Racing Up the Wall
Everywhere you look in Oman, you will definitely find huge mountains standing tall and strong like guardians. While I have been on a number of hikes and treks (and I’m still unsure if I know what is the difference between the two) here, I have never really gathered the courage to try mountaineering for a number of reasons. Firstly, my upper body, especially my arms are so weak that I’ve almost cried after I was asked to do 5 push-ups in a workout session. Also while I am not really scared of heights, but the insecurity of having by the harness and possibly scraping myself against the rough rocks hasn’t seemed like a pleasant idea. At most of all I’ve never really found a person or a group that can train me to try this out in the wild. So at this level, what I needed was a practice field of sorts. And that came along my way as soon as I discovered Muscat Wall Climbing. While wall climbing can be a lot of fun and may look easy, it is a very physically challenging activity. The first time I had tried wall climbing was outside the Al Hoota Caves while we were waiting for our train to come. There was a kid trying to climb up the wall holding on to the different coloured foot and hand grips. He finally managed to get to the top and pressed on the red buzzer, which is when I noticed the timer on the wall. That got us all excited and my friends and I, one by one, attempted to climb the wall and pressed the buzzers
at different times ranging between 7 and 58 seconds. Although I didn’t realise it while climbing due to the time pressure, when I got down I found out that I had worked my arms, legs, and core apart from my mind to strategically place my hands and legs on the grips. This was my cue to look for a climbing centre in Muscat because I could obviously not drive all the way to Nizwa every day. I was grateful to have finally found a fun way to get my pathetically miserable upper body stronger in a fun, sporty way. And Eureka! I found just the best place. Hidden behind the Ghubra Power and Desalination Plant is the Muscat Climbing Centre, a huge space for adventure lovers and strength testers. It is an open hall with different kinds of walls with varied angles of inclinations and differently coloured grippers. There was a lot of energy oozing out of the place, with the bright lights and the pumped up vibes. I was shown around and explained some of the rules of climbing briefly before I decided to try one of the walls out for myself. The first wall I chose was a bad choice for me. It was inclining outwards and had no harness to support. Basically, this was for the pros, which I was not. So then I jumped to the next wall. It had two ropes, one tied on to me and the other one tied on to another person who would stand on the floor whilst I climbed to balance it out. I did have to use my arms, legs, and my mind to get right to the top as climbing a professional wall does require a little bit of strategising when it comes to the placement of hands and legs on grips. While climbing up was a task, coming down was fun too. Just letting go and hanging mid air. There are ways to make this challenging by either setting a time limit or competing with friends or by making sure you use only a single colour of the grip to climb. Wall climbing can also be considered as a warm up for mountain climbing and helps you develop the required skill and strength for it. Well, I am just glad to have found out another activity in Oman that gets added to my weekend workout schedule.
Muscat Climbing Centre, behind the Ghubra Power and Desalination Plant Sun-Thurs 1:00pm-9:00pm Fri-Sat 10:00am-6:00pm +968 9344 4787