Climbing in KSA

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The features and landscape of Saudi Arabia provide an ideal playground for adventurers. The Unique environment in Saudi Arabia offers unlimited opportunity for caving, rock climbing, hiking and desert travel.


This site is dedicated to those in Saudi Arabia who dare to live on the edge; the dreamers who aim to test the limits of both mind and body.

 

Welcome to your door to climbing in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia!

Top left: Faisal’s finger

Bottom Left: Waterfall Corner in Tuwaig Escarpment

Right: Edge of the world



Mountain climbing has not previously been popular in the Middle East as we live far from any big mountains, yet it is growing in popularity quickly. In the past few years we have seen the first Arab climbing Everest as well as the seven Summits (The highest mountain on each continent, including everest) who was a Kuwaiti mountaineer named Zaid Al-Refaie, and we have also been able to celebrate the first Saudi ascent of Mt Everest, Faruq Al-Zouman in 2008, first Saudi woman in 2013, Raha Moharrak, and, personally, I have had the pleasure of raising the saudi flag and being the first Saudi on the top of two other "Seven Summits", the highest mountain in Antarctica, "Mt. Vinson" which I climbed in 2008 and the highest mountain in North America, "Denali" which I climbed in 2010, as well as being the first Saudi to climb all 7 summits in 2012. Even though we live in a desert, Saudi's have shown that we are able to be successful on the worlds most dangerous and difficult mountains. Mountains on which people fail every year.

For a brief explanation of mountaineering, I would say that mountaineering is the sport of getting to the top of big mountains while using techniques and tools designed to do so. Trips can last from 2 days for smaller mountains up to 2 and a half months for mountains above 8000M.  It is not an easy sport by any means. While climbing, a climber will battle bad weather, cold, exhaustion, lack of sleep, hunger, altitude and more. Personally I have faced weather of -40 degrees, I have run out of food while being stuck in a storm, faced winds of over 100KPH, had damage in my nerves and have had to help rescue people who were in worse situations than mine. 

So how can someone prepare for climbing? Well first of all, a climber must learn the skills necessary to be safe in the mountains. This can be done through classes or through small trips with experienced climbers. After he has learned the skills of how to survive in the mountains, he can begin to do climbs and with each new climb, a climber can increase the difficulty and altitude of the climb until he can safely climb big mountains. To give an idea of what it takes to be ready, generally a big climb needs up to 6 months of training and planning. If someone were to start from nothing, they need between 2 to 4 years of dedication to be able to safely climb everest. Even then, a climb of big mountains will always be dangerous and climbers can be hurt or killed by avalanches, falls, falling ice and rocks, other people falling, weather and other things. I like to use the success rates of big mountains to really portray just how much external factors such as weather, illness and weakness can affect a climbers chances of getting to the top. To give an example, the summit success rate of climbers on Denali is only 50% every year and many of the people who fail to reach the top are very experienced climbers.

Some people ask; If there are such dangers, why do you climb? Climbing in mountains is a very fulfilling sport. While climbing, you face challenges and situations that are like solving a puzzle. At the same time, you get to experience nature and be witness to beautiful views. Climbing allows you to succeed in the most difficult situations known to man. And sometimes, when you do not succeed, as I did not succeed in climbing Mt baker due to weather, you still enjoy your time in the mountains.

To all people who wish to pursue any sports in the mountains, I would like to say remember one thing; Mountaineering is an inherently dangerous sport and accidents can occur which can result in injury and/or death. Please do not practice any sports at altitude like mountaineering or rock climbing without professional instruction and with a knowledgable, experienced climber.


Bandar Bin Khalid F. Al-Saud

Note from the Editor

 

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