I have viewed waterfalls from afar in places like Honduras and rafted through one or two including the monster at Iguazu Falls in Brazil so why not rappel into them or better yet jump 40 meters down into one!!! There are a lot of names for this kind of adventure including, but not limited, to abseiling in Germany, rappelling in France, canyoning here in Ecuador, kloofing in South Africa, torrentismo in Italy and barranquismo in Spain but in essence you travel into canyons using a variety of techniques that may include other outdoor activities such as hiking, climbing, jumping, swimming and/or technical descensions into waterfalls.
You will be suited up in wet suits, with ropes, helmets, harnesses, carabiners and the like and, in our case, a very sexy orange diaper-like apparatus. Most importantly, you are handing your life into the hands of another human being and praying that the anchor bolted into the rock holds and no one has dropped your carabiner causing a hairline fracture thereby weakening it before you use it. A RUSH? OH HELL YEAH!
Who did I hand my life over to today? Gabriel and Reinaldo at Fanaties Sport Travel Agency in Baños, Ecuador. They were safe, informative, spoke enough English to teach us what we needed to know and most importantly a hell of a lot of fun. Or is that the most important thing…..I never can remember…..hehehe….
It was a short drive in the back of a pickup truck from Fantaties Sport Travel Agency to the waterfalls followed by a quick 10-15 minute safety briefing and ‘how to’ training session followed by a short, but often dangerous and very slick, hike across rushing rivers and pounding waterfalls to the top of our first of 4 waterfalls all the while the nervous energy building from the tips of your toes to the top of your head, your heart racing and your gut clinching.
I have rappelled many times before as I’m an avid outdoor rock climber and as what goes up must come down, more often than not I’m rappelling down from a climb but what we did in Baños is a WHOLE NEW STORY. Why? All things are slippery when wet right? And what is the most slippery thing do you think? Rocks covered in moss perhaps? And how is it getting so wet and slippery? The raging 30 plus meter waterfall slamming you in the face while you descend. I learned right away that danger has a new name as rappelling down a dry cliff side is nothing like rappelling down into a waterfall. Planting your feet flat on that wall, bending your knees and leaning back like you are sitting upright in a chair but with your back to the ground may be the only way to get through this activity uninjured. That, of course, and remembering that hand clinging to the rope behind your back is your brakes. You don’t want to go plummeting to your death right? I’m just messing with you a bit. Know this – you are going to be fine as even if you let go of the rope you are not going to fall as you are fastened in at the top. I do, however, recommend that you never let go of that rope because if you do lose your footing you can turn around and just use that slick, moss covered, waterfall bashing, rock face as a water slide. Click here to see the action.
We got to rappel down two waterfalls and slide down one before doing the final insane feat – saltando a/k/a jumping backwards off the waterfall 40 meters down before swinging for 2-3 minutes or so back and forth into the rushing waters. Say goodbye to your contact lenses…say goodbye to your sanity…and say goodbye to your fears because you will leave all that behind standing on that ledge all alone before plunging into this next extreme adventure. Click here to see what the jump is like.
Since I survived yet another adrenaline pumping extreme adventure, you can write me to learn how or comment on this post below but then go Unlock the Travelirvana in You.