Of all the Love It Recommend It experiences we have had, it’s safe to say this is on top!
Jebel Jais’ Zip line – also known as the Via Ferrata.
This was unlike anything we expected. Having done the X Dubai Zip Line over the Dubai Fountain – we thought it would be similar.
When they said “wear athletic clothing” we thought it was an exaggeration. Bah! We are sporty types, we thought. Must be a little walk and a flight of stairs. Get to one end of a zipline. Hold a selfie stick and swing to the other end where a crew of 10 will be waiting with video cameras and wet towels.
We were wrong. VERY wrong.
Things you ought to know about Jebel Jais’s Zip line.
1. IT . IS. HARD. WORK. – We consider ourselves relatively fit and by the end of the 5 hours we spent climbing, we were exhausted and hungry. And had jelly legs. This is not for the faint hearted. There is no wet towels for the beads of sweat or snack breaks. So, be prepared.
2. It’s a day long activity. We left Dubai at 10:30, and reached the tiny Via Ferrata office at 1pm. We got climbing by 2 and were done as the sun set. It look another 2 and a half hours to get back. It is in Jebel Jais. A long drive away.
3. Be careful with gadgets. Remember that while you do have a small backpack on you – you rarely have 2 hands and a secure spot to take stuff out of the bag. Take a few pictures, sure. But remember that if it slips, it’s gone.
4. It’s high. Like a 30-40 storey building. With no windows to protect you. Don’t be a hero, follow the instructors advice. They are n’t being over cautious, they are not THAT type. It’s a real thing. Miss a step and you could damage yourself VERY seriously. (AKA DIE!)
5. Eat. It’s a long day and you could do with the energy. It’s a stressful climb up, but the zip line is SO worth it.
What in the WORLD is a Via Ferrata?
A Via Ferrata (Italian for “iron road”) is a protected climbing route found in the Alps and certain other locations. The essence of a modern Via Ferrata is a steel cable which runs along the route and is periodically (every 1 to 10 metres (3.3 to 32.8 ft) fixed to the rock. Using a Via Ferrata kit, climbers can secure themselves to the cable. The cable can also be used as aid to climbing, and additional climbing aids, such as iron rungs (steeples), pegs, carved steps and even ladders and zip lines are often provided.
Now in regular words – It’s like one long thick cable. You have 2 hooks. You climb by hooking yourself on and off this cable. Take one off, clip one on, take the other off, clip it on. On, off, on off – alternating till you reach the top.
What to expect - The Jebel Jais Via Ferrata involves a combination of walking, scrambling/climbing and zip lining around a purpose built course. Pay attention to the safety instructions. They are the difference between life and long way down.
Can everyone do it? You have to be between 12 and 65 years of age, between 50 and 100 kilos of weight, have moderate fitness levels and be comfortable at heights. No, you need not have climbed a mountain before.
Do they give you a free lift from Dubai? If you can get to Manar Mall in Ras Al Khaimah, they’ll pick you up. When you book, you will be informed of pick up times.
HOW MUCH? AED400 per person. It’s a STEAL! Very well priced and totally worth it. More than all the shopping and ‘guided tour’ type stuff tourists spend on.