Ras Al Khaimah has launched the UAE’s first certified adventure training company set to endorse nature lovers in activity instruction, wilderness skills and mountain leadership.
Hajar Mountain Adventures is calling all outdoor aficionados to be part of the country’s first Mountain Leader training course licensed by Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority (RAKTDA).
Starting on Saturday, the Mountain Leader course aims to promote safe enjoyment of the emirate's wildly rugged landscape.
Taking place over three weekends in Jebel Jais, the country's tallest mountain, the course will put participants through their paces in terms of the skills needed to lead groups across mountains, hills and wadis.
Expert instructors from the UK will be on hand to guide trainees in hiking, climbing, abseiling, canyoneering and mountaineering skills, as well as teaching critical leadership skills needed to guide groups through lowland hills, across the desert and along cliffside trails in the Hajar mountains.
“We are seeing adventure travel becoming more and more popular because it is what people are looking for – to be outdoors in nature,” said Raki Phillips, chief executive at RAKTDA.
“Hajar Mountain Adventures not only contributes to making tourism a sustainable driver of the economy, but also ensures that more people can safely enjoy the thrill of adventure sports in our beautiful emirate.”
Get to grips with rope work, navigation, route planning and more
Before being accredited as mountain leaders in the UAE's northernmost emirate, applicants will need to master several skills such as navigation, route planning, rope work, map reading and contour interpretation, as well as less technical skills like motivational speaking and supervision duties.
“Through our progressive skills development courses, leadership training and certified assessments, our mission is to provide visitors with a professional adventure instructor certification framework, ensuring even safer outdoor experiences in the emirate,” said Lee Ellison, owner and director of training at Hajar Mountain Adventures.
And the training course is only step one, those taking part will also need to pass an assessment before they can head off into the wilderness as licensed guides.
Running over two weekends, the assessment course will involve overnight expeditions where trainees show what they're made of by guiding a group of outdoor enthusiasts into and around the mountains.
While demonstrating navigational skills and safety awareness, the soon-to-be guides will also need to successfully mentor the group as they pass through wadis, unmarked mountain passes and ridges.
After completing the training and the four-day assessment course, participants will be awarded the UAE Mountain Leader Certification from RAKTDA, and are then able to apply for a licence to operate as a mountain guide.
Multi-day mountain adventures for all
And if you love the mountains but don’t want to be responsible for leading other people through them, don’t worry.
Hajar Mountain Adventures are also running single and multi-day adventure trips in Ras Al Khaimah where you can try your hand at hiking, rock-climbing, abseiling and dry canyoneering.
Children below 16 who are keen to get to grips with the great outdoors can get involved through half-day taster sessions where they can try scrambling, abseiling or boating.
Licensed and authorised by RAKTDA, Hajar Mountain Adventures is just one of a series of sustainable adventure projects for Jebel Jais mountain.
In April, the emirate unveiled Highlander UAE – the first multi-day long-distance hiking experience in the GCC.
Mountain Leader Training Course costs Dh7,500. Participants will also have to book and pay for an assessment course; hajarmountainadventures.ae