Middle East

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JEDDAH: Seeking ‘new heights’, Saudi Arabian climbing enthusiasts flock to the desert near NEOM to try 100 new routes that were launched late last year as part of Rise 100, the kingdom’s first climbing festival.

Single-pitch routes have become a favorite destination for a rapidly growing group of high-knit climbers and adventurers.

The single-pitch climbing route is up to half the length of the rope (about 30 meters) with an anchor at the end and is accessible to climbers of all levels.

Last December’s Rise 100 set the stage for NEOM’s diverse range of adventure sports offerings. These products are designed to educate thrill-seekers, not just sports, and raise environmental awareness.

Now, while indoor climbing gyms are opening across the country, more and more events are bringing international and local climbers together.

The result is a burgeoning community of young but dedicated climbers.

“It ruled my life,” says Abdul Rahman Abughazala, a 25-year-old mechatronics engineer, after getting interested in sports in college.

A young adventurer’s day revolves around climbing.

The new route opened at NEOM “means a lot for the climbing community,” he added.

“New climbers can experience different types of rocks and climbing styles, which is very beautiful. And it’s easier for climbers from the north to the Middle East to come to Saudi Arabia and try climbing here,” he said. told Arab News.

By bolting more routes around the Kingdom, climbers can learn how to deal with different types of climbing and rock types, gaining more exposure and diversity.

Pioneering Saudi climber Faisal Al-Dosari said the hard granite rock favored Tanoma, a popular climbing destination in the southwest of the kingdom.

“Granite is stronger and less brittle,” he said.

“On NEOM, it’s a bit closer to sandstone, which makes it more fragile. Luckily, the route is bolted so deep that it’s safe. You will be able to deal with rocks.”

Abghazara agreed that Saudi Arabia’s wide variety of rock types could play a big role in attracting overseas climbers to the kingdom.

Al-Dosary, who was part of the team that co-opened the first dedicated indoor climbing center in Saudi Arabia, said it was encouraging to see so many young climbers taking part in the sport.

“It’s a skill that needs to be developed at an early age, and it helps with flexibility and strength,” he said.

If you follow this path, “then you’ll have an Olympic-level climber.”

“I am excited for the future because I know our potential and it is only a matter of time before our community thrives,” Abghazzara said.

The growth of the sport has also led to an increase in environmental awareness, which “has a huge impact on our perception of nature,” he said.

“As climbers and nature lovers, leaving the site intact or in better condition is just as important as the climbing action. It’s a one man job.”

Climbers believe that the NEOM route is just the beginning for Saudi Arabia, and that the desert region and mountains of Saudi Arabia are destined to attract climbers from all over the world.

https://www.arabnews.com/node/2140106/saudi-arabia Bangladesh expands support for Saudi Arabia’s Expo 2030 bid

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