The jagged cliffs of the remote Al Hajar range dare Fergus Scholes to accept a vertigo-inducing via ferrata challenge and a gruelling 30km canyon run.
The Al Hajar range, about 50km inland from the Gulf of Oman, couldn’t be further from the glitz of the cities synonymous with the Middle East. These remote mountains are Oman’s majestic calling card, with vast panoramas and topography to rival any of the world’s best canyon lands. Peaks rise to 3,009m above sea level; deep wadis sheer vertically through the arid, untamed landscape.
It’s the perfect place to undertake two extreme physical challenges. My plan is to test out a via ferrata (or climbing route) that opened last year created to explore the mountains’ thrilling vertical elements; then, the next day, join together a series of four remote footpaths – each classed a “day hike” – into a single gruelling, testing run, covering 30km and 2,500m ascents. The trip can’t come soon enough.