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Wadi Ta’ab – The Extreme Wadi

December 6, 2018

From one adventure to the next, the season is here and I’m still on a mission to seek out the incredible things that Oman has to offer and to keep pushing my own limits.

After hearing wild tales of Wadi Ta’ab this has been on my adventure list for a long time. With my brother arriving in town I rounded up a couple of friends, Sarah and Lauren, and managed to get us places on the ever popular trips with Wadi Adventure.

The 3.15am alarm call certainly wasn’t ideal but sometimes you have to sacrifice a little sleep to have the time of your life.

Wherever we go, we like to bring the energy and in the middle of all those rocks you will find us, the crazy ones.

After all, we only get one shot at this life. Why waste it doing things that don’t light up the fire inside us?!

When I had heard previous tales about Ta’ab I knew of people freezing with terror as they are faced with the huge 45m abseil into the rocky bowl below. If you freeze or freak out there isn’t much else to do but gain your composure and get that sh*t done because there isn’t any way back…

Abseiling 45m over the side of a cliff is no joke. Like seriously, it’s terrifying.

Thankfully I had the calming influence of Asim to reassure me that he wouldn’t let me die. Or at least “I’ll try not to”, it was better than nothing. My heart was racing, my hands were shaking and I had already had to go and pee behind a boulder to get that over with just incase I peed in fear. You might think I’m joking but I’m not, this was a lot of trust to put in someone and in the equipment.

As I lined myself up on the cliff edge and leaned my body backwards to assume the position of the abseil I agreed with Asim “No one has to die today” and he laughed. He looked calm & confident which reassured me a little more.

Because I like to punish myself, I took a quick peek behind me as I began to repel down the cliff edge. Dammit. I wish I hadn’t done that. This was high!

As I got into the rhythm of the descent I became more comfortable in what I was doing and the fear became less and less. Thankfully the hand shaking became less too. It was magical. I felt like a badass adventurer that totally had her sh*t together. That’s pretty much one of my favourite feelings because it doesn’t happen often, so I had to document it. Taking my GoPro from inside my lifejacket I halted my ropes and posed for a selfie half way down.

Look at that smile! 50% – Delighted! 35% – Total fear and 15% – This selfie better work!

I don’t know how to describe that achievement other than AMAZING!

After the main 45m abseil was completed, every subsequent abseil felt like a breeze. It was enjoyable and I found that I was daring myself to be faster on the descent and more competent. When you enjoy what you are doing you then have the ability to take the opportunity to enjoy the views and appreciate the location. It was gob smacking at how beautiful and amazing this place is.

Well, it feels super beautiful until your day dream is interrupted by having to squeeze your butt into a small space in the rock and wriggle your body down inside the cavern as a river flows in on top of you. This is a good test claustrophobia levels! Ahhh the things we do for fun!

 

Life at 100 mph finally catches up with me and amongst all the abseils and safety checks I was found curled up and grabbing a quick power nap on a rocky ledge. By this point the exhaustion level was very real!!

We continued to perservere through the massive rocky caves & boulder fields jumping in and out of water pools, some impossibly deep and some that felt impossibly long as we swam through them. The November chill and little direct sunlight making it’s way past the high valley walls, the water was extremely cold to jump into time and time again as we progressed through the Wadi.

Now for the part that would break most people…. And the reason I don’t have any pictures of this section was because I needed to have full concentration with a 350m vertical free climb up the wadi walls. Again, Im not joking. A 350 METER VERTICAL FREE CLIMB. This requires endurance, strength, calm attitude and concentration.

In some sections we perched our bodies tight against the rock with our toes balanced on a narrow rock ledge and our fingers grabbing a hand hold certainly no bigger than a iPhone. It’s easy to type now but after hours on the move and being dunked in frozen water  again and again we were feeling pretty drained.

This is not a challenge for the weak and unfit.

After a strenuous 9 hours in the Wadi, and said to be one of the fastest group times they have ever had on this route, we were exhausted and relieved to reach the village and the finishing point.

The “What the heck just happened?!” look on my face explains it all.

My summary of the trip may sound horrible, it wasn’t, but that is the real story of what goes into these trips and what is behind the smiling selfies on rocky ledges.

Ta’ab was wild and exhausting and every kind of wonderful I could have imagined it to be. It was worth every single rial spent and the struggle of that horribly early wake up call.

I frikkin’ LOVED it!

The Safety Part: If you are heading into locations like this then PLEASE go with an experienced guide – This is not a Wadi you can just turn up at on your own. This is serious stuff where ropes, harnesses and experience is essential. I highly recommend the Wadi Adventure team on this trip. Asim & Ahmed were amazing from start to finish keeping us all safe and calm on a new experience.

Want to see more of my day to day life? Find me on Instagram.

 

Have a great day,

Heather

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