You know that feeling you get when your going to do something big and your not quite 100% if you are going to pull it off or not? That is usually the feeling i get every day i go out my door.. but this day in particular wasn’t any easier.
I was in blackheath in the comfort of a toasty warm bed and needed to get up to submerge myself in icy cold water.. (you get why I was getting that feeling now :P). Claustral canyon was my very first canyon and it set quite a high standard for me in terms of canyoning, however when i went down the canyon I wasn’t thinking about navigating or remembering any details to make sure i can get out when i try to do it again. HECK, i didn’t think i was ever going to lead expeditions down any canyon let alone take somebody through claustral again.
Today I was taking Faz (Charlies angels) through the canyon.. with our adventure hats on!
It was instant relif in my mind that there were 2 huge groups of canyioners also going down the canyon.. to be honest i thought that the canyoning season was over (and faz hates the cold.. she had to walk in with ALL he wetsuits and shark skins on.. and it was 20 degrees out!)
We walked in for about 30 minutes and then begun the climbing to get to the first set of… slings that we rap off. Ninja Faz followed my lead – not many people abseil from the paint that we did as there is a little bit of a sketch ball scramble to get to the location.
Once Faz was down, i gave her a lecture on how to not loose her ATC (belay device) as this is critical in a canyon.. i also noticed the water was higher than last time so it was even more critical. I encourage faz to go first so she got the “discovering” feeling. As it was my turn to go I stated to put my prusick on and my… OH *#!”??!@ I dropped my ATC. Lucky i knew how to do the munter hitch and abseiled on it… first disaster averted.
We wnet though the three epic abseils and swam out to the stunning crevice that is on the other side of the canyon. I took Faz to a secret spot deep in the canyon off a side tributary where we got to do some caving and found some natural wonderlands.We did more scrambling than is possible, and eventually we got to the water fall of death. No this isn’t a 100m waterfall, it was a mere 1 meter drop into a big water pool. This was the waterfall that scared Faz the most. There was a large undercut on the waterfall that made it difficult to keep your face out of water. She managed to pull herself together and get through it.
All day i was looking out for the exit (after a rather large swim) as the track notes mentioned alot of parties get benighted within the canyon… I didn’t want to sleep in a canyon for a second night in my lifetime so i kept a really good look out! Once we found it, we started to egress.. a small storm cell looked like it was forming and it was already 4pm.. so not much time left.
The scramble out was epic.. a slimy slab (and im not a slab fan on the best of days).. ok great, i have to hoist myself up, hope i don’t die and belay Faz up.. this wasn’t part of the experience 😛
At 5pm the sky was black from the clouds and it started to pour rain and shoot lightning bolts from the sky. There was another really boulderey move about half way along the egress. We decided to rope up and get us up the slippery zone as quickly as possible.
After 2 hours we made it back to the old exit and managed to hitch a ride with a really nice Pakistan guy, who came from the same town that Faz lived in. Once back to the heater, life was great again. It’s still my favorite canyon ❤