Dubai: Trekkers in the UAE, regardless of their experience, should go on treks only with professional guides from reputable operators to minimise risks, an official in Ras Al Khaimah said.
The recommendation came following the death of an Indian trekker who fell off the Galila mountain on September 21. Fellow trekkers said the woman, a seasoned trekker and long-distance runner, had run out of water and was dehydrated after an eight-hour trek before falling to her death.
The Galila Mountain in Ras Al Khaimah has three sections and one of which is called the Stairway to Heaven, a dangerously steep 1,500-metre climb with man-made “stairs” made from rocks piled on top of each other, used by shepherds for their goats to climb on in the past.
But the section where the trekkers trekked is a “moderate” one, because of its terrain and the lack of water in the area.
You need a minimum 6 litres of water per person if you’re going on a two-hour trek during this time of the year, because it’s hot.”
- Mustafa Sahin | Chief mountaineer, Challenging Adventure
Ras Al Khaimah Police have reminded trekkers and adventure seekers to coordinate with them before their trips to the emirate, which is becoming the UAE’s adventure capital.
Haitham Mattar, CEO of Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority (RAKTDA), said trekking with professional guides is what they recommend.
“RAKTDA is saddened to hear of the recent accident. The safety and security of all visitors to Ras Al Khaimah is of upmost importance and we always recommend — irrespective of experience and skills — that visitors prepare for every precaution when looking to enjoy the emirate’s natural landscape, and explore the hiking routes with a professional guide,” Mattar told Gulf News.
“It is important to understand that no outdoor activity is entirely risk-free, which is why we recommend joining a guided tour or booking through a reputable tour operator,” he said.
Mattar said trekkers could get in touch with operators like Challenging Adventure, Adventurati Outdoor, and Wonder Lead before the trip.
“Professional instructors and guides are experts in planning routes, identifying risk levels, minimising hazards, taking precautionary measures, and have the right first aid care and emergency support measures planned.”
Mattar said mountain trekking is a popular sport across the UAE, but it requires the right preparation in such an extreme environment.
Part of the preparation is to check the weather at the location on the day of the hike and to conduct proper orientation of the trek’s hazards, especially the terrain, said Mustafa Sahin, chief mountaineer at Challenging Adventure.
Staying hydrated is also key. “You need a minimum 6 litres of water per person if you’re going on a two-hour trek during this time of the year, because it’s hot. But if you can’t carry it, don’t do it. Don’t go,” Sahin, who has done a number of mountain rescues in the past, told Gulf News.
Tips for trekkers
■ Let people know where you’re going and what time you expect to come back.
■ Check the weather before proceeding. If the weather is bad, abort the trip.
■ Do your research on the trip and ask advice from people who know the trail.
■ Pack light but take lots of water, electrolytes, and food. When you realise your water is not enough anymore, go back. Think about it, if you get lost or if you take a fall, will the water you have be enough to sustain you?
■ If somebody falls sick or is not able to continue with the trek, go back together. Don’t leave him or her behind alone to continue with the trek. If you climbed up there as a team, you climb down as a team.