The UAE's highest mountain officially has a zip line, and as expected, it’s the region’s largest.
Located in Ras Al Khaimah, the 470-metre-long Via Ferrata –meaning iron street/path in Italian- offers residents and tourists one of the most exhilarating outdoor activities available in the UAE.
It includes three courses along the rocky facades of Jebel Jais, which rises 6,266 feet into the sky and is part of the rugged Al Hajar mountain range.
These three ‘rides’ each have a zip line, measuring 165 feet, 195 feet and 985 feet.
The longer the distance, the bigger the degree of difficulty.
“All visitors will need to prove themselves on the standard course before being allowed on one of the more technical routes,” explained Haitham Mattar, CEO of Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority (RAKTDA)
“It’s a unique opportunity to experience the dramatic Jebel Jais scenery at just under 400 feet – that’s the height of a 30-storey building.”
Emirati adventurer Al Mazrouey, one of the first people to try out Via Ferrata, described the whole experience as “a cross between rock climbing and mountaineering”.
“It gives outdoor enthusiasts a chance to reach the same high, vertical faces as rock climbers, without the same strenuous training or severe risk because of the metal-ladder rungs fixed into the rocks and the cable to which you are secured,” Al Mazrouey added.
“This is where accessible adventure meets the extreme.”
Here is a more in-detail breakdown of each of the courses:
• The standard and easiest course, the Ledge Walk, will take a group of up to eight adventurers around four hours to complete. It starts with a gentle climb through sedimentary rocks, goes into a vertical stretch which leads to the 50-metre zip line which runs 20 metres above a ledge below. A gradual slope then leads to the 60-metre zip line, 70 metres above the nearest ledge before another path leads to 300-metre long zip line for the journey back to the middle section. From here the return back to the wadi is about 225 metres long.
• The middle, technical route – the Middle Path – will take around 3.5 hours and comprises three vertical sections and a horizontal traverse. It rises 60 metres from the wadi bed to join the Ledge Walk before the ﬁrst zip-line. The route is aided by steel pedals and rungs and includes two overhang sections. After completing the Middle Path, guests continue on the standard route including the three zip-lines and a walk out.
• The higher, vertical route – Julphar Scare – will take around 1.5 hours. This is the most direct route to the long zip line. It’s a 120-metre ascent using ladders through five different vertical sections with adjoining horizontal sections.
In case you’re put off by the prospect of doing this during the UAE’s scorching summer, know that the average temperature up there is 10 degrees Celsius below Gulf averages.
So did you think you have what it takes?
If you want to book your place, go to jebeljais.ae/book-now/