Jebel Ahkdhar

At the top of Jebel Akdhar the temperature is around 10 degrees cooler than in Muscat and crucially it is a dry heat. This means that long, daytime rides can be done – and the scenery is absolutely spectacular.

We went for a weekend staying on the Thursday Night (the weekend in Oman is on Thursday/Friday) at the top of Jebel Akdhar at the imaginatively named  Jebel Akdhar Hotel.. We left Muscat at 7 and an hour later we were at the gatehouse. It is worth mentioning at this point that you have to be in a 4 x4 to be allowed through the gatehouse and up the mountain. We then got a good look at the climb we would be doing the next day. The climb itself is higher than the Ventoux Climb, and steeper than Alpe d’Huez at an average gradient of 12% and over 25% gradient in some places.

The first day involved a day out exploring the roads at the top of the mountain – which are impressively maintained, and of a consistently high quality. Despite it being an ‘easy day’ managed 75km and over 2000m of climbing at altitude (a lot). The night passed without incident although I have to report that despite booze being available at the hotel no-one attempted the 12 pint challenge.

Surprisingly the rain held off the next day leaving a bright, sunny and cool start where we dropped from the hotel at the top down to (just above) the gatehouse below – you need a 4x4 to use these roads apparently. Even dropping down involved some tough climbing, and needless to say the descents were fast and hairy. The clinb was something else despite having a compact chainset and a really effeminate cassette I had to stand on the pedals all the way up the climb. After 2hrs and 40 minutes of abject suffering I was back where I started at the JAH absolutely shattered Some unfortunate souls had begun from the bottom and as you can imagine I offered my sympathies for their return to the bottom of the climb.

All in all  - recommended.

Jebel Ahkdhar