Day 27


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Asia » India » Himachal Pradesh » Manali
July 31st 2011
Published: January 12th 2012
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Today was the first day of the 2 day adventure package that Keenen and i had signed up for yesterday. We had to arrive at the center at 9.30am. By 9.10 i thought it would be a good idea to stop pressing the snooze button and got up, got dressed and headed down to the center.

Keenen was already there and after a cup of chai i picked up my climbing shoes and a rope and the five of us headed to the rock. As well as Keenen and myself there were two other guys and Cindi, the instructor.
We walked for about 15 minutes up a steep narrow path before we reached the rock face. It was only about 25 feet high but below us was a steep drop and you had to climb a little just to get to the place where we stood to belay. We had all climbed before so quickly switched from the automatic belay devices that are usually used to manual belay devices and we got climbing. We climbed for about 4 hours, I could only manage two of the four routes (the other two required inhuman finger strength that id far beyond my feeble grip) but it was good fun, Cindi the instructor quickly realised that she didn't really need to supervise us and so she did some climbing too. After 4 hours Keenen and i had to leave so that we could eat before Canyoning so we headed back down the path and left the others behind to pack up.

We grabbed a 15 minute lunch in a nearby cafe before going back to the center where i was handed a pair of neoprene shoes, a helmet, a harness and a piece of thick material with buckles that i later discovered goes around your bum to protect it when sliding down waterfalls. We set off after the group that had left about 10 minutes before we did with a Nepalese man who carried our wetsuits and other gear and who led us up the very steep path to the first waterfall, the walk took about half an hour and afterwards i was ready to jump straight into the water just to cool down and clean off the dirt and sweat.

I managed to hold off the urge to dive in until i was kitted out in a super thick wetsuit, the instructors harness (the one i had was made for tiny people) the bum cover thing and a helmet. The instructor gave a 45 second crash course in abseiling that would have scared the crap out of me if i didn't know already (these guys weren't using safety lines either) and asked if anyone had done canyoning before. I have done gorge walks at uni which are similar but don't generally involve abseiling so i said i had done something similar, this resulted in me going first.

The first waterfall started with a long slide section that was shaped like a deep spoon, with a long downward slide that goes into a bowl section at the end, i slid down here, practically letting go of the rope so i shot down. When i got to the bowl i somehow managed to stand up in the bowl where the instructor was, i looked down and there was a 20 foot drop below me. Over the noise of the water the instructor said, 'You have a job to do! The rope is stuck, can you free it'. I smiled and said sure before looking down again, about half way down there was a large rock that made a small ledge, i guessed the rope was there but the torrent of water made it impossible to see. I smiled again and leaned backwards over the edge of the waterfall and started moving down the waterfall, slipping now and then as the water took my feet out from underneath me. I reached the rock and tried to look for the rope, as soon as i looked towards it i received a face full of cold water, i had to feel around for it and after i found it it took me about 3 or 4 minutes of twisting and pulling blindly at the rope. eventually it came free and i was able to get to the bottom. It took about half an hour for everyone to get down the first fall (the group was made up of me, Keenen and 5 Israeli's. At one point i asked the instructor to signal for someone to send down my water bottle, it got stuck half way up the falls and i had a fun few minutes climbing back up the falls to get it. Once everyone was down we moved onto the next waterfall, there were 4 in total and i ended up going first a few more times, but this time without needing to do anything on the way down. Once we got to the bottom of the last waterfall i was exhausted but would happily have done more. The only scare we had was on the second waterfall where a girl was forced onto her front by the water, thankfully she didn't let go of the rope but she was clearly panicked for a minute or two after she reached the bottom.

After this we met up with Steve in Vashisht and went for dinner in Rainbow Cafe before splitting up and heading to bed.

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