Cycling Jabal Al Akhdar
World #44 Road bike climb
Ride 13.9 kilometers, gaining 1,431 meters to elevation 2,020 meters at 10% average grade.
The name Jabal Al Akhdhar means “green mountain,” but this is more an magnificent limestone massif than a mountain. The name green mountain logically derives from an area moist enough to support vegetation, thus “green” in an otherwise barren environment. Jabal Al Akhdhar is part of the Al Hajar mountain range of northern Oman. In 2011 Jabal Al Akhdhar was designated a nature reserve by the Sultan Qaboos.
PJAMM’s Ard Oostra began his climb from the mosque in Birkat Al Mouz
About 5 kilometers from the beginning of the climb.
The following climb summary is by PJAMM’s Ard Oostra, Switzerland:
Jebel Akhdar is the steepest paved road in Oman that I have discovered in my research. According to the website ClimbByBike.com there are some extremely steep unpaved climbs in the southeast, but I found no sources to corroborate that claim. The road continues past the viewpoint on to the northeastern tourist destination of Saiq in the Ad Dakhiliyah Region (northeast Oman), but the true climb ends just beyond the viewpoint at 2035 meters.
The climb begins north of the small village of Birkat Al-Mouz in the Ad Dakhillyah Region of Oman. The approach to the start of the climb from the village is flat, but the climb begins with a steep ascent for several hundred meters and then levels off at a police station and road block. I was told by a guide at the village that the police would not allow a cyclist on the road, but I passed through the checkpoint where officers were posted with feigned ignorance and was not stopped there. As I rode up the mountain, on a couple of occasions police cars drove alongside me, but I ignored them and they eventually drove on without engaging me. Thus, I must say that your chances of getting up the mountain on a bike are uncertain. I believe that my opportunity to ride the mountain was improved because I had a support vehicle with me.
Checkpoint in the background -- make a run for it!! . . .
. . . just kidding 😉
There are some very nice hairpins on this climb.
Be sure to bring 4WD if you have SAG support on this climb because non four wheel drive vehicles are not permitted.
Speed on hairpin.
Arabic 35 on top and western figures for kilometers on the bottom.
There are a few more gradual sections along the climb which does give a bit of relief to this brutal bike climb.
What a find in the desert!
The roadway surface is excellent for the entire climb and there is a narrow lane to the right of the traffic lane that is designated by a yellow line that I was able to ride in or near most of the climb.
Finish -- 2020 meters.
The summit is a brief distance past the viewpoint at 2035 meters and is not named. While there is a parking lot at the viewpoint, all the traffic we observed while at or near the top continued on over the top towards the tourist area to the north. Many of the drivers either honked and/or yelled encouragement at the unique sight of a bicyclists riding up this highway.
So, I come to the Middle East to ride my bike in desert-like conditions and . . .
. . . get rained on. 😕
While the rain did provide a mild respite to the otherwise broiling heat, it did make the roadway very slippery. Even the four wheel drive vehicles had a day of it descending on the wet and slippery road. The steep grade naturally creates danger for trucks descending in the great heat (several escape lanes are available along the descent), but in the rain, the hazard is magnified 10-fold.
Thank you Ard, what an adventure!
Jabal Al Akhdhar has commonly been the principal climb of the annual Tour of Oman, which consists of six stages in February of each year. The climb is exceptionally challenging at 10% average grade over 14 kilometers.
Tour of Oman Stage 5 -- February 2, 2019.
Official Route Map.
2014 Tour of Oman
Excellent article on Jabal Al Akhdar
The Tour of Oman was held for the first time in 2010 and has attracted top professional cyclists each year, including Fabian Cancellara (winner ToO 2010; 4x World Time Trial Champion; 8 stage wins TdF; 3 stage wins Vuelta ), Chris Froome (ToO 2013-2014; TdF 2013, 2015-2017; Giro 2018, Vuelta 2017), and Vincenzo Nibali (ToO 2016; #1 TdF 2014, Giro 2013, 2016, Vuelta 2010)
Chris Froome won the 2013 and 2014 Tour of Oman.
Leader jersey is red in the Tour of Oman.
Stage 5 2019 Tour of Oman on Jabal Al Akhdhar
Photo: Amaury Sport Organization - P. Bailet
2019 Stage 5 profile.
Jabal Al Akhdar Profile -- Tour of Oman.
Wikipedia - Tour of Oman