weather intervened again. We were stuck at Union Glacier for two further nights before news arrived that the familiar Ilyushin was on its way to pick us up. Climbing into the Ilyushin after 11 days on Antarctica led to mixed feelings; I felt privileged to be in one of the last untouched wildernesses of the world but at the same time, heading back to civilization and luxuries like a real bed felt good. Once on board, I along with many others, fell straight to sleep only to wake up when the plane’s tyres hit the runway in Punta Arenas, Chile. From the tarmac it was straight to a hotel for a warm shower, first one in two weeks, a shave, as well as some room service before resting for a few hours ahead of a final, celebratory dinner, with the expedition team. Climbing Vinson Massif is a rare treat! The summit has been reached by only 1,000 mountaineers, compared to for example over 3,000 people that have summited Mount Everest. However, as the evening progressed, I found my thoughts starting to shift towards the next of my Seven Summits, the 6962 metre Cerro Aconcagua in Argentina, where I’d be heading in just a week’s time. Atte Miettinen.

27

travel & adventure

Wearing heavy gloves, I got my hands sweaty whilst pulling the sled, which meant when the gloves came off they got very cold as soon as we stopped - a dangerous reminder that doesn’t need to be repeated. Heading to bed shortly after midnight I saw the first sign of Antarctica’s attack on me: I had sunburn on my face and lips - thanks to the ever-present sun as well as the snow and ice reflecting the rays! The following day we packed rest of our gear, including the tents, and made the move to Camp 1. Despite the heavier loads, thanks to the acclimatization from the previous day’s climb, we moved faster and reached the camp in just over five hours – almost an hour faster than earlier. At the camp, it took us three hours to build a sheltering wall for our tents to protect them from strong winds and storms, which are common and unpredictable on Antarctica. To do this, we needed to literally saw blocks of ice and snow off the ground to create a Lego-block like wall. During the wall-building exercise we discovered that our tents were going to be pitched on top of smaller crevasses, as nervous as we were the silver lining in the cloud was that the air conditioning was sorted out! The next morning, we continued with a load carry to Camp 2, located at 3800m. The route followed a steep ridge that’s exposed to Antarctica’s unforgiving elements. Fortunately, we had fixed ropes, so we used ascenders to pull ourselves up the steep incline.


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Motorcycle Gear for Staying Safe: The clothing we choose to wear during riding is the only thing between our skin and the road and it is incredibly important. A study done in Munich in 1986 found that motorcyclists wearing protective gear (heavy jacket, gloves, boots etc.) could expect a reduction in injuries of 30% or more, The head, arms, and legs are the most often injured in a crash.

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Gloves Warm weather gloves are usually leather or Kevlar and good ones have carbon fiber knuckle protection. Watch the fit when buying gloves, if they are too bulky in the palm, you could lose the feel of the bike and the controls. Good gloves should also have long gauntlet cuffs that fit over your jacket sleeve to prevent wind from getting up your sleeve. Watch any seams between your hand and the grip or between fingers.

Pants Many riders wear jeans, but it’s worth it to invest in pants made specifically for motorcycle riders. Like a jacket, good pants will be made of leather, nylon, or Kevlar. For winter riding, pants cannot only offer protection, they can keep you warm. Insulated pants or chaps are a good choice and can be bought coated for rain resistance.

Boots A motorcyclist should have boots with a short heel, this allows the boot to fit on the motorcycle peg while still providing good ankle support. Boots should be at least 6” tall as that will offer some ankle protection. Boots can be as high as 17”, which are useful for use against cold wind. Leather is a great choice for a boot, as leather provides much greater protection than that stylish. The thicker the sole, the more the boot will absorb the vibration of the bike.

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31


e r u t n e v i Ch ck Ad s

seeks old sole d souls

for goo

our experts

Since the last issue of Dubai’s best outdoor mag, Adventure Chick has been quite the busy bee! Of particular note is my completing Racing the Planet Nepal … a 250km fully self-supported footrace in Annapurna which involved 30,000ft ascent, 29,000ft descent and around 10kg on my back. Unfortunately, 100 out of 220 competitors got pretty sick, most for just 24 hours but my stint stubbornly returned … and returned … and returned. As a result, I can’t say I particularly enjoyed it but I can say, that I found the inner strength to just get my head down and complete it. And … as luck would have it, I placed first in my age group and seventh women overall so returned home with a shiny plaque and a very enormous medal. Any hardship is worthwhile if rewarded with some bling at the end! Whatever your sport, your discipline or your distance, I guess illness and injury will at some point rear their ugly heads and you just need to accept the rough with the smooth and make a call on how to play it. I’ve also started writing my long-overdue book. Many a training run has been spent fantasising over seeing my name on a cover and now the time has come to string some winning words together. I’m excited and hope that Outdoor UAE readers, chicks in particular, will read and enjoy it when the time comes. No prizes for guessing that it’s all about running! And the third thing that has kept me occupied is launching a FANTASTIC charity initiative … old soles for good souls … which is what I want to write about in this issue instead of the usual adventure report. In a nutshell, the idea stemmed back in June following an afternoon volunteering on a construction site with Seeds for Change … a fab group who go about doing random acts of kindness throughout Dubai. I wrote a post on my site straight after called Sharing soles & nourishing souls. The idea is simple … with the very active sports community here in Dubai, there are no shortage of ‘old’ trainers sitting around yet remain in perfectly good condition so why not donate them to local labourers. Since my original post, I’ve been on the look out for a potential partner to support with collection, distribution and logistics and as luck would have it, I stumbled across another local charity called SmartLife. SmartLife organise an annual cricket tournament called SmartCup which will see 24 teams battle it

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o u t on a cricket pitch on the 17th February 2012. Teams comprise both white and blue-collar workers with the entire event designed to enhance the lifestyle of the UAE’s hard working labourers. So now, two have become one and whilst I’m pushing for old trainer donations, SmartLife will collect and distribute them at labour camps throughout Dubai for cricketers and others alike. This month then, please please please … find some shoes that are currently gathering dust on your balcony, give them a little spring clean and then put them in your car for drop off the next time you drive down Sheikh Zayed Road. Donations can be made at the Fortune Promoseven office, 4th floor, Emarat Atrium, SZR between 9am and 6pm, Sunday to Thursday. For enquiries re collections, please contact Arun on 050 457 6873. All sizes are welcome but please ensure all trainers are clean and in a reasonable condition. (They come out a treat if washed on a low temperature in the machine – just remove the laces first). I definitely feel in need of a little break now and so, already pining for my second home these days, I shall return to Nepal end December to run in the Annapurna 100 race (although I plan to opt for the short and sweet 50km), organised by my dear friend Roger Henke of www.trailrunningnepal.org. Surely, there can be few better ways to start a new year than in crisp air, surrounded by majestic mountains, treading on magical trails and sharing tales with amazing people. Needless to say, I shall save my New Year tipple until post-race. Rehydration, after all, plays an essential role in high-altitude trail running. Wishing you all a fun, laughter and adventure-filled 2012 brimming with goals set and as many fulfilled.

Love Tori x

writer, runner, blogger & adidas athlete PS. My email address is tori@fitchicksandfastwomen.com for thoughts, ideas, and suggestions … or just to say hello!


Peter Cozad - A Driftless Angler in Cebu

A Warm Welcome Postcard From Cebu

This trip home was packed with adventure from the start. I’m not even halfway through, and I have already had a few (mis) adventures. A very special guest with us this trip is someone from the Driftless Valley in Viroqua, Wisconsin. A very good friend and fellow fly angler, Peter Cozad. Peter used to travel the world as both an angler and photographer. Eventually, he gave up being behind the lens professionally and stuck with the flyrod. He is certainly one of Winsconsin’s respected fly anglers, respected enough to be in a GLoomis Commercial (do a you tube search: G-Loomis Flyrod Creed video). Pete traveled to the Philippines about a month before I came. He and I coordinated our timings, and at one point, we were even supposed to meet in Hong Kong and fly down to Cebu at the same time. My schedule was pushed forward so that didn’t really work out. Before I knew it, Pete was there with Emil and off we went. We really didn’t have specific plans on what to fish for, so we went to a friend’s house for breakfast and asked if he could grant us access to a restricted area. The request was granted and the pictures below speak for themselves. I won’t spend a lot of time explaining things but I can tell you this (the heading does say “A Postcard” after all). Peter’s milkfish were taken with a 9 weight, my snappers with a 5 weight and my milkfish with a 3 weight.

A very nice fly caught Mangrove Snapper. 5 weights for these guys require concentration.

our experts

I don’t expect a brass band meeting me at the airport, what I expect is my best friend Emil, smiling and saying his usual “...It’s about damn time you got your behind out of there...”

Got the permission to fish a restricted area and had a blast.

Mangrove Snappers are great fighters, often fighting dirty close to structure a real challenge on a flyrod.

Milkfish on a 3 weight flyrod is not for the clinically sane.

Hangtod sa sunod nga paglihok sa tubig, (Till Next Tide change,) Kit.

Was surprised they took my wormfly.

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Rocky Emirate

travel & adventure

A sneak preview into mountains, canyons and sea adventures in Ras Al Khaimah Ras Al Khaimah (RAK) is definitely not the most well-known Emirate if you ask people outside the UAE – Abu Dhabi and Dubai will most likely be recognized. RAK is definitely not comparable with the metropolis of Abu Dhabi or Dubai but for Outdoor seekers, it is one of the top spots of the UAE. The mangroves along the coastline of RAK offer world-class sea kayaking with a lot of wild life, together with perfect calm conditions for some enjoyable hours on the water. Of course marinas and berthing for sport and fishing boats can be found here as well. While approaching RAK you will see the impressive Hajar Mountains from a distance, if visibility is good. The mountains offer incredible opportunities for hiking, climbing, mountain biking and other mountain adventures. Some of the most famous routes and spots are located in RAK like Stair Way to Heaven, Wadi Bhi‌ Just before the end of the year we went for a short hike or better to say it, a sneak preview of the unknown and numerous opportunities in the area with David our guide and military instructor at Al Shaheen Adventure. Al Shaheen is doing military training for the UAE Armed Forces in the mountains and therefore knows the mountains like the back of their hands. Unfortunately we had

#1

Ras Al Khaimah

only a few hours which was not enough for a proper hike but David showed us a couple of possible hikes, climbing spots and abseil points they use. In total he said they have more than 17 routes mapped in the mountains. In 2011, there was no time to follow David on any of these routes but 2012 has just started and we have twelve months to discover these routes and provide you with detailed information and coordinates. To be continued. Daniel.

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Mountain Biking in the UAE by Andy Whittaker

The most common places to get on a bike and ride are in the small foothills of the mountain chain from places such as Fili, Shawka (more on this place later) Siji, Masafi and Wadi Sana’a, and of course not excluding a few small areas close to Ras al Khaimah. There is an ever growing number of people mountain biking since my arrival in 1997, where initially there was probably no more than 10 fully active riders coming from the Dubai area that I was aware of. My rides first started with a guy called Barry who set-up a club called “Biking Frontiers” with whom a small group rode for 3-4 years before he left for other shores. Upon this point I, by default assumed the job of planning and organizing rides and re-named the club HOT-COG-MTB and this just stands to date www.hot-cog.com Over the last 2-3 years our club has been concentrating our efforts to developing a good network of interesting trails in Shawka which is pretty much the closest mountainous area to Dubai there is, that offers good riding. As a club a small number of us have been out actually clearing and making small single track paths with shovels and rakes to ride on through the low foothills to enable us to have some fast flowing but also techni-

our experts

Often the first reaction I have when I tell people I’m going mountain biking at the weekend is.. “what you ride in the sand???” to which the answer is obviously no… we ride in the wadis.. something most people tend to overlook is the fact that a great deal of the UAE is in fact not desert but the Hajar mountain range, part of the huge chain of mountains that come all the way up the coast from the middle of Oman and culminate in the Musandam Peninsular in the Northernmost part of Oman. cal riding within easy reach at the weekends. We now have probably close to 50km worth of trails in one small area, which allows for numerous varied rides. The trails are aimed at the somewhat experienced riders, but there are still some 4wd track sections and a few single-track sections that would be enjoyable for beginners to intermediate riders. As the trails have become better marked and ridden its become much easier to get out there and find routes to ride, although its always advisable to ride with people who know the routes the first few times. We are hoping that as we develop more and more routes interest in the sport will grow and hope to have more and more volunteers come out and lend a helping hand and get their hands dirty to benefit everyone. As we all know it can get pretty hot in the UAE and most people assume that we don’t ride in summer, but you can still ride in the summer months but the rides then switch to night rides. For this you obviously need high end LED bike and helmet lights to see where you are going, but this opens up some really fun and interesting twists on daytime riding. At night in the summer months the temperatures are a little lower after sunset and we take advantage of this by starting club rides around dusk and into the night. Whats more in summer the humidity levels out in the mountains are much lower than on the coast so somewhat more bearable. For riding in the UAE as with anywhere, its essential to have the right gear for the sport, but most importantly in the UAE is carrying enough liquids to stay hydrated, its advisable to ride with a minimum of a 3litre hydration pack such as the Camelbak MULE. In addition you should always carry a set of basic bike tools, a spare inner-tube, pump and some energy bars/gels.

Other things to consider are bike tyres, the one part of the bike to help you stay in control of the bike, wide knobbly tires are best suited to local riding from 2.35” up to 2.5” are best, its also advisable to convert from the standard tyre and inner-tube set-up to the more recently available tubeless setup using a latex based liquid that instantly plugs any small punctures created by the many thorny twigs that litter the local trails.. If you are interested in trying mountain biking there are a few groups around who can be contacted via their Facebook pages, look out for the following groups, Dubai mountain bikers (probably the best starting point for anyone wanting to give it a go), Mountain biking UAE, UAE mountain biking, Barchans, Roost Tah, all these groups are happy to have new riders join on their organized rides… so get out there and have fun in the sun… (or night in summer) Andy Whittaker.

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December Musandam

Exploration

The OutdoorUAE Dhow Cruise from Dibba to Sheesa Beach = fun and action

It was the second of December when the Rugby Sevens, plus a number of other events including the UAE National Day were taking place and keeping us busy. Despite all these events, OutdoorUAE planned a 2 day Musandam excursion together with Sheesa Beach and the support of Adventure HQ and Global Climbing. It was not a surprise that we sold all the tickets! (And apologies to those who didn’t get one). The feedback on Facebook also indicated that without the other events happening during this weekend we would have disappointed a lot more people! But next time we’ll try to avoid any clashes. We departed on Friday from Dibba, Oman, a bit later than planned at 11am to explore the Musandam area. The journey finally eliminated the misunderstanding in our office that the company name ‘Sheesa’ has nothing to do with a sheesha (or Huka) – the company is named after the fishing village Sheesa which was our final destination. The trip included full board for the two days, with kayaking, snorkelling, hand-line-fishing, a beach BBQ with bonfire and a hike to an abandoned village. The ticket priced at 499AED included a 100AED shopping voucher for Adventure HQ and Buff headwear worth 80AED from Global Climbing – a great deal thanks to the support of Sheesa Beach, Adventure HQ and Global Climbing. The philosophy for events when organized by OutdoorUAE is to offer you an experience at an exceptional price or even for free – our events are to get people involved and outdoors and not to make profits. It is great, that our partners understand that and

36

are willing to support this initiative. After some hours of relaxed cruising along the impressive, rocky coast of the Musandam, we made a short stop for a swim and lunch. We limited the number of tickets to 25 only, plus 7 crew and our team – so we had enough space on the sundeck for everyone. We arrived at our final destination at 4pm and the group split up; some went kayaking, others for a little hike to explore the coast and our hidden beach, and some went with our Omani Captain Suleiman for hand-line fishing. Part of the group also enjoyed the snacks and sheesha so much so that much that they stayed on the dhow. The group gathered later on at the beach for the bon-fire and BBQ, which was in the ruins of an old house. The close by graveyard brought us and especially Neil (aka the moray whisperer) in the right mood for some tales. Of course Neil told us the scariest diving experience he had, which left some of the group with concerns about the scuba dive the next day, (scuba diving was an optional activity). The evening continued until late on the beach and later on the dhow. As a surprise, Neil from Sheesa Beach upgraded the dhow to their biggest one with additional cabins. But the offer of sleeping in cabins under the deck instead under a ceiling of stars attracted only a few, and most of us spent the night camping on board. Being so far away from any city and modern settlement you can’t imagine how many stars and shooting stars you can see. The next morning was just as great as sleeping under the stars. Waking up with the sun is always the best start to a day for me. The part of the group with the requirement of more sleep just put the sleeping bag over their heads and continued to sleep until breakfast. In the same active way we finished the previous day, we started the new one with all the great, relaxing water activities

and morning swims. Almost the whole group was up for the hike to an abandoned village along with our guide, Suleiman. After showing his skills in manoeuvring the dhow and hand-line fishing, he impressed us with his hiking skills. Surprising the group (and myself), Suleiman didn’t wear any shoes for

the hike… if you have ever been hiking in the UAE you know how sharp the rocks are. Suleiman’s comment was, ”No Problem!” The short hike up a wadi led us to the village after 2km, which was in good condition and luckily so remote that there was no garbage. Suleiman told us of the traditional life in the village and the different facilities like water storage and farming. After the hike most of us were happy to go for a refreshing swim or snorkel and the scuba divers went for their dives. The highlight of the day was of course provided by Suleiman, who left with a wire and some goggles and came back with a bunch of huge muscles. When he opened the muscles the whole group gathered around him… and yes there it was, a huge pearl. Until today, the opinions are split in the group - was the peal real or was it a magic trick of Suleiman’s? Of course the pearl was not given to any of the ladies on board but as the gentleman he is, Suleiman cleaned all the shells, and those shiny little bowls were given to all the ladies before they left the boat. To the disappointment of everyone, the time passed too quickly and it was already


afternoon when we had to start the 4hr cruise back to Dibba. The trip was a great success and even greater fun, not only for our guests also for us. A big ‘Thank You’ goes out to the great group of different genders, nationalities and generations to make this weekend such a nice memory. If this has got you interested, we are planning a similar trip in March/April 2012. If you don’t want to wait this long, you can contact Sheesa Beach for their cruise timetable.

The next OutdoorUAE event will be at the end of February 2012: all we can disclose now is that it will be near the beach, fun and very close to Dubai. Follow us on Facebook, our website www. outdooruae.com or sign up to our mailing list to stay informed. Daniel.

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ur DUBAI Spinneys and Carrefo okina, etc. Selected Choithrams, anmal, Borders, Kon res: Books Plus, Jash In all good book Sto ts Selected Supermarke d p - Sheikh Zayed Roa Barracuda Fishing Sho es Square Centre ikh Zayed Road, Tim Adventure HQ - She Road KTM - Sheikh Zayed ikh Zayed Road Wolfi’s Bike Shop - She - Sheikh Zayed Road Dubai Garden Centre Zayed Road, Ocean Active - Sheikh Mall Go Sport - Ibn Battuta ikh Zayed Road Masaood Marine - She ikh Zayed Road Raymond Sports - She Circle 8 - Dubai Mall ll K2 Shop - Dubai Ma Emirates Go Sport - Mall of the Centre Go Sport - Mirdiff City Mall Sports Direct - Outlet Walk Hut - Jumeirah Beach Leisure Marine Beach d Roa ch Picnico - Jumeirah Bea Sebsports - Al Quoz Zayed Rd Cannondale - Sheik Barsha Surf Shop Dubai - Al ABU DHABI Choithrams ts okina, etc. Selected Supermarke anmal, Borders, Kon res: Books Plus, Jash In all good book Sto ll a Ma Sports Direct - Khaladi Marina Al Bateen   RJAH FUJEIRAH, RAK & SHA Choithrams ts Selected Supermarke

In all good book Stores: Books Plus, Jashanmal, Borders, Konokina, etc. Sharjah Paintball & Shooting Club Sharjah UMM AL QUAIN Choithrams Selected Supermarkets In all good book Stores: Books Plus, Jashanmal, Borders, Konokina, etc. Umm Al Quwain Marine Sports Club Complimentary Atlantis Dive Centre Pavilion Dive Centre Al Boom Diving Surf Dubai Dubai Polo & Equestrian Club Wafi, The Pyramids Dubai Dolphinarium Dubai Autodrome Dubai British School Sharjah Paintball & Shooting Centre Events where OutdoorUAE is participating Hotels (Complimentary) Sofitel Hotel (in hotel rooms) Al Maha Resort (in hotel rooms) Abu Dhabi Aloft Hotel The Palace - Old town (Spa) Petrol Stations Enoc + Eppco Dubai and Abu Dhabi Airports

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The stairway to heaven: how NOT to do it. travel & adventure

by Mike Nott

When I arrive in a country and

know I’ll be there for a protracted period, I set about exploring it and try to get to know it as much as possible and as soon as possible. I had arrived in Abu Dhabi in August 2002 but was frustratingly unable to give the Stairway to Heaven my attention until 2003. Anyway, I finally had a weekend in June free and, despite having had some recent dizzy spells in my flat, decided that this would be the Stairway weekend. I knew approximately where it was and, equipped with a photocopy of the route description from the 2002 edition of the UAE Off-Road Explorer, I set off for Wadi Galilah on a Thursday morning in my leased Toyota Camry.

Having read that this was a long’ish day excursion I had left Abu Dhabi pretty early to get there. I’d finally retrieved my 10 year old trekking boots from some packing boxes and had dusted them off. I’d packed two 1.5 litre bottles of water wrapped in a towel, some crunchy bars and an orange in my rucksack and had taken a cool-box containing some other goodies for after the walk. I reached the parking spot in Wadi Galilah at about 10.30am, got my stuff packed and I left the car at about 11am. From this point, the tale of my ascent and descent of the Stairway consists of indicators that meant I should have turned back but I, perhaps foolishly, ignored them all and pressed on. The scenery was truly spectacular but I noticed how difficult I found what should have been easy walking. I was puffing like a 30 year smoker and of course, this being June, the heat was oppressive and the initial route finding was a little problematic. Then it started. I noticed my right boot’s sole was coming away at the toe and catching on the ground. I stopped and realised that it must be the heat; the rocks were damned hot and it was apparently breaking down the glue holding the sole onto my old boots. So, I cut off a part of my lace and tied it round the front of my boot to keep the sole on. The lace held initially but then kept

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On the way up. Note the ties around my boots.

slipping off, so I was constantly adjusting it and retying it. Undaunted, I pressed on. The going was becoming more difficult, but I was urged on by the scenery; what seemed like 1,000 ft. cliffs everywhere. Just as it seemed to be going well the left boot’s sole started to come loose and flap about too. So, I cut off a part of my rucksack’s straps and tied the left boot up like the right one and pressed on. I reached the end of the main wadi and turned left up towards the cliffs where the ‘Stairway to Heaven’ was to be found. It was steep and I was now suffering like a 50 year smoker; what was wrong with me? I kept having to take rests and this was consequently slowing down my progress. The ties holding the fronts of my soles on, kept coming off and on several occasions I hadn’t noticed until I was 20 paces ahead. So, I had to keep backtracking down this hideous slope to find the ties, re-tie them onto my boots and go back up. By the time I got to the base of the cliff to start the ‘Stairway’ I was about an hour behind schedule. The Stairway itself was everything I’d hoped it would be. It was truly spectacular and route finding was, thankfully, easy. On reaching the top I was met with a totally unexpected sight: a large plateau with stone houses and shepherds tending their goats - a complete contrast to the vertical cliffs

that had gone before. I sat down, broke out the second of my crunchy bars and treated myself to the complete orange – wonderful. The time, I noticed, was getting on and it was now about 3.30pm, which meant I had about 3.5 hours before it got dark. Obviously the descent would be quicker than the climb up – how wrong I was! I wandered off to the left to find what the guidebook described as the start of a shallow wadi to descend to the base of the cliffs. I saw a cairn and thought that it looked to be as good a place as any – it looked a bit steep though. I started down and my initial reaction was that it seemed to be surprisingly difficult. I kept arriving at steep cliffs and having to find a way down, back climbing with several hundred feet below me. What, with my soles flapping and the time ticking away I was anxious to get down quickly but it was getting increasingly difficult. Several times I looked back up and thought to myself, “just go back up you idiot and find the proper way down”, because this could not be it. But, stupidly, I pressed on. When things get hairy and I get scared I start talking to dead friends and relatives, asking them to help me out of whatever scrape I have got myself into. So I kept asking them all to please help me get down and to get off the mountain alive. When my phone came in range I started sending my


wife (in the UK) texts, to which she replied, and this kept me going. I considered calling a friend in Dubai to give him my co-ordinates in case I fell off and he needed to know where to search for my body. Some of the back climbing was really dodgy and at several points I thought, “This is it, you’ve had a wonderful life but this is where it ends”. Then, to cap it all, as I was hanging off this one cliff, the whole sole of my left boot fell off on to a ledge some distance below. Could it get any worse? How many more signs did I need to tell me that me that I had finally gone too far? I had to reach the ledge but the left boot now had absolutely no grip; I may as well have been wearing ice skates! This was becoming a complete nightmare. Also, my water was getting low and I had to start cutting back, which added to the misery. Time was pressing on and I now started to think that I wouldn’t make it off the cliffs before it was dark. Finally, I did manage to get to the base of the cliffs, much relieved, having had to seek out a viable decent route, come to many dead ends and then having to back-track and done some rather serious back-climbing. I was now dehydrated, exhausted and getting a little delirious. I wanted to reach the bottom

...my mouth had been dry for hours and all I could think of was the cold-box with yoghurts... of the wadi before dark, if I could. My legs were cut and bleeding and, to add insult to injury, as I started scrambling down from the base of the cliffs I slipped and, because I was so tired and couldn’t stop myself, I ended up sitting on the most hideous of thorn bushes. My bum, as I discovered later, looked like a pin cushion. At about 7.30pm, and in total darkness, I reached the wadi bottom having slipped and staggered my way down, soles falling off and losing focus. There was no way I could continue, I was completely shattered and so found a nice patch of gravel, laid out my beach towel and tried to sleep. I had about half a litre of water left, this had to last me through the night but I expected to sleep soundly. It was not to be. I couldn’t sleep but at least the mosquitoes seemed to have been compassionate and did not do too much damage to me. Every hour I had a sip of water and lasted the night out tossing and turning in my bed of gravel. At 5am I got up, packed and started to move back down the wadi. I had about 90 minutes to go to the car. I found it hard going, despite the rest. Having had no food and little water were also taking their toll. The boots were

The plateau above the Stairway, before they built the road.

a complete pain but I didn’t care anymore and just let the soles flap about. Eventually I saw the car, drank the last of my water and walked on. The car was a real focus, my mouth had been dry for hours and all I could think of was the cold-box with yoghurts, pink grapefruits and icy water. What a relief it was. I sat down by the car’s boot and drank a litre and a half and eat the grapefruit. Strangely, I couldn’t face the yoghurt. Even though it had been a bit of a nightmare, I was very pleased I’d done it and was still able to cope with these sorts of situations alone. Every now and then we need to be reminded, in the starkest terms, that we are mortal and it’s fascinating to see how you react in such circumstances. I’ve been back to the ‘Stairway’ several times and thoroughly enjoy this spectacular route but have not been back alone. You may think that all of this is self-congratulatory (and, in a way, it is) but, of course, all this pales into insignificance when you consider that those living on that plateau do the Stairway, up and down, in flip-flops, in the rain, often carrying a heavy load and at night! Mike Nott.

The Stairway headwall

The Stairway.

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3rd Al Ain

Fun Ride travel & adventure

by John Basson

I was already up by 4am doing the final preparation and boiling water for all the coffee flasks that I had to take with me. With the trailer already loaded, hooked and ready the night before, I was off to prepare for the 3rd Al Ain Fun Ride!! On arrival in the desert, shortly after 6am, Louis, Pierre and Jakes were already waiting! We quickly “set camp” while tip toeing along like ballerinas in the cold sand. (Traditional South African foot wear in the desert = Barefoot, and we were not prepared for the cold sand!) By 7h30 the riders started arriving and soon the roar of the 1st engine was heard as the riders were off loading and doing final adjustments, fixing GPS’s and warming their engines. As with the previous fun rides, the high levels of energy and excitement was again evident in the atmosphere. From the rookie to the serious kamikaze level riders, all were there, in good spirit, and enjoying an early morning cup of coffee while registering their teams, discussing tactics and looking at the latest gadgets of the other riders! This event consists of two sections; a short initial 30km route with 5 way points, ending back at the start to refuel, and then onto the 50km section, with seven way points. At each of these points we placed numbered cards. The purpose of the event is to collect all the cards AND finish as a team! (With no prize money the idea is to have fun rather than trying to beat the other teams. At least that was the “idea”…) After the customary safety briefing the teams were arranged from fast to slow, in order to prevent a bottle neck at the way points, and by 8h45 the fun started. This year the “UAE Offroaders” from the

40

Al Ain Club were kind enough to join us and supply us with backup vehicles to assist in the event of an emergency or accident. I was not sure how this would work, or if at all they would be effective, but we had no alternative. Less than 15mins into the event the 1st “may-day” call was received. One of the bikes engine seized before they even got to the 1st waypoint. I informed Felicia, the co-ordinating person between all the vehicles, whom then contacted the teams via radio. Less than 30min later both rider and bike arrived in the back of Ayoob’s land cruiser! The short section was relatively easy and flat, especially the last 10km stretch back to the refuelling stop was a very fast run! The French were the first team back and had gained nearly 5mins on the second placed


Safety has never been this cool

team. The excitement at the refuelling areas was incredible as multiple teams arrived they had to refuel for themselves. (I only had six jerry cans!) With no time wasted the leading two teams were off with bucket loads of sand roasting behind their quads and bikes to either keep or steel the lead. Sadly the French team suffered a broken quad as Patrick took a tumble and the front tyre came off its rim. This completely “disqualified” them from any podium position. (Not that a fun ride has a podium but you know what I mean…) This was the gap that Tiennie needed for his mixed team of South Africans and Emiratis to take the lead and finish with a winning time of 2hr-34min-38sec. At least that was what they thought, only to discover that they had missed waypoint Nr5 on the short section and thus also “disqualified”. (Sorry Tiennie, but rules are rules…) Louis, Jason and Paul, with a conservative time of 3hr-10min-43sec, was the first team to return with all the cards and officially declared as the winning team! All in all, the event was a huge success with a growing demand for the event to be held at more regular intervals. It has shown an almost 50% growth in only 3 events and with over 50 entries for this event I am confident that the next one will see even more riders. As there are no similar events that cater for us “amateurs”, we will attempt to have one more before summer. I will ensure that we place an ad in UAE outdoor regarding the event. The UAE Offroaders recovered three more bikes and a lightly injured rider during the event. Again a special thanks to these guys, and girls, who were wonderful and secured themselves a job on the next fun ride !! Go for Gold and Ride Safe,

John.

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travel & adventure

Flying Trike Having been a frequent visitor to Jazirah Aviation Club over the past few months to fly the Aeroprakt A22L, one cannot help but notice this triangular piece of cloth attached to what looks like a tricycle with a large engine at the back that is frequently flying around, the Delta Trike. Recently I decided to ask Gary, the pilot, if he would take me up for some experience in this strangest of flying machines. This is probably as close as one can get to a flying motorcycle. Unlike the Autogyro that Daniel flew in last month, the passenger, sitting at the rear, is astride rather than in the cockpit. Once the passenger is aboard then the pilot climbs in after the external pre-flight checks, and goes through the internal preflight checks, before taxiing to the holding area at the end of the runway. The Delta Trike is probably the basic of all microlight aircraft, basically a motorized hang glider, and the controls differ a lot from a fixed wing aircraft or Autogyro, as the main form of control is weight shift rather than moving a control stick or column. Once airborne the cockpit is hanging from the wing during the flight, with the pilot constantly moving to manipulate the aircraft, something I think more suited to the younger Gary than myself, and I would think that it could be very tiring on a long flight. The throttle is controlled by a foot peddle similar to a car, and the trike is powered by an 80 HP Rotax four cylinder engine similar to the 100 HP Rotax engines used in the Aeroprakts and Autogyros that are based at JAC, something that makes maintenance easier for the mechanics that work there. Other controls for climbing and descending are opposite to what is done on a fixed wing aircraft. Pushing the bar forward causes the center of gravity to move back. As a result the nose of the aircraft pitches up, and conversely pulling the bar back makes the aircraft pitch down. Once we reached 1,000 feet, Gary was keen to demonstrate a stall and a spiral descent to 500 feet, then after climbed back to 1,000 feet over the sea. We then headed inland over the desert. A few camels appeared to look around not knowing where the sudden noise was coming from as we flew overhead. All too soon it was over as Gary joined the circuit and landed safely back on the tarmac, a truly exhilarating experience, with Gary giving a running commentary during the whole flight, with occasional radio messages to the control at JAC informing them of our position. Gordon.

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by Gordon Smith

more info If you wish to try something different, flights can be booked at JAC, contact Jen at 07 244 6416 or through Dreamdays 800 2080.

pilot details Name: Gergely “Gary� Forintos Nationality: Hungarian Flight Experience: 4 years on trikes but longer on Paramotor and sailplanes. Trike Info: Speed: 70-100 KPH HP: 80HP


43


travel & adventure

My experience on a Fitness Adventure Holiday in Sri Lanka Name: Shelley Miller Occupation: HR Manager Age: 40 If someone said to me at the age of 40 you would be taking yourself off on a Fitness Adventure holiday I would never have believed it, but since living in Dubai for 1 year and gaining the well-known Dubai Stone, I thought what do I have to lose. My personal trainer asked me to go along with her on one of her organized Fitness Holidays just to see if we could spark an interest in anything that would inspire me to get involved in a new sport or adventure as well, (let’s just say a guinea pig), to enable me to share my honest opinion to others who like me probably would never think that they were:

1. Fit enough to take part in a Fitness adventure holiday 2. Surely too old to do this 3. To late to overcome my fear of heights and water. I took myself right out of my comfort zone with challenges, dealing with heights & endless water tasks where I could not see the bottom of the pools and could not see what was in the water. But I did it and Morning cycling in the beautiful forest

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I can honestly share with you all that I had one of the best holidays I’ve had in a long time; every day running and walking in the mountains, cycling, kayaking, cannoning and abseiling. I laughed everyday with the people who coached me and supported me when I was at my most nervous stages, they made every task I did so much easier by constantly giving me the energy & strength to accomplish them. And not only did I make friends, I also found myself feeling fitter having more energy than I had had for a long time & becoming a coach to others as we were all a team. I didn’t want the experience to end; I was for the first time doing tasks that I never thought possible and really enjoying it all. Sri Lanka is one of the most beautiful places that I have ever been, to wake up

Canyoning down some amazing waterfalls


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every morning to a backdrop of the greenest tree’s and the sound of flowing water from the river all of this being right on your doorstep every morning, it took my breath away. I felt relaxed and yet I had to keep reminding myself that I was on an adventure holiday. Would I do it again, the answer would be yes because next time there would be different challenges to face. On my return to Dubai I really felt good and pleased with myself about what I had achieved but not only that realizing that there is more to fitness than being in a gym. It gave me new inspiration to carry on with my quest to have more fun whilst trying to stay fitter and healthier… My next fear is wondering what my trainer has in store for me next!!

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s y a w h t a to P

Activity by Ian Ganderton

that also provide the genesis for the single track as they wander the lines of least resistance kicking aside the stones so creating weaving paths. The trick for the UAE mountain biker is to find these areas, explore them over time and commit to memory their various options.

Why?

our experts

Why is an easy question to answer when it comes to mountain biking. Everyone who can ride a bike must have, at some point in their life, found themselves freewheeling down a hill and experienced an over riding urge to stick their legs out to the side and shout “wheeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!!!” For me it’s all about this feeling of freedom, speed and efficiency. For many it’s about the opposite, its about the uphills and they seem to love long gravity battling lung busting uphills, technical sections that take away all their speed and brutally eat leg strength that is needed to get to the top without dabbing. Now in my world these people are just plain weird, hills are a necessary evil, a means to an end, I need to go up to go down. I guess these folks don’t use mattresses, wear horse hair shirts and put thorny branches in their underwear. Some of them definitely wax their legs!!!!!

Where?

In this series of articles I’m looking at possible pathways to activity. Often folks like the idea of kayaking, mountain biking or climbing here in the region but don’t know where to start or what’s available. I want to try and help a bit by pointing out a couple of places to start on a path whether you’re a complete beginner or someone who’s played the game before but is new to the region. In this issue I’ll take a look at mountain biking, the scene here in the region and how to give it a go or get involved.

At a glance.

There is plenty of great mountain biking around and about but you do need to look for it. There are no maps or guides available to the best of my knowledge. To contact other UAE based mountain bikers check out www.hot-cog.com or there are the “Dubai Mountain Bikers - U.A.E (Dubikers)”, “UAE Mountainbiking” and “Mountainbiking UAE” Facebook groups. There is little in the way of commercial courses/experiences available at the moment. Get yourself out to Shawka and explore its excellent single track. Learn to navigate and explore using a GPS / Google Earth / your nose.

46

Shawka is the UAE’s prime area for single track and technical riding. Over the past couple of years it has received constant attention, exploration and trail development from the

So mountain biking…

As discussed in my climbing article in the November issue the Hajar Mountains rise from the desert sands well south of Muscat and run in a 700km limestone arc north to where they plunge into the sea in spectacular fashion at the Musendam. It’s not however the high mountains that produce the best of the mountain biking. The terrain is either way too steep or the roads that run in the bottom of the wadi’s are just a bit dull. The desert sand is obviously not what mountain bikers are looking for so where is there for the knobbly tired gang to go The mountain biker’s nirvana is fast flowing single track with occasional rocky steps and lung busting grinding climbs with a reasonable firm base so that the knobbly tyres have something to roll on and grip. It’s the terrain that lies between the desert sand and the high mountains that provide terrain that the mountain biker is looking for. Rolling hills with speckled with goat and camel farms and its these goats and camels


Hot Cog gang, the Dubaikers and the UAE Mountain biking UAE facebook groups. It’s the closest area to Dubai (about an hour out on the Sharjah > Kalba road just as it hits the foot hills of the Hajar Mountains) and the riding is excellent as some of the photos with this article show. The Explore UAE Offroad Guide has some routes that can be adapted into suitable there and back trips. These can be a good way to start exploring areas. There is also excellent mountain biking to be found in the Hatta area and around and about Ras Al Khaimah (particularly off to the sides of the Dibba road)

When?

As with most outdoor activities ‘the season’ is the 8 months between October and May but mountain biking is also one that happens all year round because of modern mountain bike specific high powered LED or HID lights enabling the same kind of riding that is done in daylight to happen at night when its cooler.

The first time

Because there is nothing really in the way of commercial courses or experienced on offer you’re going to have to take the initiative yourself. My recommendation would be to beg, borrow, rent or buy a mountain bike with a helmet and some gloves, grab hold of a copy of the Explore UAE Off Roading Guide, fill a bag with plenty (2 to 3) litres of water, a suitable bike pump, 2 spare inner tubes, a puncture repair kit and a multi tool, pick a route that seems suitable and head off. Set your sights low to start off with. Mountain biking is very physical, both for the legs and the upper body, along with this the environment is tough too, the heat will suck up your energy. As you get bike fit and used to the heat you’ll know how much you can cope with.

What do I need?

It’s obvious with mountain biking that sooner rather than later you’re going to need a bike! My recommendations are to go burley all mountain rather than cross-country racing snake. The environment here is brutal on kit with the rocks trying to tear everything apart.

You are going to need fat tyres (2.3 at least) with tough sidewalls to avoid sinking in to the soft stuff in the wadi beds and to avoid them getting ripped apart by the razor sharp rocks. Make sure your frame will cope with the wider tyres. Along with a study bike you are going to need to plan to be self sufficient on the trails as there will not be many folks around to help. Tubeless tyres with sealant are a good idea to reduce puncture stops, a pack with a 3 litre water bladder I would consider essential, 2 sturdy style inner tubes, a decent working bike pump, a multi tool and a head-torch. I also carry a lightweight first aid kit. It has no “there, there” plasters or the like; its orientated towards stopping significant bleeding and supporting injured limbs. You’ll be looking at bike lights suitable for riding technical trails at night quite quickly too. I suggest a minimum 500 lumen bar mounted lamp with a wide spread of light and a helmet mounted light with a focused 100+ lumens.

Knowledge = Safety Out on the trails here there will be just you and the people you are with to solve any problems should they occur. You need to have with you (in the group) the knowledge of what kind of problems are likely in the first place, some viable solutions to those problems and the ability to action those solutions. I know it sounds daft and obvious but you’d be surprised how many people don’t know how to mend a puncture before they find themselves with one on the side of a trail in the middle of no where. Other common problems are ripped off rear mechs, broken chains, brutally buckled wheels and badly cut up riders (the only place to fall off is into the rocks here!). There are no maps so get and learn how to use a GPS so at least you know how to get back to your car should you need to. Lastly, don’t underestimate how much water you are going to plough through. Ian is an active climber, kayaker and mountain biker and is a qualified outdoor instructor. Ian.

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our experts

Climbing Route Development in the UAE and Northern Oman With an explosion of rock chippings and dust, and the deafening roar of the drill, the bit gradually ate its way into the hard limestone. I strained to force the drill into the rock but being suspended by an abseil rope 30m off the wadi floor and held in position by a couple of steel hooks wedged behind a friable flake of rock made this difficult. After ten minutes hard work two holes had been drilled, the dust removed from them and a couple of mechanical bolts tightened in position along with a steel chain and rings for the rope. One step in the development of another sports climbing route was underway.

by Pete Aldwinckle

For those readers that wonder how the hundreds of sports and traditional climbing routes have been developed in the region over the last twenty years, the above description is part of a process that is taking place every weekend on the steep wadi walls of the mountain areas of the UAE and northern Oman. The first references to recreational rock climbing can be found back in the

1960s when the British RAF was based in the region. Of course the cliffs have been explored for many years preceding this in the search for honey and waylaid goats, and provided improbable transit routes between the wadi floor and cooler high mountain plateaus; but this was climbing for recreation and not necessity. In the 1990s the Bill Wheeler, Tim Richards and Alan Stark team re-recognised the climbing potential in the region. They found and climbed on many of the crags that are still popular today. Their approach was generally a true pioneering ground up approach with little or no preparation of routes. Whilst this led to a prolific exploration of climbing routes in the limited time they had available, many of their routes are still characterised by a high objective danger from loose rock. Loose rock is not a unique feature to the UAE and Northern Oman mountains but the absence of heavy rain and high temperatures

48

have resulted in rock surface characteristics that are infrequently experienced in more developed climbing areas in Europe and North America. At a similar time to the exploration of the Team Wheeler et Al, John Gregory and Dee McEnery started development of crags local to their RAK homes. Using his experience from the development of crags in his native Derbyshire in the UK, John abseiled down a prospective climbing line and removed any loose rock prior to climbing it. Whilst this process may sound simple, it is time consuming, physically exhausting and not without potential significant danger. John’s endeavours have continued unabated for some 15 years and have, and continue to produce an extraordinary number of high quality traditional climbs across a wide range of difficulties. The supporting cast to the above is numerous and includes both residents and visitors


that have completed many first ascents as part of the above development and their own audacious exploits on crags and high mountain faces. In 2001 at the crag known as Wonderwall near Buraimi, what would appear to be a minor event in UAE/Northern Oman rock climbing development was the development of for first sports routes through placing mechanical protection bolts. This action was undoubtedly the embryonic catalyst for the recent explosion in climbing participation in

our experts

the region. Whilst the introduction of bolt protection was potentially contentious, and remains so for some climbers, the local rock and geography of the crags provided numerous locations where traditional protection was impossible to place. The first bolts were introduced onto UAE rock by the author in 2005. Since then, many 100s (possibly a 1000) sports routes have been developed predominately by Gordon Rech with assorted support crew, Toby Foord-Kelcey and the author. Many others have made significant contributions but the prospect of another day of hanging on a rope with the potential of it being cut by rock fall, dehydration or the deafening roar of a close proximity drill and chocking rock dust has eaten at their enthusiasm. The author has also had a close call with a living cremation above a burning thorn bush (there must be a message there!), cut ropes, near death with a compressor, and a haul bag failure resulting in 30kg of equipment being deposited on a sun baked scree slope in August. The rock geography of the region has resulted in some special techniques for route development. During the route development of the Hatta overhangs the prospect of hauling scaffolding up the hill was briefly discussed; common sense prevailed and a combination of winches, aid climbing and trapeze gained access to areas that were previously inaccessible. These techniques have now been exported for use in the development of major Mediterranean climbing areas. Assistance with route development, either sports or traditional routes, is almost always welcome. For those that want to be involved on the crag, a high degree of climbing self sufficiency, efficient rope work, traditional gear place-

ment skills and innate self preservation combined with the ability to self rescue is a prerequisite. It is hard physical work that can be eased by a sadistic desire to suffer varying states of dehydration and isolation at the end of a rope. For those that want to develop sports routes, an additional skill is the ability to read a blank section of rock and recognise worthwhile lines is almost a pre-requisite for success. For those who want to support away from the crag, financial support for bolting equipment; the cost of the equipment in a 20m sports route costs approximately 160 - 200AED is always welcome. If you want to assist then contact the author in the first instance. The obligatory warning; irrespective of the amount of time spent on developing a climbing route there will remain a high risk of injury or death to people climbing on it. This risk can be reduced through using appropriate equipment, training, experience and judgement. Rock climbing is dangerous and participants must accept the real risks to them before taking part. Whilst those placing fixed gear, such as bolts, do so in accordance with best practice; all users of fixed gear do so completely at their own risk. For further reading on UAE rock climbing, purchase UAE Rock Climbing published by Red Armada Publishing and available in Adventure HQ. And for the few that may have been wondering where I have been hiding for the last months; development of Crag X is ongoing. It will provide the highest concentration of mid-grade sports climbing in the region with routes up to 300m in length. However, there is a very high objective danger to anybody on the crag during development combined with potential access issues if local sensitivities are not respected so location has been a badly kept secret. Please do not let curiosity get the better of you. Some explanation that may help the nonclimbing reader: Lead climbing is where the climber ascends the rock with the safety rope trailed behind the climber and is clipped into traditional or bolt protection. The bottom end of the rope is controlled by a belayer that will arrest a fall by the lead climber. Traditional protection is placed by the lead climber as they ascend the rock face in naturally occurring cracks and round flakes of rock. The climber that follows the lead climber, the second, recovers the protection items for future use as they reach them. Bolt protection is permanently fixed into the rock at regular spacing and is attached to the rope using carabineers and slings that are removed on completion of the climb. Bolt protection is normal placed from an abseil rope prior to the route being attempted and is a characteristic of sports climbing. Pete.

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people

People Andy Whittaker

Name: Andy Whitaker Nationality: English (Yorkshire) Occupation? Business owner/Designer/ Photographer What is your passion? The outdoors, wild landscapes, mountains & lakes and traveling through these environments to enjoy all they have to offer away from the hustle and bustle of the city. How did you get into Mountain Biking? I had been road cycling with a club and competitively since i was 13, then when the very first mountain bikes started to appear in the cycle shops in the UK, so around 1986/87 i guess, I started mountain biking as well, I soon forgot about road cycling and have been mountain biking ever since. Where and how do you practice in the UAE? I generally ride twice a week, once at the weekend and once at night during the week with the aid of high tech powerful LED lights. In summer I tend to ride just at night even on the weekends to avoid the heat, night riding makes it just a little more comfortable. How long have you been in the UAE and why did you come here? Friends back in the UK were getting married and starting families, whereas I fancied a bit of an adventure instead and to fulfil the dream of living and working overseas for a year or two (which has now become 15 years). I have been in the UAE since 1997, I came here to work as a designer for a small company for the first 12 months before starting to work freelance and eventually starting my own design agency. What has been your best experience involving MTB’ing? Being able to ride in places where no-one has ever ridden before, pioneering new routes on a regular ba-

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sis, as well as the people I have met through being actively involved with the sport, I’ve met my closest friends over the years through mountain biking. Where is your favorite location? My favorite location at the present time is Shawka, where over the last 2-3 years a few of us have been out developing a network of trails to ride, including getting out there with a rake/shovel etc to make new paths, we have even gone to the lengths to make a small wooden bridge over one gap to aid the flow of one of the paths… I still have a couple of other big gap bridges planned for this summer. In the region I would add salalah as another favorite area, having just come back form a 4 day exploration trip to discover potential mountain biking routes in the Salalah area. It was, I have to say a very successful trip and Salalah has a great deal to offer, and I hope to make another trip down there soon What is your next planned adventure? The next adventure, well I’m looking into other places to ride in the region for some long weekends through the summer months that can be accessed by the budget airlines, so Almaty is a favorite option right now, but I also expect to go back to Nepal to ride again sometime in 2012 What would you recommend to our readers if they wanted to try Mountain Biking? Contact one of the many groups on facebook here in the UAE, such as “UAE mountain biking”, this group is run by a bunch of friendly and welcoming Phillipinos. “Mountainbiking UAE”- is a very informal small group with diverse group of skills. Also look at “Dubikers” - one of the original groups and good to make first contact, there are also two other groups but I know little about them “Roost Tah” and “Barchans” these groups cater very well to riders with little or no experience and right up to an experienced level. They are well-organised groups with a huge amount of support to newcomers and split into groups based on skill/fitness. The club I run Hot-cogmtb (www.hot-cog. com), caters more for the advanced and experienced level riders, who have previous club/race experience and aimed very much at self-sufficient riders.


Heather Le Rest

people

Name: Heather Le Rest Nationality: British and American Occupation? Senior Recruitment Consultant What is your passion? My family, Helping kids and being active. How did you get into Outdoor Challenges? I think with being so busy with work and my family I needed to find something that would give me balance. I discovered running after I had my first daughter in 2005 and never looked back. From then on, I try to find new things to do that are outdoors, free if possible that I can do outside of what I call the “kids time” so very early in the morning or after bed time. Where and how do you practice in the UAE? I like my local park; Safa 1, it’s great. I never worry at 5 am as a female to run around alone when it is dark, there always seems to be people. I feel like we watch the area wake up as the sun comes up. I also love the beach near DOSC, I have a good stretch of water to swim in and can always have feet if I am alone. If I can swim with my friend Colin then we go the JBR and if I manage to bike, I go on the small roads through the back of the camel racetrack near Meydan. Again, quiet and peaceful this makes it safe as well. I am also luck to have a membership at the Dubai Ladies Club and that is great for swimming. In December we went to Jebel Hafeet and that was so nice. Great views, peaceful, it makes a real change from Dubai. I am also looking to find more off road paths to run or bike, watch this space! What is your main focus for the New Year? To really build ‘Challengers on a Mission – With Great love’ so that we can create a long lasting concept that will help children in Ethiopia. I also really want to improve my overall fitness and maybe try for the New York Marathon if funds permit. I am also doing Kilimanjaro for ‘Challengers on a Mission – With Great Love’, which will be amazing. I have never done

that sort of thing before. How long have you been in the UAE and why did you come here? I have been here since 1998. I came with my husband, not married then but had been together a long time. I had finished University in the UK and had to find a job. I knew it was not the UK as my husband was French and did not like London, I knew it was not to be France as there was no work in his area. We had visited Dubai in 1997 as my parents had moved out that year for a 3 year contract. We both agreed it had the city in terms of office jobs and it had the sea for my husband and his work. We have never looked back. Where is your favorite location? I love being at the beach, watching the guys kite surf or having a swim with the kids. What is your next planned adventure? With my friend Colin, we are off to Ethiopia end of January to visit the kids, take supplies and train in the mountains at the back of the city as it is very steep and high altitude. Then late February we are off to Kilimanjaro, which will be amazing. Then I know I will be back in Ethiopia in May or June but in between I would like to do a 10km sea swim, a couple of triathlons if I can. I have to say this year I think there is so much stuff going on in the UAE it is brilliant. You don’t have to be competitive, I am certainly not in it to win it, just making it to the end and challenging my senses is good enough for me. What would you recommend to our readers if they wanted to try what you do? Have a look at www.premiermarathons. com to see what is going on. They have

a great event calendar for the entire year. Then choose something and work towards it. I remember when I started, I began with walking, then a gentle jog on parts of Safa, and then I managed one end, 2 ends, then 3 and eventually 4. I will say you do have to push yourself. I don’t think it is meant to be easy but when you complete it, it is a nice feeling. I think my first 10km race in 2005 was the hardest thing I ever did. After that I built up my confidence would do some classes. I try to mix it up. I can get bored and our bodies get too used to something, or so I read in all these magazines. Pump is great, RPM I love, I used to do step as well but that needs more coordination. I do prefer to be outside so the circuit training is brilliant. There are so many places that you can do it in groups, outdoors not for too much cash so it works out well. I also kept a journal of what I did and food to help keep me on track. For me it is all about having a goal. I have something to work towards, and then I can make a plan.

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ation Laura’s Loc

The Wadi Warrior!

spots & locations

by Laura Snook

Whenever anyone from back home asks me about Dubai, I am very quick to report on all the outdoor activities in which one can revel in. I delight in telling them about the endless possibilities of exploration; often only a few hours drive from the glittering lights of Dubai. Whether it’s the emerald pools of wadi’s, rock climbing along the limestone cliffs of Musandam or scuba diving amongst whale sharks, friends and family afar are utterly intrigued to hear that one can, in fact explore the outdoors of UAE. And, whilst most are fascinated to hear of all the activities available, there is definitely a patterned look of interest when I tell them about wadis and the discovery of deep emerald pools amongst their dry barren landscapes. Wadi’s are a big favourite of mine, however up until only a few weeks ago I had only explored the ones in Oman. Whilst these are spectacular in their own right,

they are not always as accessible. With this in mind, my main aim was to experience some wadi’s within the UAE, preferably ones in which I could visit for a day trip. A little confused about which one to venture to first, I was curious when advised by Daniel, founder of OutdoorUAE, that Wadi Wurrayah was his most favourite hike. “In my opinion, this hike provides you with a real adventure!” recommended Daniel. Always quick to rely on friend’s referrals, I decided that the Wadi Wurrayah “hike above the falls” would be the first of my UAE wadi discoveries! Now, for all of you who have dreamed of being on the set of Rambo, war paint smeared across your cheeks, as you beat your way like true survivors through the

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infinite battle of the jungle, then I suggest Wadi Wurrayah should be your next weekend adventure. I am not going to lie to you, this is not one of those hikes where you merrily bounce along a well trodden track, enjoying its peaceful surroundings. Rather, this is a gruelling hike which challenges your every patience, tests your every perseverance and truly makes you feel like you have accomplished some great feat upon your return! From start to finish, the entire hike requires you to ‘bush-bash’ your way through its indestructible blanket of thick bamboo, experiencing respite only when offered the chance to swim through a canyon or climb on the rocks above. As a result, despite the walk only being about 4-5 km’s, the entire


Laura xx

roundtrip will take you a good 4 hours. True to Daniels recommendation, the moment you set off, the walks untamed character whisks you away to a unique land of adventure! With no distinct track or signs of a trodden path, it is up to you to determine how you are going to navigate through what appears to be, totally unpassable. Do you decide to venture high, rock climbing along the wadi’s edge? Do you cool off by trudging through chest deep water? Or do you simply accept that the sea of the green fortress which lays ahead of you, is the only way through! Either way, the options of rock climbing, river walking and bamboo bashing, never cease to provide you with a chance to really test out your Rambo survivor skills! Admittedly, at times this walk encourages the types of thoughts which question your actions. However, we all know those who have perseverance by venturing into the unknown are often rewarded. So, when you are having these thoughts, all I can say is, “soldier on!” Just when you are thinking, “is this really the walk?” “Is there really anything at the end of this?”....Just keep going! Because, in answer to your queries, “yes it is the walk and yes there is something worth venturing to the end for, you just have to ‘battle’ a bit to earn it”J. So what’s in it for the one’s who persevere and surrender their blood, sweat and tears for the final reward? To be honest, I debated about whether to tell you, as rewards are always much more satisfying when they are kept a surprise. But, for all of you who don’t enjoy the unexpected, then by all means read on. Just when you think you have been lead you up the wrong path, you will round the last bend and be greeted with a little pleasure pad of Wadi Wurrayah’s emerald pools, (about 1.5-2hours walk). Those who make it this far are welcomed with the delight of swimming through the mouth of the canyon to a natural waterslide of smooth rocks and mosses. It is here, nestled amongst the rocks, that you can spend your time enjoying a picnic and wallowing in the emerald pools, basking in what are definitely the diamonds in Miss Wurrayah’s rough! Do I too claim this is my favourite wadi hike? Unfortunately I have been spoilt by the wadi’s in Oman, thus the short answer

to this question is no. However, upon returning to the car, the deep sense of satisfaction which encompassed my body was definitely worth gallivanting amongst this unchartered territory. It’s always good to do something different, and this hike certainly offers this. Where else in the UAE can you find a blanket of natural greenery stretching 2km’s? As mentioned, those who venture into the unknown are often rewarded, and along with its great sense of adventure, this walk is truly a recommended must!

Fast Facts What: Wadi Wurrayah Hike above the Falls. Where: Located 10minutes inland from the east coast between Dibba and Fujairah GPS: GEO 25 23 ‘44’’N 56 16 ‘10”E When to go: The wadi is best visited after there has been some rain to fill the pools, January-April would provide optimal weather and surroundings Great for: A day trip, to escape the concrete Flash Flood Warning: Always check the weather for rain before venturing into a wadi!

Essential for your Enjoyment! Protection: Bamboo is a tool used for torture..failure to wear a long top and pants will most certainly confirm to you why! J Rope: Not essential but comes in handy if you wish to do some rock climbing above the reeds Machete* or stick: Again, not essential but for those who really want to hike “Rambo Style” this will definitely add to the fantasy! *Please don’t use the machete to destroy the fragile and unique environment.

Laura Kate Snook

is a personal trainer who creates contemporary workout videos blending a unique fusion of resistance, balance, fitball & dynamic yoga. Download or stream from www.laurakateaustralia.com

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Classic Hiking routes

in the UAE & Oman

by Simon Cahill

spots & locations

Wadi Tayyibah

With the development of the motor car and a thirst for oil, cities have sprung up from the sand. Living ancestors of the desert nomads and mountain tribes have seen development beyond their wildest dreams, and in some cases created those wild dreams. In the 1960’s and early 1970’s the new buzz word wasn’t I-pad or Facebook but “Landcruiser.” The Landcruiser changed the way of travel through the Emirates & Oman forever, with many old trails being forgotten. However with a little research and exploration, tell tale signs of such trails can be found. In recent years publication of the Explorer off-road books has documented a number of excellent routes, however most exploration has been the domain of serious off road enthusiast’s or hardcore hikers and climbers. For those with the relevant skills, fitness and willingness to endure the relentless heat the wadis and mountains offer endless adventures. Travel a little further into the wilderness especially in Northern Ras Al Khaimah and Oman and you can find tribes living today as they did a hundred years ago, moving between villages on ancient trails. But you don’t need to get too far off the beaten track or paved road to find exciting hiking routes for all abilities.

Tips • • • •

point a small wadi leads off right. Explore this side wadi for a few hundred meters to find small natural pools and further remains of the Falaj. Towards the end of the walk you will see signs advertising Tayyibah Museum; a great place to explore and get a little insight into the old way of life in the wadi.

Tips • • •

Wadi Tayyibah

Wadi Tayyibah runs from the village of Al Hala (25° 28.618’N, 56° 10.985’E) to Tayyibah (25° 24.674’N, 56° 10.206’E). The wadi used to form the main route between Dibba and Masafi, known as the East Coast Road. New roads have replaced the old route although the wadi is still used regularly by local farmers and villages attending to the small date plantations along its route. Signs of the old tarmac are still present but the road is mostly washed away and quite rough. The hiking route can start anywhere in the village of Al Hala. There are numerous places to park but please take care not to block residential access and don’t park in the main low lying wadi bed as it is liable to flood in heavy rains. Follow the wadi bed and keep an eye out for the remains of old red tarmac. The wadi runs for about 8.5km, for those with a keen eye look out for the remains of the old Falaj irrigation systems. At about the halfway

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only a short distance from the tarmac road and remains on good gravel roads or well used and compacted sand tracks. The route will give you a sample of desert life and agriculture in the UAE. For a more challenging hike taking in the sand dunes and more remote farms it is advisable to join a guided party or go with people who are extremely competent. The start point (25° 37.010’N, 55° 50.915’E) is just off the truck road close to J119 on Emirates road. Follow the hard packed dust road into the farming community; the track can be followed pretty much in a straight line for nearly 3km to 25° 35.517’N, 55° 50.338’E. There are many turn off’s but most end after a short distance or disappear into the dunes. The only worthwhile diversion is a loop passing through the points, 25° 36.600’N, 55° 50.748’E; 25° 36.497’N, 55° 50.816’E; 25° 36.298’N, 55° 50.583’E.

Leave a car at Tayyibah as the route is a one way hike. Suitable for most people, an ideal introduction to UAE hiking. Visit Masafi Friday Market on the way home.

RAK Desert Hike

There are many options for hiking in the desert just a short drive from the urban areas of the UAE. To go off the beaten track you need to be an experienced hiker and competent navigator. The suggested route ventures RAK Desert Hike

The route remains on good tracks close to the fields. The route is a fairly straight line don’t deviate from it. If you take the extended loop stay close to the fields, don’t stray into the dunes. The hike is suitable for all abilities and is a good introduction to UAE hiking.

Mountain summits

A question often asked is which is the highest mountain in the UAE or Oman and can they be climbed? The answer for Oman is easy, for the UAE the answer it is a little more complex. Jebel Shams at an impressive height of 2997m is the tallest peak in Oman. Jebel Hafeet at 1249m is often thought to be the tallest in the UAE, yet the lesser known Jebel Yibir stands at 1527m. These peaks are named and considered as separate mountains, i.e. they are not connected to an adjacent high point. The actual highest point in the UAE at about 1910m is an unnamed peak or knoll located in close proximity and connected to Jebel Bil Ays whose summit at 1934m lies in the Musandam region of Oman. There are several named and unnamed summits on the Musandam Peninsula; none are regularly climbed with the exception of Jebel Qihwi (1792m). Some of the peaks are easier to climb than others. Jebel Yibir is rarely climbed. The rock is loose and there is no defined route to the summit. Jebel Bil Ays and the unnamed knoll are normally only climbed as a side excursion to Stairway to Heaven. Jebel Shams, Jebel Hafeet & Jebel Qihwi all make excellent mountain days of varying difficulty.

Jebel Shams

Jebel Shams (23° 14.217’N, 57° 15.833’E) is the highest peak in the Jebel Al Akdhar


mountain range, rising from the spectacular “grand canyon” of wadi Ghul. Detailed route maps to the summit can be found in the Oman Trekking Guide. Access to the starting points has improved in recent years due to surfacing many of the old gravel roads. A number of campsites have also sprung up in the area making for a more comfortable night before or after a long trek. The hike up and down will take about 8 hours. A good level of fitness and stamina are required.

Tips

Tips •

• • •

Jebel Qihwi

The routes described in the guide are not always clearly marked on the ground, be sure you are a competent navigator. Stay away from the radar station and military road near the summit. Take a camera, the view over the canyon is spectacular. (Don’t photograph the military road or radar station). Visit the ancient town of Nizwa or the caves at Al Hoota on your way back.

• • • •

Check what documents you need to pass through the police check point at Dibba. Camp the night before to allow an early start. Go with someone who knows the route. Start point 25° 46.861’N, 56° 12.754’E

Jebel Hafeet

A true mountain scramble. To complete this spectacular route you need to be an experienced hiker with basic rock climbing skills and a head for heights. It would be unwise to attempt this route without a guide and having done several build up hikes. However when you are ready it will be one of the most spectacular mountain routes you could possibly do in the UAE.

All of above routes are offered by Arabia Outdoors. Please see our website www.arabiaoutdoors.com or contact Simon Cahill Tel +971 (0)55 9556209, email arabiaoutdoors@gmail.com for further details.

Tips • •

Build up to the route on easier hikes then go with a guide. Leave a car at the summit car park. Drive down and around the mountain in a second car, complete the climb to the true summit, sign the summiteers book and then traverse back to the first car.

Jebel Shams

Jebel Qihwi

Jebel Qihwi (25° 44.618’N, 56° 12.589’E) is fast becoming one of the most popular mountain routes in the region. It is not ideal for novices or the less fit, however, if you are a competent hiker and wish to move onto mountain routes, Jebel Qihwi is an excellent choice. The drive to the start passes through Wadi Khab Al Shamis, the high sided canyon is dramatic and currently the in-spot favoured by pioneering rock climbers. The route up and down takes about six hours, the route starts on reasonable paths, however, there are a number of wadi’s or gullies to cross before the ascent steepens to gain the summit ridge. Once on the ridge expect to use your hands for balance when scrambling up the rocks. The final twenty meters to the summit is a squeeze up a narrow chimney where a rope may be used to give a few extra hand holds.

Jebel Hafeet

Jebel Shams

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+ 97143992995, www.extrememarine-me.com Rineh, Al Quoz, +97143391512, www. rinehemiratesme.com The Boat House, Dubai, Al Quoz, +97143405152, www.theboathouse.ae Cruise Operators Al Bateen Marina, Abu Dhabi, +97126665491, Www. marinaalbateenresort.com Al Marsa Travel & Tourism, Dibba, Musandam, +96826836550, +97165441232 Art Marine, Dubai, +97143388955, www.artmarine.net Bateaux Dubai, Dubai Creek – opposite the British Embassy, +97143994994 Bristol Middle East, Dubai Marina,+97144309941, www.bristol-middleeast.com El Mundo, Dubai, +971505517406, www.elmundodubai.com Happy Days Sea Cruising LLC, Dubai, +971558961276, +971503960202, www.happydaysdubai.com LY Catamaran, Dubai, +971505869746, +971566506683 www. lycatamaran.com Marine Concept, Dubai, +971559603030, www.marine-charter-concept.com Noukhada Adventure Company, Villa 332/7, Al Meena Street, Abu Dhabi, +97126503600 , www.noukhada.ae RAK Marine LLC, Ras Al Khaimah

City Hilton Marina, +971504912696, +97172066410 Sea Hunters Passenger Yachts & Boats Rental, Dubai Marina, +97142951011 Sheesa Beach, Dibba, Musandam, +971503336046, www.sheesabeach.com Smoke Dragon Of London Yacht, Abu Dhabi International Marine & Sports Club, +971504546661 Summertime Marine, Dubai, +97142573084, www.summertimemarine.com The Club Abu Dhabi, +97126731111 The Yellow Boats LLC, Dubai Marina Walk – opposite Spinneys, Intercontinental Hotel Marina, 8008044 Marinas Abu Dhabi International Marine Sports Club, Abu Dhabi, Breakwater, +97126815566, www.adimsc.com Abu Dhabi Marina, Abu Dhabi, Tourist Club Area, +97126440300 Dubai International Marine Sports Club, Dubai Marina, +97143995777, www.dimc.ae Dubai Marina Yacht Club, Dubai, +97143627900, www.dubaimarinayachtclub.com Dubai Maritime City Harbour Marina, Dubai, +97143455545 Dubai Offshore Sailing Club, Dubai, +97143941669, www.dosc.ae Emirates Palace Marina, Abu Dhabi, +97143388955 Festival Marina, Dubai, Festival City, +97144498400, www.igy-festivalmarina.com Pavilion Marina, Dubai, Jumeirah

Run Free. Experts in • Sports Physiotherapy • Biomechanical Assessment • Orthopaedic and Spinal Treatment • Exercise Rehab Suite 405, Building 49, Dubai Healthcare City P.O.Box 505126 , Dubai, UAE Tel. +971 4 437 0570 – Fax. +971 4 437 0568 info@physiocentre.ae www.phisiocentre.ae

Beach Hotel, +97144068800 Umm Al Quwaim Marine Sports Club, Umm Al Quwaim, +9716 766 6644, www.uaqmarineclub.com

Camping & Hiking

Equipment Blingmytruck.com, +971505548255, www.blingmytruck.com Picnico, Jumeirah Beach Road, Dubai, +97143941653 Tour Operators Arabia Outdoors, Dubai, +971559556209, www.arabiaoutdoors.com Absolute Adventure, Dubai, +97143459900, www.adventure.ae Libra, +971559228362, www.libra-uae.com Sheesa Beach, Musandam, Dibba, +97150336046, www.sheesabeach.com Desert Road Tourism, Al Khor Plaza – 503, Dubai, +971-42959428, www.arabiatours.com

Caving

Muscat Diving & Adventure Centre, Oman, +971503289642, www.holiday-in-oman.com

Climbing

Equipment Global Climbing, +97172353910, www.globalclimbing.com Adventure HQ, Dubai Times Square Center, Sheikh Zayed Rd, Toll free: 800-ADVENTURE www.adventurehq.ae Barracuda Fishing and Outdoor, Dubai, Street 13A 1, Al Safa 1, +97143466558, www.barracudadubai. com Services Absolute Adventure, Dubai, +97143459900, www.adventure.ae Adventure HQ, Dubai Times Square Center, Sheikh Zayed Rd, Toll free: 800-ADVENTURE www.adventurehq.ae Al Shaheen Adventure, Abu Dhabi, +97126429995, www.alshaheenme.com Arabia Outdoors, Dubai, +971559556209, www.arabiaoutdoors.com Dorell Sports Management, Dubai World Trade Centre, +97143065061, www.climbingdubai.com E-Sports Dubai, Dubai, www.e-sportsdubai.com The Club, Abu Dhabi, +97126731111, www.the-club.com

Cycling

Equipment Cycle Sports, Dubai, Al Barsha1, +97143415415, www.cyclesportuae.com Probike, Dubai, Al Barsha1,


PADI Career Development Centre Jumeirah Beach Hotel P.O. Box 11416, Dubai, UAE Email: divecentre@jumeirah.com Tel: +971 4 406 8828 Web: www.thepaviliondivecentre.com

+97143255705, www.probike.ae Rage Shop, Dubai Mall, +97144343806, www.rage-shop.com Ride Bike Shop, Dubai Mall, Festival City, Oasis Centre, Mirdiff City Centre, +97143750231, www.ridebikeshop.com Tamreen Sports, Abu Dhabi, +97126222525, www.tamreensports. com VELO & Oxygen, Mushrif Mall, Abu Dhabi+97125566113, www.funridesports.com Wolfi’s Bike Shop, Dubai, Sheikh Zayed Road, +97143394453, www.wbs.ae Clubs Abu Dhabi Tri Club, www.abudhabitriclub.com Dubai Roadsters, www.dubairoadsters.com

www.alboomdiving.com Al Mahara Dive Center, Downtown Abu Dhabi, +971501118125, www.divemahara.com Arabian Diver, Hilton Marine, Ras Al Khaimah, +97172226628, +971502428128 www.arabiandiver.com Arabian Divers, Al Bateen Marina Resort, +971506146931 Atlantis Dive Centre (equipment), Dubai, The Palm Jumeirah,+97144263000, www.atlantisdivecentre.com Deep Blue Sea Diving, Dubai, International City, +97144308246, www.diveindubai.com Divers Down, Fujairah, Rotana Al Aqah Hotel Resort & Spa, +971092370299, www.diversdown-uae.com Emirates Divers Centre, Abu Dhabi, near Meena Fish Market, +97126432444, www.edc-ad.ae Extra Divers Ziggy Bay, Oman, Musandam, +96826735555, www.extradivers.info Freediving UAE,Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Fujeirah, www.freedivinguae.com Freestyle Divers, Dubai, Al Wasl & Dibba, Royal Beach Hotel,

Diving

Equipment Al Boom Marine, Abu Dhabi & Dubai+97142894858 , www. alboommarine.com Blue Waters Marine, +97142232189, Dubai, www.bluewatersmarine.com Gulf Marine Sports, Abu Dhabi, +97126710017, www.gulfmarinesports.com Premiers for Equipment, Abu Dhabi, Sh. Zayed 1st. Road, +97126665226, www.premiers-uae.com Diving Centers 7 Seas Diving Center, Khorfakkan, +97192387400, www.7seasdivers.com Al Boom Diving (equipment), Dubai, Al Wasl Rd, + 97143422993,

Email: GetMeOnAPlane@WildGuanabana.com Website: www.WildGuanabana.com Twitter: @WildGuanabana Facebook: www.facebook.com/wildguanabana Tel: 00971 567 954 954

+97143944275, www.freestyledivers.com Khasab Divers, Oman, www.khasabdiver.com Muscat Diving & Adventure Centre, Oman, +97150 3289642, www.holiday-in-oman.com Neptune Diving, +97150 4347902, www.neptunedivingcentre.com Nomad Ocean Adventures, www. discovernomad.com, +971508853238, Dibba, Oman Scuba Oman, Oman, +96899558488, www.scubaoman.com Sharjah Wanderers Dive Club, Sharjah, +97150 784 0830, www.bsac406.com Sheesa Beach, Dibba, Musandam, +971503336046, www.sheesabeach.com Sky &Sea Adventures, Dubai, Hilton, Jumeirah Beach Road, +97143999005, www.watersportsdubai.com The Pavilion Dive Centre (equipment), Dubai, +97144068828 Clubs Atlantis Underwater Photography Club, Dubai, +97144263000 Desert Sports Diving Club, Dubai, www.desertsportsdivingclub.net

Fishing & Kayaking

Equipment Al Boom Marine, Abu Dhabi & Dubai+97142894858 , www.alboommarine.com Al Yousuf Motors, Dubai, Sheikh Zayed Rd, +97143390621, www.aym.ae/yamaha/

Blue Waters Marine, +97142232189, Dubai, www.bluewatersmarine.com Al Masaood Marine, +97143468000, Dubai, Sheikh Zayed Road, www.masaoodmarine.com Barracuda Fishing and Outdoor, Dubai, Street 13A 1, Al Safa 1, +97143466558, www.barracudadubai.com Global Climbing, Ras Al Khaimah, +97172353910, www.globalclimbing.com Leisure Marine Beach Hut, Dubai, The Walk JBR, +97144243191 Leisure Marine, Sheikh Zayed Road, next to ACE Hardware, +97143415530, www.leisuremarine-me.com Leading Edge-S, +97172447732, www.leadingedge-s.com Nautica1992, Dubai, +971504262415, www.nautica1992.ae Ocean Active, Dubai, Garden Centre, +971502898713, www.oceanactive.com Operators Al Boom Diving, Le Meridien Al Aqah Beach Resort, Fujeirah, +97143422993 Absolute Adventure, Dubai, +97143459900, www.adventure.ae Al Hamra Marina, Al Hamra, +97172434540 Al Mahara Dive Center, Abu Dhabi, Mussafah, +971501118125, +97150720283 www.divemahara.com Al Shaheen Adventure, Abu Dhabi, +97126429995, www.alshaheenme.com Arabian Divers and Sportfishing Charters, Al Bateen Marina Resort, +971506146931, www.fishabudhabi.com Arabia Outdoors, Dubai, +971559556209, www.arabiaoutdoors.com Barracuda Diving Centre, Fujairah International Marine Club, +9719222558 Belevari Marine, Abu Dhabi,+97126594144 Fun Beach Water Sports, Dubai, +97153244550, www.funbeachsports.com Happy Days Sea Cruising LLC, Dubai, +971558961276, +971503960202, www.happydaysdubai.com Noukhada Adventure Company, Villa 332/7, Al Meena Street, Abu Dhabi, +97126503600, www.noukhada.ae Ocean Active, Dubai, Garden Centre, +971502898713, www.oceanactive.com Sheesa Beach, Dibba, Musandam, +971503336046, www.sheesabeach.com Soolyman Sports Fishing, Dubai, Umm Suqeim, +971508866227, www.soolymansportsfishing.com Xclusive Yachts, Dubai, Dubai Marina, +97144327233, www.xclusiveyachts.com

Dubai - Tel: 04 3390621 | Dubai Auto sport 04 3388822 Abu Dhabi - Tel: 02 5588890 | Abu Dhabi - Buteen - 02 6660591 Sharjah - Tel: 06 5388066 | Ajman -Tel: 06 7410004 Al Ain - Tel: 03 7211444 | Fujairah - Tel: 09 2221188 Ras Al Khaimah - Tel: 07 2351592

General Sports Equipment Distributors

Adventure HQ, Dubai Times Square Center, Sheikh Zayed Rd, Toll free: 800-ADVENTURE, www.adventurehq.ae Flip Flop Arabia, flipme@flipfloparabia. com, www.flipfloparabia.com Global Climbing, +97172353910, www.globalclimbing.com Goal Zero, +971509128353, www.goalzero.ae Ocean Sports FZE, +971559352735, www.kitesurfsup.com Sakeen General Trading, +97147094224, www.sakeen.ae

Horse Riding

Equipment Emirta, Dubai, Sheik Zayed Rd, +9714 3437475, www.emirtahorse.com Tamreen Sports, Abu Dhabi, +97126222525, www.tamreensports.com Equestrian Centres Abu Dhabi Equestrian Club, Abu Dhabi, +97124455500, www.adec-web.com Al Forsan Resort, Abu Dhabi, +97125568555, www.alforsan.com Dubai Polo & Equestrian Club, Dubai, Arabian Ranches, +97143618111, www.poloclubdubai.com Desert Equestrian Club, Dubai, near Mirdif +971503099770, +971501978888 Desert Ranch (Al Sahra Desert Resort), Dubai, +971 4 8327171, www.desert-ranch.com

Dubai Polo & Equestrian Club Opposite Arabian Ranches P.O.Box 7477, Dubai, UAE Tel: +971 4 361 8111 Fax: +971 4 361 7111 Email: info@poloclubdubai.com www.poloclubdubai.com

57


www.icon-auto.com Wild X Adventure Shop, Dubai, Um AL Ramoul, +971509029800, www.wildx.ae Yellow Hat, Dubai, Times Square Centre & Festival City, +97143418592, www.yellowhat.ae Tour Operator Desert Road Tourism, Al Khor Plaza – 503, Dubai, +971-42959428, www.arabiatours.com Arabian Adventures, Dubai & Abu Dhabi, +97143034888, www.arabian-adventures.com Oasis Palm Dubai, Dubai, +97142628889, www.opdubai.com Clubs Abu Dhabi Off- Road Club, www.ad4x4.com Filipino Off- Road Club, www.forac.ae ME 4X4, www.me4x4.com

Running

directory

kawasaki@liberty.ae

Emirates Equestrian Centre, Dubai, +971505587656, www.emiratesequestriancentre.com Ghantood Polo & Racing Club, Abu Dhabi, +97125629050, www.grpc.ae Sharjah Polo & Equestrian Club, Sharjah, Al Dhaid Road, +97165311155, www.forsanuae.org.ae The Desert Ranch, Dubai, +97144274055 www.desert-ranch.com

Jet Ski

Dealer Al Masaood Marine, Dubai, Sheikh Zayed Road, +97143468000, www.masaoodmarine.com Al Yousuf Motors, Dubai, Sheikh Zayed Rd, +97143390621, www.aym. ae/yamaha/ Rentals Al Mahara Dive Center, Abu Dhabi, Mussafah, +97150720283 , www.divemahara.com Fun Beach Water Sports, Dubai, +971 5 3244 550, www.funbeachsports.com The Cove Rotana Resort, Ras Al Khaimah, +9717206000, www.rotana.com Xventures, Dubai, +971555404500, www.x-ventures.ae

Moto-cross & ATV’s

Dealer Al Yousuf Motors, Dubai, Sheikh Zayed Rd, +97143390621, www.aym. ae/yamaha/ KTM, Dubai, Sheikh Zayed Road, exit 42, +9714323151, www.ktm.com PolarisUAE (atv’s), Ras Al Khor, Nad al Hamar Road, Al Ghandi Complex, +97142896100, www.polarisuae.com

Liberty Kawasaki, Dubai, Interchange4, Sheikh Zayed Road, 04-3419341, www.libertykawasaki.com Wild X, Dubai, Um Al Ramoul Industrial Area, +97142852200, www. wildx.ae Equipment Desert Road Tourism, Al Khor Plaza – 503, Dubai, +97142959428, www.arabiatours.com 2XWheeler, Motorcity Dubai, +97144548388, www.2xwheeler.com SebSports, Dubai, Al Quoz Industrial Area 3, +97143393399, www.sebsports.com Wild X, Dubai, Um Al Ramoul Industrial Area, +97142852200, www. wildx.ae

Clubs ABRasAC, Dubai, www.abrasac.org Abu Dhabi Tri Club, Abu Dhabi, www. abudhabitriclub.org Mirdiff Milers, Dubai, www.mirdifmilers.com

Stand up Paddling, Kite & Surfing, Wakeboarding

Equipment Al Boom Marine, Abu Dhabi & Dubai+97142894858 , www. alboommarine.com Leisure Marine Beach Hut, Dubai, The Walk JBR, +97144243191 Leisure Marine, Sheikh Zayed Road, next to ACE Hardware, +97143415530, www.leisuremarine-me.com Pearl Water Crafts, Dubai Marina Yacht Club, +971553749398, www.pearl-watercrafts.com Surf Dubai, Dubai, Umm Suqeim, +971505043020,

Motorcycling

Distributors & Dealers Al Yousuf Motors, Dubai, Sheikh Zayed Rd, www.aym.ae/yamaha/ Duseja Motorcycles, Dubai, Al Quoz, +97143476712, www.apriliauae.com Liberty Kawasaki, Dubai, Interchange4, Sheikh Zayed Road, +97142822144, www.libertykawasaki.com PolarisUAE, Al Ghandi Complex, Nad al Hamar Road, Ras Al Khor, +97142896100, www.polarisuae.com Tristar Motorcycles, +97143330659, www.tristaruae.com Workshop & Services 2xWheeler, +97144548388, www.2xwheeler.com Dune Bike, Dubai, Al Khail Road Alweer, +97143272088, www.dunebuggyuae.com Duseja Motorcycles, Dubai, Al Quoz, +97143476712, www.apriliauae.com Gecko Motors, Dubai, Al Quoz, +97143413550, www.gecko-motors.com

Off-Road

Aloft Abu Dhabi

ADNEC Exhibition Centre Abu Dhabi, P.O. Box 94943 Tel: +971 (0)2 654 5000

www.aloftabudhabi.com

58

Manufacturer Blingmytruck.com, +971505548255, www.blingmytruck.com LRC Off Road Engineering, Dubai, +971553198526, www.lrcoffroad.com Repair and services Off Road Zone, Dubai, Al Quoz, +97143392449, www.offroad-zone.com Equipment AEV, Dubai & Abu Dhabi, +97143307152, www.aev.ae Icon Auto, Dubai, +97143382744,

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Motorsports

Al Forsan Resort, Abu Dhabi, +97125568555, www.alforsan.com Dubai Autodrome, Dubai, www.dubaiautodrome.com Emirates Motorplex, Umm Al Quwain, +97167681717 Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi, www.yasmarinacircuit.com

Element

www.surfingdubai.com Surf Shop Dubai, Dubai, Al Raha Bldg, Al Barsha 1, +97143990989, www. surfshopdubai.com UAE Kite Surfing, +971505626383, www.ad-kitesurfing.net Distributor Ocean Sports FZE, +971559352735, www.kitesurfsup.com Operator Al Forsan Resort, Abu Dhabi, +97125568555, www.alforsan.com Dubai Kite Surf School, Dubai, Umm Suqeim Beach, +971 504965107, www.dubaikitesurfschool.com Kite Fly, Dubai, +971502547440, www. kitesurf.ae Kite4fun, Abu Dhabi, +971508133134, www.kite4fun.net Nautica1992, Dubai, +971504262415, www.nautica1992.ae Shamalkitesurfing, Umm Suqueim Beach – Dubai, +971507689226, www.

Abu Dhabi Golf Club, Abu Dhabi, Adventure + 97125588990, Trips www.adgolfclub.com Dolphin Bay Atlantis Dubai, +97144260000, www.atlantisthepalm.ae Dubai Dolphinarium Dubai, Creek Park Gate No. 1, +97143369773, boot camps www.dubaidolphinarium.ae Ifly Dubai, Dubai, Mirdiff City Centre, Free Lifestyle consulta+97142316292, tion and fitness body www.iflyme.com composition test.Abu Dhabi, Sadiyaat Beach Club, Saadiyat Island, +97125578000, www. sbgolfclub.ae Packages developed for Sharjah Golf and Shooting Club, individual needs and goals. Sharjah, +97143999005, www.golfandshootingshj.com Sharon.james@element-fitness.net www.element-fitness.net SkiDubai, Dubai, Mall of The Emirates, Element-fitness +97144094000, www.skidxb.com 050 2771317 Spacewalk Abu Dhabi, Abu Dhabi, +97124463653, www.spacewalk.ae

Health, Safety & Training

Safety Lessons Marine Concept Yacht Charter & Sea School, Rania Business Centre, Dubai, +971559603030, www.marine-charter-concept.com Safety & Leisure Training Middle East, Dusseldorf Business Point, Al Barsha 1, Dubai, +97144502418, www. sltme.com Sport & Health Centres The Physio Center, Suite 405, Building 49, Dubai Healthcare City, Dubai, +97144370570, www.physiocentre.ae

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OutdoorUAE - January 2012.  

OutdoorUAE - January 2012.