Overview ** As of 2016 the boarder check point is closed to all expats and visitors. As far as I can tell there is no way to reach this crag now. ** If anyone has any updated info on this please post and/or let me know.
Hatta Crag is very popular because of it’s close proximity to Dubai. The crag itself is located in Oman near a stone marble quarry. The crag is composed of limestone and has an excellent selection of large holds that have been eroded into impossible shapes. The limestone can be extremely abrasive and sharp in places. Most of the routes are a short 9 to 30 meters (sport & trad). Hatta Crag has many overhanging problems as well as some decent slab routes. Many of the routes start with large holds then finish with a crisp slab. The crag also offers several good trad routes from chimneys, to cracks, to face climbs. Over all Hatta Crag has something for everyone.
From Dubai take road E44 toward Hatta. The drive takes approximately one to one and a half hours.
Leave Dubai driving southwest on E44. You will drive straight through two roundabouts following signs for 44 Hatta. After second roundabout an the town of Madam you will come to the Oman boarder post. You will need to show a passport for everyone in the car. Shortly after the border-crossing watch for a group of small mountains/hills on the left side of the road. The crag is on the opposite side of these hills. Turn left on an unmarked road just before a large building complex on the left that resembles a prison. The turn is unmarked so stay in the left lane and look for a gap in the guard rail adjacent to the “prison like" building and the first petrol/gas station on the left. Once off E44 and with the building on your right and the petrol station on your left, there is a fork in the road. Go right. Continue on the paved road till it passes directly over a truck weigh station. You don’t have to drive over the scale. It can be bypassed to the right. Continue along the paved road till it takes an obvious right turn with a dirt road tracking straight ahead. Take the dirt road and pass under a small red & white arm gate.
Road to Hatta
Once on the dirt road the mountain straight ahead is where the crag is located. However, it is on the backside of this mountain. Continue on the most frequented dirt road through the stone quarry keeping this mountain on your left. Contour the mountain around to the backside (North side) and the road will end. This is where you park. The crag will be visible from here (see photo).
It is also possible to bypass the stone quarry altogether by going left at the fork in the road. This road is a little rougher and not as easy to follow. Just contour your way around keeping the mountain on your right if you choose this route.
The crag is physically in Oman and there is one boarder checkpoint to cross. Until recently (Jan 2011) you did not need a passport. In Jan 2011 we were turned around because we didn't have one. Be sure to bring a passport for everyone in the car.
There is no fee or need to get a visa if you are only going to the crag. You do not even need to get out of the car. The boarder-post is on the main road and only takes a few minutes to cross. If you plan on driving further, to the town of Hatta, you will have to pass through a second checkpoint which is further down the road past the crag. At the second checkpoint there are additional formalities (i.e. paperwork and visas). ** As of 2016 this boarder check point is closed to all expats and visitors. As far as I can tell there is no way to reach this crag now. **
The dirt road used to access the crag tracks through private property (the stone quarry) so be respectful as to preserve this privilege. There are a few laborers that live out here full-time and you will drive near by there accommodations.
When to climb
The wall is primarily north-facing, making it cooler throughout the day. The sun is on the face for only a few hours in
the morning. It is comfortable to climb from October to May. In the summer months the temperature can reach 112 Degrees Fahrenheit (44 C). There is almost no rain except for the occasional shower in the winter months.
Some people do climb throughout the summer months. It is HOT but doable. I prefer the afternoon in the summer. The early morning (sunrise) is good but you may only get in a few routes before the sun hits and the temperature climbs quickly. In the afternoon the temperature is warmer than in the morning, but the entire crag is in shade. Bring plenty of water, and a headlamp is useful if you plan to climb till sunset.
There is camping available anywhere at the base of the crag. The ground is flat and rocky. There are a few trees around, but no fire wood. If you don't need all the amenities of "car camping" you could hang a hammock or just bivouac up at the foot of the crag.
U.A.E. & Oman police: 999
Hatta police Station: 04 852 1111
UAE Rock Climbing by Toby Foord-Kelsey (2009) is a well-prepared, selective guidebook to climbing in the UAE and Oman.
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