Climbers’ delight

JABAL Samhan is attracting global attention particularly among trekkers who love to indulge in adventure tourism. They endorse it as an important trekking and hacking site, giving much room for the authorities to change the tourism map of Oman.

The site not only has leisure trekking element, but also has potential to be used as a proper hiking competition location. Professional trekkers from the United Kingdom, United States, GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council), Alaska, Sweden and Lebanon, took part in the recent trekking events here and appreciated the uniqueness of nature in Dhofar.
In a recently concluded trekking event, a group of six war-injured ex-servicemen took part in trekking on Jabal Samhan. Their trip to Salalah was supported by the Endeavour Fund of UK. The Royal Foundation created Fund is fuelled by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry’s passion for supporting the recovery of wounded, injured and sick (WIS) servicemen and women.
Its team leader Matt Fisher found Jabal Samhan a perfect place to conduct an expedition and called it “the most beautiful scenery” he had ever seen. He and his team scaled the tough terrains of Dhofar and did a camel supported trek of 80-100 km traversing the Jabal Samhan Nature Reserve Escapement from Hasik to Mirbat.
Similar were the reactions of the participants of the Salalah’s first international climbing event held at Jabal Samhan. More than 100 participants from 100 countries took part in it and all of them appreciated the uniqueness of nature in Salalah and availability of all possible elements for such adventure events.
“At Jabal Samhan there is nature, culture and support from all quarters. When I started organising the event, I was not sure about its success, but I was surprised to see more than 100 participants from ten countries and excellent support from authorities,” said Ali Khalil Husain of Hussak Adventure.
“After the event, I realised the potential of the place not only in terms of destination, but also for some excellent climbers. The top two climbers were from Oman and I am sure there are many who could not take part in the event due to various reasons… since the news about the successful event has been spread far and wide, we are expecting better events in future in Salalah,” he said.
The event, Arabian Leopard Challenge, was organised jointly by the Directorate of Tourism in Dhofar and Hussak Adventure. It saw participation from United States, GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) countries, Alaska, Sweden and Lebanon. The first two toppers were from Oman, while the third ranker was a British national. Among women, the first and third rankers were Saudi nationals, while the second ranker was again an Omani.
Hala al Wagdani, who emerged first in the women category, was impressed with the event and its venue, which according to her is a perfect destination for such events.
Climbers Read Macadam and Liam Lonsdale were in Salalah recently in connection with the clean up drive of Jabal Samhan. Commenting on his Salalah visit and engagement with the clean up drive, Macadam said, it was exciting to be in Salalah and engage with some local tour operators and Ministry of Environment.
He rated the mountains around Salalah “very beautiful” and said, “They have cool temperatures at the summits and offer the prospect of seeing some of the very unique animal and plant life in the mountains. I’m sure just the photos of those mountains inspire visitors.”
He found them fit for adventure tourism, as a section of people are attracted towards mountains. “Well, all mountains are attractive to adventure tourism. Salalah is no different. It is important to preserve the wild nature of those mountains and other natural wonders so that the people continue to want to visit them.”
As an expert climber, Macadam finds great possibility of climbing events at Jabal Samhan. “It has awe-inspiring rocky landscapes that appeal to adventurous climbers like me. I am fortunate to call this place home and to be able to show the world what Oman offers through my talks, photos and film projects and also to invite other international professional climbers to join me in my climbing projects.”

Kaushalendra Singh