Monday, August 11, 2008

Waterfall Rappelling

It was one of the ‘To-Do Things’ in life. And after a day of ups and downs I was finally able to do it. The ‘thing’ is rappelling and it happened in a wonderfully awesome way – not like the ordinary rappelling which you do down a dry hill. This was off a cliff with water from an angry waterfall gushing on your side. Opening eyes was difficult and you couldn’t hear a thing.
Things actually started a lot earlier – at 4.15 AM when the alarm went off. The start of a incredible day was hard to believe too – well.. I took a bath in cold water at 4.30 AM when it was pouring heavily outside!! Anyways, we (4 guys) were at Dadar station by 5.30. And it was truly a surprise to witness a huge rush at 5.30 on a Sunday in the middle of the heavy downpour there. The train journey carried on to Kalwa (near Thane) where other groups joined in and we packed off in a bus to Kasara. Into the wilderness, we reached a small village (again like Malshej Ghat experience, there was no electricity in the village – this, for a place just 3 hours way from Mumbai). Thankfully there was a school (the only pakka building in the area). The rain was on its onslaught – for the whole day. And in a few minutes it was forgotten that something like rain did exist.
After the round of introductions and some photo sessions, we were taken down the 120 feet hill where the professionals were to give a demo of how to rappel down the rock. It was an unforgettable scene when we reached the bottom.

There it was - our huge waterfall, in full force, aided by the incessant rain. In fact, more than the rain, it was the water from the fall hitting us that was a problem. It was tough to open eyes and we had to talk in sign language. Things started to get bad here. Due to the heavy rain, the flow had increased and even the professionals were finding it tough to rappel down and cross the stream in front of the fall to reach the good end of the hill where they could climb back. The water flow was tremendously strong. Anyways, discussion took place. The event was almost called off. All had lunch. And then a final decision was to be taken. After some more discussion, it was decided to have some volunteers go in first and share their experiences with other, based on which they could decide, if they wished to risk their lives. Precautions were in place for the climb down but the problem was crossing the fast flowing stream in front of the fall and there were plenty of rocks there where you could bang your head. Another problem was the rope which was tied to cross the stream was a very strong and sharp one which could cut in your throat if not careful. Anyways, I obviously volunteered along with 5 others. 3 people, with prior experience went down initially. The rain had stopped for a while and the flow was lesser now but the rock was slippery as hell – the algae, not helping the cause. Tejinder went in next. He was the first first-timer (non experienced in rappelling). And unluckily he lost his balance and slipped while doing down. He hit the rock and got hurt. So had to be pulled back up. I was padded up to go in next. And it was an out of world experience for the next 10 minutes. Fully focused on keeping my legs straight and yet fully aware of the awesome beauty of the waterfall by my side, I made my way down. Next part was actually the tougher one - Crossing the stream. 2 times I got flown away by the pressure of stream – my legs moving downstream with the flow and my hands (and mind) holding on to the rope. Though there was a carabiner holding me to the rope but the fear of letting your hands go in a high-pressure situation is something which you don’t want to experience. So after a heady experience, it was some hard work keeping your feet on the ground. Within minutes which were like hours, I was on the other end, exhausted. A long climb up the hill from there and back to bus – it was time to change to something dry after 7 hours of being soaked.

Strange that it is .. we get sleepy in a 2 hour class even after a full night rest.. But the excursion for 22 straight hours was not tiring at the end of the day(except for a cramp here and there ;))

The only sad part was not much of photography could be done as the camera had to kept in due to the rain..

Irony amongst the greenery


B.A. said...

awesome man!!! i really missed an awesome outing...

Cuckoo said...

Oh Oh Oh... you are really enjoying and making most of your stay in Mumbai !!

Great going. Waise ye jagah Kasara se kis direction aur kitni door aage hai ? You could have also taken a train from Dadar to Kasara.

And you change your profile photo very frequently, eh ?


Bonsai said...

Good one Bedi.. Hope Hadiyaan shai salammat hain teri...

SiD said...

@bharat: yup dude.. it was amazing!!

@cuckoo: this profile foto is linked to the orkut foto.. so whenever I change that, it is reflected here ;)
ya.. we cud have taken the train.. but this trip was organised by Youngsterz -

so had to follow the plan.. exact location to even I don't know.. we were on a bus... took a left from the main highway towards a village (forgot its name)

@tarun: haan vai.. sab sahi salamat...

Amey said...

Just one word... wow!

And now, two words, me want :(

SiD said...

@amey: yes.. indeed it was wow!
let me know next time u r in India!! :)

50scent said...

one "Not-to-do thing" here that could have been tempting was trying "fugitive" jump from that fall :P.

Anonymous said...

Hey Sid

Really nice write up and photos.

Thanks for sharing