VIDEO: Could this be the UAE's ultimate adrenaline adventure?
Ras Al Khaimah’s first proper outdoor adventure tour will see you climbing mountains (and then leaping off of them).
Speak to most adventure enthusiasts, mountaineers, or rock climbers, and they’ll tell you that trekking is the weak sibling of adventurous outdoor sports. A little too slow, a little too vanilla, not enough heart-thumbing adrenaline.
But in reality, some of the most thrilling adventures in the world involve simply putting one foot in front of the other, and jumping off a cliff… feet first – an experience you can now try right here in the UAE.
VIDEO: What’s On hangs tough at Jebel Jais Via Ferrata
HOW DO I GET THERE?
In Ras Al Khaimah – Dubai’s adventurous big brother – the new Jebel Jais Via Ferrata is the emirate’s flagship adventure experience. To get there, head for Ras Al Khaimah on the E311 towards Manar Mall. It should take you just over an hour and a half if traffic is on your side. From Manar Mall, the team offers free transfers to base camp.
WHAT CAN I EXPECT?
At the foot of Jebel Jais, the UAE’s highest mountain range, climbers get kitted up for a four-hour, 1km guided adventure tour along a special Via Ferrata route across the mountain’s cliff edge.
Italian for Iron Path, a Via Ferrata is a cross between rock climbing and mountaineering. It’s a protected climbing route that uses steel cables, which are fixed to the rock face. Climbers secure themselves to the cable and traverse across the rock.
But what makes Jebel Jais Via Ferrata so special? Well, it’s got three spectacular ziplines. The last one is a monstrous 300m-long stretch from one mountainside to the other. But to get there is an adventure all on its own…
It takes a few minutes to get to grips with your Via Ferrata kit. There are special lanyards that connect to a climbing harness and feature two shock-absorbing arms. A pair of carabiners sit at the end of each arm, which connect you to the wires bolted into the mountain. The special kit acts like your safety net.
If you slip, the cables keep you connected to the mountain. As you traverse up, down and along the mountainside, you will need to unclip one ‘biner at a time over the steel bolts, that are secured into the cliff. It’s a little cumbersome at first, but soon you’ll get into a good rhythm.
We have several guides with us for The Ledge Walk journey. There’s one guy at the front; one in the middle; and one at the back. They make the journey even more exciting. Full of stories and experiences, the Absolute Adventure boys keep you focused but entertained as you almost unwittingly climb higher and higher away from the winding road below.
The whole way up, we’re attached to the mountain. It’s our backup parachute as we clamber over rocks, pull up ladder rungs, and squirm ever upward on the rocky face.
As we gently climbed and turned the first corner, we reached zip line number one – a 50m-long wire about 80m-high – at the top of a vertical stretch.
Heart thumping we leap off the edge zooming straight to the splat pad on the other side. We reach the end, alive, before heaving ourselves up and back on the cliff. Scared and exhilarated, we’re practically begging to journey on.
*WARNING: Once you pass this point, there’s no going back. You have to finish the route.*
A gradual slope then leads to the 60m zip-line before another path takes you to a ladder which you need to climb up to get to the almighty 300m-long beast. It takes a few seconds to pluck up the courage for this one as you can barely see where it ends!
What a ride!
So there you have it. Ras Al Khaimah’s first proper outdoor adventure tour that’s thrilling and fun but accessible to all; it offers outdoor enthusiasts a chance to access the same high, vertical faces as rock climbers, without the same rigorous training or nerve-racking risk; a brilliant adventure that combines the accessible with the extreme, and it’s one we’ll be returning to that’s for sure.
THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW
– Children are welcome but they must be over 50kg
– The maximum weight limit is 100kg
– A standard tour lasts about four hours. The more people on the tour, the longer it takes
– Tours take place five days a week (excluding Mondays and Tuesdays)
– Tours run from 9am to 1pm and 1pm to 5pm
– Jebel Jais Via Ferrata costs Dhs400 per person
You can book your spot online at jebeljais.ae