On bare feet or on shaky sandals, their donkeys fully loaded with food and crops, these men and women would go up and down this rocky cliff as it meant nothing, while we tourists can barely make it without fainting.”
Jabal Sham, or in english the mountain of the sun, is the highest peak of Oman, standing tall at 3,028 m. It’s one of the favorite sight for tourists, who come to see the Oman “Grand Canyon”, better know as Wadi Guhl. Most will come by car following the same trail I took last night, just to stand on the edge of the canyon for an instagram selfie, and drive back down right after. Others, will come up for the week-end to camp and enjoy a campfire under the stars.
The other way to enjoy the place is to leave your car at the bottom of the mountain and follow the old trail from the bottom of the wadi, marked as Oman National Trail W6, up to the first plateau, then move on to Trail W4 all the way to the summit, and sleep there before coming back down in the morning. The W6 (a & b) requires nerves and a good acceptance of heights, as you stroll on a cliff hanger for a good portion of the canyon with no safety net. The second part, on W4, is a lot more accessible. Those two paths were the main connections for the inhabitants of the area, going up and down the mountain. On bare feet or on shaky sandals, their donkeys fully loaded with food and crops, these men and women would go up and down this rocky cliff as it meant nothing, while we tourists can barely make it without fainting. Between the edge and the heat, it’s best not to venture there if you’re not fully prepared for it.
It’s a good brake from all the driving to stay for an extra day and trek around. Just the W4 from the plateau to the summit and back takes me most of the day, and offers amazing views of the range. Along the way, the usual herd of goats challenging gravity as they casually find their way up and down vertical cliffs. Circling above them a few Egyptian vultures wait for one to trip and fall. The air is fresh enough to make this climb pleasant. And at the summit the wind is “almost” cold. It would be a great spot to sleep, but I reached it too early, and besides, left all my sleeping gears in the car to be as light as possible. I reach back the Hotel at the starting point of the trail right before sunset. Tourists here to spend the night are taking pictures of themselves. Further along, a local villager enjoys the last rays of light of the day, sitting on the edge of the never ending cliff.
Tonight I will treat myself, and enjoy diner at the hotel buffet, before a second night on Jabal Sham.