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Rock Climbing in Margalla Hills - Islamabad, CDA, Islamabad
Rock Climbing in Margalla Hills - Safety & Conservation
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Introduction
Rock climbing can be fun and challenging. If you are not an outdoors person, then rock climbing might appear to be a hazardous and wild activity. The sport has improved a lot within the last few years, making it more secure and simpler to learn than it used to be previously. It is a sport of control, stamina and skill that could offer a large amount of personal satisfaction and excitement. With highly developed gears, excellent training and other latest inclusions like the indoor climbing sports centers. Climbing is not all difficult and can be equated with learning how to swim or attempting gymnastics.

Few capital cities in the world come close to matching Islamabad for the quality and accessibility of climbing right on the doorstep. The only wonder is that it’s taken so long for much of it to be developed. Or rather, to start being developed. While the number of climbs has trebled in the last few years to now stand at over 50 bolted lines, the next ten years will hopefully see hundreds more added.

What we have now is a good range of crags, steep and slabby, sunny and shady, and a good range of grades (4a-8a). Most of the routes in the Margallas favor the advanced and expert climber. It is important to have the proper experience and know how to be safe.

Safety precautions
Whenever you climb, you are expected to exercise your ability and gears at hand to prevent any kind of injury. Appropriate training and gears facilitate lesser threat and hazards. However, it would not be able to get rid of the threats and hazards completely. It is vital to consider each and every aspect and be appropriately prepared and obtain suitable instructions prior to the ascent.

Belaying
A huge element of climbing is increasing knowledge and making use of the correct gears that would act as your protection just in case of a fall. Whenever you are climbing, remember that there is a possibility that you may fall; therefore you require some kind of support and have to consider safety measures. The most important technique for that is called belaying. Basically, belaying plainly implies that the climber is tied to a rope, where the rope is fastened to some kind of permanent object, and on the opposite end of the rope, another person called the belayer holds on to and controls the equipment. There are more than a few techniques for protecting the rope that are attempted while attempting different climbing conditions.

Equipment
Almost all routes at the Margallas are well equipped with expansion bolts and lower-offs to give very convenient sport climbing. Some of the older routes have only a single bolt at the anchor. For all of the sport routes a rack of 10 quickdraws should suffice. For a few routes a 60m rope is needed – notably Puzzled Monkey at Jungle Rock and Trekking in the Dark at Said Pur View. More generally a 50m rope will be enough.

While top-roping routes repeatedly please use a locking karabiner at the anchor rather than passing the rope directly through the in-situ anchor chain ring. This will greatly extend the life of the anchor chains.

Responsibility
Climbing is dangerous. With good knowledge and careful use of equipment the climbs in Margalla may be climbed in relative safety. However, all climbers are responsible for their own decisions and actions, including the need to assess any fixed equipment and not to rely on any bolt or other in-situ equipment unless they have personally judged it to be reliable.

Access & Conservation
There are no serious issues preventing access to climb on any of the crags contained in this guide. However, Margalla climbing is becoming more popular and as it does so climbers should be careful to avoid behaving in such a way as to threaten the good relations we currently have with park officials and local people. This means not leaving litter, clearing the litter of others, not making undue noise, not adding graffiti, etc. It isn’t rocket science but it is important.

Safety & Conservation Tips:

• Make sure all of your gear is in good, working condition.
• Never climb alone.
• Watch for falling rocks and be careful about dropping rocks on people below.
• Wear a helmet.
• Take drinking water.
• Open cliffs are very dangerous during a lightning storm; seek safe shelter away from the rim and tall trees.
• Plan ahead and prepare:
• Know and follow all park regulations.
• Research climbing routes in advance of your visit.
• Schedule your trip to avoid times of high use.
• Check out weather forecasts.
• Please help protect your national park.
• The use of top anchors decreases impacts on cliff-top ecology.
• Please do not use tree trunks or other vegetation as anchors.
• Defacing, damaging, or altering the natural rock surface is prohibited.
• Use "Leave No Trace Outdoor Ethics"


Established Climbing Routes In Margalla Hills

1. Jasmine Corner & Music Lounge:
Two interesting sites, approachable using same parking (3 kms above Daman-e-Koh ), Jasmine Corner site maybe developed as family picnic spot with arrangement of umbrellas, benches and BBQ place. Climbing routes are good for beginners and novice climbers ( 4 to 5 French grade )

2. Saidpur Village:
Outside the village, there are good sites for various grade climbing. Those include:
a. Beetles Nest / Hang Loose 5 a + with good space for large teams and spectators at belay area
b. Saxony Ramp-easy grade climbing for beginners ( route bolts are missing )
c. Team Work-Difficult approach, with space for large teams-Grade 5 to 6+
d. Belvedere-Difficult approach, no space for large groups-Grade 6+
e. Monkey Tower-easy route-Grade 4+ to 5
f. Godís Rock-No space at base-Grade 5 to 6

3. Trail 3:
Using the parking of Trail 3, its 15-20 minutes uphill walk tor Legacy rock with multiple routes of advanced level starting from 6a. No vast space available at belay area

4. Daman-e-Koh / Jungle Rock:
Using the parking of Daman-e-Koh, one has to follow a tricky uphill trail. The place is OK for small parties with advance level climbing routes of 6a+

5. Shahdarra Picnic Spot:
An interesting place but right on the road side. Routes available from 5a onwards. Easy approach, parking available with good space for teams and spectators


A guide to Monkey Business - A Guide to Climbing in Margalla 2012 edition