Ascent of Jabal Bil Ays - West Peak on 2016-12-07
|Others in Party:||Denise Mclellan -- Trip Report or GPS Track|
|Date:||Wednesday, December 7, 2016|
|Ascent Type:||Successful Summit Attained|
| Motorized Transport to Trailhead:||Car|
|Peak:||Jabal Bil Ays - West Peak|
| Location:||United Arab Emirates/Oman|
| Elevation:||6207 ft / 1891 m|
Ascent Trip ReportThere are some things one comes across in life which defy explanation and the high quality multi-lane road being hewn from the limestone hillside to terminate abruptly at a col in the W ridge of Jebel Jais has to be one of them. It starts fairly innocently at a turning from highway 12 at N25.76404, E055.97052 and is signed 'Jebel Jais' but as it winds through the valley and starts to climb it takes on monumental proportions.
The tarmac currently ends at Alt 1338m where a manned barrier prevents further progress for non construction vehicles and pedestrians. The road beyond the barrier appears in the final stages of completion awaiting road furniture and a layer of tarmac.
So much for what we'd expected to be an easy day driving to the summit!
We return a little way down the road to the obvious col in the ridge and park in a large car park provided with car shades. It's very easy to gain the rocky W ridge from here and there's even a path. Once on the crest we leave the path and keep to the N side of the ridge out of sight of the road building crew. Nice easy scrambling up rough limestone. Gaining height the new road and ridge almost merge but no one seems very worried by 2 folk on the narrow rocky crest. Reaching a knoll with mobile phone mast we leave the road and take an old track on its N side which reaches the large level col where the road ends. I assume this is destined to be a road end car park. A narrow brick paved road with barrier continues up the hillside, we avoid this and continue on an old mule track. The angle lessens and we arrive at a large fenced compound with security gate, this is billed as a sheiks summer home but it didn't look as impressive as I'd have expected, equally it didn't look particularly military. Whatever, the way on is right along the outside of the fence towards the bright white UAE / Oman border markers. We get about 200m before being spotted and called back by the guard at the gatehouse. He speaks no English but gesturers we can't proceed as its Oman where we are heading. We keep saying Jebel Jais and pointing at the summit and eventually he waves us on, we continue around the outside of the fence. It's still quite away to the UAE high point over a mix of limestone strewn plateau and rough bulldozed tracks. Only neat white pillars mark the border. The West Peak is something of an anti climax with no recognition of being a Country high point and only a slight dip before the main summit of Jebel Jais. The line of border markers confirm this rather flat rock strewn top is the high point of UAE. Great views including Jebel Harim. There was nothing to stop continuing onto the main summit but already late, with a flight to catch that evening and not really wanting to get caught on the Oman side of the border without a visa by the same military officials we'd met on Jebel Harim yesterday I took Denise's advice and we set off back down. On the descent we take the new road rather than ridge where convenient and no one challenged us. Peaks burned red with sun set and we reached the car in the last of the day light. At last time to eat lunch. A fine end to our brief visit to the Arabian Peninsula with its superbly wild mountains, friendly people and an understanding of wild camping as a way of life.
It's hard to believe that once the road is finished there will be free access to the UAE / Oman border and can easily imagine the whole area getting a 'restricted' designation.
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